NEW DELHI, TUESDAY, 26 NOV 2013
DISTORTIONISTS IN THE GARB OF HISTORIANS
Narendra Modi may well need some lessons in history, but on balance, the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and spokespersons of the Congress require history lessons on a more urgent basis
The Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, and his colleagues appear to be so overawed by Mr Narendra Modi’s campaign that they are latching on to every word the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate says, and trying desperately to fault him on something or the other on a daily basis. Their behaviour is akin to back- benchers in a class who are ever keen to find fault with the kid in the front row, who is the teacher’s favourite. For example, Mr Singh and leaders of the Congress appear to be piqued by Mr Modi’s statement that the story of India would have been different if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had become the country’s first Prime Minister. They also accuse Mr Modi of having a poor understanding of Indian history and even advise him to pick up some history books.
Mr Modi may well need some lessons in history (who does not?), but on balance, one can say that the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and spokespersons of the Congress are in greater need of history lessons than most others in Indian politics.
Since sycophancy is a necessary pre-condition for survival at the higher echelons of the Government and the party, in the Congress’s scheme of things, many of its leaders have been targeting Mr Modi for this remark and for other possible gaffes in his speech.
What really worries them is that the national mood is conducive for a fresh look at India’s post-independence history, and for correction of the deliberate, mischievous distortions introduced in our history books by ‘eminent historians’ patronised by the Nehru-Gandhi family.
It must be noted that ever since independence, the Nehru-Gandhi family has had a vice-like grip over academia and ensured key positions for historians and social scientists who have done its bidding by paying tributes to Motilal Nehru, Jawarharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. These historians brushed under the carpet many historical truths that show the Nehru-Gandhis in poor light and dressed up other events and situations to give them a larger-than-life image. But, they did not stop here. They also wrote spiteful and wicked things about Nehru’s contemporaries like Sardar Patel. Since the family has wielded power at the Centre for over 50 years, it has handsomely rewarded these dishonest historians with positions in academia, international fellowships and the Padma awards.
These historians got away with all of this for at least 50 years, until many of their bogus theses began to be challenged. The first formidable challenge came from Mr Arun Shourie, who focussed on the fraudulent and mischievous contributions by many ‘eminent historians’ of the Leftist variety in Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, which was published in 1998. This was the first authoritative challenge to Marxist historiography and till date, not one of these historians, who came under Mr Shourie’s scrutiny has been able to offer a credible response.
Apart from Leftist historians, we have had many devoted followers of the Nehru-Gandhis who resorted to criminal misrepresentation of facts, in the realm of modern history, and virtually produced a mythology of this parivar and embedded it in school and college text books. This school of historians went unchallenged for nearly half-a-century because no historian wanted to antagonise The Establishment. However, some historians made bold to dig up archival material and examine afresh the contentions of the Establishment Historians. One among them was Mr Makkhan Lal whose 2008 book, Secular Political Communal Agenda: A History Of Politics In India From 1860 to 1953, reproduced correspondence between Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad and others, and turned the spotlight on hitherto unknown facts about Nehru. For example, the book established that Nehru lied to Rajendra Prasad when he claimed that he (Nehru) and Sardar Patel had decided that C Rajagopalachari should be the country’s first President. Prasad and Patel called his bluff the next morning.
This book also details conversations between Gandhi, Nehru and Patel on the election of the Congress president-cum-candidate for prime ministership in 1946. Lal shows how 12 out of 15 Pradesh Congress Committees nominated Sardar Patel. The remaining three committees did not nominate anybody. Thus, Nehru was not nominated by any Pradesh Committee. When Gandhi mentioned this to him, he remained silent, but later conveyed to the Mahatma that he would not be number two to anybody. Gandhi prevailed on Patel to withdraw his nomination. Thus, Nehru, who was not nominated by even a single pradesh committee became Congress president and, thereafter, Prime Minister.
The Indian people also do not know all the facts about Hyderabad and Kashmir. Left to Nehru, India would have lost Hyderabad and the whole of the Kashmir valley. When Sardar Patel died in Bombay on December 15, 1950, Nehru was so petty that he did not want President Rajendra Prasad to attend Patel’s cremation on the ground that Patel was just “a Union Minister”. Prasad brushed aside Nehru’s objections and attended the funeral. For Prasad and other stalwarts of the party, Patel was not just “a Union Minister", he was The Sardar who stitched 563 princely States to give us a united and strong India. He was The Sardar, who, on the Mahatma’s advice, gave up his claim to becoming the first Prime Minister of India. He was also The Sardar who brushed aside Nehru’s silly objections, sent troops to Hyderabad and ensured the ascension of this tiny State in the South to India. Finally, he was The Sardar who put his foot down at a meeting of the Union Cabinet and ordered the airlifting of troops to Kashmir, just in time to prevent Pakistan from gobbling up Srinagar and other areas of the valley.
But all this did not matter one bit to Nehru. We now have first hand accounts which say that he issued two instructions the day Patel died: No official should attend Patel’s funeral at Government expense and Patel’s Cadillac was to be returned to the Foreign Ministry immediately.
These facts of history have been cunningly hidden from the Indian public for 60 years by apologists of the Nehru-Gandhi family, who have buried the truth and manufactured history to show this family in good light. In return, they have been allowed to hold key positions in India’s academic institutions. Leaders of the Congress are now throwing tantrums because they suddenly realise that the era of fraudulent history will soon end. Mr Singh and his colleagues are currently busy with so-called Governmental responsibilities. But, for the sake of India, we must hope that six months hence they will get the time to enroll for a crash course in real history!