Congress’ anti-Modi politics continues its anti-Tilak/Aurobindo legacy - III
Gandhi, Sapru Committee Report and bias against Hindu rulers and kings: Gandhi confined his religious reform zeal to Hindu customs and traditions; he exacted compliance by coercion; this coercion was achieved often with public humiliation of the individual or group. Some of the notable people whom Gandhi humiliated in public and in private were - his long-suffering wife Kasturba, Tilak, Hindu kings and princes, Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose and at least one English-speaking scheduled-caste gentleman who dared to question Gandhi on the composition of the Constituent Assembly.
Sarkari history-book writers are yet to analyze the lasting damage caused to post-independence Indian nation’s territorial unity and integrity because of Gandhi’s personalized bias against Hindu rulers and Nehru’s muscular and even contemptuous treatment of the Hindu king of Jammu & Kashmir. Gandhi fired his first public salvo against Hindu rulers when he commented on Dhingra’s assassination of Curzon Wyllie. He fired his second bullet at a public meeting after he returned to India when he mocked the sartorial elegance of Hindu royalty. Needless to say the sartorial preferences of British monarchs did not weigh with Gandhi when he wrote letters expressing his eternal loyalty to the empire and the dynasty.
Gandhi was invited to the inaugural function of the Benares Hindu University. Present at the meeting were Viceroy Hardinge, Annie Besant who asked Gandhi to stop his harangue against Hindu maharajas was also present on the dais and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, founder of the BHU.
I now introduce you to another scene. His Highness the Maharajah, who presided yesterday over our deliberations, spoke about the poverty of India. Other speakers laid great stress upon it. But what did we witness in the great pandal in which the foundation ceremony was performed by the Viceroy? Certainly a most gorgeous show, an exhibition of jewellery which made a splendid feast for the eyes of the greatest jeweller who chose to come from Paris. I compare with the richly bedecked noblemen the millions of the poor. And I feel like saying to these noblemen: “There is no salvation for India unless you strip yourselves of this jewellery and hold it in trust for your countrymen in India.” I am sure it is not the desire of the King-Emperor or Lord Hardinge that in order to show the truest loyalty to our King-Emperor, it is necessary for us to ransack our jewellery-boxes and to appear bedecked from top to toe. I would undertake at the peril of my life to bring to you a message from King George himself that he expects nothing of the kind. (Speech at Benares Hindu University, February 6, 1916, CWMG Vol. 15, pp 148-55)
Speaking last night at one of the lectures inaugurated in connection with the University week in Benares, Mr. Gandhi referred to the precautions taken by the authorities to protect the Viceroy while he was in Benares. Mr. Gandhi was asked to explain briefly what he was about to say. Eventually all the princes present left in a body, and, though Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya explained that what Mr. Gandhi meant was that it was a shame to themselves that such a course was thought necessary because of the misdeeds of a few misguided youths, the meeting dispersed at once.
The Maharaja of Darbhanga, who presided at the morning lectures today, at which almost all the princes now in Benares were present, made a brief reference to last night’s incident. He observed that they had heard with grief and pain the remarks of Mr. Gandhi and he was sure they all disapproved the attitude Mr. Gandhi had taken up. Voices: “We all disapprove.” (Letter to Maharaja of Darbhanga, February 7, 1916, CWMG Vol. 15, pp 155-56)
Now contrast this with the Mahatma’s language when writing to the Nizam of Hyderabad nine years later in 1924 and count the number of “Your Exalted Highness” in Gandhi’s two sentence letter to the Nizam.
His Exalted Highness, The Nizam of Hyderabad
Your Exalted Highness, I beg to acknowledge Your Exalted Highness’s letter of the 1st April. I received also the letter of the 1st ultimo to which I replied on the 5th ultimo. I am surprised that the reply did not reach Your Exalted Highness. I now enclose a copy thereof. I remain Your Exalted Highness’ faithful friend. (Letter to the Nizam of Hyderabad, April 5, 1924, Post Andheri, CWMG Vol. 27, page 167)
As generous as Gandhi was about handing over the Hindu nation to the Muslims he was just as generous about handing over the kingdoms of Hindu rulers to the Muslim League.
On the very day that Gandhi announced his Quit India Movement when the entire nation was roused to a state of feverish expectation that independence was just around the corner (the same state of expectation when Gandhi announced ‘Swaraj’ in the Nagpur Congress of 1920 and after a decade of futile waiting the same sense of expectation in 1929 when Gandhi announced ‘Purna Swaraj’ in the Lahore Congress, and then again when the nation waited in vain for another 13 years, till 1942 when Gandhi announced Quit India), Gandhi wrote a letter to an unnamed Muslim about whether Gandhi had earlier really made the offer to hand over the entire nation to the Muslim League – all territories of British India (provinces which were directly under British government) and Indian India (all kingdoms and territories ruled by Hindu maharajas and Muslim Nawabs and Nizams.
With reference to your letter giving me the purport of your conversation today with the Quaid-e-Azam, I wish to say in as clear language as possible that when in a Harijan article I reproduced Maulana Azad’s published offer to the Muslim League I meant it to be serious offer in every sense of the term; provided the Muslim League co-operated fully with the Congress demand for immediate independence without the slightest reservation… The Congress will have no objection to the British Government transferring all the powers it today exercises to the Muslim League on behalf of the whole of India, including the so-called Indian India. And the Congress will not only not obstruct any government that the Muslim League may form on behalf of the people, but will even join the government in running the machinery of the free state. (Letter to a Muslim, August 8, 1942, CWMG Vol. 83, pp 186-87, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, pp 487-88)
Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer, Dewan to the Maharaja of Travancore and Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council took serious exception to Gandhi’s unilateral and hideous offer to hand over Hindu kingdoms to the Muslim League, called it a “menacing move”, resigned from the Viceroy’s Executive Council, took his gloves off against Gandhi and set about “definitely and publicly to rouse the (Princely) States to a sense of impending danger”. (Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 488)
As a first step in this direction, CP Ramaswamy Iyer explored the idea of all Hindu Princely States coming together to form themselves into federations and small unions to be better able to deal with the twin threats of Gandhi and the Muslim League. The idea gathered momentum and important political leaders of the time both within and outside the INC veered around to the advisability of small princely states forming themselves into federations for purposes of dialogue, negotiations, representation to any future Constituent Assembly and also the possibility of entering the Union of India as federations of Princely States. This was certainly a sound initiative, more organized and a politically workable idea than lapse of paramountcy with no alternative in place.
The writer’s book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle (2009, NAPL), re-examined the freedom movement between 1893 and January 1948 when Gandhi was assassinated. The book brought under intense scrutiny Gandhi’s doublespeak and dubious role in first welcoming and then sabotaging the Cabinet Mission whose report incidentally Gandhi agreed to make the basis of British Transfer of Power.
When Imperial London sent the Cabinet Mission to India in May 1946 it signalled surrender by the British Government to the inevitable – India could no longer be held by force; India could certainly not be held by force of the British military severely debilitated by the Second World War and even more severely underfunded by a crippled British post-war economy. The mission comprised Sir Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President, Board of Trade and AV Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty. The Mission offered its report as the only basis for transfer of power notwithstanding Gandhi’s claim to the contrary that it was neither a legal document nor binding upon the INC.
The last is important because the Cabinet Mission in unambiguous language refused to pass on the Paramountcy it wielded over the Indian Princely States to the first Indian Government of free India and insisted that paramountcy will lapse with transfer of power. Gandhi welcomed the Cabinet Mission within 48 hours and this means he accepted the British condition that paramountcy will lapse and will not be passed on to the Indian cabinet.
After four days of searching examination of the State Paper issued by the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy on behalf of the British Government, my conviction abides that it is the best document the British Government could have produced in the circumstances. It reflects our weakness, if we would be good enough to see it. The Congress and the Muslim League did not, could not agree. We would grievously err if at this time we foolishly satisfy ourselves that the differences are a British creation. The Mission have not come all the way from England to exploit them. They have come to devise the easiest and quickest method of ending British rule. (Excerpts from An Analysis, New Delhi, May 20, 1946, CWMG Vol. 91, pp 1-3, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation pp 397-99)
And yet for a full three decades that Gandhi led the so-called freedom movement in search for Hindu-Muslim unity, he kept insisting that Hindus and Muslims were blood brothers and had lived in unity with Hindus until the British sowed the seeds of discord among Hindus and Muslims! The British Cabinet Mission came with a report that was crafted to exploit these critical differences and yet Gandhi certifies to British good intent and insists that the Cabinet Mission did not come all the way to India to exploit the differences and disagreement between the INC and the Muslim League.
The writer after a painstaking study of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG) unlike many Hindu nationalists who blame Nehru, has laid the blame squarely upon Gandhi for vivisection of the Hindu Nation because he paralysed the INC from dealing sternly with the British Government and with the Muslim League and also for foisting Nehru upon the Hindu nation. Gandhi’s destructive political activism stemmed from his thoroughly un-Hindu and faulty understanding of the basis of nationhood. With evil aforethought, Imperial Britain insisted that paramountcy will lapse with transfer of power because Britain predicated its exit plan from India on leaving behind them chaos, instability and civil and communal war.
So what actually did lapse of paramountcy mean and what did the Sapru Committee Report have to say in this regard? Besides other things, lapse of paramountcy meant that the 565 Princely States in India would not be compelled to become a part of the vivisected Union of India. Each of the Princely states was free to accede to India, to Pakistan or to declare independence. In real terms Gandhi knew that when the British withdrew from India, the new Union of India would have 565 pockets scattered across the country in a state of simmering turbulence, instability and uncertainty. Not only the Princely States but the Union of India would have to deal with several Muslim states under Nizams and Nawabs either existing as independent entities within Indian territory or as little Pakistans inside Indian territory.
Gandhi knew all this and yet he wholeheartedly welcomed the Cabinet Mission Report as basis for transfer of power, even when he knew that the Sapru Committee Report was a vastly superior document not the least because it was wholly Indian in authorship. The Sapru Committee comprising Tegh Bahadur Sapru, MR Jayakar and N Gopalswamy Iyengar, formulated a report which presented an India-centric and workable basis not only for transfer of power but as a sound basis for the future Constitution of India. The Sapru Committee proposals were made public in Bombay on December 27, 1945 and its opening statement said it all –
The Committee stands for a single Union of India, including the whole of British India and all the Indian States, the claim for secession or non-accession, by which individual Provinces or States can keep out of the Union is not accepted.
The Committee maintains that throughout it has endeavoured to make a constructive approach to the many knotty problems that confront the country, to investigate them from every angle, to appraise as dispassionately as they could every fact, circumstance or argument and to reach conclusions which in their estimation were calculated promote the lasting interests of India and were likely to elicit the approbation of thinking Indians.(Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 404)
So whose interests was Gandhi serving when he refused to even consider this all-Indian report and instead legitimized the Cabinet Mission which insisted not only on vivisection of the nation but also insisted on lapse of paramountcy?
On the question of paramountcy, the Sapru Committee had a clear-headed and well-articulated position too.
Dealing with the Indian States, the Committee says that provision should be made in the constitution for the accession from time to time of Indian States as units of a Federation on such terms as may be agreed upon but the establishment of the Indian Union should not be contingent on the accession to the Federation of any Indian State or of any minimum number of Indian States. The Committee therefore contemplates that the Union need not be identical with Federation and it may include States which have not formally federated. The Committee say: “Our recommendation is that the new constitution should continue at least the unity that now binds the States and British India, though the bond may not be federal. To hang up the Federal Union of such units as are willing to federate until some States, or a minimum number of States, or the last hesitant State had agreed to accede, would be a policy which is calculated to postpone indefinitely the elimination of foreign rule and the achievement of full self-government. The Committee therefore insists that the Union of India should be established without any such waiting and that, while individual States might take their own time to make their minds as to whether they would accede as federated units, all of them should from the outset be treated as in the Union, united with each other and with the rest of India through paramountcy at the Union Centre”.
As regards paramountcy, the report says, “British suzerainty, which is the mainspring ofparamountcy jurisdiction today, will have to cease to exist and the new Union Centre, that is the Federal Cabinet, will come to exercise that jurisdiction over the unfederated States”. (Excerpts from Sapru Committee Report, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, pp 409-10)
The Sapru Committee proposals rejected partition of India, rejected lapse of paramountcy and rejected the pernicious idea that the Princely States can even consider the issue of declaring independence. The Committee also did not allow the Princely States the option of non-accession. This precluded the other pernicious idea that Muslim Princely States will be accorded any special status or concessions just because they were Muslim. But Gandhi knowing well that immediate lapse of paramountcy compounded by not allowing paramountcy to be passed to the Union Centre, would cause great turbulence to an already communally charged situation, offered more offence to Hindu Princely States when he appointed Nehru and the Nawab of Bhopal to choose 93 delegates from among the 565 Indian States to participate in the Constituent Assembly.
In the course of his public address at the AICC meeting in Bombay on August 8 announcing the Quit India movement, Gandhi made reference to the Indian Princely States and issued a mildly-worded explicit threat –
I have eaten the Princes’ salt and I would not be false to it. As a faithful servant, it is my duty to warn the Princes that if they will act when I am alive, the Princes may come to occupy an honourable place in free India. In Jawaharlal’s scheme of free India, no privileges or the privileged classes have a place. (CWMG Vol. 83, pp 198-99)
Gandhi did not have a word of reassurance, he refused to reach out to the Hindu Princely States and did not inspire confidence or sense of security in the Princes that Gandhi would be receptive to their concerns and act upon them. It is baffling why Gandhi pointed Hindu Princes in Nehru’s direction and not Sardar Patel, Rajaji or anyone else for the matter and why it had to be the Nawab of Bhopal and not a Hindu maharaja; or why not a Nawab and a Hindu maharaja. Needlessly alienating the Princely States, Gandhi declared that if they States failed to come to an agreeable solution, then there will be no delegates to represent them in the Constituent Assembly and their issue would be transferred to the Advisory Committee referred to in Clause 20 of the Cabinet Mission State Paper.
It is not surprising that CP Ramaswamy Iyer considered Gandhi the most menacing threat to Hindu Princely States. The question remains however - why did Gandhi not even consider the Sapru Committee report and why did he insist on going along with the British Government’s agenda for transfer of power which included vivisection of the Hindu nation and creating anarchy in the Princely states? Whose objective was Gandhi serving?
Going back to why RSS and Modi are feared
When the Indian National Congress,
- Led from the front by Gandhi had been rendered impotent and totally incapacitated from dealing with the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan,
- When even after the bloody vivisection of the Hindu nation followed by Pakistan’s invasion and occupation of Kashmir in September 1947,
- Gandhi refused to quit politics and threatened for the nth time in January 1948 to fast unto death if he did not get his way about giving Pakistan that country’s share of the pre-vivisection treasury funds amounting to more than 500 lakh rupees, which
- Sardar Patel wisely refused to give Pakistan knowing that Pakistan will certainly use it for more aggression against India,
- An enraged Hindu shot Gandhi to death.
- Nehru sought to distract a bleeding nation’s attention away from vivisection and away from his own criminal mishandling of Kashmir to Gandhi’s execution and made it easy on himself to blame not the Hindus but the RSS for Gandhi’s assassination
1. It suited Nehru then and suits the Congress now to blame the RSS for Gandhi’s death instead of Gandhi himself or the Hindus because blaming Gandhi for partition would be the same as blaming the Indian National Congress and not the Muslim League for partition; and Nehru could not blame Hindus for killing Gandhi because that would be tantamount to acknowledging the deep and intense anger of Hindus against Gandhi and the INC. To label Godse as being RSS or Hindu Mahasabha instead of being Hindu served Nehru and his anti-Hindu politics
2. Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when jihadis burnt alive in Godhra, 57 Hindus, ordinary men, women and children returning home after a pilgrimage to Ayodhya. Enraged Hindus of Gujarat, like enraged Hindus in Bihar between November 1947 and February 1948, reacted with fury and violence; the writer does not rule out the possibility that the terrorists burnt Hindu pilgrims to death as an act of provocation to test the response of Narendra Modi, RSS pracharak-turned-Chief Minister, and his government.
3. As things turned out, Hindus of Gujarat reacted with spontaneous fury which was doused only by Modi’s stern and secular (as opposed to “communal”) use of the army. More Hindus were killed in police and army firing than Muslims – a fact conveniently ignored by Modi’s domestic and foreign enemies. The USCIRF’s Last Lament is as deceitful and self-serving as the domestic political discourse on the Gujarat riots; the USCIRF does not refer to the victims of jihadi attack in the Sabarmati Express as ‘Hindus’ but uses the phrase “Hindu mobs” to describe the riots that followed the terror attack.
Just as it suited Nehru to blame the RSS for Gandhi’s execution, it suits political mercenaries, including America and its European vassal countries to blame Modi for the Gujarat riots. Gandhi, Nehru, America and the Congress underestimated then and underestimate even now the intensity of Hindu anger and Hindu capacity to express that anger. They were therefore unprepared for it and post-facto continue to delude themselves that there is no Hindu anger, only RSS agenda.
The RSS and Modi are feared and hated because they represent the resurgence of Hindu political empowerment, something Nehru was determined to crush with the full might of state and which Gandhi had never wanted, not since his South Africa years, up until 1946 when he marginalized Sardar Patel to hang the millstone of Nehru as Prime Minister around the country’s neck. Modi is being harangued because he refused to adhere to Gandhi’s defining political philosophy – punish angry Hindus who react to Abrahamic provocation.
Looking back at Bihar in 1947-’48 should give Modi comfort from knowing how Patel dealt with Gandhi when Hindus wreaked vengeance for the Great Calcutta Killings; on a single day Bengal’s Muslims, with the active support of the Muslim League Government, killed more than 5000 Hindus, many of whom were Hindu migrants from Bihar and Rajasthan.
The RSS, and Modi, who still drops Gandhi’s name (in adoration!) in all his speeches, and all Hindus who see in Modi the symbol of Hindu political empowerment, must necessarily re-visit the history of the Indian National Congress and Gandhi’s megalomaniac political leadership to see why being anti-Modi now is only a Congress legacy of being anti-Tilak and Aurobindo then. The INC since its inception in 1885, and subsequently - before Gandhi, during Gandhi and after Gandhi - was and continues to be anti-Hindu with a genetic self-destructive desire to be ruled and enslaved by White Christians.
(To be continued…)
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