Mahatma Gandhi has always believed that Jawaharlal Nehru has more penetration in the international community. (Photo Credits: inc.in)
On May 27, 1964, the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Had died due to heart attack. It has been 59 years since his death. When Nehru died, many Congress leaders did not understand who after Nehru! Although people close to Nehru were aware that Nehru was Indira Gandhi wanted to make him his successor. But then democracy was neither weak nor Congress There was this kind of dynastic thinking inside the party.
Nehru’s trusted politicians also had the courage to openly oppose Nehru. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and the then President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan also did not always say yes to Nehru. On the contrary, Morarji Desai did not consider Indira Gandhi worthy of this. He called Indira Gandhi a dumb doll. Then immediately Gulzari Lal Nanda was sworn in as the caretaker Prime Minister and thirteen days later Lal Bahadur Shastri duly became the Prime Minister.
Coordination between Nehru and Presidents
Lal Bahadur Shastri may have been close to Nehru, but he was unmatched in simplicity and courage and in his decision-making ability. Although Shastri ji was close to Nehru ji, but unlike Nehru, he was a staunch supporter of Gandhian values and lived a life of simplicity like Mahatma Gandhi. His becoming the Prime Minister was proof that the country would again run according to Gandhi’s dreams. It is well known that Mahatma Gandhi himself intervened and made Jawaharlal Nehru the Prime Minister. While the representatives of the Congress and most of the members of the Congress Executive were in favor of making Sardar Patel the Prime Minister instead of Nehru.
The then Congress President Maulana Azad also did not want to give up his presidency. But Mahatma Gandhi was understanding that Nehru would be appropriate in the kind of situation prevailing in the country. Apart from this, Nehru had a good rapport with the heads of state of other countries of the world.
In the year 1946, at the time of the Cabinet Mission, it was decided that India would be independent and till then an Executive Council would be formed under the chairmanship of the Viceroy. Its vice-chairman will be the president of the Congress. It was also final that as soon as the country becomes independent, only the Vice President will become the Prime Minister of the country. Then Maulana Azad was the Congress President. He was on this post since 1940, because the election of the new president could not be done due to the Second World War. Maulana himself wanted to remain on the post of president. But he left the post under the pressure of Gandhiji.
In April 1946, the search for a new president of the Congress party began. Of the provincial committees, 12 took the side of Sardar Patel and the remaining three took the side of JB Kriplani and Sitaramaiah. Then Mahatma Gandhi himself said that if I am asked to choose the president, I will take the name of Jawaharlal Nehru.
After this, Acharya Kriplani withdrew his name and gave a letter proposing the name of Jawaharlal Nehru to the Congress Working Committee. Everyone signed it. Sardar Patel also signed this letter without any hesitation. This gave the message that Sardar is not in the race for the post of President.
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Sardar Patel was no less than Nehru
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi has written in his book Patel a Life, that Sardar must have been saddened by this decision of Mahatma Gandhi. It is felt from this book that Nehru was short-tempered. They would not have worked under the leadership of Sardar Patel, whereas Sardar would have had no problem staying inside the government headed by Nehru. Although Patel was not less than Nehru in his English knowledge and education. He was about 15 years older than Nehru and before meeting Gandhi, his lifestyle and temperament were similar to the British. But Mahatma Gandhi told the journalists that he felt that Nehru had more penetration in the international community.
It is true that Nehru got respect in the international community, especially in European countries. But the head of the government of a vast country like India and a country with sufficient population had to get this honor. Anyone who would have been the Prime Minister would have got the same respect. Thus, Patel was more proficient than Nehru in diplomacy and also determined. The way he merged 565 princely states with the Union of India while being the Home Minister, it was not a small thing.
On the contrary, Nehru’s diplomacy was exposed in 1962, when he attacked India despite China’s misgivings. And India had to see defeat in this war. Due to an error of Nehru, the matter of Kashmir reached the United Nations, while Patel considered it an internal matter. Mahatma Gandhi knew these qualities of Patel. He realized Nehru’s weakness and sentimentality, so he chose Nehru. Gandhi used to think that Nehru’s acceptance is great in the Muslim society.
The father of the nation was deceived in the clash of images
It was a clash of images and even Mahatma Gandhi was deceived in it. Due to Sardar Patel’s simplicity and the dress of Indian tradition, he was considered a staunch anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim, whereas the truth is that he was more secular than Nehru. He imposed a ban on the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), which was removed at the behest of Nehru.
Yes, he did not unnecessarily show affection or hatred towards any religion. In course of time, Nehru gradually moved away from Gandhian values. His India was different from Gandhi’s imagination. Nehru disregarded Gandhi’s principles on national and international issues. Since after independence, Gandhi lived only for a total of five and a half months and on January 30, 1948, a frenzied Hindu shot him. That’s why Gandhi could not understand much of Nehru’s politics. Nehru ran the country on the same standards, which Gandhi kept opposing throughout his life.
Congress retreating from democratic values
The time then was different from today. At that time, if Prime Minister Nehru had wanted, then the country would have run on those values, which Gandhi advocated. But this could not happen. Between 1959 and 1960, Indira Gandhi was elected the President of the Congress. As soon as he became the president, he toppled the government of Kerala’s elected EMS Namboodiripad. The EMS government was the first non-Congress government. Nehru could have stopped it but he remained silent.
It was an indication that the Congress was retreating from democratic values. But those opposing the top leadership in the Congress were becoming less and less. The number of leaders loyal to the Nehru family was increasing. Lal Bahadur Shastri told his press secretary Kuldeep Nayyar that in his last days Nehru was eager to hand over his succession to Indira Gandhi.
Lal Bahadur Shastri died very early. Then the question arose who will be the next Prime Minister! Then Morarji Desai was a strong contender. But Dwarka Prasad Mishra, the then Congress President K.K. By meeting Kamaraj, such a trick was used that Morar ji lost the election and Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister.
In this way, the Congress whose sole dictator was Mahatma Gandhi, was reduced to one family. Today, remembering the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his death anniversary, it is also necessary to tell that emotional Nehru was a good person but as a politician he had made the post of Prime Minister a legacy. The Nehru family, which was very keen to get rid of the kings/maharajas, the heirs of the same family limited it to the family. How far had Nehru gone from the principles of Mahatma Gandhi!
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