A day after the country became independent and Nehru was sworn-in as its first Prime Minister, he conveyed to the nation his undivided resolve in fighting communalism and separatism, with a reminder that “those who create mischief or trouble are our enemies, and they shall be dealt with severely”. The assassination of the Father of the Nation by Hindu fundamentalists had deepened his suspicions about the ‘real intentions’ of the Hindu Maha Sabha and the RSS, beyond their publicly declared goal of establishing the Hindu Rashtra. Nehru issued strong warnings to all Chef Ministers in his various letters that the killing of the Mahatma was only an indication of what was in store for advocates of secularism and democratic values in the country.
Behind his warnings was his strong premonition of a coup attempt by the Sangh Parivar to capture power by force. Nehru responded to his ‘educated hunch’ swiftly by banning the RSS and throwing several thousand Sangh workers behind bars. Just five days after Gandhi’s murder, his government issued a communiqué detailing the loutish acts of the RSS workers across the country, including violence, arson, robbery, collecting arms and false propaganda. Nehru’s letters about the threats posed by the RSS were quite candid about the mysterious nature of the organization’s functioning. He drew the attention of the Chief Ministers to a satyagraha (peaceful protest while clinging on to truth) that was being planned by the RSS, and stated that their duplicitous nature made him leery of the true nature of their ‘satyagraha’. The RSS being so far removed from the ways of truth, Nehru cautioned the states of the hidden side behind their displayed face. His real words were “What they say in public is entirely opposed to what they do in private”. Nehru likened the structural order of the RSS to that of the Nazi army, and laid bare their real character as political[i] and not cultural, as purported by their activists.
The Sangh Parivar led Hindu fundamentalists too viewed Nehru with suspicion and distrust. They fully knew that unlike several other Congress leaders, Nehru was a tough cookie with a pathological aversion to religious fundamentalism. More than half a century after his death, his memories make their skin crawl due to the considerable damage he had done to them by keeping them away from the corridors of power for so long after independence. Nehru firmly pinned down their glittery dreams of the Hindu rashtra in the robust casket of democracy and confined their aspirations to the graveyard. As well, he brokered the revival of the country’s minorities, whom the RSS & Co had hoped to hunt like a leopard in their Hindu rashtra. Nehru was also instrumental in facilitating the adoption of an empowered and progressive Constitution, which literally popped their bubble of building a majoritarian state.
One of the rarely talked about shades of RSS’s history is their brazen attempts to gain Nehru’s affection in the days following the Gandhi assassination. Their Sarsanghchalak Golwalkar instructed their shakhas (units) to observe mourning for 13 days, and ‘played innocent’ by sending their Prant Sanghchalak Lala Hansraj Gupta and Prant Pracharak Vasantrao Oke to the Birla Bhavan to offer condolences to the Congress leaders. Their attempts to sail under false colors had no effect on Prime Minister Nehru who was in Amritsar at the time. Upon receiving communication about the Sangh Parivar’s heartache, the furious Nehru publicly declared that the “RSS was responsible for the murder of the Father of the Nation.”
Later, a month after the ban on RSS was lifted by the Nehru administration, Golwalkar met with the Prime Minister at Teen Murti Bhavan. Historian Ramchandra Guha once wrote that the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, in their issue of Sep 6th, 1949, hailed the meeting as “a happy augury for the future Bharat”. In a classic display of sickening sycophancy, the organ went into raptures over Nehru’s stunning personality, and called him a “man of courtesy and civility, always willing to engage with both admirers and critics”. The following month, according to Guha, while Nehru was on a state visit to the US, the Hindutva lobbyists within the Congress prepared the ground for the RSS cadre to become members of the party while remaining active members of the RSS. The deceptive ploy of the RSS workers to sail on two boats was eulogized by the ecstatic Organizer as “the end of the Congress war on the Sangh”. Laughably, upon his return, Nehru rained on the party’s parade to quash the deal and mercilessly shut the party’s door in the face of the Hindu fundamentalists. A despondent Organiser cried foul in their editorial of Nov 23rd, 1949, and groaned in despair about the Muslim appeasement politics of the Congress party.
The wounds of the RSS are far from healed and so is their unremitting hatred for Nehru. They realize that their shutting out of the Congress by Nehru was lost opportunity for them to be part of the ruling establishment, where they could have moulded the character of the young nation in the Hindutva cast to further their majoritarian cause. They are well aware that their coming to power nearly five decades after the country was already secular to a point of no return is far too late. This despair has made Nehru a red rag for them, whose legacy fills them with perpetual insecurity and gloom. Thus, they arrived at the best coping they could bring off to forget the painful past, something that is so up their alley – unleashing slander, spreading lies and propagating fake stories.
The RSS lie factory has been incessantly churning out blatant untruths about Nehru, whom they have even called a traitor on multiple occasions for the country’s debacle against China in 1962. They flood the social media with dreamy stories and concocted evidences, to flagrantly argue that Nehru threw in the towel on purpose to help his favorite Chinese invade India’s territory. They have viciously subjected both Nehru’s predecessors and descendants alike to vicious name-calling, rumormongering and personal defamation to no end. With the advent of the social media bullhorns like YouTube and Facebook, Nehru bashing has almost become like a cottage industry operating out of every Hindutva worker’s backyard. It is quite paradoxical that the Sangh Parivar who takes pride in the Vedas and ancient Hindu texts that profess truth as the ultimate weapon against all evils has excelled in the art of deception and proliferation of lies.
Despite all the rabble-rousing by the malicious Sangh Parivar propagandists, the infallibly tall and strapping legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru remains etched in the minds of a vast majority of people in India and abroad, as the visionary who nurtured and shielded the world’s largest democracy in its early days of adversity. Nehru stood by democratic values all his life, and exclusively advocated peaceful methods to foster and protect it. He declared conclusively, “if not peaceful, it is not democracy.” This obsession for peace may have made him ambiguous and indecisive in territorial disputes and dealing with aggression, the Chinese aggression being the classic example, for which he paid quite heavily. Nehru’s doctors themselves have stated that following the betrayal of China by invading the Indian territory, his health went into an irrecoverable steep dive. His failure with China should not have made him a failed leader, but unfortunately, it eclipsed a lot of his phenomenal attainments as an ingenious administrator.
One of his debacles was he clung to power way past his ‘best before’ date. However, Nehru kept a stable head on his shoulder and always kept an open attitude to criticism, while he willingly engaged in deliberations with his political opponents. A fascinating anecdote about him is about an article titled ‘Rashtrapati’ published in the progressive magazine Modern Review in the year 1937. Written by Chanakya, the article praised the young Congress President Jawaharlal Nehru, whose immense popularity, leadership skills and clarity of purpose made him “a personality which compels interest and attention”. However, Chanakya also got skeptical about the real face behind the smile, which could be boiling with jealousy, contempt and intolerance for people’s weakness and inefficiency. He warned the readers to be cautious about Nehru’s astonishing ability to win people’s trust, which could be used “to do great good to India or great injury”. Chanakya wrapped up the article with an uncanny warning to look out for Nehru’s propensity to turn into a dictator, a pre-disposition that could be hiding behind the façade of his incessant vows of socialism and democracy.
The article made waves among Congressmen who set out on a mission to find the author, but Nehru was unperturbed. Finally, his daughter Indira dropped a bombshell by telling the world that the mysterious Chanakya was none but her father Nehru himself, after she found the handwritten draft of the article inside his desk drawer. What a stellar narrative of Nehru’s self-awareness and disposition for introspection, which are key to a successful leader. Of course, we have a self-engrossed Savarkar who filled a book with own praise, Golwalkar who fraudulently published someone else’s work in own name, and last but not the least, the self-styled Gandhian of the 21st century who once snuck behind the charkha of Mahatma Gandhi and fiddled with the ‘strange’ machine!
Historian Ramchandra Guha once wrote on Twitter that Nehru’s strong legacy should be studied independent of the misdeeds of his progenies. This would absolve the statesman of myriad charges that are being unloaded on him, which in fact he has nothing to do with, by the vicious propaganda machine of the Sangh Parivar. The reckless Hindutva gossipmongers should at least take a cue from the touching tribute paid to Nehru on his death, by their tall leader A.B.Vajpayee.
Vajpayee, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha at the time, said this in the memory of Pandit Nehru:
“Bharat Mata is stricken with grief today – she has lost her favorite prince. Humanity is sad today – it has lost its devotee. Peace is restless today – its protector is no more. The down- trodden have lost their refuge. The common man has lost the light in his eyes. The curtain has come down. The leading actor on the stage of the world has displayed his final role and taken the bow.”
The young Vajpayee wrapped up his eulogy on an anxious note about the future of India, which did not have the guiding light of Nehru anymore. This is how he put it:
“The sun has set, now we have to find our way by the light of the stars”
May be Mr.Modi and pals should take a listen?
Binoj Nair is an activist and author who has spoken and written profusely against racial bigotry and anti-Muslimism in India and beyond. An avid researcher in Quran who is passionate about factually countering the falsification of faith to spread hatred against Islam and Muslims, he is the chief patron of the education and awareness initiative called FAQR – Fighting Anti-Muslimism with the Quran and the Rasool. He regularly meets with community organizations to bring awareness among non-Muslims about the efficacy of Quran in today’s chaotic scheme of things and to open their eyes to the grave issue of systemic hatred towards Muslims. He also speaks his mind through his YouTube channel in Malayalam ‘Apriyasathyangal’, which is an initiative directed at laying bare some harsh truths around anti-Muslimism and distortion of history.
On the professional side, Binoj Nair is a writer, speaker, trainer and researcher with special academic interest in the field of lateralization of the human brain. He holds a PhD in Psychology with special research focus on limbic resonance and organizational outcomes, and lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife and two children. He is active on social media, and can be reached at: