– C.K. Mathew IAS (Retd)
Here are some quotes from Madhav Godbole’s book on Nehru: “The God who Failed”.
Our own history gives so many examples of the ideal conduct for men in power. These quotes are so very relevant today:
Here is an extract on pg 174-175 on a subject so important today, quoting Nehru’s letter to Rajendra Prasad (7th August 1947):
“As you know there is a very strong Hindu revivalist feeling in the country at the present moment. I am greatly distressed by it because it represents the narrowest communalism. It is the exact replica of the narrow Muslim communalism which we have tried to combat for so long… I find myself in total disagreement with the revivialist feeling, and in view of this difference of opinion, I am a poor representative of many of our people today. I feel honestly that it might be better for a truer representative to take my place.”
Also from the same book, a quote from Ambedkar:
” In addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds, we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know, but this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. .. we must not be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well.” B.R. Ambedkar in his speech to the Constituent Assembly, November 25th, 1949.
Nehru’s letter to GB Pant when the latter was premier of the United Provinces ( now largely UP) in April 1950. Some deities were found in the Babri Masjid: this was the first seeds of the dispute planted in the now famous Ayodhya matter. .
“The recent occurrences in UP have greatly distressed me. Or perhaps this was a culmination of what I had been feeling for a long time… I have felt for a long time that the whole atmosphere of the UP have been changing for the worse from the communal point of view. Indeed the UP is becoming almost a foreign land for me. I do not fit in there. .. I have not been to the UP for a longtime. This is partly dues to the lack of time, but the real reason is that I hesitate to go there. I do not wish to come into conflict with my old colleagues and I feel terribly uncomfortable there., because I find that communalism has invaded the minds and spirits of those who were the pillars of Congress in the past. It is a creeping paralysis and the patient does not seem to even realise it. All that occurred in Ayodhya in regard to the mosque and temples and hotel in Faizabad was bad enough. But the worst feature of it was that such things should take place and be approved by some of our own people.
And finally, on the subject of secularism, on 6 September 1951, Nehru said in a public meeting in Delhi:
“It may sound very nice to some people to hear it said that we will create a Hindu rashtra etc. I cannot understand what it means. Hindus are in a majority in this country and whatever they wish will be done. But the moment you talk of a Hindu rashtra, you speak in a language which no other country except one can comprehend and that country is Pakistan, because they are familiar with this concept.They can immediately justify their creation of an Islamic nation by pointing out to the world that we are doing something. Hindu rashtra can only mean one thing and that is to leave the modern way and get into a narrow, old fashioned way of thinking, and fragment Indian into pieces. Those who are not Hindus will be reduced in status. You may say patronisingly that you will look after the Muslims and Christians or others, as in Pakistan they say that they will look after the Hindus. Do you think that any race or individual will accept for long the claim that that are looked after while we sit above them?
And they say Nehru is irrelevant today !!!