An interesting debate has started in our country on the occasion of the 125th birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 14.11.2014. It appears that it will not stop in the near future. The debate is about who is great among the two important leaders of independence struggle, Jawarlal Nehru or Vallabh Bhai Patel? In fact, this debate is not a recent debate. The debate was started in the past by RSS and its political department BJP (earlier Janasangh). Their argument is that if Patel had been the Prime Minister instead of Jawaharlal Nehru, a part of the Kashmir would not have gone to Pakistan, India would not have been defeated by China and the country would have been entirely different. Those who are of this ideological view believe that Akhand Bharat, as conceived by RSS would have been possible if Patel had been the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi told the same in a recent meeting. The reason for their belief in Patel even though he was a Congress man is that he was inclined to Hindu communal ideology. He was close to RSS parivar and he was slightly anti Muslim. He expressed his communal ideology and anti Muslim feelings on several occasions.These are all on record. That is why RSS-BJP is trying to degrade Nehru and upgrade Patel. RSS parivar helped the British rulers during independence struggle. Hence they do not have independence struggle heritage. That is why they are borrowing Patel who is close to them ideologically, among the Congress leadership.
RSS parivar always hated Nehru. It was because Nehru tried to build India on the foundation of secularism and democracy. He led the liberal group among the Indian bourgeoisie. He believed scientific thinking. He opposed communalism and religious bigotry. Internationally, he opposed fascism and welcomed socialism. In 1936 when the Popular Front in Spain has been waging a heroic struggle against fascists, Nehru went there and extended support to Popular Front. With this, he became popular as a great Statesman of the World. RSS does not like any of these great qualities. The Guru of RSS, Shri Golwalkar was a worshipper of Hitler. He welcomed fascism. He strongly opposed socialism. That is why RSS opposed Nehru then and is still opposing and will continue to oppose.
The RSS parivar gathered courage now since the BJP came to power having full majority on its own. Therefore it started to implement its agenda in full. It started its efforts to change the text books of Indian History, to fill the text books with Hindu Puranas, to stop the spread of modern thinking and spread the outdated ancient beliefs among the people in the name of science and in this process, it started to make recent history also upside down. As a part of this scheme, it started honouring Congress leader Patel with RSS shawl and making him a leader greater than Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. It started building a 597 feet tall statue for Patel in Narmada river at Vaddodara at a cost of Rs 3000 crore. It allotted Rs 200 crores in this year’s budget for building the statue. It announced Patel’s birthday as National Unity Day. It is not stopping with praising Patel. It decided to remove the names of Nehru and his heirs earlier given for some 650 schemes and projects.
Worried with this campaign of BJP-RSS, the Congress party started claiming it self as the sole inheritor of Nehru. It held Nehru birthday in a big way. They invited several leaders from the the country as well as from other countries. But they did not invite the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The reason they are telling is that Narendrra Modi is hard core opponent of Nehru and only the Congress aprty inherits the legacy of Nehru. Nehru is the first Prime Minister of this country. He ruled the country from 1947 to 1964. Inspite of this, the BJP Government has not cared much for observing 125th birth day of Nehru. But the fact is that the Congress and the BJP who are claiming the inheritance of Nehru and patel respectively have left their inheritance in practice. Congress party lost its right to claim Nehru’s legacy the moment it started the neo-liberal economic policies in 1991. Now it has nothing with it to claim the legacy of Nehru. Nehru gave importance to Public Sector. Congress sold them in the open market. Nehru implemented policies strengthening self reliance. Congress party opened the doors to foreign capital and foreign goods. Nehru laid the foundation for non-alignment in foreign policy. Congress Party left non-alignment and made India as a junior partner of imperialists. Nehru stood for secularism and democracy. Congress vacillated on secularism and made several attacks on democracy. Tehrefore Congress has no real legacy of Nehru, except using his name to sell its bad fruits in the name of a good tree.
The BJP has been utilizing Patel’s name without implementing his ideals. Though Patel might be inclined to communal ideology, he fought strongly against imperialism. He was a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. Patel expressed his serious anger against RSS on the occasion of killing Mahatma Gandhi. On 10th July 1948, after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, he wrote a letter to Jansangh leader Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee stating, “ As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub-judice and I should not like to say any thing about the participation of the two organisationss, but our reports do confirm that as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. Therre is no doubt in my mind the extreme section of the Hindu Maahasaabha was involved in the conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the Government and the State.”(Sardar Patel’s Correspondence, Volume 6, page 323, Navjeevan, 1973). Whereas in those days Patel fought against British rule in the country, now the BJP leaders are mortgaging the country to foreign capitalists. To get some favors from America, Japan etc., they are endangering the lives of crores of the people of our country (A clear example in this regard is that the Modi Government has lifted controls on 100 life saving drugs to satisfy Obama, before the visit of Modi to America. Due to this, the American companies will get more profit and the price of life saving drugs would be beyond the reach of common people). Therefore it is not simply about the legacy of Nehru or Patel. The Congress and the BJP have no right at all to claim the legacy of innumerable martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting for independence of the country.
The Corporate media organising this debate on the legacy of Nehru and Patel are hiding some naked facts. These facts are— the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha never participated in thee independence struggle. Savarkar, who fought, has come out of Jail by writing a surrender letter to the British rulers and there are several evidences to prove that the RSS parivar helped the British rulers. Media is escaping from debating these facts.
Therre is another fact to be noted. The corporate media is not telling any thing about the independence movement legacy of the communists. In fact, it was the communists who introduced radicalism in Congress after 1920. The Communists, who were in the Congress party at that time, have brought forward the slogan of “Complete Independence”. The Communists were instrumental in bringing the agenda of elimination of feudalism, elimination of caste oppression to bring social change, into the independence movement. The communists have organised peasant struggles in several places in the country against feudalism and thus brought forward the question of land reform and elimination of rural povery, into the agenda of independence movement. By oraganizing trade unions and working class struggles, the Communists have brought forward the issues of the working class into the agenda of the independence movement. The Communists ahve built people’s cultural movement during the sstruggle against fascism. Therefore the Communists are the best inheritors of the legacy of the independence movement and they are still continuing to carry forward this glorious legacy of the independence movement. The RSS parivar that never participated in the independence movement and on the other hand collaborated with the British rulers and still continue to to hanker for the small mercies from the imperialists and the Congress which has mortgaged the legacy of independence movement can not claim the legacy of the independence movement. The quarrel between Congress and BJP over the legacy of Nehru and Patel is only for deceiving the people.
(This article was originally written in Telugu by S.Venkata Rao and published in the Telugu daily “Prajaasakti” on 15.11.2014. The English translation was done by P.Asokababu)