This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What Sitaramji Said

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Contempt for Sadhus

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What Sitaramji Said

We’ve seen how extraordinarily accurate Sitaram Goel was in his assessment of Jawaharlal Nehru whom he characterized as “a bloated Brown Sahib” and “the combined embodiment of all the imperialist ideologies Islam, Christianity, White Man’s Burden, and Communism.”

We had paused the previous part of this series with a promise of narrating the eyewitness account of what transpired after Nehru, the delicate tyrant-in-formative-years jumped into the freedom struggle.

Sitaram Ji was studying in the seventh standard when the incident occurred. The halo of freedom fighter and mass leader that Jawaharlal Nehru had borrowed from Gandhi combined with the zealous efforts of career-building on the part of his shrewd father Motilal Nehru was paying rich dividends.

The year: 1934-35. Venue: Gandhi Grounds, near Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

(Emphases added throughout the piece.)

I went to the venue of the meeting quite early in order to sit near the rostrum, and see the speaker from close quarters… There was a thunderous applause as Pandit Nehru came up on the rostrum…and was formally introduced by a local Congress leader. But the next thing I saw made me rub my eyes. The great man had become red in the face, turned to his left, and planted a slap…on the face of the same leader who was standing near the mike. The mike had failed. Pandit Nehru was gesticulating and shouting at the top of his voice as if something terrible had happened. Meanwhile the mike started functioning again so that he could be heard all over the place. He was saying: “Dilli ki Congress ke karkun kamine hain, razil hain, namaqul hain. (the leaders of the Congress in Delhi are lowbred, mean, and mindless people.”

This champion of democracy, this object of Ramachandra Guha’s ceaseless idol-worship, using the class-slur of “lowbred” at the height of the freedom struggle upon ordinary workers. Indeed, life, destiny, fate, all have an ironical way of coming a full circle. Recent history tells us in gory detail the kind of Congress people that Nehru’s own grandson, Sanjay Gandhi surrounded himself with more than forty years after this speech. Mohammad Yunus, Navin Chawla, Ambika Soni are perhaps the most prominent of his flunkies who terrorised Delhi for more than a decade.

Continues Sitaram Ji:

This was a new experience for me. I had attended many public meetings in my village, at my district headquarters, and in Delhi. I had never witnessed such wild behaviour on a public platform. Of course, those other speakers were not so big as this one. Was it the way the big ones behaved? … I found it difficult to admire a man who had not only shouted at but also slapped someone who was placed lower than him in life, and who was in no position to hit back. And that too for no fault of the victim.

INLINE AD

And so, when today there are shouting matches on news TV about the “entitled mind set of Lutyens Delhi,” and variants thereof, remember that the root is here.

Year: 1942. Same venue. Occasion: public meeting after the failure of the so-called Cripps Mission.

Pandit Nehru…the great man was profusely garlanded as soon as he appeared on the rostrum… One moment he was moving forward, and the next moment he was being pulled back. And all the time, he was shouting at the top of his voice. The mike reported him as saying, “Dekhna chahta hun in kaminon ko main. Bata dena chahta hun inko ke main kon hun. Inki ye gandi harkaten main qatai bardasht nahin kar sakta (I want to have a look at these lowbred people. I want to tell them who I am. I cannot tolerate this dirty behaviour on their part).”

“Lowbred” again. But this time, an addition, about his own greatness.

He stretched his right hand, full and upwards, and shouted, “Main ek shandar admi hun (I am a man of some stature).”

Much worse came after the meeting dispersed. He descended from the rostrum and started moving towards the gate where I was standing. Congress volunteers had formed a cordon round him. But as the people rushed forward and tried to touch his feet, he pushed away the volunteers… He was slapping with both his hands and kicking with both his feet the people who came near him. He was wearing full boots. Some of his fans must have been badly hurt. I thought he had no business to treat his people in this cruel manner. After all, they were only trying to show their devotion to him in the only way they had learnt from their tradition.

Which is precisely the same tradition that he waged a lifelong war against and set out to destroy with a single-minded zeal after he became Prime Minister. At no point in India’s long history was political power completely concentrated in a sprawling zone in one city as it became after Nehru took over.

Says Sitaramji:

Pandit Nehru was a Brown Sahib who loved to see the people crowd his meetings but who despised their culture. He looked like an alien who had strayed into a strange land. Whatever I saw or came to know of Pandit Nehru subsequently confirmed this conclusion.

Post-independence, Nehru not only retained all the pretensions of the British, he wasted no opportunity to show who was the boss.

Year: 1948. Place: Delhi. Occasion: Sitaramji’s conversation with an American journalist.

“Sita, who does this man think he is? Almighty God?” I asked him, ” Who? What has happened?” He told me the story of some Sadhus who had sat down on an indefinite fast near Pandit Nehru’s residence in New Delhi, and were seeking an assurance from him that cow slaughter would be stopped now that the beef eating British had departed.    

Compare how far this cow-slaughter narrative has progressed from then up to now: again, the seeds were sown by Nehru. Reports the American journalist:

“I had gone there to take some pictures, and gather a report. But what I saw was a horror for me. As I was talking to one of the Sadhus who knew some English, this man rushed out of his house accompanied by his sister, Mrs. [Vijayalakshmi] Pandit. Both of them were shouting something in Hindi. The poor Sadhus were taken by surprise, and stood up… [Nehru] slapped the Sadhu who had moved forward with folded hands. His sister did the same…Then both of them…disappeared as fast as they had come. The Sadhus did not utter so much as a word in protest, not even after the duo had left. They had taken it all as if it was the normal thing.”

This is our first Prime Minister. And his sister who later became the President of the UN General Assembly and much later, the 7th Governor of Maharashtra.

Let that sink in.

Continues the American journalist.

“I do not know the norm in your country. In my country, if the President so much as shouts on a citizen, he will have to go. We take it from no bastard, no matter how big he happens to be.”

Sitaramji correctly diagnoses that Jawaharlal Nehru was an “incurable bully” and  “an incurable coward as well.” Both qualities, the two sides of the same coin were best reflected in Nehru’s irredeemable lust for imperial and barbaric desert cults and his undying fascination for monumental mass-murderers like Josef Stalin. Jawaharlal Nehru was perhaps the only head of any nation who actually, publicly mourned the death of Stalin, who he cravenly addressed as “Marshal” Stalin and had the Parliament adjourned on the occasion.

…at the time that he was crawling and cringing before Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, he was being high and mighty with the Hindu Mahasabha…Later on, he was thundering against the RSS, and at the same time crawling before the Communists… who were lambasting him as a running dog of American imperialism. He could never help licking the boot that kicked him, while heaping humiliations on those who were in no position to hit back…

In the next part, we shall look at life under the Nehruvian Tyranny.

Series Navigation

<< What Sitaram ji Said: Encounters with Jawaharlal Nehru

Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. Author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." He has translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.