Accept invasion and domination syndrome (AIDS) was coined by B P R Vithal- a blessed son of Mother India, when he tore into political romanticism of Sunil Khilnani. This happened sometime in 1999. This essay honours his spotless scholarship.
Portrait of an Idealist
[On 29th March a tweet was punched by someone, stung perhaps by the brazenness with which the marketing slogan was forged by Nehru sometimes in the past. “By education I am an Englishman, by views internationalist, by culture a Muslim and a Hindu by birth.” I re-tweeted: Delusion of grandeur robbed him of his common sense. He gave flesh and form to a myth.]
I will not refer to Sir Francis drake, who was an Englishman by education and a pirate by profession. I won’t talk about his exploits when he robbed a richly laden mule train carrying a hoard of 20 tons of silver and gold. But I will talk about the originator of wealth by one in whose name the Booker Prize is awarded to pen pushers. A company Booker & Bros/Booker- McConnell, which among other interests operated a sugar industry in Guiana before its independence in 1966 was started by one John Campbell. This company had a long history of exploitation of sugar workers through indentured labour system. “At its peak”, writes N S Raja Ram, “75% of sugar industry in British Guiana was controlled by this company. This gave meaning to a joke when country was referred to as Booker Guiana.” John Campbell (senior) Jock Campbell’s great grandfather, a merchant and ship owner of Glasgow made his fortune through slave trade. By the 1780’s the company was supplying the most important British exports to the West-Indies herring and coarse linen goods to slave plantations. It was in this role it began acquiring plantations along Essequibo coast of Guiana from planters facing bankruptcy. Jock Campbell Junior had the decency to admit that his ancestors were slave owners. In order to make some amends he instituted the Booker Prize for pen pushers who are natural idlers and live by the word of the mouth. No indentured labour! Actually freedom from physical labour!
One has to imagine being an indentured labour to understand the pathos of hopelessness. It is not possible because the culture of slave atmosphere can’t be recreated. The ultimate degradation of the slave owner, his fear, which is fostered in the wake of unhinged sensualism and which deprives life of its grace and refinement can’t be recreated. Indians by nature are humble and simple. But some amongst us were tougher enough to bear the pain, when the award –a product of intense human misery was punched on them. But they in turn gained fame. Every dark cloud, after all has a silver lining!
In 3rd century BC, Herodotus said “All geography should be read historically and all history should be read geographically.” The scramble for Africa was the invasion, occupation, division, colonisation and annexation of African territories by European Powers. In 1870 only 10% of Africa was under European control. By 1914 it had reached to nearly 90%.
In this rush for making hay when the Sun shone, Leopold 2nd of Belgium sent Henry Morton Stanley to the Congo region secretly, where he entered into treaties with several African Chiefs along the Congo River. By 1882 he made sufficient treaties to form the basis of Congo Free State. Leopold 2nd personally owned the colony from 1885 and used it for sourcing ivory and rubber. Then Belgium advanced into Congo and by deft moves which included terror and outright murder Katanga came under the heels of Leopold. 0.5 Million sq Km of land came under the control of Belgium. In between 1885-1908 the deaths caused by Leopold were later on rivalled by Hitler of Germany!
M K Gandhi was 24 when he landed in South Africa in 1893. Destiny had tailored for him a role which he finished and returned to India a much wiser person. While Belgians were terrorising humanity in Congo and the British among other places, in S Africa the wealth kept on flowing to Europe which in turn made them prosperous. Jose Y Gasset, Spain’s most distinguished author tells us that Europe never exceeded in reaching a population of 180 million. From 1800 to 1914 it rises to more than 460 million. The other man’s wealth gave them food. In turn their fertility rate improved. But it was soon to go down the drain. When their crimes called them collectively to the witness box, they lost their minds. The two wars in quick succession destroyed the flower of the European youth. Latest we hear that they are bombing the West Asia to source the human resource to do their chores.
So Europe humbled itself voluntarily and in case of Belgium she continued decorating leaders and Captains with Order of Leopold. In 2006, the burden of receiving this award fell on the person of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. She received it with typical Indian humbleness. As the crow flies from Kinshasa (Capital of Congo) to Pretoria/Cape town (Capital of South Africa) it covers 3000Kms. It is perhaps this distance which made Gandhi to escape the embarrassment of receiving the mother of all prizes- the Nobel Prize- the grotesque flower of Nitro- glycerine!
The Irish diaspora tells us many pathetic stories. One needs to visit the days of the great Irish famine of 1845- 52 which made the British to impose their religious will on the Irish people. So Englishman by education is not an elevated person. By calling himself English by education, Nehru demotes himself to the level where the phrase shrinks to mean picking up the English dress code and table manners of the elite.
But the acolytes of Nehru will accuse me with not comparing European education with better examples. Let me pick up the example of Sir Winston Churchill who was not only the best educated, author and motivational speaker to such an extent that Nehru always looked up to him for inspiration. War office minutes 12th May 1919 he says “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare.” He was talking about gassing Kurds and inhabitants of North Iraq! And examples from world of science won’t help either. I can’t oblige them. It is a fact that I started my web site by challenging a) European Math based on number line which gives value to zero-foolishly, b) the validity of the value of Big G and mass-energy equation, both sub-judice (listed for 6/17). But I clearly remember the name of Cavendish who manufactured a cuckoo clock to verify a universal value while sitting in his lab. He gave us numerical value to a pure hypothesis, which is independent of the time dimension. This violates the 2nd law of motion which is time dependent. Newton made time a physical entity. Cavendish in this way continues to mislead astrophysicists including our Prof Narlikar who stamps Math books of NCERT as readable! I have exposed his juvenile prank which made Newton to enter the Hall of Fame in my critique. Einstein I shall deal with in next chapter-hopefully! Nehru’s claim to be better educated Englishman will carry less and less conviction as we dig the past vigorously.
When robbers become rich and escape the scrutiny of law, they behave politely acquiring tastes in arts and in fact contribute magnanimously towards promoting them. So they start decorating themselves with aesthesia. It is in the changed circumstances that the realisation dawns upon them that their crimes outweigh the crimes which the poor commit to satisfy their hunger. So they make amends by decorating the men and women of letters with crumbs and certificates but only to nurse them for future abuse.
Human Rights is the new springboard which allows the educated Englishmen to enter the third world and with the help of these very people and do what their forefathers were doing. Educated Chinese have lately joined the party in Africa although they have scant use and respect for the human rights to promote their business.
First International was founded under the name International Working Men’s Association in 1864. Its founding members were powerful trade union leaders. Karl Marx had no hand in uniting the leaders but was elected one of the 32 members General Council. Afterwards Marx asserted his leadership and gave ideological direction to it.
IInd International was convened on 14th July 1889. Nehru was born on 14th Nov 1889. By this coincidence we can agree that his thinking pad inherited international sweep from the history of the labour movement. But the First World War, among other achievements dis-integrated the 2nd International. The comrades now faced each other once the national sentiments got better of their labour pains. Nehru matured in post-international intellectual environment. Treaty of Versailles which seeded the 2nd war happened before his very presence. But as youth has it, romanticism is what makes younger days worth living.
He was not an internationalist because he fawned upon China and rebuffed America initially. It is true that he stayed course with the Common Wealth. But when China played war games he ran to seek shelter under the American canopy. His International icicles melted away as the bad news reached him. He died a sad person.
What is Culture?
I have a very simple answer to this tricky question. I have sourced it from dialectical materialism although it may not exactly coincide with it. The manner in which people create wealth and distribute it through the portal of commerce creates a way of life for that society. When the relations of production and distribution change, the culture changes. The outlooks change. The society not only produces wealth but also language, art, crafts, mechanical inventions and most of all religion. It is the institution of religion that the uncertain part of human mind receives an insurance cover from a hypothetical higher deity. It is a psychological balm and has a salubrious effect on human thinking which no shrink can establish in a person. It is a voluntary surrender which neutralises the chances of conflict. But when religion occupies the central position, as in Islam the society tailors most of the activities to suit the canons of religion. In Islam culture can’t be separated from religion. Islam is religion, culture and polity weaved in such a manner that the future merges with the past seamlessly.
By wearing a Sherwani and Choody-dar pyjamas, Nehru couldn’t touch the hem of Islam. Ghalib voluntarily declared “I am half-Muslim! I keep company of a bottle and never pray”. When Zia-ul-Haq ordered officials to observe the Islamic dress code, the culture modified further. It is no longer a dress. It is a uniform which has been picked up and popularised by Islamists globally. Uniform unifies the kids and they become students. And when adults wear it they become police, Militia or army. Nehru no way comes nearer to becoming a Musalman because he was an atheist.
So when you see people in Burkas, long shirts, short Pyjamas, skull caps and flowing beards you don’t see civilians. You see a vast army of 1.6 billion knocking at your doors five times a day: Come! Embrace Islam! [Please go to chapter 8 Tale of two Poplars and Islam will Prevail]
By birth he was a Hindu and nobody can deny that. It was this genetic origin that prevented him from becoming an evil Englishman. He had no courage to become evil. He was a typical Kashmiri – Mean and self- centred and by this sentimental phrase I mount my own execution. It was in the corridors of the Udhampur Hospital that I was brought down to my knees by one Muslim father of a young girl- distraught and disoriented: Ghar qahtul rijal uftad ze she kaas unus cumgeree/Eke Afghan doyam Kamboh soyam badzati Kashmiri/Ze Afghan…….. Till that time I never knew that one, well-travelled Afghan had stamped the character certificate on my Kashmiri Stock. It was a moment of truth! And when the moment of truth arrives one should drop one’s gaze. One should watch carefully how ants carry ten times the load of their bodies to serve and sustain life. Kashmiris lived in filth and squalor till the Dogras wiped their bodies, their tears. Kashmirs were a vanishing species. It was depopulated with average age clocked at 28 years in 1840! (In China the average age was 35 years in 1949!) The Dogras clothed and fed them through a public distribution system introduced perhaps first time in the history of India. Education and healthcare is what made them so strong that they pelt stones on the off springs of those who saved their recent ancestors from hunger-death.
“Defects in character of a person do not heal when the circumstances change” says R W Emerson. Small man, big ego! Nehru’s genetic ancestry can be traced to Rishis. He was noble and as a consequence was humane- romantic and ambitious. His Muslim pretences became suspect when he awarded Bharat Ratna to himself but forgot the sacrifice of Mohd Maqbool Sherwani who convinced the raiders to delay entering the Srinagar city, till the Indian Army secured the airport. The story of Sherwani is fascinating as it is worth emulating. His conviction coupled with the steely courage can be compared only to those 300 veterans who stood the ground at Thermopylae. Like Christ, Sherwani was crucified by the raiders in Baramulla-next to his home. While Pontius retreated against the advancing Indian Army our border with Pakistan was restricted to Uri in the North due to Nehru’s exhaustion. From Khyber which was breached by Mahmoud of Ghazni, it took Islam 1000 years to establish the next border at Uri in this part of North India!
Nehru was not a super being. As kids, we were pasted with this impression. He was human. He had ambitions. He commanded a clout which made him the Prime Minister of India. He literally swam in a lake of words. But it is not in words that our philosophies are revealed. It is the choices we make which expose us to our vulnerabilities. He made a choice to carry his prejudices along when the constitution of India was being drafted. The word Hindu was an anathema for him. He ensured that this word gets eclipsed and replaced by “Indian” phrase. Hindu expression was slowly made to acquire all the wrong and debased connotations to the extent that an entire organisation of the people-RSS convey as much fear the world over as would the name of Hitler convey, driving Jews out of their wits in Germany.
I don’t think the Europeans carried a very good reputation when the Roman Empire was in the making or the Muslims when they moved out to conquer the world for Islam. Both were trading in slaves. Even today in war torn North Africa, Syria, Iraq slave trade is up and kicking. When did we hear that the Hindus were selling and buying slaves? Name one pirate who was a Hindu. A slave from Persia became a king in Delhi! And the Hindus didn’t lift a finger to protest. What were the compelling reasons which made him to make the Hindu a reviled word? By flaunting his acquaintance with both the English and Muslims he actually exposes the pretences of being a democrat. He was so ordinary an intellect that even after writing his books he could not grasp that Islam is the theses for ultimate dictatorship: surrender right to dissent; accept the right to polygamy! That women are demoted to the level of pieces of property never crossed his mind.
If history will record that he delivered on his choice of career he chose for himself, it won’t be due his extraordinary statesmanship but because the Hindus are tolerant to the extent of being foolish. They make heroes out of men of straw. They are too good to be dehumanised and pilloried. The word and idea “Hindu” need to be resurrected and given its rightful place in the lexicon of political dialogues.
PS: As per his will some portion of his ashes were dispersed in air from an aeroplane. He imagined that the ashes would mix with the soil. But the ashes swam in air. We breathe in. We breathe out. In between there is a pause. I call it the 3rd state of being. For our farmers this pause lasted three years. I remember Shastri Ji advising us to skip dinner on every Monday. We did that, of course! what happened to farmers I have no idea.