Hitchhikers – The Commune

Had Mahatma Gandhi lived long enough, the differences between the well-meaning Gandhi and the politically motivated Nehru would most likely have spilled onto the streets and onto the pages of national and international media.

Mr. MK Gandhi’s utopias and lack of pragmatism were compensated by his humility and his sincere and well-meaning wish to see a more egalitarian and pluralistic India. The collateral damage to his selfless but stubborn and unachievable idea of ​​a pluralistic India was inflicted on the great masses of Hindus, whose deep-rooted cultural reverence for spiritually inclined men and women allowed them to be emotionally exploited. . Gandhi used his privileged Western upbringing to re-educate himself in ancient Indian social sciences and philosophy. He sacrificed his career, material comforts, and family for the larger idea of ​​an (albeit impractical) India he believed in. Gandhi preached a fusion of the Indian spiritual tradition in a modern, egalitarian, pluralistic, social and economic construction.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s idea of ​​a post-independence India lacked Gandhi’s originality and clarity. Nehru’s idea of ​​India was acquired and developed over a period of time, based on a tapestry of ideas from the greatest leaders of the pre-independence Congress party. He made up for his lack of good leadership, his lack of knowledge on several issues, his lack of deeper understanding of the Indian masses and his lack of collaboration with other leaders, with a strong, consistent and shrewd external endorsement of well-meaning people. Gandhi and his typically Indian sensibility.

Nehru’s alignments with the factions present within the Congress party betrayed his selfish and self-serving personal goals and his burgeoning levels of borderline narcissism. Unlike Gandhi, he harbored secret political ambitions and used his incomplete Western education to promote Western social, economic, and philosophical theories. His fascination with Western ideology in all spheres of life and his rejection of traditional Indian treatises on the social, physical and philosophical sciences are well known. In fact, his disdain for most things indigenous and Hindu in particular, has been documented before, as well as after India’s independence.

It would be controversial to mention it, but I sometimes wonder if Gandhi’s untimely demise ended up being a boon for the masses he sacrificed and fought for or for the select few privileged men and women. with whom he worked, for the common cause of Indian independence. . If both official and unofficial documented evidence is to be considered, it turned out to be a boon for the privileged Nehru and his self-centered, Western, flattering friends.

A power-holding minority, exercising complete and unchallenged authority over the needs, rights, feelings of a new nation. A powerful small group, promoting its own interests, with no one to question its intentions and behavior. Had Gandhi lived long enough to see the many damaging and unparliamentary actions of Nehru and his coterie, he might have protested, but invariably faded into obscurity, for politics and wily politicians have always reigned over sacrifice simple men and women.

Gandhi’s idea of ​​economic freedom, social equality and Bharat prosperity, firmly rooted in the country’s culture and spiritual traditions, differed vastly from Nehru’s brazen westernized views of the nation’s future, based almost entirely on Western ideals, at the expense of a collective Indian Wisdom. Nehru’s disagreements with Gandhi were almost as numerous as the agreements he had with him. There was even debate around the specific nature, role, use and extent of nonviolence in the struggle for freedom, although on the whole there was agreement significant on the subject, between the two.

Both men were also oriented differently with their personal lives and goals. Gandhi idealizing and aspiring to a life less dependent on material comforts, sensual pleasures and more inclined to the teachings of Hindu spiritual texts. Nehru, willing to give up and ready to erase all traces of his cultural heritage, the spiritual traditions of his ancestors, the Hindu contribution and history of his homeland in favor of a disproportionately Anglicized, Christian and Islamic, with a dose of its specific brand of socialism.

Predictably, the families of the two men also behaved differently in post-independence India. While Gandhi and his family chose not to take center stage in politics and did not hesitate to merge into the annals of worthy historical sacrifice, the Nehru clan did extremely well in politics, in administration and investment, to the detriment of Indian democracy, Indian territorial security and Indian domestic and foreign policy.

Nehru and his clan established for themselves a kind of de facto modern neo-monarchy, in which their authority reigned supreme, behind a veiled curtain of homonymous democracy. The well-meaning Gandhi could not have imagined the near total dominance of the cunning Nehru and his progeny in Indian politics! The two men were indeed different!

Contrary to their differences of opinion on several subjects, the greatest agreement shared by the two men, probably their strongest bond, in the turbulent waters of the politics pre-independence, at the time of independence and after independence of India, was a constant tendency in both men, to be exceptionally concerned about the welfare of a large Muslim minority.

Both expected unchallenged obedience in this matter from the most docile and tolerant Hindu majority, regardless of the circumstances, the biased jurisdiction of the times, historical injustices and instances of violence. Along the same lines, both were unusually eager to bow back to Mohammed Ali Jinnah and his idea of ​​a separate homeland exclusively for the Muslim cause. Both men had a strange and unreasonable propensity to constantly and frequently ask, even demand, a collective Hindu forgiveness for a disproportionate number of violent and intolerant Muslim actions.

This common thread between the worlds of two otherwise, differently oriented men has shaped the future of independent India, in a way that has not always served India’s best territorial, social and economic interests.

Dare we recognize a repeat in more recent Indian history? Try to draw parallels between the Gandhi-Nehru duo and the uncanny similarity in the relationship that once existed between the simple and well-meaning Mr. Anna Hazare and his disguised former disciple, the more complex and politically motivated Mr. Arvind Kejriwal.

The ideals of Mr. Anna Hazare and his well-meaning vision of a corruption-free and more equal India helped fuel the political ambitions of the shrewd Mr. Kejriwal. Kejriwal also supported by a coterie of intellectuals and media. While Kejriwal and his like-minded friends enjoy the privileges of power and continue to harbor growing political ambitions of national importance, lowly Mr. Hazare is already a relic, vanished into the obscurity of another chapter of the ‘story !

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Joan D. Boling