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Issue No.: 574 | April 2015
 

Remembering Pandit Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ Thereby Lies ... A Twist in the Tale

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana
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There is an interesting progression of events immediately prior to and after India became independent on the midnight of 14th August 1947. The significance of these events reflects how political fortune has finally caught up with the Congress that lends credence to the adage ‘As you sow, so you reap’. The result is that the Congress which held power for over five decades today finds itself in imminent danger of being reduced from a mainstream national party to a regional party. Extracts from the following three events clearly establish that the mind-set of the Congress has not changed even after being in power for five decades.

Before India’s Partition

Homai Vyarawalla, the first female photographer in  her book Camera Chronicles records some interesting incidents. She died in January 2012 at the age of 98. She gives an eye witness account of the historic event of the All India Congress Committee meeting held on June 14 1946. She recounts that it was a marathon and stormy meeting. She and P. N. Sharma were the only two people who were present when they clandestinely captured the historic meeting as she says where ‘some’ decided the fate of the country for ‘all’ which laid the foundation for vivisection of the country. Not burdening the reader with other details, it would be revealing to show the mindset of the Congress. To quote her words in the book: "The Congress party seemed to be in a hurry to gain power” She further states, "The Congress party has treated India as their jagir, giving away the part of the country as if it belongs to them”

Pandit Nehru Tryst with Destiny Speech

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on the midnight of 14 August 1947, said "Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny and now the time has come when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure but very substantially…It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and still to the larger cause of humanity...On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of the freedom, the father of the nation who embodying the spirit of India held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted the darkness that surrounded us.

"We have been the unworthy followers of this and strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear this imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in faith, struggle and courage and humility. We will never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or strong the tempest”.

Soon After India Became Independent

Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were said to have held the view that the Indian National Congress was formed only for achieving independence and should have been disbanded in 1947. But the movement transformed itself into a party. Gandhiji’s secretary Kalyanam who was three feet away from the Mahatma when he was shot at close range on that fateful day on January 30, 1948. Gandhi was heartbroken within months of freedom because of the complaints pouring in from all over the country about widespread corruption in the Congress ruled states as well as at the Centre. Gandhi used to get more than fifty letters every day from freedom fighters and concerned citizens. Most of the letters referred to rampant corruption and favouritism being practiced by the Congress ministers and leaders. Gandhi was disappointed and  disheartened over the developments. Though he told Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru about this, it fell on deaf ears, reminisced Kalyanam.

When viewed from the details given above, the supreme irony and hypocrisy of the Congress becomes clear. This DNA of corruption has so deeply taken roots that the Congress is in dire straits. The following incidents only show how the Congress has learnt nothing.

Terror Boat Incident

According to details in the media, a vessel had set off from near Karachi and as per Coast Guard Intelligence input it was traced in the Arabian Sea 365 km off Porbandar on New Year’s Eve. It had ominous implications keeping in view the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. The defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that the occupants of the boat were ‘suspected terrorists’. Despite warning from the Coast Guard, it did not reply and its occupants believed to be four in number set fire to the boat. The Coast Guard said that the boat contained explosive materials and blew itself.

Instead of congratulating the Coast Guards for their vigilance, it was turned into a huge controversy with the Congress making an issue of it by disbelieving the version of the Defence Minister. By so doing it has played into the hands of Pakistan which has accused India of wanting to score a political point. The Defence Minister was put in an untenable position with the chief of the staff of Coast Guard B. K. Lohani saying that he ordered the Pakistani boat to be blown up. It is another matter that he made a u-turn later and Parrikar had to defend his position by showing video evidence. But the point to be noted is to what level the Congress can sink unmindful of the fact that its statement would became a weapon in the hands of Pakistan to brow beat India. Even assuming that it was a smuggler’s boat as contended by the Congress, in a situation when Pakistan is bleeding India with terror attacks, for any political party the security and integrity of the country should be foremost but the Congress has no such qualms.

Espionage Ring in Shastri Bhavan

In a shocking revelation the Delhi police, on instructions from NDA government, in a carefully laid out plan arrested a number of government employees and officials of some companies including a journalist thus busting a well-oiled ring operating in Shastri Bhavan stealing classified and secret government papers. Initially, it pertained to the petroleum ministry but gradually the seized documents revealed the involvement of other ministries like coal and power. It revealed the existence of a spy network operating to feed corporate and big business houses so that they could have advance information of government thinking on various policies. The system was so efficient that the information was leaked in real time as it was being sent by the ministers to the bureaucrats concerned or for discussion at cabinet meetings. As of now the companies linked through their conduit are industrial giants like Reliance, Essar, Jubilant Energy among others. According to journalist Santanu Saikia who, before being whisked away by the police was heard shouting that this was a Rs 10,000 crore scam and that it has existed for many years. Though at present those arrested are low level government servants and officials of the companies concerned, it may also involve high government officials. The government should take the issue to its logical end and punish the guilty. There is always the possibility that only the small fish would be caught and the real culprits escape. With Modi showing zero tolerance for corruption as revealed in the action taken against the Home Secretary who tried to influence the CBI in the Saradha chit fund scam, it is hoped that prompt action will be taken to punish the guilty. In retrospect it shows how the rot had set in under the UPA government. The NDA government has inherited a difficult legacy for, despite its honest intention to move with speed to fulfil its electoral promises, a major part of its time is being spent in cleaning the system while the opposition led by the Congress, unable to reconcile to the ever increasing popularity of Modi, is blowing every small issue into a major controversy. 

In Tune with the True Spirit of Federalism

The Central Government’s decision to accept the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission for greater devolution of funds to states is a demonstration of statesmanship. This recommendation involving the transfer of 42% of the divisible pool of taxes to the states against the existing 32% is unprecedented. Another notable feature is that the states have also been given the freedom and autonomy to design programmes which suit them according to their priorities. The states were always complaining that the Centre was denying them their rightful share of revenues and thrusting schemes of the Centre’s choice. The other important consideration was that this revenue should go all the way down to local self-governing bodies. The responsibility is placed on the states to devise necessary mechanism to formulate the programmes. By this decision, at one stroke, the revenue deficit states find themselves receiving an unexpected financial bonanza. In monetary terms, it is a huge amount of Rs 1.78 lakh crore additional funds being transferred to the states’ revenue every year. It is also to be observed that most of the states benefitting from this decision are Congress-ruled states. 

This not only exhibits the NDA government’s nondiscriminatory attitude rising above party ideology but also its interest that every state should have its fair share of the revenue generated by them to develop. This concept of strengthening federalism is also demonstrated in abolishing the Planning Commission and replacing it with the more consultative mechanism called the NITI Ayog. In fact, this indirectly incentivises the states to tighten up their system of revenue generation so that they can look forward to a quantum jump in their share.

Land Acquisition Debate

It is in the debate over land acquisition bill in parliament that the NDA government faces the toughest challenge. The fact that many dissenters in its own party and its allies do not share the perception of the Government on this issue has queered the pitch. Despite the impassioned appeal of the Finance Minister and later by the Prime Minister himself who, when replying to the President’s address, told the house that the Bill placed before Parliament was the same as framed by the UPA government except that the government has enlarged the scope of 13 items included in the original schedule so that the hurdles in land acquisition would be removed which would not only help to create more jobs but also to advance the interest of farmers themselves. Not surprising the Congress and other opposition parties remained unimpressed. The fact that there is such widespread opposition cannot be easily brushed off, and the government has to climb down from its stand and hope wiser counsels will prevail in the country’s overall interest.

Mohan Bhagwat’s Comment on Mother Teresa

When right wing zealots’ crass comments have adversely impacted Modi’s push on development, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comments on the motives of Mother Teresa has added to Modi’s troubles. This is not the first time that this controversy has arisen. Without going into the merits or demerits of the issue, it has to be conceded that the comment of Bhagwat was definitely uncalled for at this juncture. Could it be that Bhagwat is increasingly feeling uneasy that Modi is slowly slipping out of the control of the RSS? Does he suspect that Modi is embarking on his own ideology of more inclusive growth to serve the larger interest of the nation which does not necessarily strengthen the concept of Hindutva which the RSS follows?

MR. H. R. BAPU SATYANARAYANA is a freelance writer
based in Mysore. Email: what_option@yahoo.com
 
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Point Counter Point : Every issue has at least two sides

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Porbandar Boat Again

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Sensitive Documents

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Black Money

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The National Scene

Remembering Pandit Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ Thereby Lies ... A Twist in the Tale

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana
 

“Daughter of India” – The BBC Documentary - – Banning Not the Answer

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The Rural Perspective

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Foreign Relations in the 21st Century

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Pakistan’s Quest for Nationhood

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Book Review

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Shortage of Qualified Teachers

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The Right to Sanitation as a Human Right

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