Pandit Jawarlal Nehru was a Euro-centric. He was an Indian in appearance and a European in taste, culture and belief. He was the product of Trinity College Cambridge in letter and spirit. He was fascinated by Euro-centric authors like Bernard Shaw, H G Wells, Bertrand Russell. Nehru was not inspired by any of the Indian authors while Gandhi was energized by Valmiki and Vyasa. His legal acumen was shaped by Inner Temple and Euro-centric jurisprudence. Nehru was influenced by European philosophers and historians. Hence, he was forced to discover an India acceptable to the Europeans. Writes Dr K S Radhakrishnan
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a man of confusion rather than a leader of conviction. India paid heavily for the confusion of the first prime minister of India at national and international levels. His political and economic policies lacked clarity at national level and international policies were confused with his romantic dreams and fancies. Nehru formulated a new economic order namely, mixed economy, to build the economic structure of independent India intermixing norms of both capitalism and communism without having conceptual clarity. Hence India could not attain the good aspects of both the systems and on the contrary we are afflicted with the negatives of capitalism and socialism. It has been proved beyond doubt that a mixed economy has been unsuitable for India and it could make only the rich the richer and poor the poorer. Being an ardent admirer of European science, he believed in the unquestionable achievements of science and technology and nurtured the fancied sentiments of the unalterable state of nature of the Universe. He was oscillating between agriculture and industry when he formulated the conceptual frames for five year plans, an economic model he copied from the Soviet Union.
Why this self-proclaimed disciple of Gandhi fell in deep confusion on basic issues related to life and politics is a valid question to be answered because Gandhi was a man of clarity in thought and practice. Gandhi had no doubt in the ultimate victory of ahimsa in personal as well as in public life as he had not seen any difference between personal and public life. But Nehru was doubtful of the success rate of ahimsa and he wrote to Gandhi expressing his lack of faith in ahinsa in 1927 itself. Gandhi believed in the production by masses to resolve the economic issues of India while Nehru was the advocate of mass production to meet economic challenges. Gandhi perceived agriculture as organic activity which results in the communion of man and nature while Nehru projected it as a mechanical activity supported by machines and pesticides. Though both of them got educated in British universities, Gandhi was never attracted to Eurocentric culture while Nehru was overwhelmed by Eurocentrism.
Eurocentrism is a general faith shared by Europeans, that Europe is the centre of religion, science, social science art and literature, culture and all other human claims to know. All such European claims to know are superior to the rest of the world and every other non- European claim to know must be replaced.
European claims that Macaulay, in the preface to the project to implement English education in India, wrote that India had no culture, no philosophy, no science, no art, no history, no religion, nothing to be appreciated by a European. Hence everything Indian should be replaced by European claims to know. Macaulay unambiguously declared that such an education could produce Indians in appearance and Europeans in taste and culture.
Nehru was a Euro-centric. He was an Indian in appearance and a European in taste, culture and belief. He was the product of Trinity College Cambridge in letter and spirit. He was fascinated by Euro-centric authors like Bernard Shaw, H G Wells, Bertrand Russell. Nehru was not inspired by any of the Indian authors while Gandhi was energized by Valmiki and Vyasa. His legal acumen was shaped by Inner Temple and Euro-centric jurisprudence. Nehru was influenced by European philosophers and historians. Hence, he was forced to discover an India acceptable to the Europeans.
The Euro-centrism has been built up on the incongruent epistemological binaries namely matter and spirit, body and mind, good and evil, sinner and saint, time and space, change and permanence, one and many, individual and society, man and universe etc. logically, it is not possible to find a common meeting point between these binaries. Since, there is nothing common between them, dualism is the only possible form of philosophy. Plato, the master of Greek philosophy, created a perfect form of dualism, when he imagined a perfect idea of Socrates as the reality than the historic SOCRATES who was destined to preach philosophy in market places. The ivory tower of the real Socrates and the marketplace of the historic Socrates are the product of a logic of differences rather than a logic of identity. Aristotle, the disciple of Plato, created a more acceptable logic incorporating the incongruent binaries together though it was an illogical attempt. Thus, the greatest logician of Greek and European tradition committed the largest number logical fallacies
Interestingly Euro-centric epistemological tools are not free from the genetic defects of their Greek lineage. Euro-centric claims to know, whether it is science or social science have committed large numbers of logical fallacies in their march to claim superiority over the other. But as a faithful exponent of euro-centrism Nehru could not understand it. Jawaharlal failed to grasp the simple fact that Gandhi was an arch critic of Euro-centrism. But publicly Nehru claimed the Gandhian tradition as it was profitable for him though he shared his spiritual affinity with Euro-centrism.
Naturally Nehru was in utter confusion when he embraced both Gandhi and Marx together. He admired Soviet brand of Marxism as he was an exponent of socialist model of Soviet Union. But Gandhi thought that Marxism was a sub human philosophy because Marxism believed that ends can justify means and it propagated bloodshed revolution. Marxian concepts of class conflict and the annihilation of one class by the other had been considered as draconian by Gandhi. For Gandhi Marxism is a philosophy which never believes in co existence but it stands for conflict and destruction When Lenin implemented socialism as a prelude to implemented Communism annihilating all the class enemies and his personal enemies Nehru appreciated it ignoring violence in it. Nehru even praised the 1917 October revolution as a new sun rise that shed rays of equality among mankind. Marxism believed that fair can be foul and foul can be fair. It believed revolt separability of ends and means. The separability of ends and means leads us to moral chaos. But Euro-centric Nehru could afford any amount of illogicity.
Gandhi laid his faith on Sanatana Dharma (Sanatan religion) based on the philosophy of non-duality and the epistemological tools developed by the system. The unity amidst the plurality and the inseparability among the uniqueness of multiformity are the basis of non-duality Therefore what is logically possible is peace and co-existence than violence and destruction. But Nehru never believed in non- violence preached by Gandhi. He made his point clear in a letter dated 4, January, 1918, after attending the first annual day celebrations of the October revolution along with his father that he had little faith non- violence. But at the same time, he projected himself as an apostle of Gandhian legacy. Gandhi was a religious person who never practiced any religious ritual including idol worship in temples. But Nehru proclaimed himself as an atheist who had no faith in religion but practiced all sorts 0f rituals prescribed for a Kashmiri pandits on all auspicious occasions in his life. He was confused with ritualism and revolution, theism and atheism and religion and rationalism.
Nehru believed in bifurcation of personal and public morality. He thought that a person can be publicly moral and personally immoral. So, he could not find any fault with his extra marital sexual relations. Euro-centric moral norms consider personal life as an amoral area where the public should never enter. He was not bothered of asking the question how far a personally immoral man do politically moral action in public life? Gandhi considered human life as indivisible entity which is inseparable from context in which a man lives. Hence it was not possible to divide a man into different categories. But euro-centrism believes in the divisibility of one and same man into different water tight compartments.
Hence there can be a political man cultural man, an economic man, religious man etc. There can be a politically immoral man who can be culturally moral. Euro-centric statecraft believes that the people get a government they deserve. But the Indian political philosophy believes that a ruler gets the people he deserves. Hence only a morally perfect ruler can command his people to practice morality. Moral norms are applicable to all alike. Imagine the fate of a society in which every member practice personal morality as it had been practiced by Nehru. The result would have been ethical anarchy. Nobody can lead a normal life in a state of anarchy. As a faithful euro-centric personality Nehru was confused with personal and public morality. So, he relieved himself of the practice of morality.
Nehru was deeply influenced by the French Revolution inspired by Rousseau a romantic philosopher who propagated that ‘’man was borne free but he was in chains everywhere’’. Most of the English romantic poets were driven by the writings of Rousseau and French Revolution. Rousseau placed society against man as his enemy. The intellectuals of Europe after French revolution stood for unfettered individual freedom ignoring the fact that unfettered freedom would lead the society to anarchy. Even the individuals who want to enjoy freedom can enjoy it only in an ordered society. That order need not be imposed on the individual by an external agency including society. It can be in the form of self- regulation. The self-regulated form of freedom was unknown to Nehru. He was confused with anarchy and freedom In a letter to Gandhi Nehru wrote that he laid his faith in Soviet model of Socialism. Soviet model followed state capitalism in which there was no freedom for individuals to generate income. But as a democrat he had to protect individual freedom. So, he wanted to mix state owned determinism of socialism and self – determinism of democracy forgetting the fact that determinism and freedom could not go together. Mixed Economy, the new economic order introduced by him, is a colossal failure. It could not even meet the basic needs of the people. He wanted to cover the failure in economic field providing attractive rhetoric of political slogans.
His followers projected him as an apostle of equality. Equality means the provision to get equal opportunity to one and all in accordance with their merit and ability. There were well defined procedural formalities to asses merit and ability of the citizens of India before they got selected to public offices. But Nehru had little faith in such procedural formalities as he had no hesitation to appoint persons dear and near to him in public offices without making the assessment of their merit or ability. A person was able to get a letter of recommendation from Professor Harold Lasky, who was a friend of Nehru, to Pandit Jawaharlal, the Prime Minister of India, and the person was appointed in foreign service of India ignoring all the rules and regulations regarding the selection of candidates to foreign service. Later he became the president of India. But one cannot deny the fact it was a clear case of nepotism. Nehru thought that all were equal but those who dear and near to him were more equal.
Panditji was appointed as working general secretary to AICC in 1928 as if the elected general secretaries were non- working. Interestingly his father Motilal Nehru was the president of AICC at that time and his father manipulated to get his son appointed as the secretary. Immediately after the appointment he demanded salary for the service he had to render for AICC. It is to be noted that he was asking the people to sacrifice whatever they had for the cause of India when he demanded salary for his service. He was oscillating between salary and service and he could not find contradiction in his approach. After independence he preached the importance of simplicity enjoying multi lair luxuries as prime minister of India. His inability to realize the inconsistency in his character ascertain the lack of conviction.
He professed himself as an uncompromising democrat who appreciated descend and criticism. He even encouraged cartoonist Shankar and asked not to spare him in cartoons. He appreciated convenient criticism. But he was intolerant to aggressive criticism which is the integral part of democracy. One of the important principles of democracy is to respect the decision of majority retaining the right to descend with it. Nehru talked a lot about the role of the minority in democracy and imposed even draconian actions against those who were subjected to his ill will. He had no hesitation to dethrone the first elected communist government in the world invoking article 350 of the constitution of India. He banned books and articles which attracted his displeasure.
The nations, after World War 2, divided into the American block and the Soviet block. Nehru and Marshall Tito decided to form a third front namely Non Aligned Movement in 1961 to fight against imperialism colonialism, racism etc. The rhetoric was very attractive but it yielded nothing because the NAM members kept alliances either with the USA or with Soviet Union. Nehru formulated five cardinal norms, that is the Panchsheel, to establish and maintain cordial relation with China. But China aggressively declared war against India in 1967. The eloquent rhetoric of Nehru could not formulate effective foreign policy. Nehru wanted to be known as an internationalist having nationalistic background. Any nation in the world is a piece of land surrounded by boundaries and nationality of a citizen is being shaped by the context of that piece of land. The context is an organic product of geological, geographical religious, cultural and sociological aspects of that piece of land. So, every nation has contextual boundaries and every nation has to protect such boundaries. These facts were unacceptable to Nehru for the reason that he wanted to be known as an internationalist rather than a nationalist. Incidentally, internationalism is a concept cherished by Islam and Communism in the forms of Darul Islam and Comintern respectively. Nehru was in utter confusion in the practice of nationalism preaching internationalism.
Nehru had been preaching the role of scientific temper in the process of social development of democratic countries. By science he meant only euro centric science based on inductivism, a unique epistemological tool devised by Francis Bacon and its practical application had been made successful by Sir Isaac Newton. Euro-centric scientists believed in methodological monism as they considered inductivism as the only one epistemological method to generate scientific knowledge and they branded all other systems of knowledge as unscientific. They believed in the superiority of scientific knowledge over the other claims to know. They declared that the aim of science is to conquer and control nature by human rationality and they conquered nature. They could not find anything wrong in the onslaught of human rationality on nature by means of technology. Any scientific effort to establish human control on nature had been treated as a worshipful act. Hence Nehru could find modern temple in the mega-technological venture like Bhakra Nangal Akramagal dam. Even euro-centric scientific tradition started re thinking on conquering and control of nature by human rationality when Racheal Carson published Sil Spring in 1964 which has been considered as the beginning of the public awareness of the ecological concerns. But Nehruvian administrative tradition is not bothered of the injures thrust up on nature by human scientific spirit. Nehru appreciated romantic poems which mystify natural beauty written by the British authors. The glimpses of romanticism can be seen in his writings. He wrote about the beauty of Kashmir and The Himalaya subscribing to the euro-centric ideology of conquering nature. Unfortunately, Nehru and other exponents were unaware of the logical inconsistencies of inductivism and non- European traditions of science.
The inductivism of Bacon believes in the truth value of inductive generalization formulated after observing a few particular instances such as ‘’All bodies gravitate’’. There is no logical justification for formulation of generalization after observing few facts. The word ‘’All’’ Is an unobservable entity. For example, our observation of light rays is limited to Vibgyor. We can go further levels of observation with help of certain instruments. But extension of our sense organs can not go beyond certain limit. But we make scientific generalizations as if we have observed all facts and the certainty of scientific prediction depends on the certainty of scientific generalizations. Nehru embraced scientific spirit without knowing its limits.
He kept irrational love towards Kashmir as Kashmir was the birth place of his ancestors. So, he wanted to keep Kashmir with India. He was not in favor of plebiscite before the accession of states to Indian Union. The accession was executed on the basis of an agreement between the local kings who had been ruling the states and the union of India. But certain kings cherished the idea of sovereign states within India. The king of Travancore The Nissam of Hyderabad and the king of Kashmir had cherished the idea of sovereign nations. The king of Travancore had given up the idea and Hyderabad was accessed through military action. Hari Singh, the king of Kashmir, finally decided to sign the accession agreement to save his life as Pathan militants attacked Kashmir with the blessings of Pakistan and Britain by giving up his dream of ruling independent Kashmir.
The British India had been divided into Pakistan and India on the basis of religion. Mohammed Ali Jinnah wanted to get a nation for Muslims because Jinnah could not even imagine the Muslims being ruled by Hindus as the Muslims had been ruling India for eight hundred years. The logic of Jinnah was that since Muslims were the ruling class, they should not be ruled by those who were ruled by them. According to Jinnah since Kashmir was dominated by Muslim population then Kashmir should be accessed to Muslim-Pakistan than to secular India. So, he suggested a plebiscite to ascertain the will of the people to take a decision on which side Kashmir should be accessed. But Jinnah was unwilling to conduct a plebiscite in the places where Hindus were the majority in Pakistan.
Sheikh Abdullah, son of a merchant in Kashmir, got his Masters from AMU, organized Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference in 1933 after a series of Hindu Muslim conflicts in Kashmir. The aim of the organization was to oust Hari Singh to establish Muslim rule in Kashmir. Jawaharlal Nehru advised Sheikh to add socialism and secularism to the motto of the JKMNF and Sheik re-christened his organization as National Conference in 1938 removing the word Muslim from it. Sheikh Abdullah continued his campaign for the rule of the majority and suggested a plebiscite on the presumption that he could be the ruler of India ruled Kashmir. It was in this context that Nehru accorded plebiscite in Kashmir. Nehru agreed to provide special status to Kashmir yielding to the persistent demand of Sheikh Abdullah. Again, Nehru committed a folly in raising the Kashmir issue in the UN. Thus, Kashmir has become an international issue. Nehru lacked clarity in his dealings with the Kashmir issue and it created a headache for India for seven decades. He wanted to keep Kashmir as the integral part of India but yielded to the unjustifiable demands of Sheikh Abdullah for the reasons only known to Nehru.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi could command the support of more than one-third members of both the houses of the Parliament to remove the temporary status awarded to Kashmir from the Constitution of India. As usual the decision of the Parliament has been opposed by the Left-wing political parties and Muslim extremist organizations. The Left wing political parties betrayed the Quit India Movement for the British accepting bribes. They declared that India did not win freedom in 1947. They supported Pakistan to divide India on the basis of religion. They argued that India is not one country and it should be divided into 17 nations. They declared a violent war against India in 1948. They supported China in 1964 and 1967 when China declared war against India. CPI, a prominent group of the Left supported Indira Gandhi during the period of Emergency. The CPI even opposed multi party political system because Soviet Union had only one-party system. They opposed the enactment against triple Talakh (Muslim divorce). Unfortunately, some of the Congressmen also joined their fold against India.
Narendra Modi could command the support of more than one third members of both the houses of the Parliament to remove the temporary status awarded to Kashmir from the Constitution of India. As usual the decision of the Parliament has been opposed by the Left-wing political parties and Muslim extremist organizations.
Dr K S Radhakrishnan is former Vice Chancellor of Sanskrit University