One should always have a healthy respect towards the Opposition. Well, the learned Congress leader and perhaps most competitive authority on the ‘Panchayat Raj’ Mani Shankar Aiyar tries to prop the falling fortunes of his foolish leader.
What all Aiyar could achieve by trying to support his leader was to stir hornet’s nest. He forced readers of his column to revisit the 1962 war, a war that even Congress tried and tries even today to forget and pretends that it never happened.
Though his article may have a different result, in his article he had well-articulated about the articulating skills of Vajpayee. In his article Mr Aiyar explained how democratic and open-hearted Jawaharlal Nehru was in calling for an open discussion on the 1962 war in the Parliament, despite the opposition asked for a closed discussion.
Yes, Nehru was perhaps better when compared with current set of leaders in accepting criticism; current set of leaders include from both ruling and opposition parties. I really was disappointed why Mr Aiyar didn’t write about accepting criticism when the nation was debating 2G scam and treasury benches were busy in postulating and propagating the ‘Zero Loss’ theory.
Well, there were two aspects of learning from Mr. Aiyar. One was about Jawaharlal Nehru’s open heartedness. And the other one was about Vajpayee’s criticism and how present opposition leaders are taunted for criticizing the government.
First, it was the same Jawaharlal Nehru, who never tried to strengthen the army by equipping them with – arms. He never shied away from using the army, whether in the wake of Pakistani attack of Kashmir, immediately after Independence, in Goa (1961) or when he assigned the responsibility of North East Frontier Agency (Arunachal Pradesh) to the army in 1962.
How Nehru, along with Krishna Menon sacrificed General Thimmayya post losing the 1962 war with China is legendary in military circles.
Well, Nehru sincerely wanted to have good relations with China. And one shall note that this should never be construed as a mistake. However, many actions by the then Government may need to be scrutinized. India was amongst first countries that recognized People’s Republic of China.
In the next few years, when China declared Tibet as part of China, India protested; perhaps the best they can do given the army was not fully equipped to take on Chinese.
Even after China extended its posts in Aksai Chin, in 1951 India refused to attend an international conference in San Francisco to conclude Japan Peace Treaty, only because China was not invited to the event.
For nearly one decade, India functioned as an advocate for China, while China was isolated internationally. By 1959, however Nehru welcomed Dalai Lama to settle down in India. Perhaps, there was no bigger U-turn by any other Indian politician, only Nehru did it in international politics.
It is significant to note what Dr Ambedkar told the parliament in 1954, well before the Indo China 1962 war “By allowing the Chinese to take possession of Lhasa, the Prime Minister has practically helped them bring their border down to the Indian border… Aggression might well be committed by people who are always in the habit of committing aggression”.
Even General Cariappa warned the then Prime Minister about the need to enhance the capability of Indian Army. And Nehru failed on both counts. The way Krishna Menon and his offices relegated
Rama and Buddha are still remembered not because they went to forests. They are remembered because they could have ruled a Kingdom, yet choose to give it up. Had Nehru prepared the army and believed in it and still called for an open discussion, it would have mattered.
Despite the debacle in Indo China 1962 war, Nehru was liked by Indians, who took things in their stride.
Perhaps, Congress leaders could not digest the fact that someone else also could do things. Still, they live in the Nehruvian era of according privileges to members of the first family only. Else, why Congress didn’t declare the strikes ‘Operation Ginger’ in 2011?
Congress didn’t want Manmohan Singh to get the credit? But, it suits them to piggy back on his successful first tenure and win the elections in 2009. Well, I would like to know how Mr Aiyar would respond to this.
The other point Mr Aiyar talking was about the reciprocation by Modi.
Well, though there shall be reciprocation, it appears this should be coming from Rahul Gandhi, and not from Modi. The current case being the one in which India is in strong position, it would be good if Mr Aiyar remember how Vajpayee praised Indira Gandhi. It was the same Vajpayee who criticized Nehru.
Part of Vajpayee’s speech, reproduced from Mr Aiyar’s column:
He said it was “a matter of shame” that even 15 years after Independence, our jawans were not armed with automatic rifles, that they did not have proper uniforms. He praised the bravery of our soldiers but added, “We should hang our heads in shame” that they had not been properly prepared for the 1962 war in which they were engaged.
He demanded to know why our army was not “in full force” in NEFA and why they were not equipped as required. He demanded to know also why between 8 September, when China’s aggressive intentions had become clear, and 20 October, when they attacked, we had not deployed in full force against them.
He insisted on knowing who had “kept the Government in the dark and what action had been taken against them. Is Government in a position to give the guarantee that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated, and the sins we have committed will not be granted a new lease of life (punrawarti nahi hone dijayegi)?”
Vajpayee was speaking in the parliament, session requested by the opposition and accepted by the government. I never heard either Rahul Gandhi or Mallikharjuna Kharge (I take the liberty of introducing him as leader of congress, Loksabha) asking for a parliament session in the wake of the situation prevailing at border.
And definitely Vajpayee’s language was – well, it is a waste to compare it with the one Rahul Gandhi used. The uproar was not on the ‘right’ of opposition to oppose the government.
Many nationalists including ‘TheFrustratedIndian’ questioned the government post Uri attack on its response to Pakistan. But, using slangs on the Prime Minister and the Army shows the degeneration of the current crop of opposition leaders.
As Napoleon said ‘a group of rabbits led by a tiger is better than a group led by a rabbit’. And if a group of tigers accept the leadership of a rabbit, I question their motive.
I rest the case.