Monday, June 04, 2007


For almost two generations, most of us who have grown up in India have treated the names of Gandhi and Nehru as if they were demi-Gods. I recall during my college days (in the 50's), my father used to talk about Nehru so glowingly that he could never imagine voting for anyone other than a Congress candidate, all because of Nehru's name. Naturally, such 'Nehruphilia' also rubbed off on me to a great extent, and did not quite fade away until recent years, after learning some real facts about several giant-size warts in his personal and political makeup. Of course, I do not consider this remarkable episode in Gandiji's adult life (brought out in the following narrative) as a negative blot on his character, but rather an admirable quality of his very human heart. After all, which man who has any trace of the romantic flowing in his blood, me included, would not be tempted to fall in love with such an accomplished woman? Indeed, it is quite admirable that Gandhiji was able to restrain himself, albeit after some persuasion, from throwing away his loyal wife Kasturba from his life by succumbing to the innate charms of Sarala Devi, and to the teasing of Destiny. However, this very human quality of Gandhiji gives me permission, and even makes it incumbent upon me (and others) to examine many of his political judgements and decisions critically, based on their merits as reflected by their impact on later events and shape of India's destiny. In my considered judgement, two of Gandhiji's 'Himalayan mistakes' which brought catastrophic consequences for India's destiny were (i) his launching and all-out support of the Khilafat campaign against the British in early 1920's (was the concurrent timing of this and his passionate involvement with Sarala Devi merely an accident?), and (ii) Gandhiji's very public and wholehearted nomination of the power-craving Nehru (doing great injustice to Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Bose and Rajaji) as his political heir, at a time when his every word was treated as brahma-vaakya by all Congress leaders. Certainly today, several decades after the Gandhi-Nehru era, we should become determined not to allow any political leader, least of all with the dubious calibre of Sonia and Rahul, to get any mileage from the name of Gandhi and Nehru. Rather, we should treat anyone who flaunts a close association with these two names as a negative qualification for leadership mantle.
Who was the mystery woman in Gandhi's life?
Posted by: "aryaputra_1927" aryaputra_1927
Sat Jun 2, 2007 2:36 pm (PST)


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