In this series of articles, we are introducing the book ‘How I Became Hindu’ by Shri Sita Ram Goel, to readers old and new. Late SR Goel is one of the leading intellectuals & writers of Independent Bharat, whose work was subsequently marginalised & suppressed by the left-leaning academic establishment. We are grateful to VoiceOfDharma.org for making this treasure trove of books/articles available for the common public.
9. Nightmare Of Nehruism (Part a)
I am adding this postscript to the third reprint of what may be described as my intellectual autobiography in order to complete my story as a convinced and conscious Hindu. The story relates mainly to my encounter with Nehruism in its various expressions.
Today, I view Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as a bloated Brown Sahib, and Nehruism as the combined embodiment of all the imperialist ideologies Islam, Christianity, White Man’s Burden, and Communism that have flooded this country in the wake of foreign invasions. And I do not have the least doubt in my mind that if Bharat is to live, Nehruism must die. Of course, it is already dying under the weight of its sins against the Bharatiya people, their country, their society, their economy, their environment, and their culture.
What I plead is that a conscious rejection of Nehruism in all its forms will hasten its demise, and save us from the mischief which it is bound to create further if it is allowed to linger.
I have reached this conclusion after a study of Pandit Nehru’s writings, speeches and policies ever since he started looming large on the Bharatiya political scene. But lest my judgment sounds arbitrary, I am making clear the premises from which I proceed. These premises themselves have been worked out by me through prolonged reflection on the society and culture to which I belong.
I have already described how I returned to an abiding faith in Sanatana Dharma under the guidance of Ram Swarup. The next proposition which became increasingly clear to me in discussions with him, was that Hindu society which has been the vehicle of Sanatana Dharma is a great society and deserves all honour and devotion from its sons and daughters. Finally, Bharatavarsa became a holy land for me because it has been and remains the homeland of Hindu society.
There are Hindus who start the other way round, that is, with Bharatavarsa being a holy land (punyabhumi) simply because it happens to be their fatherland (pitribhumi) as well as the field of their activity (karmabhumi). They honour Hindu society because their forefathers belonged to it, and fought the foreign invaders as Hindus.
Small wonder that their notion of nationalism is purely territorial, and their notion of Hindu society no more than tribal. For me, however, the starting point is Sanatana Dharma. Without Sanatana Dharma, Bharatavarsa for me is just another piece of land, and Hindu society just another assembly of human beings. So my commitment is to Sanatana Dharma, Hindu society, and Bharatavarsa in that order.
In this perspective, my first premise is that Sanatana Dharma which is known as Hindu Dharma at present, is not only a religion but also a whole civilization which has flourished in this country for ages untold, and which is struggling to come into its own again after a prolonged encounter with several sorts of predatory imperialism.
On the other hand, I do not regard Islam and Christianity as religions at all. They are, for me, ideologies of imperialism like Nazism and Communism, legitimizing aggression by one set of people against another in the name of a god which gangsters masquerading as prophets have invented after their own image. I see no place for them in Bharat, now that Bharat has defeated and dispersed Islamic and Christian regimes.
I do not concede to Islam and Christianity the right to maintain their missions in this country, or, for that matter, their seminaries which train missionaries for waging war on the Hindus. I have no use for a Secularism which treats Hindu Dharma as just another religion, and puts it on par with Islam and Christianity. For me, this concept of Secularism is a gross perversion of the concept which arose in the modem West as a revolt against Christianity and which should mean, in the Bharatiya context, a revolt against Islam as well.
The other concept of Secularism, namely, sarvadharma-sama-bhava was formulated by Mahatma Gandhi in order to cure Islam and Christianity of their aggressive self righteousness, and stop them from effecting conversions from the Hindu fold. This second concept was abandoned when the Constitution of Bharat conceded to Islam and Christianity the right to convert as a fundamental right.
Those who invoke this concept in order to browbeat the Hindus are either ignorant of the Mahatma’s intention, or are deliberately distorting his massage.
My second premise is that Hindus in their ancestral homeland are not a mere community. For me, the Hindus constitute the nation, and are the only people who are interested in the unity, integrity, peace and prosperity of this country. On the other hand, I do not regard the Muslims and the Christians as separate communities. For me, they are our own people who have been alienated by Islamic and Christian imperialism from their ancestral society and culture, and who are being used by imperialist forces abroad as their colonies for creating mischief and strife in the Hindu homeland.
I, therefore, do not subscribe to the thesis that Bharatiya nationalism is something apart from and above Hindu nationalism. For me, Hindu nationalism is the same as Bharatiya nationalism. I have no use for the slogans of “composite culture”, “composite nationalism” and “composite state”. And I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that all those who mouth these slogans as well as the slogan of “Hindu communalism”, are, wittingly or unwittingly, being traitors to the cause of Indian nationalism, no matter what ideological attires they put on and what positions they occupy in the present set up.
My third premise is that Bharatavarsa has been and remains the Hindu homeland par excellence. I repudiate the description of Bharatavarsa as the Bharatiya or Indo-Pak Subcontinent. I refuse to concede that Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have ceased to be integral parts of the Hindu homeland simply because they have passed under the heel of Islamic imperialism.
Hindus have never laid claim to any land outside the natural and well defined borders of their ancient homeland, either by right of conquest or by invoking a promise made in some scripture. I, therefore, see no reason why Hindus should surrender their claim to what they have legitimately inherited from their forefathers but what has been taken away from them by means of armed force.
Moreover, unless the Hindus liberate those parts of their homeland from the stranglehold of Islam, they will continue to face the threat of aggression against the part that remains in their possession at present. These so called Islamic countries have been used in the past, and are being used at present as launching pads for the conquest of Bharat that has survived.
My fourth premise is that the history of Bharatavarsa is the history of Hindu society and culture. It is the history of how the Hindus created a civilization which remained the dominant civilization of the world for several millennia, how they became complacent due to excess of power and prosperity and neglected the defences of their homeland, how they threw back or absorbed in the vast complex of their society and culture a series of early invaders, and how they fought the onslaughts of Islamic, Christian, and British imperialism for several centuries and survived.
I do not recognize the Muslim rule in medieval Bharat as an indigenous dispensation. For me, it was as much of a foreign rule as the latter day British rule. The history of foreign invaders forms no part of the history of Bharat, and remains a part of the history of those countries from which the invaders came, or of those cults to which they subscribed.
And I do not accept the theory of an Aryan invasion of Bharat in the second millennium BC. This theory was originally proposed by scholars as a tentative hypothesis for explaining the fact that the languages spoken by the Bharatiyas, the Iranians, and the Europeans belong to the same family. And a tentative hypothesis it has remained till today so far as the world of scholarship is concerned.
It is only the anti national and separatist forces in Bharat which are presenting this hypothesis as a proven fact in order to browbeat the Hindus, and fortify their divisive designs. I have studied the subject in some depth, and find that the linguistic fact can be explained far more satisfactorily if the direction of Aryan migration is reversed.
These are my principal premises for passing judgment on Pandit Nehru and Nehruism. Many minor premises can be deduced from them for a detailed evaluation of Bharat’s spiritual traditions, society, culture, history, and contemporary politics.
It may be remembered that Pandit Nehru was by no means a unique character. Nor is Nehruism a unique phenomenon for that matter. Such weak minded persons and such subservient thought processes have been seen in all societies that have suffered the misfortune of being conquered and subjected to alien rule for some time.
There are always people in all societies who confuse superiority of armed might with superiority of culture, who start despising themselves as belonging to an inferior breed and end by taking to the ways of the conqueror in order to regain self confidence, who begin finding faults with everything they have inherited from their forefathers, and who finally join hands with every force and factor which is out to subvert their ancestral society.
Viewed in this perspective, Pandit Nehru was no more than a self alienated Hindu, and Nehruism is not much more than Hindu baiting born out of and sustained by a deep seated sense of inferiority vis a vis Islam, Christianity, and the modern West.
Muslim rule in medieval Bharat had produced a whole class of such self alienated Hindus. They had interpreted the superiority of Muslim arms as symbolic of the superiority of Muslim culture. Over a period of time, they had come to think and behave like the conquerors and to look down upon their own people. They were most happy when employed in some Muslim establishment so that they might pass as members of the ruling elite.
The only thing that could be said in their favour was that, for one reason or the other, they did not convert to Islam and merge themselves completely in Muslim society. But for the same reason, they had become Trojan horses of Islamic imperialism, and worked for pulling down the cultural defences of their own people.
The same class walked over to the British side when British arms became triumphant. They retained most of those and Hindu prejudices which they had borrowed from their Muslim masters, and cultivated some more which were contributed by the British establishment and the Christian missions. That is how the British rule became a divine dispensation for them. The most typical product of this double process was Raja Ram Mohun Roy.
Fortunately for Hindu society, however, the self alienated Hindu had not become a dominant factor during the Muslim rule. His class was confined to the urban centres where alone Muslim influence was present in a significant measure. The number of this bastard breed was few and far between in the countryside where Muslim rule had never struck strong roots.
Secondly, the capacity of Islam for manipulating human minds by means of ideological warfare was less than poor. It worked mostly by means of brute force, and aroused strong resistance.
Finally, throughout the period of Muslim rule, the education of Hindu children had remained in Hindu hands by and large. So the self alienated Hindu existed and functioned only on the margins of Hindu society, and seldom in the mainstream.
All this changed with the coming of the British conquerors and the Christian missionaries. Their influence was not confined to the urban centres because their outposts had spread to the countryside as well. Secondly, they were equipped with a stock of ideas and the means for communicating them which were far more competent as compared to the corresponding equipment of Islam. And what made the big difference in the long run was that the education of Hindu children was taken over by the imperialist and the missionary establishments.
As a cumulative result, the crop of self alienated Hindus multiplied fast and several fold. Add to that the blitzkrieg against authentic Hindus and in favour of the self alienated Hindus mounted by the Communist apparatus built up by Soviet imperialism. It is no less than a wonder in human history that Hindu society and culture not only survived the storm, but also produced a counter attack under Maharshi Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi such as earned for them the esteem of the world at large.
Even so, the self alienated Hindus continued to multiply and flourish in a cultural milieu mostly dominated by the modem West. And they came to the top in the post independence period when no stalwart of the Hindu resurgence remained on the scene.
The power and prestige which Pandit Nehru acquired within a few years after the death of Sardar Patel had nothing to do with his own merits, either as a person, or as a political leader, or as a thinker. They were the outcome of a long historical process which had brought to the fore a whole class of self alienated Hindus. Pandit Nehru would have never come to the top if this class had not been there. And this class would not have become dominant or remained so, had it not been sustained by establishments in the West, particularly that in the Soviet Union.
It is not an accident that the Nehruvian regime has behaved like the British Raj in most respects. The Nehruvians have looked at Bharat not as a Hindu country but as a multi racial, multi religious and multi cultural cockpit. They have tried their best, like the British, to suppress the mainstream society and culture with the help of minorities, that is, the colonies crystallized by imperialism. They have also tried to fragment Hindu society, and create more minorities in the process.
In fact, it has been their whole time occupation to eliminate every expression of Hindu culture, to subvert every symbol of Hindu pride, and persecute every Hindu organization, in the name of protecting the minorities. Hindus have been presented as monsters who will commit cultural genocide if allowed to come to power.
The partition of the country was brought about by Islamic imperialism. But the Nehruvians blamed it shamelessly on what they stigmatized as Hindu communalism. A war on the newly born republic of Bharat was waged by the Communists in the interests of Soviet imperialism. But the Nehruvians were busy apologizing for these traitors, and running hammer and tongs after the RSS.
There are many more parallels between the British Raj on the one hand and the Nehruvian regime on the other. I am not going into details because I am sure that the parallels will become obvious to anyone who applies his mind to the subject. The Nehruvian formula is that Hindus should stand accused in every situation, no matter who is the real culprit.
It was my great good fortune that Pandit Nehru never became my hero. Heroes have a way of inhibiting cold reasoning and calm reflection among those who admire them. My reason and reflection have suffered an eclipse, every now and then. But not for long. And not for a moment under the spell of Pandit Nehru.
During my school days in my village and, later on, in Delhi, the Freedom Movement for me meant Mahatma Gandhi. I did not hear many stories about him except that he lived on goat’s milk, plied the charkha, and had tamed the wild Pathans. The only other leader of whom I became increasingly aware was Pandit Nehru. There was quite a folklore afloat about him.
He was reputed to be the only son of a fabulously rich man who lived in a palace at Allahabad, who got his clothes stitched in London and laundered in Paris, who had used high denomination currency notes as fuel for preparing tea when the viceroy paid him a visit, and who had blisters all over his tender skin when he put on khadi clothes for the first time.
The son was known to have received his school and college education in England, spurned the friendship of the Prince of Wales who was his classmate, turned down with contempt many honours which the British were only too keen to bestow upon him in order to win him over to their ride, and chosen to be the betaj badshah (uncrowned king) of his own people.
I, therefore, felt excited when wall posters went up all over Delhi, announcing that the great man was going to address a public meeting in the Gandhi Grounds adjacent to the Chandni Chowk. I do not remember the exact date. It was most probably in late 1934 or early 1935. I was a student of the seventh standard.
Gandhi Grounds was at a stone’s throw from the place where I lived. Even so, I went to the venue of the meeting quite early in order to sit near the rostrum, and see the speaker from close quarters. Ale rostrum was quite high. But the crowd that collected by the time Pandit Nehru arrived was not big by latter day standards.
There was a thunderous applause as Pandit Nehru came up on the rostrum, greeted the people with folded hands, and was formally introduced by a local Congress leader. But the next thing I saw made me rub my eyes. The great man had become red in the face, turned to his left, and planted a slap smack on the face of the same leader who was standing near the mike. The mike had failed.
Pandit Nehru was gesticulating and shouting at the top of his voice as if something terrible had happened. Meanwhile the mike started functioning again so that he could be heard all over the place. He was saying: “Dilli ki Congress ke karkun kamine hain, razil hain, namaqul hain. Maine kyatti bar inse kaha hai ke intizam nahin kar sakte to mujhe mat bulaya karo, par ye sunte hi nahin (the leaders of the Congress in Delhi are low bred, mean, and mindless people. I have told them time and again not to invite me if they cannot make proper arrangements. But they pay no heed).”
There was pin drop silence for a moment The next moment there was another thunderous applause. The Gandhi capped man sitting next to me offered comment “Panditji is famous for his temper. And people like him all the more that way.” I turned towards the rostrum. The face of Congress leader who had been slapped was bathed in smiles as if he had won some coveted prize.
This was a new experience for me. I had attended many public meetings in my village, at my district headquarters, and in Delhi. I had never witnessed such wild behaviour on a public platform. Of course, those other speakers were not so big as this one. Was it the way the big ones behaved? I wondered. I found it difficult to admire a man who had not only shouted at but also slapped someone who was placed lower than him in life, and who was in no position to hit back. And that too for no fault of the victim. Even as a young boy, I had nothing but contempt for bullies.
The speech which followed was far more disappointing. I do not remember the subject. It must have been about the current political scene. I understood no politics at that time beyond the call that the British must go. All I can recall now is the language which Pandit Nehru was speaking. It was neither Hindi, nor Urdu. Most of his sentences were far from being straight in terms of grammar or syntax. Occasionally, he was fumbling for words. I thought he was a very poor speaker. I had heard many others who, though not so well known, were far better and more coherent. I would not have noticed his language if I had not known that he belonged to a province which was famous for both Hindi and Urdu in proper form.
There were several other public meetings in Delhi addressed by Pandit Nehru after this first one which I had attended. But I did not care for them. His next performance I saw was in 1942. Talks with the Cripps Mission had failed a few days earlier. I wanted to know what the Congress intended to do next vis a vis the war which Hitler was waging against the Soviet Union. I was a post graduate student by now, full of sympathy for the cause which my professor of political science had presented as that of human freedom and progress. I was convinced that Hitler was a wild beast who had to be hunted down at any cost.
The venue of the meeting was the same old Gandhi Grounds. But the crowd was much bigger than I had ever seen in a public meeting. I took my stand near the gate which opens towards the Fountain. I did not want to be caught in the melee at the end of the meeting. Little did I know that I was going to witness a scene which would turn me away from Pandit Nehru for all time to come.
The great man was profusely garlanded as soon as he appeared on the rostrum. He repeated his greetings to the people with folded hands. But as he moved towards the mike, there was some commotion at one corner of the gathering. Someone told me that workers in one of the cotton mills in Delhi had gone on strike, and were seeking Pandit Nehru’s support for their demands. I thought the workers were being unseemly. They had chosen a wrong time and a wrong place for presenting their case. The nation was in the midst of a crisis . This was no occasion to pester a national leader with petty local problems. I also gathered that the Communists were at the back of the commotion. To hell with the Communists, I said.
But as I turned towards the rostrum again, what I saw was far more unseemly. Pandit Nehru was trying to get free of the grip in which he was being held by several Congress leaders who had thrown their hands round his arms and waist. He was being prevented from jumping down, and running towards the far corner in which the commotion had arisen. He seemed to be unaware of the crowd sitting in between.
One moment he was moving forward, and the next moment he was being pulled back. And all the time, he was shouting at the top of his voice. The mike reported him as saying, “Dekhna chahta hun in kaminon ko main. Bata dena chahta hun inko ke main kon hun. Inki ye gandi harkaten main qatai bardasht nahin kar sakta (I want to have a look at these low bred people. I want to tell them who I am. I cannot tolerate this dirty behaviour on their part).” The commotion died down.
The Congress leaders released their hold on him. Suddenly, he straightened up as if he was going to get out of his boots. He stretched his right hand, full and upwards, and shouted, “Main ek shandar admi hun (I am a man of some stature).” The crowd was clapping wildly, and continuously.
His speech that day was totally incoherent. It seemed as if he was talking to himself rather than addressing a rally. He kept on withdrawing in the next sentence what he had said in an earlier one. One moment he was denouncing the British as “a stone sitting on our breast”. Next moment he was bubbling with sympathy for the cause of freedom and progress being defended by the Soviet Union.
He was all for a fight to the finish so far as British imperialism was concerned. But at the same time he warned the people against coming in the way of the war effort. It was difficult to make out as to where he stood. I will not comment on the language he was speaking. I found it as shabby as on the earlier occasion.
Much worse came after the meeting dispersed. He descended from the rostrum and started moving towards the gate where I was standing. Congress volunteers had formed a cordon round him. But as the people rushed forward and tried to touch his feet, he pushed away the volunteers and started looking after himself. He was slapping with both his hands and kicking with both his feet the people who came near him. He was wearing full boots. Some of his fans must have been badly hurt. I thought he had no business to treat his people in this cruel manner. After all, they were only trying to show their devotion to him in the only way they had learnt from their tradition.
A few days earlier, I had been to the Harijan Basti in North Delhi, where Mahatma Gandhi was staying. I had sat at his feet for more than an hour, without anyone trying to drive me out of the small cottage. He had made all of us laugh heartily as he tried to coax some rich men into giving him money for the Harijan cause, in amounts larger than those they had offered initially. Evening came, and he proceeded towards the prayer meeting.
Volunteers had thrown a rope cordon round him. But people could not be held back. They rushed from every side, and crawled under the cordon to reach his feet. He stopped walking, and stood looking helpless. His face was beaming with love. He said in a husky voice, “Budha hun, mar jaunga. Jakar beth jaun to pachhi sir se pair tak chhu lena (I am old. I will die. Let me get there and sit down. Then you can touch me from head to foot).”
I compared the behaviour of the two great national leaders when faced with crowds of their people. I could not help concluding that while Mahatma Gandhi was a son of the soil, at home in the midst of his people, Pandit Nehru was a Brown Sahib who loved to see the people crowd his meetings but who despised their culture. He looked like an alien who had strayed into a strange land. Whatever I saw or came to know of Pandit Nehru subsequently confirmed this conclusion. I will mention only one more instance.
(to be continued…)
Book: How I Became Hindu
Author: Sita Ram Goel
Published by: Voice of India
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