Nov 7, 1999
© Akhilesh Mithal

Death of the Indian Dream


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At the advent of Independence (midnight of 14/15 August 1947) Jawaharlal Nehru talked with the thrill of "India Awakening After A Long Sleep" in his emotion-charged voice and mentioned the long-awaited "Tryst With Destiny" of its people.

How has it worked out in reality? Have the dreams been fulfilled to even a limited extent or has there been bleak, unrelieved failure? No one can honestly deny that great strides forward have been taken in many important areas.

There has, for instance, not been a single major famine in Independent India. In the 90 year period of direct rule by the British Crown (Victoria/Edward VII/George V/George VI) (1857-1947) there were some 30 "acknowledged-by-the-British Indian-government" or major famines. In the last one of these, the Bengal Famine of 1943 some five millions died of starvation in Bengal Orissa and Mysore. There is general agreement that this was an avoidable or man-made famine and it was at least partly caused by the ill feeling of the British for the "bolshie" Bengalis. Winston Churchill was the de facto ruler.

Life expectancy has gone up from 32 in 1947 to 62 today. Literacy, now 61%, was 14% when the British left. There is universal suffrage as against property based representation covering under 15% of the population. This, too, was limited to the 55% area of India directly under the British Crown. In "native" states, which were just under half of India, there was no "representation" at all and heredity alone mattered in appointments to all departments of governance.

Before freedom, the thousands of Indians living in forced exile abroad were "coolies" and indentured labour and the subject of derision and contempt in the British dominated world. Prince Philip’s most recent pejorative remarks implying that the shoddy electrical work he saw must be of Indian workmanship is a hangover of that colonial period.

Indians abroad today number a few millions and many are working at the very frontiers of knowledge of the most modern and demanding of disciplines in the elite and prestigious laboratories and university faculties of the "developed" world.

Only the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with the multiple and forked tongues of Vishwa Hindu Parishad/Bharitya Janata Party/Bajrang Dal/ Shiv Sena etc deny free India’s progress despite its being visible, palpable and manifest.

The present rulers of India came to power after years in the wilderness and still have to disguise and hide a "hate, identify, isolate and destroy Muslims and Christians" communalism. They have their own compulsions for diminishing the struggle for freedom, the stature of freedom fighters and the achievements post-Independence. They were against the Congress and all liberal thought and programmes. At Independence they were busy creating mayhem and soon thereafter they assassinated the architect of free India.

An excerpt from the memoirs of Rajeshwar Dayal, a distinguished Indian and international civil servant will illustrate the RSS mindset and that of their collaborators in the Congress. This event occurred just after Independence and before the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

"I must record an episode of a very grave nature when the procrastination and indecision of the UP cabinet led to dire consequences.

When communal tension was still at fever-pitch, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Western Range, a very seasoned and capable officer, B.B.L. Jaitley, arrived at my house in great secrecy.

He was accompanied by two of his officers who brought with them two large steel trunks securely locked.

When the trunks were opened, they revealed incontrovertible evidence of a dastardly conspiracy to create a communal holocaust throughout the western districts of the province (UP). The trunks were crammed with blueprints of great accuracy and professionalism of every village and town in that vast area, prominently marking out the Muslim localities and habitations.
There were also detailed instructions regarding access to the various locations, and other matters which amply revealed their sinister purport.

Greatly alarmed by these revelations, I immediately took the police party to the Premier (G.B. Pant’s title as Chief Minister UP was ‘Honourable Premier’ or ‘H.P.’)

There, in a closed room, Jaitley gave a full report of his discovery backed by all the evidence contained in the steel trunks.
Timely raids conducted on the premises of the RSS had brought this conspiracy to light.

The whole plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo of the organisation himself. (Golwalkar)

Both Jaitley and I (Rajeshwar Dayal was Home Secretary of UP) pressed for the immediate arrest of the prime accused, Shri Golwalkar. Pantji could not but accept the evidence of his eyes and ears and expressed deep concern.

But, instead of agreeing to the arrest of the ringleader as we had hoped, and as Kidwai would have done, he asked for the matter to be placed before the next cabinet meeting."

Rajeshwar Dayal records that the cabinet hummed, hawed and procrastinated before it finally decided to ask Golwalkar for an explanation while pointing out the contents of the trunks and the nature of the evidence gathered.

The letter asking for explanation was drafted by Home Secretary Dayal at Pant’s request and signed by the Hon’ble Premier G.B.Pant at the request of Dayal! It was then entrusted to two police officers for hand delivery to Golwalkar.

Alas! The delay and the discussion with many people some of whom had RSS sympathies enabled sensitive information to be leaked. Golwalkar disappeared rather than make himself available to receive the letter.

Rajeshwar Dayal concludes: "Came January 30th, 1948 when Mahatma Gandhi, that supreme apostle of peace, fell to a bullet fired by an RSS fanatic."

The first of many nightmares which were to replace the dream of a country where "the world had not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls" had occurred because the Rule of Law was ignored by a Congress Chief Minister almost at the very dawn of Independence. Was it merely culpable inaction or worse?


© Akhilesh Mithal, 1991-1999. All rights reserved.
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