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Mainstream, VOL LV No 47 New Delhi November 11, 2017

‘Indian People Unitedly Back Jawaharlal Nehru and his Policies’

Excerpts from Renu Chakravartty’s Lok Sabha Speech on Chinese Aggression (November 10, 1962

Saturday 11 November 2017

The following are excerpts from the speech that the Deputy Leader of the united CPI Group in Parliament delivered on the Chinese aggression in the Lok Sabha precisely fiftyfive years ago on November 10, 1962. The speech was a tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership and policies in the context of the Chinese aggression. Renu Chakravartty’s birth centenary was observed last month on October 21, 2017.

Mr Speaker, Sir, I rise with a deep sense of responsibility in this grave hour of national emergency to pledge on behalf of my party our full support to the Prime Minister’s rallying call to the nation for national unity at this juncture of history when our country is facing a danger greater than it has ever faced before...

Sir, the Communist Party of India has passed its resolution and everyone must implement that resolution from the biggest leader to the commonest man working in the fields and factories. It is not the discipline of the parties which have come out to attack us but it is the discipline of a Party which is known for its discipline and as disciplined soldiers we shall march shoulder to shoulder with the entire Indian people.

The Communists will defend their country and their sacred soil against the Chinese aggression to vindicate our nation’s honour and to protect our freedom. Every word of the resolution will and must be implemented by every Communist. It is by actions and not by mud-slinging that the patriotism of each and every party will be judged.

An Hon. Member: Camouflage.

Renu Chakravartty: There is no doubt in anybody’s mind today that the whole of India and the whole of the progressive world has been shocked by the unashamed and massive attack of the Chinese crossing blatantly the McMahon Line and laying hold of territory even beyond their own claims.

The crossing of the McMahon Line has both qualitatively and quantitively raised an entirely new situation. India has been taken aback. The Communists with the entire Indian nation have been shocked to their depths by the action of the Chinese. It is open, blatant aggression.

We are shocked by the arguments given by the Chinese for crossing the McMahon Line. They say that they had to cross it and march in order to prevent aggressive action by the Indians. This is a fantastic charge. Everyone knows that throughout we have espoused the cause of China. We repudiate this charge.

The McMahon Line is claimed as an imperialist line. What border is there in the world which has not been drawn either by the imperialists or by the Czarists or by the monarchists or by the warlords?

The Communist Party of India has categorically stated that the McMahon Line is our border, but for argument’s sake, whatever may be the origin of the McMahon Line, whatever be its legal status, can there be an iota of justification for starting a mighty armed attack against a nation to humiliate it and to bring it down? It can never be done. India has won her freedom by sacrifice and by sacrifice we shall keep it.

An Hon. Member: Without your sacrifice

Renu Chakravartty: The young Hon. Member on the other side who spoke should know that there is A.K. Gopalan here who spent 16 years in jail. I wonder how many there are on the other side... (Interrpution)

...Has it (the Chinese attack) anything to do with the ideas of world communism? No, Sir. This world communist movement has declared that all outstanding controversies and disputes, however deep they be, have to be solved by negotiations. Have we not seen what has happened in Cuba and with what restraint the Soviet Union, even at the cost of being misunder-stood, has withdrawn... (Interruption)

...I know, some people feel very bad. I feel that at this moment when there should have been the greatest effort made for keeping national unity, some would like to drive a rift. That is the feeling that I get when I hear some of my hon. friends.

Some Hon. Members: No. no.

Renu Chakravartty: I will say that one of the most dangerous things that has happened in this cataclysm is that by this action of Chinese aggression it is not that the Communist Party of India is being attacked—that is of lesser importance—but that it has helped those who had so long wanted to lead India into the Western imperialist military alliances can do so under cover of a call to patriotic resistance to the Chinese Communists... (Interruption)

The very basic concepts of our country’s foreign policy have been brought to contempt under the argument that it is because of non-alignment that the Chinese have attacked us. Even Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and his leadership have not been spared. His entire policies from non-alignment to planning and socialism have been lashed out at and the very foundations of all our basic policies are at stake—Congressmen like my hon. friend over there ask me what is at stake—before the sledge hammer of the attacks of the Jan Sangh and the Swantra Party and the silent acquiescence of my friends of the PSP applauded by certain sections of Congressmen.

This is what the Chinese attack has brought to our country. This is a most serious situation. (Interruptions) This is what has happened. I charge the Chinese aggressors for that. (Interrup-tions)

This is what the Chinese aggression has brought. One of the most serious things in our country is, it has given a hearing to those who formerly had no hearing at all in this country... (Interruption)

...This is a serious debate. We are discussing politics. We are not discussing any personality. Anger and sadness there is at our humiliation. That is understandable. But, have not wars in history been fought and won after reverses a thousand times greater? Are we to give up our basic policies just because we have been defeated temporarily?

The attack that has been made is that today the nation’s leader Shri Jawaharlal Nehru should be changed.

Some Hon. Members: No, no.

An Hon. Member: It is misrepresentation.

Homi Daji: Shri Ranga said so.

Renu Chakravartty: I would like this House to realise that Shri Ranga said so.

Daji: It is on record.

Renu Chakravartty: Let it be stated here clearly. It was a shock to me that nobody from the other side protested. Shri Ranga said that there are peace-time leaders.

Ranga: Leadership.

Renu Chakravartty: Leadership! One knows that the person who is the architect of all these policies is Shri Jawaharlal Nehru.

Ranga: Yes.

Renu Chakravartty: Let it be known that peace-time leadership, he said, may not always be the same as war-time leadership. He reminded us of English history and the replacement of Chamberlain by Churchill. This is the true logic of the Swatantra Party progremme...

...Shri Krishna Menon had to go because he was most responsible for the inadequacies of our defence arrangements. It is good that the Prime Minister has said that there will be an enquiry into it. That is how popular resentment at India’s humiliation was understandably roused. With dignity he resigned as in our system of parliamentary democracy he must.

But, make no mistake about it. The inexorable next step has come, the attack on the foreign policy of our government and its architect, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. Does Shri Ranga really think so—it has been put forward not only by Shri Ranga but by several of my friends that he is a tired man, he is a wearied man, let us get people from outside, let us get the Defence Minister from outside.

Some Hon. Members: No. no. (Interruption)

Renu Chakravartty: These are statements that have been made...

...He forgets his own words from time to time. I am quoting what he said in his speech. I say that Shri Jawaharlal Nehru has proved himself greater in time of war than in time of peace. Because his call to the nation has brought a magnificent response. He is the only man capable today of evoking that response because of his policies. My friend Shri Hanumanthaiya warned us against the personality cult. There is no question of personality cult. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru is Jawaharlal Nehru because of his policies and not because of his personality. Shri Kamath in the course of his speech said that the Communist Party protests too much.

As Hon. Member: Yes.

Renu Chakravartty: May I tell him and also my friend over there who just exclaimed ‘Yes’, that it is funny how extremes meet. Let us remind him that every day Peking Radio also attacks the non-alignment policy of Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. The People’s Daily, only a few days ago, in an article on the philosophy of Nehru, said that his non-alignment is really a fake, he is an agent of US imperialism.

Day in and day out, Peking claims that the Indian Government and Nehru are expansionists and that China is fighting back the aggression of India, that Nehru is a lackey of US imperialism, that British imperialism and Nehru are jackals of the same lair.

Does the Communist Party of India or for the matter of fact, the world communist movement agree to this evaluation of the Nehru Government? No. We repudiate it strongly.

Whatever our differences with the government on the home policy,—and we have many—this House well knows that the Communist Party of India has categorically stated long ago when the parties of Shri Kamath and Shri Ranga tried to bring that policy into disrepute, that our country is following a policy of peace and it strengthens the fight against imperialism.

Have there been no errors? Certainly there have been weaknesses. There have been vacilla-tions, there were mistakes. But, on the whole, the policies have been correct. We, the Communists, totally disagree with and repudiate the charges of Peking that Shri Jawaharlal Nehru is a lackey of imperialism.

This very Nehru, at the very moment India is being brutally attacked by the might of China, at the very moment when parties like the Jan Sangh and Swatantra and even some members of his own party are pressurising him to enter into military alliances with Western imperialism, has firmly reaffirmed his faith in his policy of non-alignment and the policy of peace.

India has always pursued this policy even while he has declared and the entire country has declared, as all patriots must do, the determination to defend the honour and integrity of our motherland.

Is this a sign of his becoming a lackey of US or British imperialism?

This forum of Parliament and the United Nations have heard him support the cause of world peace and disarmament. Is it a sign of his imperialistic intentions?

Did he not stand up against the imperialist attack on Egypt? Did he not acclaim the Cuban Revolution? Did he not liberate Goa?

There can be no doubt that the Chinese authorities are completely wrong and are following a disastrous policy.

So too, equally disastrous is the attempt being made to turn this war of Chinese aggression into a battle of communism versus anti-communism.

Just as we tell China ‘Beware of your disastrous policies, for when war breaks out between two of Asia’s greatest and biggest countries, we are on the precipice of a world war’, and just one more false step can envelop the world in a thermo-nuclear war, so we say to those who want to turn the aggression of China into a war of communism versus anti-communism ‘by entering into military alliances and obligations and by becoming partners in the Western bloc, by abjuring our policy of non-alignment, are you not bringing the Third World War to be fought on the soil of India?’

It is not a question of our not defending our country. We must get our arms without any political subservience and political strings attached, and we can get it even within the honourable framework of non-alignment, for, it is a strong policy, a policy which strengthens the forces against cold war tension which inevitably step by step leads to world war and thermonuclear war which is a war where there are no victors and no vanquished.

Is the policy of non-alignment a weak one, a policy of appeasement, a policy which has to be given up at the first sight of temporary reverses?

It is non-alignment which has added prestige and stature to our country, and even today in the time of stress, the validity of it remains.

If even today, in spite of the massive Chinese attacks against us, we have contained the conflict from the conflagration of the cold war tensions which inexorably draw us into the vortex of a world holocaust, it is because of the essential strength of non-alignment. Is not such a policy to be weighed as a mighty weapon which can bring about solutions more easily than if we had been in one or more of the blocs?

The newly liberated non-aligned countries are a big and progressive force in the world, and we must make no mistake about it. Much has been said about the Afro-Asian countries. It is because of our policy of non-alignment that we still have many friends among them who are doing their best to bring pressure to end this conflict and bring about a peaceful settlement. Not all of it may be well-informed, but certainly it is well-intentioned.

While we must defend our country, we must also appeal to all countries to put pressure on China and to impress upon her to withdraw her forces. If several others have not understood our case, it is not because we are non-aligned.

I would beg of this House to understand one thing. If we were really aligned with the USA, for instance, do you think that a person like Prince Souvanna Phouma would have written to us a warm message of sympathy? Would he have accorded to us that sympathy in that case, and would he not have had some lurking suspicion in his mind?

Again, the United Arab Republic has appreciated our position and we have appreciated their gesture. If we had aligned ourselves with the United Kingdom who unleashed the Suez war upon them, would we have got their sympathy?

If in some Afro-Asian nations, there is some confused thinking, then, I am at one with my hon. friend Shrimati Renuka Ray that it is because of our lack of propaganda, woeful lack of propaganda and the failure of our press and publicity.

I say with respect that there are some speeches which have been made here which damage our cause and help Peking’s propaganda, such as those suggesting the blowing up of dumps, this, that and the other. I believe that those speeches do as much harm, because it helps China and it adds grist to the mill of what the Chinese are trying to pose and propagate that it is India which is aggressive and it is China which is aggrieved.

Why is it that China has got a hearing? It is not because India is non-aligned, but because the three-point proposals of China have been the only first peace proposals, which have been put forward before the world. Why is it that our proposals for withdrawal to the position prior to September 8, which were made ten days before the Chinese proposals, were not placed before and canvassed and explained to all the countries of the world?

Surely, that could have been done. It was a fair and honourable offer. If they had reached the ears of all the nations of the world in time, I am sure that our case would have been stronger.

There is no question about it. Let the Chinese go back to the position before September 8, and let them prove from their action that they really want peace. There is nothing dishonourable in it.

We leave it to the Prime Minister because we know that he is the man who is capable of bringing about peace with honour and in keeping with the dignity of our country. Let us fight, and let us defend our country, but I appeal, let us not be defeated on the diplomatic front.

I would say that it is necessary for us to declare to the world that whatever our other differences, the Indian people are united behind Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and his policies. To support national unity and then to throw doubt on these national policies is to subvert the national will to stand united for successfully defending our country.

Our party assures the jawans heroically fighting and laying down their lives for defending our soil, that we shall not fail them. We shall toil and endeavour to see the rear fights as valiantly as possible so that production is not hampered. The four trade unions have already given their pledge...

Here, I must mention, however, that attempts are being made to utilise the powers of detention and victimising trade unions. That has nothing to do with the present emergency. If it has something to do with the present emergency, then I could understand it. But old grouses are now being worked out. In Bhilai, some of our best workers have been put in detention. I would like that these cases should be properly scrutinised...

...I would like to know why the stock exchange has crashed. The prices have risen, whatever may be stated in this House. What are the steps that are being taken to hold the price-line? I am glad that Shri Nanda has enumerated certain steps which we welcome, and we hope that they will be sternly implemented so that the price-line may be held.

In conclusion, I only want to say this: Shri Frank Anthony had asked us to become brutalised, our leadership to become brutalised. We are not going to be brutalised. We are a great people passionately proud of our independence attained through decades of sacrifice. We shall defend our motherland. We shall hold on to our basic policies and we shall try to raise the prestige and honour of our country. We know that our cause is just and it will triumph.

In this hour of trial, the Communists will prove their worth, side by side with the people. What does it matter if we are kept out of committees? We will have to face slanders, calumnies and, maybe, even repression. But we believe that love of one’s motherland, love of the great ideals of peace, democracy and socialism can never be crushed. They must triumph. They have to be proved not in words but in action and in sacrifices.

And when that day of sacrifice comes, we shall test the mettle of each and every one, and nothing can deter us from that goal.

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62