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Mainstream, VOL L No 48, November 17, 2012

With Nehru All The Way

Wednesday 21 November 2012

by Bhagwat Jha Azad

History knows many a betrayal of friendship, but the one committed by the Chinese will go down in history as the most unfortunate and an unmatched instance of a friend being stabbed in the most treacherous and inhuman manner.

The Chinese we treated nicely. We gave them all support and help in their national issues and lent them prestige by taking them out of world isolation. We extended uniformly our hand of friendship and goodwill on the basis of recognition of each other’s independence, non-aggression and peaceful co-existence based on the principles of Panchsheel. And yet they have betrayed this goodwill and friendship. But we know how to deal with them.

Our jawans, in spite of the odds, have already given them a bitter taste of what to expect. The enemy has been made to realise that India is not the butter through which the war criminals of China—Chou, Mao and Shao—told their soldiers to pass like a knife. The initial advantage that an aggressor always has has been neutralised. The tide has begun to turn. Sober confidence among the people under the leadership of the Prime Minister is manifest everywhere.

Gaining Strength

On all fronts—arms equipment, purchase and production, national and international—we are gaining strength and parity with our highly militarised neighbour who appears skilled not in construction but in destruction, whose rulers have starved their people of butter and instead have provided them guns to invade a friendly neighbour.

We had to suffer a setback due to the surprise attack and Chinese superiority in combat forces and murderous equipment. We have seen World Wars I and II—and especially the memory of World War II is fresh in our minds. The then Chou-Mao-Shao, Hitler, in a surprise attack, humbled many democracies.

The great British Empire could not have resisted him because we know that the demo-cracies were not prepared like dictators for war. Many of the grim battles the democracies lost. We see ahead another grim struggle for Indian democracy against the Chinese Hitler—a dictatorship of the proletariat turned into an imperialism—but the result is not in doubt.

Fury Unleashed

Even as our valiant jawans are continuing their heroic efforts to clear the motherland of the Chinese intruders, a mighty tempest, a unique upsurge of patriotic fervour, is gathering momentum. The fury of 400-odd millions against the shameless aggressors who are threatening the country’s hard-won freedom is being unleashed.

And outside the country, on the international horizon, we find the democracies conscious of this massive onslaught on one of their sisters.

But we are surprised at the behaviour of some of our friends in our own land. We are advised to give up the policy of non-alignment. They ask us how it has helped us. We are proud of our Prime Minister who enunciated the policy of non-alignment. We are proud that we belong to a country which believes in peace and Panch-sheel. We have proved our bona fides to the world. We are not double-faced so as to shout of peace and prepare for war. The world believes in our sincerity. As a result of our sincerity and our non-alignment policy, the US and UK and other countries came to our help without condi-tions or strings. We appreciate the statement of Prof Galbraith that America does not want an ally but wants to be a friend in need.

High Prestige

Next to the United Nations, the most organised and respected organisation of democracies is the Commonwealth. The nature of our associa-tion with it is another example of our Prime Minister’s successful foreign policy and the policy of non-alignment. Either as a military ally or as part of a SEATO or NATO-like organisa-tion, we could never have commanded the same respect, prestige and regard in the Common-wealth or in the comity of nations wedded to democracy.
There are the many neutral nations like the UAR and Yugoslavia which also have extended support to our country.

Thus, Panchsheel and the policy of non-alignment have stood the test of time. We emphatically assert that we shall stick to it. This is the desire of the people of this country and outside too.

It is surprising that in spite of the success of the policy of non-alignment there are some self-styled brilliants who are not tired of shouting that non-alignment should he given up and we should join the Western military bloc. But it is a happy sign that the friends of the West approve of our policy and feel that it is in world interest that this policy should be continued. The latest statement of Mr Averall Harriman, the US Assistant Secretary of State, that it was in the interest of the USA that India should maintain friendship with Russia does not carry conviction with the leaders of the Swatantra Party.

C.R.’s Verdict

Sri Rajagopalachari, speaking in Madras, said: “The military experts who came down here were no good. They succumbed to politicians. I am convinced there is some truth in what the John Birch Society says about people in the American Administration. It is quite likely that many of them are crypto-Communists.”

And about American aid he bitterly protes-ted: “Have you ever seen aid given so hopelessly and stupidly without strings? Oh, but then I forgot—Kennedy and Galbraith and a whole lot of these young men are going neutral. They say they are prepared to help the Plan and to res-pect our foreign policy. This is as deplorable as Kennedy’s medicare.”

Referring to Pakistani dissatisfaction with American war aid to India, he said: “Well, with men like Kennedy at the top, who are prepared to come to an understanding with nations not entirely committed to free enterprise, Pakistan has every reason to be dissatisfied. I would not be surprised for all that President Ayub says if Pakistan tomorrow walks out of CENTO and SEATO.”

Somebody asked: “Will you go neutral?” He replied: “If the free world would drive me to it.” “Would you go Red, Sir?” came a voice. “Why not, if the Americans. …” and the meeting ended in confusion.

Ferocious Non-combatants

This is how the leader of a party which professes to help the war effort is going about undermining our policy of non-alignment and the war effort and also the economic fabric woven with the sweat and blood of millions of our countrymen. It is self-evident from such outbursts that it is not the policy of non-alignment that has failed, but that there is something fundamentally wrong with the thinking in the fantastic caravan of the Swatantra Party leaders.

These very persons, along with their likes in some other political parties, are showering vituperation on the leadership of the country. In the past few weeks there has been nothing so notable as the ferocity of the non-combatants—some of them are demanding, from public platform and in parlour talks, a militant war-time leadership. Not being close students of history, they recall wrong parallels; and not being military experts, their strategy and tactics are a luminous fog. They talk of the Churchill spirit. But Churchill too is as vague to them as vagueness itself.
After the Gallipoli campaign, Churchill’s pet project, he was forced to retire to obscurity in World War I in favour of Lloyd George. Even in the Second World War he had to explain setbacks continuously for two years, stand military disasters, face no-confidence motions and embrace crisis after crisis. He had great allies in the US and USSR. He was fighting against the universally hated Nazis, and a nation united both in word and deed stood behind him like a rock.

Lloyd George, on the other hand, was essentially a man of peace but became a great war-time leader. Woodrow Wilson was another disciple of peace, but he too led his nation gallantly. Roosevelt, one of the greatest American Presidents by reason of his New Deal alone, rose to still greater heights by his war-time performance.

Nehru Spirit

I would like my friends to learn from these parallels and get a real understanding of history—to remember that we need something more adequate than the Churchill spirit and that we have in Jawaharlal Nehru the superb combination of a messenger of peace and an indomitable war leader, a leader who recognises the urgency of defence preparation and the necessity of economic foundation. He has a big place in history for his uncompromising war for freedom with British Imperialism and again for leading the nation out of hunger, poverty, illiteracy and disease to a new economic era of happiness, plenty, knowledge and health. But history will now record him as a great warrior against the expansionist and imperialist designs of the Attila of our times.

Let us have faith and confidence in ourselves and in our leadership and in our policy of non-alignment, and ultimate victory will be ours. As against the bravado of the few brilliants, the non-brilliants, who constitute the preponderant majority of this country, stand by their leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his policy of non-alignment.

(Mainstream, December 15, 1962)

The author, who later became a Union Minister, was a vocal Congress MP at the time of the Chinese aggression in 1962.

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