Brigadier (Retd.) BN Sharma narrates an episode in his book ‘India Betrayed’ which is upsetting : The author, then a young boy, lived in Shri Gandhi Ashram, Meerut, where his uncle was General Secretary. Nehru was to come to Meerut to deliver an election speech for Provincial Assembly Elections of 1937 at the Town Hall. Upon arrival he was angry at the arrangements. A man responsible for the arrangements bowed before Nehru with folded hands requesting him not to leave. However, in full public view of thousands crowding the place, Nehru kicked the man, already prostrate at his feet, and kept doing so. Everyone was shocked and dismayed. Kriplani then physically pulled Nehru away. To the young mind of the author, this left a deep mark. The author writes that Nehru was arrogant, and that he exulted in public display of anger. Nehru perhaps considered it a sign of royalty to be short-tempered and to show one’s temper, and anger and impatience publicly.

Sita Ram Goel described an episode when Nehru came to address a public meeting in the Gandhi Grounds adjacent to the Chandni Chowk in Delhi in 1935 (Goel was then a student of the seventh standard):
“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 [Nehru] was saying: ‘Dilli ki Congress ke karykarta kamine hain, razil hain, namaqul hain. Maine kitni 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 lowbred, 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).’…
“This was a new experience for me… 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.”

In a public meeting in 1942 after the failure of the Cripps Mission, in response to a commotion in the audience, Nehru shouted what could be heard over the mike, as described by Sitaram Goel, who had attended the meeting: “Dekhna chahta hun in kaminon ko main. Bata dena chahta hun inko ki main kown hun. Inki ye gandi harkaten main qatai bardasht nahin kar sakta (I want to have a look at these lowbred people. I want to tell them who I am. I cannot tolerate this dirty behaviour on their part)… Main ek shandar admi hun (I am a man of some stature)… 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.”

Sitaram Goel described another shocking episode:
“I happened to be in Delhi towards the end of 1947 or in early 1948, and went to see my journalist friend from America. As I have mentioned, he had left Calcutta for Delhi soon after India became free. As I sat down with him in the Coffee House, he said, ‘Sita, who does this man [Nehru] think he is? Almighty God? ’ I asked him, ‘Who? What has happened?’ He told me the story of some Sadhus who had sat down on an indefinite fast near Pandit Nehru’s residence in New Delhi, and were seeking an assurance from him that cow slaughter would be stopped now that the beef eating British had departed. My friend said, ‘I had gone there to take some pictures, and gather a report. American readers love such stories from India. But what I saw was a horror for me. As I was talking to one of the Sadhus who knew some English, this man [Nehru] rushed out of his house accompanied by his sister, Mrs. Pandit. Both of them were shouting something in Hindi. The poor Sadhus were taken by surprise, and stood up. This man slapped the Sadhu who had moved forward with folded hands. His sister [Vijayalaxmi Pandit] did the same. They were saying something which sounded pretty harsh. Then both of them turned back, and disappeared as fast as they had come. The Sadhus did not utter so much as a word in protest, not even after the duo had left. They had taken it all as if it was the normal thing.’ I observed, ‘But in the case of Pandit Nehru, it is the normal thing. He has been slapping and kicking people all his life.’ He [the American journalist] concluded, ‘I do not know the norm in your country. In my country, if the President so much as shouts on a citizen, he will have to go. We take it from no bastard, no matter how big he happens to be .’”

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