We managed to break the shackles of economic and political slavery. But mental and cultural slavery—that we have willingly adopted! That Gandhiji had done much to counter that slavishness is well-known. But, what is strange is that little was done in the post-independence period by Gandhiji’s chosen protégé—Nehru—to carry forward Gandhiji’s legacy. If anything the mental and cultural slavery increased—in no small measure to the examples set by Nehru himself, and the policies that flourished under him.

Gandhi had once told: “Jawahar wants Englishmen to go but Angreziat to stay. I want Angreziat to go but Englishmen to remain as our friends.”{DD/261} Knowing this, why Gandhi chose Nehru as prime minister is a mystery. Gandhi used to say that even though Nehru used to fight with him on many issues, ultimately he used to agree with him [Gandhi]. Little did Gandhi know that it was not because Nehru agreed with him, but because Nehru knew that to continue to differ from Gandhi might cost him his position— like it happened with Netaji Subhas—and his goal of becoming the prime minister. Gandhi had also said that after he would be no more, Nehru would speak his language. If Gandhi had watched from heaven, he would have known that Nehru had buried Gandhism along with his [Gandhi’s] death. Incidentally, this last thing was told by a Nehru loyalist, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, himself: “Jawaharlal has performed the last rites not only of Gandhi but of Gandhism as well.”

Nehru was reported to have said about himself: “Galbraith, I am the last Englishman to rule India! ” Nehru said this privately in his conversation with the American ambassador JK Galbraith. The remark is also mentioned in Fareed Zakaria’s book, ‘The Post-American World’ . We had such great swadeshi nationalists! Nehru had also remarked: “…in my likes and dislikes I was perhaps more an Englishman than Indian. I looked upon the world from an Englishman’s standpoint .” It was one thing to feel so, but quite another to be self-complementary or arrogant about it, unless you were not a proud, patriotic, rooted Indian.
In fact, when Nehru had returned to Allahabad from London after his studies, the then British Governor of UP had hoped that George (as Jawaharlal was known in the British Indian circles then) would be Lord Macaulay’s dream of a Brown Englishman come true. Nehru seemed to fit well with what Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, the ‘Pope’ of British–English education in India, had conceptualised in his Minute on Education on 2 February 1835:
“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.”

Effectively, what Macaulay advocated was creation of a new caste: an elite class of anglophiles—the ‘Brown Sahibs’. And, that’s what the Nehrus were. Motilal Nehru had once banned the use of any language other than English in his house, creating thereby difficulties for those in his large household who didn’t know English. Jawaharlal Nehru was the epitome of a Brown Sahib with a white interior—an uber-Macaulayite.

In his book ‘Jawaharlal Nehru, a Biography’ Sankar Ghose wrote: “Malcolm Muggeridge, after seeing Nehru shortly before his death, characterized him as ‘a man of echoes and mimicry, the last viceroy rather than the first leader of a liberated India ‘, and regretted that Nehru was much too British in his approach to have been able to bring about significant or radical changes in India.”

Remarked Nirad Chaudhuri in his ‘Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Part-II’: “Nehru was completely out of touch with the Indian life even of his time, except with the life of the self-segregating Anglicised set of upper India who lived in the so-called Civil Lines .” Chaudhuri said that Nehru had little understanding of the actual India life or culture or of Hinduism; and was a snob, contemptuous of those who spoke English with an Indian accent .

Wrote Brig. BN Sharma: “Nehru’s personality acquired a superficial Indianness and a love for English mores without developing a deep insight into the core of either culture or philosophy.”

NB Khare, the president of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, had said in 1950 that Jawaharlal Nehru was “English by education, Muslim by culture, and Hindu by an accident [of birth] .”

Colonial Statues, Names

Right in the heart of New Delhi, at India Gate, staring at all the passers- by—including the freedom fighters, the bureaucrats, the politicians, the ministers—stood the statue of King George V for two decades after 1947!

It was only when Bulganin and Khrushchev visited India in late 1955 that India changed the names Kingsway to Rajpath and Queensway to Janpath in New Delhi, lest the guests feel shocked at our slavishness! However, Khrushchev did not fail to notice the statue of King George V opposite India Gate when driving down Rajpath, and wondered why the relic still stood. But, it was only in 1968 that the statue was removed, and that too upon public outcry!

Colonial Clubs
Bengal Club in Kolkata did not allow Indians till a decade after Independence! Breach Candy Club in Mumbai continued with its sign “Dogs and Indians not allowed” well after Independence!! British openly insulted and humiliated Indians by having such signage in various clubs, train bogies, and other places. Yet, you have many shameless, ignorant Indians still behaving dog-like and praising and admiring the British rule. Khushwant Singh wrote that he was turned away from Madras Club because he was wearing sandals. In another context he wrote that their group was invited to Delhi Gymkhana for a cocktail only to check whether they were properly anglicised and fitted-in!

Colonial Ways
Wrote RNP Singh in ‘Nehru: A Troubled Legacy’: “Even after independence, Nehru’s mental make-up continued to remain as that of the British. He showed a surprise attachment to the old standards set by the [colonial] rulers. At informal dinners at the Prime Minister’s house, a liveried attendant stood behind each guest. After twelve years of independence, Harold Macmillan, during his brief visit to India had observed, ‘All the etiquette and ceremony were preserved according to the old style. The plates and china remained, with their arms and heraldic devices. The pictures of the viceroys were on the walls… All the pomp and circumstances were unchanged. We were also the chief guests at garden party; there also in the old style with the old viceroy’s guard in their splendid uniforms, the trumpeters, the Military Secretary and the ADCs (all in full military).’ During the same period, the American ambassador, JK Galbraith [1961–63], after a visit to Wellington in South India noted in his diary, ‘The Indian Army officers favour all British Army manners from dress, salute, drill and whisky to moustache. The Queen’s picture hangs prominently in the officers’ mess.’”

Western Mores
Wrote Durga Das: “…several ministers who used to squat on the floor and eat off brass plates or plantain leaves in their homes were now trying to ape Western ways. They contended that Nehru considered only Westernised people modern…”

Khushwant Singh mentions about an Indian High Commissioner in Canada, who was a member of ICS, and uncle of his wife, in his autobiography ‘Truth, Love and a Little Malice’, “…for the Maliks culture meant being well-dressed, knowing European table manners and having a familiarity with exotic drinks like Old Fashioned, Manhattan, …”

Like the ICS, the brown sahibs and people like the Nehrus, army was yet another bastion afflicted by the disease. Wrote Kuldip Nayar reporting on the position on the front during India-China war:
“I met young army officers sitting in another corner of the lounge. They were bitter and openly spoke of how every requirement of senior officers —soldiers had to carry commodes—were met at the last picket post even while the firing was going on. A captain admitted: ‘We are no longer fighters. We think of clubs or restaurants even in the trenches. We have gone too soft; we’re no good.’”

There was already a tribe of brown sahibs prior to independence—whose stellar representatives were Motilal-Jawaharlal Nehru— but with the departure of the whites, this tribe entrenched itself. Slavishly imitating the West, and adopting their mores was “forward-looking” and being “modern”
and “advanced”.

Without being jingoistic, one must adopt good things, even if foreign. But, there is a big difference between being rational, scientific, liberal, forward-looking, yet self-respecting; and being slavish show-offs and imitators. You can’t start rubbishing your history, language, religion, culture, music, eating habits, medicinal practices, and so on to appear modern. To imitate is a cheap way of appearing forward-looking.

You notice a sharp contrast between the Motilal-Jawaharlal-tribe and the Narsimha Rao-tribe? Motilal-Jawaharlal-tribe, that is, the Motilal Nehru dynasty, the imitators like Motilal Nehru, his son, the ICS tribe and the like, went to ridiculous extent to be more English than the Englishmen. They regarded knowing English and being anglicised as enough qualities for gaining positions and privileges, and they bent over backwards to please the English and westerners. They were afflicted by what can be termed as the “Coolie-complex” which resulted in their internalising an inferiority- complex, self-loathing, and a contempt for things Indian, particularly Hindu religion, culture and traditions; and made them ape the West.

On the other hand, the Rao-tribe , that is, the current young generation of information technologists, finance professionals, management consultants and the like, who have come up thanks to reversal of the Nehru Dynasty’s economic policies by Narsimha Rao, are confident professionals meeting all —English, Americans, Europeans, Australians, Canadians, Japanese, Chinese, Singaporeans—on equal terms, never considering it necessary to know Queen’s English (SMS English or Working English being sufficient), or to imitate their mores and habits, merely to look “like them”. In fact, if this Jeans generation gets to know of the Motilal-Jawaharlal-tribe and what they did, they would be aghast.


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