Jawaharlal Nehru was unfairly promoted by his father, Motilal Nehru; and in the true dynastic tradition, Nehru promoted Indira, who in turn, even more shamelessly promoted her progeny. When Motilal Nehru retired as the Congress president in 1929, he made sure by lobbying with Gandhi that his son, Jawaharlal, ascended the gaddi, over the heads of people much more senior and capable than him. Please check Blunder#1.

On how Nehru favoured his sister, please check Blunder#11. Wrote S. Nijalingappa in ‘My Life and Politics’ :
“Another such instance I remember was when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was president of India…I used to call on him whenever I was in Delhi…In his talks with me, as I believe with others too, he was very frank and open. One day, when I went to him he said, ‘Nijalingappa, today I put my foot down. Do you know why?’ He then continued, ‘Pandit Nehru comes to me and wants me to make his sister, Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, vice- president of India. I had to tell him, “You are the prime minister of India, your daughter is the president of Indian National Congress and you want your sister to be vice-president. What would people say? I cannot have it.” I put my foot down and sent him away.’ I think Nehru had promised his sister the post and when she could not get it, she was very angry with her brother. She complained to me about it when she came to my house for breakfast, and said that her brother did not keep his promise. I did not tell her what Dr S. Radhakrishnan had told me.”

Although Indira Gandhi had done little work for the Congress, she was made a member of the Congress Working Committee in 1955—entry directly from the top, rather than rising from the bottom. In 1957, Indira was made member of the powerful Central Election Committee.

Durga Das writes in his book{DD} that in 1957 in his weekly column in Hindustan Times he wrote Nehru was building up his daughter for succession. He says he had checked with Maulana Azad before writing the column, and Azad had said he too had independently reached the same conclusion. Even Govind Ballabh Pant had the same opinion. Later, when Nehru remonstrated with Durga Das on the column, to mollify Nehru, Durga Das assured him that what he had written would bring good publicity to Indira and would stand her in good stead—at which Nehru felt happy and smiled.

In 1958, Indira became a member of the Central Parliamentary Board— Nehru made a vacancy for her by himself resigning from the Board: a deft move! She was then made President of the Congress in 1959, to the astonishment of all, after an intense behind the scenes drama, managed through others by Nehru. Nehru had thus commented on her being made the President: “I am proud of Indira Gandhi as my daughter, my comrade and now as my leader. It is superfluous for me to say that I love her. I am proud of her integrity and truthfulness.”

Wrote Rajmohan Gandhi: “Suddenly, at this juncture, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal’s daughter, was named party president. Her talents were yet a secret, and she had no experience of party work. Several of Nehru’s colleagues were offended by the choice but said nothing. C.R. [Rajagopalachari] was outraged.”

Kuldip Nayar wrote: “This was where I first heard that Congress President V.N. Dhebar was resigning and Indira Gandhi was taking over. Pant had supported Nehru at Vinoba’s ashram but not at the CWC when Indira Gandhi was nominated as the party president. He was careful not to oppose Nehru’s daughter directly but argued that her frail health would come in the way of the extensive travels the Congress president was required to undertake. Raising his voice, Nehru told Pant that ‘she was healthier than both of us’ and could put in longer hours of work. The subsequent discussions, as I noted, were to fix the date on which she would assume charge. This was the first time that dynastic politics came to the fore, and the Congress since then has been following the practice of invariably having a member of Nehru family at the helm of affairs…Left to Nehru, he would have liked Indira to succeed him as prime minister, but too many Congress leaders, with a long stint of sacrifice and struggle for the country’s freedom, were still on the scene at the time.”

Nehru had also started developing Indira as a public figure. By making her the official host, Nehru gave her exposure to foreign dignitaries and guests. Nehru also sent her on various foreign assignments like India’s representative to the UNESCO’s Executive Board, and tour of foreign countries on Nehru’s behalf.

After the 1962-debacle, and his plunging popularity, Nehru used the Kamaraj Plan of 1963 to clear the way for Indira from the seniors. Morarji Desai, who had not objected then, later told Michael Brecher about the Kamaraj Plan: “It seemed to have been motivated not only to get rid of him [Morarji] but also to pave the way for Mrs Gandhi to the Prime ministership, just as Motilal [Nehru] had passed on the Congress presidency to him (Nehru).”

Acharya Kripalani believed that the evils in the country emanated from the top and that Nehru was the pace-setter in abusing patronage and power.

One may say that Nehru did not make Indira Gandhi the PM. But, he was working towards it. However, before he could fulfil his mission he passed away. Though he had done the ground work—given the necessary visibility to her. Lal Bahadur Shastri had himself told that “in Panditji’s mind is his daughter”. Writes Kuldip Nayar: “I ventured to ask Shastri one day: ‘Who do you think Nehru has in mind as his successor?’ ‘Unke dil main to unki saputri hai [In his heart is his daughter],’ said Shastri…Nijalingappa said he was pretty sure that Nehru had his daughter in mind as his successor. In his diary, he wrote on 15 July 1969 that Nehru ‘was always grooming her for the prime-ministership obviously and patently’.”

Wrote MO Mathai: “A couple of years ago Vijaya Lakshmi asked me, ‘Why did Bhai [Nehru] drop me completely during the last phase of his life?’ I did not wish to answer that question at the time, and managed to change the subject. I have already given in this chapter part of the reason. The other part is that Nehru did not want to build up a rival to his daughter who was much younger. More about this in the chapter on Indira!”

Democracy grafted on a nation with a strong feudal mindset is likely to degenerate into dynacracy, unless the leaders who matter consciously devote themselves to ensuring it does not happen, both by setting an example themselves and by putting in place appropriate systems. Nehrus did the reverse. The dynastic politics that Nehru started and thus sanctified, and what was even more shamelessly promoted by his daughter, has now vitiated and poisoned our whole democratic system. Following in the footsteps of Motilal, Jawaharlal and Indira, now most leaders promote their own dynasty in politics. We are now already in the era of blooming dynacracy! It has become all pervasive and has vitiated and poisoned our democratic system. The whole democratic process would soon get reduced to jockeying for power among select dynasties!

It’s not just Nehru’s heirs—we now have heirs in nearly every state. Abdullah & Sons and Mufti’s daughter in J&K; Mulayam Singh Yadav, Son & Family in UP; Badal & Sons in Punjab; Chautala & Sons, Hooda & Sons in Haryana; Lalu-Rabri & Sons in Bihar; Sharad Pawar & Daughter & Nephew, Thackery & Sons & Nephew in Maharashtra; YSR’s Family in Andhra; KCR & Family in Telangana; Karunanidhi & Sons in Tamil Nadu; and, of course, spouses and sons and daughters and relatives of many other politicians. Many constituencies are now private estates.

As per a study detailed in Patrick French’s book ‘India: A Portrait’, about 28.6% of the MPs in the Indian parliament are HMPs—Hereditary MPs. Even more revealing are the figures that while over two-thirds of the 66 MPs aged 40 years or less are HMPs, all the MPs below 30 are HMPs! Going by this trend, we would soon be back to where we were in the “good” old pre-independence period: ruled by hereditary rajas and maharajas and princes. Strangely, this trend was started by the one who vexed most eloquent against rajas, maharajas and the feudal setup in the pre-independence days—Jawaharlal Nehru.

Among the biggest crimes of the Nehru Dynasty is that they have taken the guilt and the shame out of dynastic politics, and have encouraged others to follow suit, through their example. However, India is a country whose culture and thinking has been so vitiated by the dynasts and their hangers- on and direct and indirect beneficiaries that even the indefensible—dynastic democracy—is defended. Dynacracy-tolerant “intellectuals” often question: Are the dynasts trying to get in undemocratically? No. Then, what is the problem. If one fights an election, gets elected, and becomes a political leader, what illegality or wrong is committed—everything is democratic
and above board.

Although obviously absurd, one is not surprised to hear such pleas. What is happening dynasty-wise, be it Nehru-Gandhi or DMK or Lalu or any of the scores of other dynasties, is so obviously wrong that it should neither attract any defence, nor any arguments to demolish that defence. However, the original Dynasty has been able to do such publicity over the decades through the compliant MSM, intellectuals and netas that the reverse has happened: questioning the dynastic succession has become questionable!

A prominent argument advanced goes like this. Dhirubhai Ambani’s sons are also businessmen. That is, businessmen’s wards generally become businessmen. Progeny of artists—singers, musicians, writers, and others— also become artists. Sons and daughters of Bollywood actors also become actors. Doctor’s wards also become doctors. Farmer’s son is often a farmer. Dynasty is everywhere. So why pick on only political dynasties? This superficial argument can fool only the gullible. Progeny of doctors, artists, actors, businessmen becoming also doctors, artists, actors, businessmen affect them only, not others. However, progeny of a neta/politician becoming a neta affects people at large. It is the requirement of a democracy to be representative and hence non-dynastic. Business houses or art houses or professional establishments are not required to be representative.

In politics too, you once had hereditary rajas and maharajas and kings and queens. But the days of those retrograde systems are gone—now replaced by a democratic system. In a way, therefore, hereditary or dynastic succession is unconstitutional. Then, why bring it in from the backdoor. It is against the spirit of the Constitution. Dynastic succession is feudal, inappropriate, unjust, and harmful for the nation, whether it happens in the communist North Korea or the Islamic Saudi Arabia or in the democratic or dynacratic India.

To the pro-dynasty “Don’t they fight elections and win” argument, the question is: How do they win? A far more competent competitor would not even get the party-ticket. But for the dynasty scion, it is for the asking. They get on a platter the constituency nursed for years by their parents. And they have money to splurge to get elected. After getting elected, a high position within the party-organisation or the government is assured to them— something denied to the many much more competent but less-connected contenders. The whole thing is unjust, unfair and undemocratic.

The sophists question: “Are you saying that children of a politician should be denied a political career? Would that be democratic?” It is not that the progeny or relatives of a politician should be denied a political career. Only thing is that they should not be allowed to derive an unfair advantage. That is possible when things are enforced to be genuinely democratic, nepotism is rooted-out, and talent and ability take the front- seat. Is there any inner-party democracy in the political parties? What if the person from the so-called dynasty also has merit? Well, does he or she have more merit compared to the many with merit? If yes, fine. But, let there be a fair comparison, competition and debates.

Dynacracy (Dynastic Democracy) is bad not just because we resent some having unfair advantage, it is bad because it results in mediocrity, and it discounts merit. The quality of leadership emerging out of a dynastic process can never be really good. For proof, check for yourself the unutterable underachievements of the underwhelming leadership of the dynasts, at the state or at the Centre, and how it has become worse and worse down the generation: for example, the reverse geometric progression of woefully falling standards from Nehru down to Rahul Gandhi!

Don’t those who defend dynasties on the specious plea that “after all they get elected” realise that it is thanks to their running, or rather, running down the country for decades that India could do no better than rank among the poorest and the most corrupt countries in the world and remains in “dark” ages as a third-world country.

The principal hazards of dynasty politics are the following: (a)It discounts merit and prevents competent from rising. (b)It thwarts internal democracy in political parties. (c)Dynastic politics, nepotism, institutionalised corruption and non-accountability go together. (d)Dynastic politics is always at the expense of the nation. (e)It is the biggest menace. It’s the foundation of India’s misery.

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