Tuesday, September 2, 2014

V.K.Krishna Menon-Part V

The Nehrus and the Gandhis- Part I: Part II: Part III: Part IV

(Thanks to Google for the picture) 

Nehru met him first at London. The veteran leftist was the founder of anti colonial India League and the inspirer of Pelican books.

-He had influenced many English people against colonialism, among them Edwina Mountbatten.

-Nehru and Menon had retained a close personal friendship.” The PM Nehru had to remove Menon from his defence ministership due to external pressures, but their friendship remained unchallenged.

-He had been virtually hero worshipped by Feroze Gandhi.

-Krishna Menon described the scene in the room where Nehru’s body was lying ready to be taken away for cremation thus-
“The moment his last breath was drawn, the issue arose. None of these people who professed loyalty to him, who came from his state, in whose interests he has sometimes disregarded people like me just to keep the pace, none of them had the decency to keep their mouth shut until he was cremated. Around his body........were these people, sitting around discussing the matter (the succession), not discussing seriously- I am using the word ‘discussing' as a euphemism. 

He was a veteran in Constitutional practice also and was against appointing Mr. G. Nanda by the President, after Nehru’s demise.
-“It was unconstitutional. That is the worst thing that would have been done. Even the president to exercise his emergency power would have been more constitutional, in my opinion. Or they should have called an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Party or the Party Executive and there would have been no objection.”

-The most important feature of this South Indian politician was his intellect, his outspokenness and his unshakeable honesty. Menon always kept aloof from petty squabbles, inner-party intrigues and the power struggles of the local and national party machines. He despised that side of politics. Nor did he suffer from an overpowering personal ambition.

-If he had so desired, he could have played the part of Brutus to Jawaharlal’s Caesar. There were people who would happily have handed him the knife, but he rudely rebuffed any such suggestions. He was, above all, a man of principle, and this was already becoming an extremely rare quality in Congress circles.

Indira was also very close to him, but that was not a reason for him to refrain from criticizing her when he felt that her policies were going wrong. He thundered at her in the Vietnam issue and she was forced to correct her stand. To weaken Indira, Congress leadership denied him a party seat!

Certain Congress leaders were more interested in designating a successor to  Indira, than winning the elections. Menon had warned them as follows–
-“The choice of a PM is never a vocal issue at election time in a Parliamentary democracy.”

I have read that the concept of Sainik schools was his, that he was rated as the 2nd most influential man of Indian politics by Time magazine, that he delivered 7-8 hours non-stop speech on Kashmir at UN etc. Yes, just like Feroze Gandhi, I too admire him, hero worship him and want to read more on him. He had very close association with Nehru and Indira, but never exploited it for selfish motives. Yes, he is the role model of a Politician, Constitution expert, a true friend and what not.

We had planned to visit the famous Janakikkadu eco tourism project, donated to the State by his sister Janaki, but it’s yet to take place.

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