Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nehrus and Gandhis, an Indian Dynasty-PII

Gandhiji and Nehruji
Part II
PartI link.

Gandhiji:  In the short prologue to the book, the author states that Mahatma Gandhi was “cunning and foxy”-to which I do not concur.

-The great man was a ruthless politician. He had a fixed notion as to how independence should be won and he would tolerate nothing that stood in the way of that. For Gandhi, right from the beginning, a negotiated settlement for British withdrawal was the only possible exit route. This meant a peaceful transition to independence”.These words made me feel that Gandhiji was the reincarnation of Chanakya or Machiavelli! 

-Gandhi was not so much a peasant as a fox. He was an extremely shrewd and intelligent political leader.

-Gandhi began to idealise the prehistory of Hinduism, in which it is impossible to disentangle facts from mythology.

- Gandhi increasingly appeared to be a mongrel offspring of Victorian liberalism and Indian mysticism.

-Gandhi became a decisive link between the old and new India, between the peasants and the colonial state, between Jawaharlal Nehru and India’s strongest capitalist class. He was the man who held the whole act together. It would have been impossible to find another like him. He took the village to the metropolis and in the process became the country’s leading power broker.

Gandhi vs Nehru-The confrontation between Gandhi and Nehru was in fact the confrontation between tradition and modernism. The difference of opinion between the two was sharp, but at the end Nehru always succumbed to the Great man.

-the difference between Nehru and Gandhi, these 2 giants of India’s Nationalist movement couldn’t have been greater. The first was a Kashmiri Brahmin who discarded every religious inhibition. The older man was a Gujerathi Bania (trading caste) who had toyed with doubt, but then re-embraced orthodoxy. Nehru, a product of Harrow and Cambridge, was tempered by his lengthy stays in numerous British prisons; Gandhiji  was a product largely of Hindu India, but had learnt politics thru his South African  experiences. Gandhiji regarded religion as a crucial to everyday existence. Nehru saw it as India’s deadliest enemy, containing the seeds of destruction.

-Unlike Gandhi, Nehru did not believe that men and women should exercise strict sexual self-discipline and he had publicly attacked Gandhi on these questions in sharp language.

-How Nehru cursed the caste system? Gandhi had denounced the absurd practices of the system and its taboos, but never challenged the caste division as a whole. Nehru frequently did, arguing that it was a distorted, degenerate reflection of Hinduisms prehistory.

'It’s dangerous to be too good' was the Great Bernard Shaw’s response on the news of Gandhiji’s assassination (This is not from the book-it’s my general knowledgeJ). Since Nehru’s emotional speech, with tears in his eyes, after the assassination of Gandhiji  is very much available in net, I don’t intend to requote it.

-With Gandhiji’s death, there was no one left whom Nehru regarded as superior, whose reprimands and advice he could accept. 

To be continued- Nehru and Kamala

No comments:

Post a Comment