I was nurtured by Pandit Nehru!
I have all the credibility to certify genuine leaders and Congressmen!
Just now I have read through a book titled, “The 100 best speeches of the pre-Independence India” edited by one D.C.Sharma(Rupa),2007.
The book was a comeback for me. I went through the momentous years from the day of the Queen Victoria’s Proclamation to Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech.
But the book made me sad and disturbed also!
Some of the historic speeches, by Mahatma Gandhi and others, by Lala Lajpat Rai, Tilak and even Jinnah and Ambedkar, Netaji Bose were made in certain desperate situations, there is tension and confusion and emotions and the stands they took, when the Indian National Congress witnessed some of the momentous crises and leaders had to salvage their conscience and also the loyalties to what they believed to be their deep convictions and commitments. Commitments to their own conscience, to their country and to their own future visions.
At some places, I felt like throwing away the book and retire to a corner and even felt like weeping for the great sacrifices these stalwarts made for the cause of India
I reflected back on my own years of evolution as a politically conscious young Indian in Independent India. I am deeply conscious and also moved by the fact that I had had some of the rare privileges in my life. I had the rare opportunities to come closer to great men, I had the unique privilege to stand and sit near Pandit Nehru and I say this with great emotion and humility, on my tender shoulders Panditji used to put his hands, many times I used to sit at his feet. All this happened when I was a student at Santiniketan where Panditji used to come regularly during the four years I was there,1955-1959.Panditji was the acharya(chancellor) of Visva-Bharati University. He was my idol, and ideal! I became a man and a Congressman and have remained so till this day!
Why I say all these things here? There are valid reasons.
Before that, a few more words on Panditji. I followed him everywhere whenever he set out to visit the places outside Santiniketan. When he came to London afterwards, when I was at Oxford, I used to follow him. He came to Oxford and addressed the student sat the famous Oxford Debating Union of which I was an ardent member and as such I thought I had almost already made it in life! Yes, it was an Oxford tradition of long ,for well over some two hundred years that whoever stood up and spoke at the Oxford Debating Union, he or she mad a sure future and secure fame! From William Gladstone to Benazir Bhutto ,the Oxford Debating Union participants became Prime Ministers!
You can imagine my heady Oxford days! I was determined that only politics and public service will do and no other area if mine!
Later back in India, since 1962 events took me to different levels and leaders, I worked at the AICC off and on, in 1967 I was asked to write the election pamphlets, I worked directly under Atulya Ghoash and Kamaraj and in Delhi I came into close contact with Indira Gandhi(I knew her from earlier times whenever she used to accompany her father to Santiniketan), Morarji Desai and many others like Gulzarilal Nanda, Chandra Shekhar and many others.
Till Kamaraj was alive I threw my lot with him.
I never went seeking office or perks for me. Even MLC election I fought on my own and won against formidable opposition. C.N.Annadurai’s candidate, soon after the DMK captured power was defeated by me! Kamaraj was overjoyed, it was the first victory soon after his own humiliation in the hands of the DMK’s unknown student!
Now, the point is this:
I often look back and say: the Indian National Congress is 123 years old. It had seen its ebbs and flows, great men left and came back. Gandhi was in control just for 25 years only, right?
So, looking to the future, I am not sure whether the party, nurtured with such idealism and sacrifice, would recapture its old fire or simply would become a marginal force?
I am worried. I write letters to Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister and the Presidents, high constitutional functionaries.
The trend today seems to be to be not interested in the big picture of India, the great cause of India! Only, their own narrow survivals! None of the high constitutional functionaries even reply to your letters! Why they are put at such high places with so much expenditure?
I used to talk to Congress leaders, both senior and the not so senior. I gather the feeling they are all feeling helpless and thoroughly confused!
There are palpable fears, so much cowardice and everyone who gets to Delhi get hooked there and they become willy-nilly captives or sycophants without any sense of shame.
Is this the India the Indian National Congress envisaged to build from the shackles of the Empire slavery?
There are so many inferiority complexes, near total insensitivity to values or beliefs. No one seems to stand by any sense of shame either.
See the performance of the ministers, including the Prime Minister. They are shameless, they are unconcerned to finer principles of behaviour, there is rude disregard to moral and constitutional requirements, and you hold office under a bunch of lies! You don’t face Parliament, you don’t give interviews, you don’t face the cameras and yet you want to be known as the Prime Minister, President etc!
What sort of democratic society we are all supposed to be building with no basic principles whatever being observed?
Sonia Gandhi was never elected properly as the Congress President, she is there for now 10 years and when the party would see the next election?
No internal democracy in the party, no state PCCs or DCCs!
As for any ideological thirst or quest, there seems none. The Congress party today stands for everybody who is welcome to surrender their principles and subscribe to personality cults! Indians within sixty years of Independence seem to have become dwarfs and back to the days when the National Congress was only a petition-submitting organisation. So, all the ideals, philosophies, slogans, fights and sacrifices went a waste?
Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom was observed recently. The 1931 Karachi Congress saw a fierce opposition to Gandhiji who had to get down 15 miles from Karachi station and go by other route secretly!
Where is the spirit of Bhagat Singh, patriotism, in the country today, I wondered!
Most of Sonia Gandhi close colleagues are, known party defectors and betrayers of the party in critical times!
So, when I look back and see around I feel like saying that I am perhaps the only Congressman and political activist who can certify others in the party! As to their pedigree and their character and stature!
History is a harsh judge! At all times! Pretenders always stand exposed. I would fight my battles and continue to do my work!
The country could be served in so many ways. All that is required your will and determination to expand your impact.
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