Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Irony of ironies.

Cliché of clichés! What to do? Jawaharlal Nehru wrote on p.333 of his An Autobiography (London, 1953) that he was “attracted to the idea of losing the house [the ancestral Anand Bhavan in Allahabad]. I felt that would bring me nearer to the peasants who were being dispossessed…”. This was the state of his mind after his father Motilal’s death on 6 February 1931. Jawaharlal had been active in the cause of the peasantry since 1920. He had walked with them under the scorching sun, listened patiently to their tales of exploitation and dispossession and even managed to lessen their misery to some extent owing to the moral pressure exerted on the Goverment and the landlords by the agrarian movement of which he had become a part. In fact, his first glimpse of the UP peasantry had, according to his own admission (ibid., page 52), filled him “with shame and sorrow, shame at my own easy-going and comfortable life and our own petty politics of the city which ignored the vast multitude of semi-naked sons and daughters of India, and sorrow at degradation and overwhelming poverty of India.” Nonetheless, after independence, the same Jawaharlal thought nothing of dispossessing the Indian peasantry for building his temples of modern India (mega dams and mammoth public sector undertakings). He did nothing to stop the ruthless and venal Indian State from appropriating all the national resources with impunity and in the process dispossessing the already impoverished masses. http://digbig.com/5bamam.