When you give a pygmy power, he is sure to misuse it and turn into a dictator. That has been the misfortune of India. Pygmies of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty came one by one and ruled the country like dictators.
A look at four of them...
1. Jawaharlal Nehru: Had Nehru not become the Prime Minister and the cult of Nehru not been propagated, then it is possible that Nehru would not have even been counted among the top ten freedom fighters of India.
Mahatma Gandhi was the giant. He was briefly overshadowed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. In the unofficial vote for India's first PM, Sardar Vallabhai Patel came first and JB Kriplani second. Finally, only Chakravarti Rajagopalachari had the right economic vision for India.
Yet, Gandhi pushed Nehru and the rest is tragedy. Bose was chased out of the freedom struggle in 1939. Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 and Patel died in 1950. What that meant is that Nehru got a free reign to run the country thereon and he mismanaged it.
Nehru brutally supressed freedom of speech through the First Amendment. He was so dictatorial that six out of ten of the inaugural Cabinet quit in protest and they were later joined by Governor General Rajaji.
He ruined economic and foreign policy foundations. He bungled on Kashmir and got humiliated by China. But such was his hold that absolutely nobody had the guts to take him on. While practically every State government was Congress, exceptions like the ones in Kerala were summarily dismissed, which subsequently became a hallmark of the Congress.
In a Fascist regime “devotion to the supreme leader” is paramount and this was cultivated by Nehru to the hilt. He encouraged everyone to worship him. That survives to this present day. He made his daughter Indira Gandhi Congress President in 1959 and indicated that she should succeed him.
2. Indira Gandhi: She was the second pygmy to assume power. Lal Bahadur Shastri, K Kamaraj and Morarji Desai were miles ahead of her in Prime Ministerial ability. But Shastri died in 1966, Kamaraj chickened out and Desai failed to garner support from Congress leaders.
Indira was catapulted to the PM's chair and subsequently went on a path of paranoia and control. She crushed all opposition brutally. She split the party and even named the Grand Old Party as Congress (Indira).
“India is Indira. Indira is India,” was a catchy slogan that summed it all. She unleashed the Emergency and her son Sanjay Gandhi was the ultimate tyrant.
3. Rajiv Gandhi: Again, Rajiv was way behind PV Narasimha Rao, Pranab Mukherjee and VP Singh. Pranabda was expelled and the other two were mute spectators as a man with zero experience (as Minister, CM or even a government official) became the PM of India.
With 400+ seats in the Lok Sabha, Rajiv was drunk of power and ran the party with a powerful coterie. Nobody could stand up to him and dissent was crushed. He even tried to pass the infamous anti-defamation bill.
He bungled on the anti-Sikh riots and unleashed Operation Black Thunder on the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He goofed up on the Bhopal gas tragedy and the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka. His Bofors scam still remains the biggest negative brand for corruption.
But none dared oppose Rajiv. VP Singh finally had to quit the Congress and launch an operation from the outside to depose him in 1989.
4. Sonia Gandhi: Again a pygmy. Pranabda, Madhavrao Scindia and Rajesh Pilot were much more capable. But Pilot died in 2000, Scindia died in 2001 and Pranabda was totally neutralized.
She installed a puppet in the form of Manmohan Singh and pulled his strings from behind. Under her sycophancy reached new heights and her mainstream media management surpassed than of even the above mentioned three.
Despite being out of power and a non-entity in national politics, senior editors are still petrified of her.
Despite crashing her party to an abysmal 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, senior Congress leaders are still meek in front of her. Despite the total failure of her son Rahul Gandhi, she can still push him strongly as her successor.
The biggest irony of 2014 is the fact that the supreme worshipers of the above-mentioned dictatorial quartet are trying to present Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a Fascist dictator.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.