1. The first snooper: So India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is also the alleged mastermind for India’s first #Snoopgate when it appears that the family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was spied upon for the whole of his term as PM.
Information was also exchanged with British intelligence about Netaji and it is clear that Nehru feared that Netaji was his rival and also may have known that Netaji did not die in a plane crash in 1945. This is an ongoing case and the results are eagerly awaited.
2. The first to suppress dissent: Nehru’s rivals like Sardar Vallabhai Patel and C Rajagopalachari were suppressed by Mahatma Gandhi before Independence. However after 1947 the attitude continued.
Nehru introduced the First Amendment curbing free speech and saw more than half of his Cabinet quit on him. He suppressed regional leaders at the State level too.
3. The first to lose land: After Independence Kashmir was in limbo land and Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw has gone on record saying that while Nehru dithered, it was only Patel who forced the situation for India to take control of Kashmir.
We failed to get the land that is now called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
4. The first to lose a war: You can defend Nehru for the above saying that in 1947-48 we had just won our Independence or that our defence forces were led by British or that the Mahatma went on a fast unto death to release Pakistani funds which would have been a great bargaining chip.
However 1962 was nothing but disaster. The Chinese first officially asked to buy Aksai Chin and when we refused they made moves to take it forcefully. Nehru ignored the plans and wore blinkers even when the Chinese invaded our territory.
Finally at that time the Indian Air Force was far superior to the Chinese Air Force and still Nehru refused to use it!
5. The first scams: It’s not that we have suddenly become corrupt today or after liberalization. Nehru’s Licence Raj festered corruption right from Day 1. Nehru and VK Krishna Menon were best friends.
Krishna Menon’s name came in the infamous Jeep Scam as early as 1948. Within a few years we had the LIC-Mundhra Scam where Nehru’s Finance Minister TT Krishnamachari had to resign.
Then came the Cycle Import Scam and they never really stopped but only the rate of unearthing them went higher in later years.
6. The first to launch a dynasty: Nehru made Indira Gandhi Congress President in 1959 and she was his right hand for all his political affairs. He indicated to his party men that he wanted her to succeed him and that finally happened in 1966.
We are still reeling from the after-effects of the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty in 2015. To make matters worse this inspired many more political dynasties.
7. The first economic disaster: Nehru heralded a Communist state and elitist License Raj. It was an economic disaster from Day 1 and we failed to even lessen let alone eradicate poverty.
We crashed in 1991 and luckily we had PV Narasimha Rao to turn that disaster into a masterstroke.
8. The first dictator: Lal Bahadur Shastri wasn’t a dictator and neither were Rao or Vajpayee. Nehru was the first dictatorial PM/CM of India and later many others like Indira, Rajiv and Sonia would emulate him.
9. The first to snatch credit: Bal Gangadhar Tilak kept the Independence movement alive till Mahatma Gandhi took over. In the 1940s, Netaji was the biggest fear of British India. We actually got our Independence due to the INA trials and subsequent Bombay Mutiny.
Even Netaji’s relative said on TV recently saying that Lord Mountbatten accepted in a meeting that the British were leaving India suddenly thanks to Netaji. However our history textbooks highlight only Gandhi and Nehru and present all other freedom fighters as pygmies under them.
Then 10th thing in this list could well be the first greatest cover-up. If Netaji didn’t die in 1945 and he did indeed die in Stalin’s Russia with the full knowledge of Nehru, then it turns our Independent history on its head.
Right now Nehru is still on a golden pedestal, but if the Netaji allegations that are floating around turn out to be right then Nehru would clearly emerge as Independent India’s first big villain!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here