India’s first prime minister never entertained any tolerance for the idea of Hindu Rashtra.


Over the last few days, Bajrang Dal has organised a military style training camp in Ayodhya, to which the Uttar Pradesh government has responded with typical tardiness, taking at least a week to lodge an FIR against the organisers.

This is not new thing for the right-wing group. What is new is the high quality video footage of the camp.

But why I am mentioning it on the 53rd death anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister and founder of modern India? The rare Indian statesman who stood for the values of a liberal and secular democracy throughout and is now being vilified for the same values he espoused.

The youth wielding lathis, guns, swords and other arms in RSS-affiliated camps and organisations simply love to hate the architect of modern India. The reference is important as Nehru was the second man after Mahatma Gandhi who identified Muslim as well as Hindu communalism as the biggest threats to the nation.

After Independence, Nehru declared that Muslim communalism has become a state in Pakistan so for India the real threat is Hindu communalism.

India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, died on May 27, 1964. 

He was strongly against such demonstrations by RSS and other Hindu groups. Throughout his life he crushed these elements and showed no tolerance for the idea of Hindu Rashtra.

In a letter dated December 7, 1947, addressed to chief ministers, Nehru wrote at length about the harm of such demonstrations and the fascist tendencies of RSS.

Nehru wrote, ”Reports have reached me of big demonstrations organised by the RSS in some provinces. Often these demonstrations have been held in spite of prohibitory orders like Section 144. Some provincial authorities have taken no action in this matter and apparently accepted this defiance of orders. I do not wish to interfere with your discretion in this matter. But I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this acquiescence in defiance is likely to have grave consequences.”

Can anyone expect such a strict line from a swayamsevak prime minister?

The latter part of this letter shows why right wing propaganda is ready to accept Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi,  Sardar Patel and Dr Rajendra Prasad and leftist leaders like Sardar Bhagat Singh but not a moderate and visionary Nehru, whose three generations went to jail during the freedom struggle.

Seven weeks before the killing of the father of the nation, Nehru wrote: “We have a great deal of evidence to show that RSS is an organisation which is in the nature of a private army and which is definitely proceeding on the strictest Nazi lines, even following the technique of organisation. It is not our desire to interfere with civil liberties.”

He added:  “But training in arms of large numbers with the obvious intention of using them is not something that can be encouraged. The fact that the RSS is definitely and deliberately against the present central and provincial governments need not be considered enough for any action to be taken against them and any legitimate propaganda might cer might certainly be allowed. But their activity more and more goes beyond these limits and it is desirable for provincial government to keep a watchful eye and to take such action as they may deem necessary.”

Nehru with Mahatma Gandhi.

The freedom fighter who served longest term, almost 10 years, in prison, wrote to check the communal hatred:  “Some provincial governments have taken action against periodicals for promoting hatred between communities. Probably the newspapers of RSS are more to blame in this matter than any other newspapers or periodicals outside Pakistan. It is amazing how they carry on this communal propaganda in its extremist form.”

Then the non-violent warrior who refused to meet Hitler and Mussolini, despite desperate and repeated invitations from the dictators, decoded the DNA of RSS, “I have some knowledge of the way the Nazi movement developed in Germany. Attracted by its superficial trappings and strict discipline, considerable numbers of lower middle class young men and women who are normally not too intelligent and for whom life appeared to offer little to attract them drifted towards the Nazi party because its policy and programme, such as they were, were simple, negative and did not require an active effort of mind. The Nazi party brought Germany to ruin and I have little doubt that if these tendencies are allowed to spread and increase in India, they would do enormous injury to India. No doubt India would survive. But she would be grievously wounded and would take a long time to recover.”

And those who wounded India are now running a propaganda campaign against Nehru and spreading hatred against him. They cannot even tolerate his name mentioned in books or praise by some honest civil servants.

After removing his name from school books in Rajasthan they are trying every bit defame him. Even Ajay Gangwar, the collector of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, was issued marching orders. His crime: He had posted comments favouring Nehru and criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Facebook.