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The Nehruvian woman’s burden

“Take up the White Man’s burden —

Send forth the best ye breed —

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness,

On fluttered folk and wild —

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half-devil and half-child”

Rudyard Kipling wrote this stanza as part of a larger poem titled ‘The White Man’s Burden’. Although born in Ireland himself, the celebrated 19th-century poet was an unabashed apologist for the British Empire. The context for the penning of these verses was the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria’s reign. In a nutshell, the poet here is exhorting the ‘white’ population of the British Isles to do their duty and civilize the ‘natives’ who inhabit the colonies of Britain by entering into the service of the Empire. ‘Half-devil and half-child’ is how our ancestors are described here. It is of course quite interesting to note that a self-confessed Nehruvian Macaulayputri, Ms Sagarika Ghose is even less charitable than Kipling himself in her description of our forefathers. Her tweet posted on the 8th of March from her verified Twitter account reads as follows :

The context for this tweet, in turn, was a question posed by one Mr Prasenjit Basu during the Question and Answer Session that followed Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on the same day. Mr Basu who is the author of a book titled ‘Asia Reborn’ asked Rahul Gandhi as to what he felt about the indisputable fact that India’s economy grew slower than the rest of the world when members of his family were in the saddle as Prime Ministers. Ms Ghose’s reaction betrays the contempt in which Nehruvians and Macaulayputras and putris look upon the hoi polloi so to speak!

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If one were to peruse her tweet, the following conclusions would emerge from it:

  • Had it not been for the civilizing influence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indians would have remained non-English speaking cow-urine guzzling cow dung traders-basically, unfit for any sort of intelligent occupation.
  • They would have also been too busy obsessing over mythology to pay any attention to any other discipline and therefore, Mr Basu would not have been able to go to Singapore in the first place.

To my mind, both (i) and (ii) are incorrect! Ancient as well as Medieval India’s achievements in the field of science including mathematics, metallurgy, medicine and physics are well known and would frankly be beyond the scope of this piece so let us leave it at that.

Furthermore, it is quite strange that Ms Ghose would say that had it not been for Nehru, Indians would not have been able to learn English. What about the good people of, let us say, the other countries of the Commonwealth where people do indeed speak English in spite of the fact that Nehruji was not around to teach them?

Regarding the second point, It is absolutely astounding that Ms Ghose is unaware of the exploits of Kanji Malam-the Gujarati sailor who was instrumental in helping Vasco Da Gama navigate his way around the Cape of Good Hope to reach India’s western Coast a full three hundred and ninety-two years before Nehru was even born. Alternatively, she could just read Sanjeev Sanyal’s ‘Ocean of Churn’ to find out more about the seafaring and peripatetic Indians who pre-dated both Nehru and Macaulay. Closer home, the legendary pioneering settler of the island of Sri Lanka, as narrated by the Buddhist chronicles, is also one Prince Vijaya who is said to have come from the region that is now a part of Odisha and West Bengal. Clearly, all of these fine gentlemen did not get Ms Ghose’s memo!

Ms Ghose has proven time and again that her editorial slant is too severe to take her seriously. She has always been a propagandist masquerading as a journalist. But to lay bare the biases and prejudices that she as a Macaulayputri must have internalized during the course of her formative years, in this manner, is shocking even for her.

As far as her self-image goes, she and other Nehruvians have this burden enjoined upon them to free fellow Indians from the chains of ignorance and rusticity that bind them. The burden has to be borne by them now since their intellectual ancestor, the redoubtable Panditji, is long gone.

The real question though is something that the young men and women of this country and especially those who are inter alia educating themselves at institutions like HCU and JNU ought to be asking themselves. Do they regard themselves and their parents and their forefathers who came before them as some sort of savages who have to be civilized as part and parcel of the Nehruvian civilizing mission or do they regard themselves as the legatees of a proud civilization that has stood the test of time?

Somewhere the Kanhaiyyas and the Rama Nagas of the world also need to understand that just because they are good Nehruvians and disparage the BJP and the RSS as fascists and what not, they would not be able to get an entry into the ‘Gymkhana Club’ of our liberal intelligentsia. All that they need to do is to peruse the ancestry of some of the ‘eminent intellectuals’ who were cheering them on in February 2016 when they were putting their lives and careers on the line for a decidedly fantastically nebulous notion of ‘Aazadi’. The following list is, of course, illustrative and not exhaustive and readers who feel up to it should obviously feel free to add more examples to this in the comments section:

Romila Thapar (Related to General PN Thapar-who served as COAS during the ill-fated India-China war of 1962), Ghose herself (Father Bhaskar Ghose-a retired senior IAS officer who was the Director General of Doordarshan in Rajeev Gandhi’s day), Ramachandra Guha (Father was the Director at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun and also sent his son to the elite Doon School), Nidhi Razdan (Father was MK Razdan the chief of Press Trust International-the news agency).

To my mind, the aforementioned students and hundreds of others at TISS, JNU, HCU and other such institutions are merely ‘useful idiots’ for the ‘Nehruvian’ Macaulayputras and Macaulayputris. The contempt that the latter hold the former in, has been inadvertently betrayed by the tweet described above.

One can say with certitude that no matter how loudly these students proclaim their Nehruvianism from the rooftops they would be unable to join the entrenched elite at their high table. Verily, they would not even get any crumbs from the high table. They would eventually have to go back to their one-room apartments in Mukherjee Nagar and Munirka where they will slog hard and long to pass an examination to get a government job for themselves while the entrenched elite will go back to Khan Market and their other gated enclaves in South Delhi. Some of those who slog thus would succeed while most of them won’t and would then be thrown into the workforce without a clue. And that is the real tragedy. However, these people do have another choice.

Instead of choosing a life of being useful idiots, they could totally learn more about the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and it’s various sister organisations that inter alia include the largest political party, trade union, farmers union and students’ body in the world. They can then legitimately take pride in their civilizational artefacts and claim their birthright as legatees of the most glorious civilization that the world has ever seen. It is indisputable that the RSS is indeed the institution that has propelled the son of a poor tea-seller to the premiership of the largest democracy in the world. There are many others that have made the transition to other leadership positions as these students would doubtless learn if they peruse the history of the Sangh. The choice for the young women and men of this country is stark and it is also binary in nature!

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