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As India awaits the results of 2024 Lok Sabha elections, read how Chacha Nehru expressed ‘relief’ over the killing of 400 Hindu peasants in Bihar

"And so when the news came that they have been stopped at last in one place and that 400 of them had died, I felt that the balance had been very slightly righted," Nehru had written.

With just a day away from the 2024 Lok Sabha election result, a contentious letter written by Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru expressing ‘relief’ over the killing of 400 Hindu peasants in 1946 has surfaced on social media.

The letter was written by Nehru to Padmaja Joshi, the daughter of freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu, on 5th November 1946.

While speaking in the context of resistance by Hindus in Nagarnausa (Bihar) against atrocities committed by Muslims in the Noakhali district (then Bengal, now Bangladesh), Nehru gleed over the fact that the police gunned down a group of 400 Hindu peasants.

He wrote, “My dear, A Why exactly I am writing to you just at this present moment, nearing mid- night, when I am tired out, I do not quite know. But suddenly after the excessive strain of the last two days I had a feeling of reaction and relaxation and I thought of you and wanted to write.

This evening I returned by air from Bhagalpur. On arrival I learnt that the military had fired on a peasant mob in the rural areas some miles from here, and about 400 had been killed. Normally such a thing would have horrified me. But would you believe it? I was greatly relieved to hear it! So we change with changing circumstances as layers of fresh experience and feeling cover up the past accumulation.

I have had horror enough during the past two days. Something incredible has happened here, or something that I would have refused to believe in, a few days ago. Hindu peasant mobs have behaved in a manner that is the extreme of brutality and inhumanity. How many have been done to death by them I do not yet know, but it must be a vast number.”

Screengrab of the letter by Nehru, sourced from Selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru Vol. I (Page 65)

To think that the simple, unsophisticated, rather likable Bihar peasant can go completely mad en masse upsets all my sense of values. For a few days they had it their own way, with few checks or hindrances. And so when the news came that they have been stopped at last in one place and that 400 of them had died, I felt that the balance had been very slightly righted.

I do not know how long I shall stay here-I have forgotten Delhi and all else for the moment. All I am concerned with is Bihar at present. As soon as I see light here I go back to Delhi, I am very tired and sleepy now. Love, Jawahar.”

The overt justification of Hindu killing

In November 1946, over 400 Hindu peasants in Bihar were killed in an indiscriminate Police firing. The peasants had been protesting against Muslim excesses in West Bengal’s Noakhali where according to documented evidence Hindus were massacred, thousands in number.

According to International media reports of that time, the Hindu pogrom which was covered as ‘Bihar Communal Riots’ claimed the lives of thousands of Hindu peasants, hundreds of whom were killed in Police firing. 

Without mentioning the Hindu pogrom in West Bengal’s Noakhali, Nehru claimed that Hindus had had an unabated run in Bihar to retaliate. In the letter, he further stressed that a right balance has been struck by giving go ahead for security forces to kill Hindus en masse. 

He said, “Do you propose to repeat the unfortunate happenings in Bengal by killing the Muslims in Bihar? Is this the way in which you are showing your culture and civilisation of which you are so proud? .. You should be ashamed of your acts of lawlessness. I urge upon you to cry a halt even now and restore peace.”

His earlier warnings for example one issued on 4th November underscores the allegations that the police firing on Hindu peasants was carried out at the behest of the Interim government which was led by Nehru himself. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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