அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


[We are assured by our 'Reporter'— that he is but recording the sentiments of the distinguished personalities, referred to in this article, about, what he terms as FIVE DAYS' FURORE—the announcement and subsequent withdrawal of the intention to retire, by Pandit Nehru. We refuse to believe the reporter's version; but since he insists, that we should place it before our readers, and leave it to their judgement, we publish below an account of our Reporter's imaginary interview with

1. Jaya Prakash Narayan
2. Pandit Pant
3. Sheik Abdulla
4. President Eisenhower
Though imaginary, the 'report' seems to yield some very sound lessons; hence we place it before our readers]

Jaya Prakash Narayan
I am sorry, in the din and dust created, you have all forgotten the crux of the problem. All of you heave a sigh of relief— though most of you do not show any sign of happiness, at the latest statement of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The crisis has passed off!-you exclaim. The country is saved, announce the second-rankers! Pandit Nehru has been magnanimous, he has placed party above everything else, say the flatterers. But, none seems to have got at the crux of the problem.

Pandit Nehru, made a dramatic announcement at the party meeting—about his intention to retire for some time. Now the very phrase, 'retire for some time' is a contradiction in terms. One can speak about retirement; one can also think about a vacation, long or short. But this talk about 'retirement for some time' is a paradox. But because Pandit Nehru was the author of it, none could point out its absurdity. Anyhow, the announcement caused a shock and a sensation. There were frantic appeals, feverish consultations, and hysterical statements. For five days the storm raged. But Pandit Nehru himself came forward again, to announce that he, having been pressed by his intimate friends and colleagues, has determined to give up the idea of retirement, and would continue to shoulder the burden. It was on receiving this news, that most of you heaved a sigh of relief! You feel even happy. You certainly think that the crisis has been averted and the country saved. That may be true! 'May', as you know, implies 'may not' also! But apart from grammar, there is the other question—'have you found out the crux of the problem?'

Why is it, that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the unquestioned leader not only of the Congress, but also of the country, why should he, being at the pinnacle of glory, suddenly become despondent, and think about retirement at all?

You remember, that just some hours before this sensational announcement, Pandit Nehru was in the happiest of moods and told his countrymen that his tour in Kerala, was refreshing. There was at that time, no sign of the coming storm. None doubted that Pandit Nehru would hurl this statement—and yet, he did it—and why?

Was he tired? He refutes that insinuation.
Did he feel that he has become weak? He is furious at the very mention of the word, 'weak'. "I am not weak, Physically or mentally," says Pandit Nehru.

And yet he made the sensational announcement—that he intended to retire for some time. Why?

To understand the 'why' of it, I would request you to note, the history behind the problem. And when you note the history behind the problem, you would find the crux—it was my suggestion. It was my advice. I asked Pandit Nehru to retire - to step down. (not temporarily)—and allow others to carry on the administration, guiding them from outside. I made that suggestion, in all seriousness—with no spark of envy or disgust. I thought that the time has come for Pandit Nehru, to come down to the people! He has been on the ivory tower for too long a period! He has become stale, flat, feeble; I found him fumbling—faltering. He allowed flatterers to surround him! Self-seekers somehow got his smiles! He began to sneer at those who demanded loaves and liberty.

Hence I gave the suggestion that Pandit Nehru should retire.

You are offending the big man, said some—but I reiterated my suggestion, because I was all serious and sincere when I said it.

Eleven years of continuous power saps anybody's democratic ideal. That is especially so in a (politically) tropical country, as ours. So I thought, that Pandit himself would be only ready enough to welcome my suggestion.

Little did I imagine that Pandit Nehru would be offended by my suggestion. But the fact seems to be, that he was mighty well offended.

He thought perhaps that forced retirement is as irritating as dismissal.

He thought perhaps that when I made that suggestion, I was casting aspersion on his sincerity, sobriety, ability and character.

Somehow, he got offended.

He was awaiting a chain of reactions.

Pandit Nehru thought that his colleagues in the Cabinet and in the Congress, would be equally offended at my suggestion, and begin attacking me for my statement.

Perhaps, he thought that his colleagues would pounce upon me, hurling hot epithets of contempt and condemnation at me. But nothing of that sort took place.

There were of course mild protests, genuine doubts— and the like. But none found my suggestion either repelling or revolting.

Now, this kindled Pandit Nehru's anger.

How ungrateful these friends are! Here is this Jaya Prakash, demanding my retirement and this colleagues of mine allow his statement to go unchallenged. They seem to be not at all irritated or offended by this foolish, arrogant idea! Asking me to retire!! How false, are the smiles, that these friends shower upon me!—Perhaps Pandit Nehru began thinking is this strain. And in sheer disgust, he ought to have made the dramatic announcement, about his retirement.

He ought to have thought, that at least this announcement should make his colleagues exhibit their loyalty to him.

But what actually happened was enough to create a shock, even for Pandit Nehru!

His announcement did not create any amount of dismay in the minds of his most intimate colleagues as Pandit Pant, V.K.Krishna Menon, Morarji Desai and the like.

They received the announcement calmly! There was no protest! No request!

It was indeed a pity, that it was left to men like Mahaveer Tyagi, to rise up to request Pandit Nehru, to give up all ideas about retirement.

Decency demanded, and Pandit Nehru ought to have expected Pandit Govinda Vallaba Pant, rise up, with tears in his eyes, and appeal to Nehru to give up this talk about retirement. But the 'Lion of Kumaon' did not roar out disapproval.

At least, the Defence Minister ought to have risen to make an appeal!

But, no, these big men, said not a word, showed not their surprise or shock, or sorrow!

What Pandit Nehru would have expected at that meeting was, leader after leader rising up, to say, that they would beg of him on bended knees, not to retire.

"Panditji! If thou goest, all of us go out! Where are we, without your leadership? We are but pebbles polished by your deft hands! We but get light from the halo of your glory! If you retire, we are undone! Pray, stay on, and save us! But if due to any reason you decide to get away, pray, accept, our resignations first!"

Pandit Jawahar had a right to expect, some such dramatic speeches.

But, there was no such appeal!

There was a sort of silent approval.

But for the mewings and cooings from those in the 'second line', there was, no stir, no shock.
This was too much for Pandit Nehru.

He was all along thinking, that his announcement about retirement would be the signal, for, an onslaught on me, by his colleagues! For, did not the suggestion about retirement emanate from me?

Since, he found that those 'next to him' were not prepared to pounce upon me, he was driven to despair, and demanded their approval for his retirement.

Even this did not generate the sort of feeling which Pandit Nehru expected.

In fact, as if approving his suggestion, these leaders, began to prepare for the next stage, in all seriousness.

As soon as Pandit Nehru left the meeting, the 'leaders'— those of the Cabinet rank especially—met at the residence of Pandit Pant!

Note please, the time and place!

Note also the result, Pandit Pant was unanimously elected as the Deputy Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party—which in effect meant, an announcement to the country, that Pandit Pant, would be at the helm of affairs, if Pandit Nehru retires!

At least at this stage, Pandit Pant could have expressed his sorrow! He culd have stated, that it would be unthinkable to allow Pandit Nehru to retire.

Common courtesy ought to have taken possession of Pandit Pant. And he ought to have registered his protest. But nothing of that sort took place. Pant became the Deputy! That meant, they were all prepared to bid 'good-bye' to Pandit Nehru.

A new and a significant lesson was culled out, by Pandit Nehru, from this sordid story and that was this: most of his colleagues were but waiting for their chance!

This was enough to bring him back to the reality! And hence, five days after his dramatic announcement, Pandit Nehru, announced his determination to renounce his idea about retirement.

And, when Pandit Nehru chose to stay, Pandit Pant, came forward to welcome this decision. And when Pandit Pant spoke about the 'magnanimous' attitude of Pandit Nehru. I am constrained to say, that there is a tinge of sarcasm in it.

Anyhow, the storm is over now! But it is not without a lesson!

You would note also this significant fact.

When Pandit Nehru made his announcement he did not express any condemnation about those in the Congress; but when he made the other announcement about his determination to stay on, he was very bitter in his attack on Congress leaders.

He denounced the 'jobbery' 'selfishness' and the other evils to be found in the Congress camp—which is but another way of saying that he has chosen to remain at the helm of affairs, to put down with a stern hand the evils, discovered.

How he is going to achieve this, is another matter—and an entirely different problem! But, this much is to be welcomed; these five days have shown, the real nature of some of those who happen to be his colleagues.

Yes! Brutus was Caezar's best friend!—before the worst in him came out, in the shape of an assassin's knife.

Pandit Pant
Yes! Oh Yes! I am terribly happy! Did I say 'terribly'—forgive the slip! I meant, only, tremendously! We are happy! All of us are happy, elated, and thankful! He is to continue! He will be here to lead us! We can't afford to lose him, you know!

But, when he made his announcement in such a 'feeling' way, we had to bow to his wishes. That was why I allowed the others, to elect me as the Deputy Leader. They said very many nice things about me! Just to entice me!

"You are the strong man! You alone could shoulder the heavy-responsibility. As a Parliamentarian, you shine even more brightly than Pandit Nehru. Your experience in the field of administration is rish! Your position in the party is unassailable. And it is but natural that the mantle should fall on you. We swear loyalty to you, and we are confident that you would lead the country along victorious path!!"

These men have got a knack of pleasing the hearers.

Though I was at that time a bit stunned—for Pandit Nehru's statement caused a jolt, if not a shock—I had to bow before the unanimous decision—and assure my colleagues, about my willingness to shoulder the burden, however heavy.

But I am glad, that after studying the situation for five days, Pandit Nehru has thought it fit, to change his determination. You know him—dear Pandit Nehru—he is a man of moods! He was in a mood to retire, five days ago! But then another kind of mood got hold of him! He has announced his intention to stay!
I am glad, as all are bound to be glad!

I am sorry about only one aspect.

When Pandit Nehru made that dramatic announcement about a temporary retirement, he need not have betrayed his colleagues in such a callous manner. He could have stated something about the ability and capacity of his colleagues. Mr.V.K.Krishna Menon, is a dazzling personality—he is respected and welcomed internationally. Pandit Nehru could have said something nice about him—about his colleagues generally.

"Be not worried my countrymen! I propose to retire—for a short while—but on that account be not agitated.

"There are strong, able, experienced, and selfless men to carry on the work.

"You have Pandit Pant; you know of what mettle he is made of!

"You have Mr.Menon—who is hailed as my outer-ego!

"There is the new Finance Minister, Mr.Morarji Desai!

"These stalwarts would be at the helm of affairs. And you would not be the losers.

"I am a bit worried! I feel I am in a quandary! I am not in a position to think calmly. Hence I need some rest—and a temporary retirement alone could give me that rest. But all is not lost, when once I retire. Place your faith in, and follow faithfully, Pandit Pant and his able colleagues!"

If only Pandit Nehru had the courtesy to speak in such a manner, many of us would have been gratified.
I think that we, after so much of devoted, and loyal service, deserve this much, from Pandit Nehru.

But, he did not have an iota of gratitude.

He talked about his retirement, and even said, that there would be difficulties arising out of it—which meant that he considers everyone of us in the Cabinet, to be hut dummies, devoid of any independent thought and action.

Is it for getting such an unfair and uncharitable treament from his hands, that we have been rendering such loyal service under his leadership?

I was of course much pained at this attitude. But what is to be done?

Democracy insists upon the formation of many lines of leaders. But, Pandit Nehru refuses to recognize even his 'equals'—you know we are his equals, in age, ability, patriotic service and the like. Some of us are not in the lime-light! But because of that, Pandit Nehru need not have insulted us.

Anyhow, these are but, passing thoughts.

We are happy that, what appeared to be a sort of storm has passed away, and we are again in the same place.

Personally, I am happy, that it took but five days, for Pandit Nehru, to realise the futility of entertaining such thoughts as retirement!

Why not, some ask—and they show instances from Britain.

If Churchill could point out an Eden, and circumstance could bring forth a Macmillan to the front, why not we place Pandit Pant in power and allow Pandit Nehru to enjoy retirement—some people ask.

I am told that they are students of politics and devotees of democracy. They forget, that we here are still in the grips of the age of hero-worship. Hence it is, that we think that only a particular leader could deliver the goods. That's not democracy. All those who are striving for the success of democracy, should note this fact and educate the people.

I can't possibly do that—it won't be nice you know—people are apt to misunderstand my motive. So it is the duty of those interested in democracy, to tell the people, that they should not place their entire affection and confidence in a single leader however eminent he happens to be. Such an attitude thwarts the growth of the democratic ideal! Democracy is a system—not a diadem to adorn any particular individual!

When democracy is allowed to decay, naturally, it leads to distatorship.

Think, calmly now—now that the crisis is over, anybody can afford to think calmly— what would Pandit Nehru himself, be forced to think. He is a good democrat—we all know that. But even such a democrat, when he finds, such an uproar in the country at the mere mention of his intention to retire for a temporary period—would be naturally led to think that he and he alone could carry on the administration. And what is this, but a temptation to defy democracy, and order the equipment necessary for dictatorship. I do not for a moment suggest that Pandit Nehru would do anything of that sort. He knows that his colleagues would not allow him to tread such dangerous path. But the temptation is still there.

Good and honest democrats should place the above mentioned facts.

We can't do that, for, we are apt to be misunderstood.

Well, that apart, I am happy the situation has become normal.

But I would be failing in my duty if I do not thank those of my colleagues, who on being told of Pandit Nehru's intention to retire, had the kindness to elect me as their leader! Forgive me for the slip again—I ought to have stated 'Deputy Leader!' I am thankful to them, though there is now no need for such an arrangement.

I would have been honoured and happy, had Pandit Nehru himself, mentioned about the desirability of electing me as the Deputy! Perhaps, Pandit Nehru was suffering from sentimental agony and hence did not think it necessary to speak about that arrangement. In such matters, it was Mahatma Gandhi, who was an expert. Did not Mahatma announce to the nation, that Pandit Nehru, was to be his political 'heir'.
But I forget that such a nobility is to be found only in Mahatmas.

Another friendly advice, to Pandit Nehru, my leader!

He should not make a fuss about such matters.

Why should he for instance, create an unnecessary stir and sensation—some term it as a shock even—when after five days, everything is to evaporate into thin air.

He did this once before—I remember he called it 'shock treatment' — I am sure about the shock—but not about the treatment! For, if it had been really a treatment, Pandit Nehru would not be talking now about the disease in the body politic.

If another time, Pandit Nehru applies the very same method, well, the people would be merely amused and the bolder amongst them would term it as an antic. Well, Pandit Nehru should not be experimenting with such methods, for no purpose practically.

Five days of calm and cool thinking, I am sure, would have brought such and richer lessons to Pandit Nehru and to that extent, this 'furore' has been effective and also fruitful!

Sheik Abdulla
Not at all, my friend! Not at all! Pandit Nehru was not at all interested in administering a shock treatment to the Congress Party. His was a calculated smoke-screen. He was but perpetrating a heinous crime. He wanted to, and has succeeded to some extent at any rate, in diverting the attention of the democratic world, from the problem directly arising from out of my re-arrest! You do not undersand the tacties. I know- I know! For, did not I have the honour of working along with Pandit Nehru for a long number of years?

You know, they let me out, due to international pressure.

At every Conference, attended by Nehru's men, there were sneers, condemnations about my arrest. Hence they let me out! But Bakshi found his position totterring. So he begged those at Delhi, to put me again in jail! So I am inside the prison once again. The whole world is shocked. They are beginning to ask why Nehru is becoming a dictator. Unable to answer them all, and afraid to face them, Pandit Nehru, wanted to divert their attention. Hence he trotted out this 'stunt' about retirement! He knew, when he made that announcement that all eyes would be turned on him. All attention would be diverted. In fact for five days, there was feverish talk about the pros and cons of this sham retirement. Whoever heard about a leader asking his partymen to allow him to retire!

Pandit Nehru knew that he would not be allowed to retire. Hence his announcement. But he has succeeded in cooling down the temper. Instead of discussing about me, people began to talk about this retirement question. To that extent, he did succeed in diverting the attention. United States of America and Britain, Japan and China and even Russia, naturally, began talking about this retirement problem and to that extent the problem connected with my arrest was pushed to the background.

But, not for all time to come.

I am glad, it is all over now.

Now, the peoples of various countries along with their leaders, are bound to think and talk about my arrest.

Many are the explanations given about Pandit Nehru's announcement about retirement, but the one and only real motive behind that move, is to divert the attention of the leaders of various countries. But, the move cannot last for a long time. It is now over, and once again, I am demanding the attention of the world!

America cannot afford to keep quiet, when India, wherein, we have sunk so much, is to be thrown into the hands of leaders, about whom we know next to nothing. We have in Pandit Nehru a firm ally! He has had the benefit of witnessing the pomp and pageantry in U.S.A. Applauded by our audiences, welcomed by our cities, Pandit Nehru, has got with him rich memories. And he happens to be the strong man in Asia so far as stemming the tide of Communism is concerned. It is because of our implicit confidence in him, that we have sunk a colossal amount in India.

Now, after having had 'dollars' to his heart's content, how dare he announce—even for the sake of a shake-up in his party—his intention to retire.

Should he not remember, that he owes such a lot to America, and he should remain on the saddle, till he is in a position to repay the huge loan contracted. To attempt to run away at this stage is nothing short of a betrayal.

I have hence to remind Pandit Nehru about his obligations; and my note, a bit sharp of course, has had the intended effects; Pandit Nehru has withdrawn his threat, and has agreed to carry on the administration again.

He is at liberty to give any explanation he likes, but the fact remains, we have succeeded in pinning him up in the seat of power, for a further period.

And by that, the United States of America has thwarted the secret design of Soviet Russia. Nehru is to be at the helm of affairs, and we are to be stationed there as bankers, financiers, industrialists, experts, and educationists, for a long number of years—which period we are sure to utilise for scorching Socialistic trends and Communistic influences in Asia. I am glad to announce to the American public, that I have not failed in mu duty, to the American public. Your dollars are safe—they are not wasted. We have Mr.Nehru there—our ally—who knows how to be grateful to the benefactors.