Dr. Susmit Kumar, Ph.D.

The present economic superpowers, apart from the US, China, Japan and Germany, have not become strong by following the US economic policies. Instead, they came up with their own economic policies to get to the economic superpower level. After passing the bachelor examination, without hard labor/study, dedication and good planning for a significant period one cannot get selected in the India Administrative Service (IAS). Similarly a country needs the same to become a superpower. Till now situation in India has been like a student who is just scrapping through the college examinations. India is in urgent need of a leader like Deng Xiaoping who can come up with a plan to take the country to its proper place, i.e. a superpower level in the world.

Mao Zedong was a great guerrilla leader. He was able to lead the Communists to power in China in 1949. But he was a horrible ruler and administrator leading China from disaster to disaster, such as the Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution. In 1957, Mao launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward aimed at rapidly transforming China's economy from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. According to Mao, the US was the superpower because it was producing the largest amount of steel. Hence, he asked that all the Chinese, both rural and urban, should produce steel. Rather than planting crops, uneducated farmers were producing steel on home furnace. The steel produced was low quality and mostly useless. The Great Leap Forward drastically reduced the grain production and led to a decline in the production of most goods except substandard pig iron and steel. This campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the death of more than 15 million people. Due to this fiasco, Mao started to lose his hold on the party and the government as criticism of The Great Leap Forward grew among the Chinese intelligentsia. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove “counter-revolutionary" elements of Chinese society. The revolution lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle and widespread destruction of cultural artifacts. It was only after Mao’s death in 1976 that China found a great administrator in Deng Xiaoping who charted the course which has led to the emergence of the China that we see today.

Narendra Modi is considered as only the third leader, apart from Nehru and Indira Gandhi, who has had a mass following in India. In my opinion, he is the best Prime Minister India ever had. He is far-far better than Nehru and Indira Gandhi because the latter two did not have administrative qualities and they did a lot of damage to Indian political system and also to the country. Some of the misdeeds of Nehru and Indira Gandhi are discussed below in two sections.

Modi is a self-made man. He grew up in poverty. Unlike other politicians, who make money for their family members and their next several generations, he is an honest person. But he needs to know that India is not just Gujarat. When he took over the reins in Gujarat in 2001, Gujarat was already considered as one of the economically advanced states in India. During his more than twelve years as head in Gujarat, Modi took the state to next level. It was mainly his development achievements in Gujarat that led to the BJP, under his leadership, winning the majority in the 2014 General elections. Although his detractors blame him for the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, the UPA government, which ruled at central level for ten years (2004 to 2014), could not link him to the 2002 riots despite unleashing all its might, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), against him. The Supreme Court-appointed SIT gave him a clean chit in the post-Godhra Gulberg massacre case as it found no evidence against him.

If a senior officer like an IAS, is caught taking some bribe, he not only loses his job, but also ends up in jail. For an example, former Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Sajal Chakraborty was awarded five years' imprisonment in 2017 in a multi-million Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) scam, popularly known as fodder scam, on a two decades old charge of taking just a laptop in bribe and doing nothing to prevent the scam. Indira Gandhi committed too many crimes against the nation and is not worth to be remembered as the prime minister. Laloo Yadav was also able to win three general elections in Bihar and ruled the state for 15 years. Similar was the story with Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. 

Since independence, Nehru-Gandhi family ruled over India for nearly sixty years. Initially till Sardar Patel was alive, Nehru had limited control over the Congress Party and also of the government. But once Patel died in 1950, Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and finally Sonia Gandhi, who ruled by proxy, controlled the party and government, awarding only to their sycophants. They cut down people to size if any one tried to go against them. During their regimes, media and publishers did not dare to write anything critical of them and they also projected Nehru-Gandhi family in a way that they were the only ones, responsible for the independence and socio-economic growth in the country, belittling all others. We had a similar example in Bihar. During fifteen year rule of Laloo Yadav (and his wife) in Bihar, they introduced chapters in school texts, comparing Laloo Yadav as Lord Krishna, and the messiah of social justice (“Paean is mightier,” India Today website, Sanjay Kumar Jha, July 12, 2004). Similarly court historians, appointed by Nehru-Gandhi family, have corrupted the history of India which needs to be re-written.

In Indian politics there is no other leader, even in BJP, than Modi who has the zeal and capability to make India a superpower in both economic and military terms. The two terms of the UPA government, led by the Congress Party, gave India nothing except scams. It is said that during the two UPA terms (2004 to 2014), most of the top bureaucratic posts were sold to the highest bidders. On the other hand, Modi is appointing, at these posts, only people who can deliver.

A few years ago, my nephew went to Baroda, Gujarat, to work in a bank. He was surprised that nobody there put a lock on the door at night. He is born and brought up in Patna, Bihar where people not only put a lock on the door, but also use a thick steel chain in the iron gate, even during the day, so that if somebody would try to break into house, the thick steel chain would make a noise.  Hence there is no comparison between Gujarat and states like Bihar in terms of economic progress. In the majority of villages in Gujarat, several people are working in countries like the US and the UK.

The politicians and economists are giving too much importance to the GDP growth rate which is not an accurate measure for the economic growth rate in a country. As described in my two previous articles Productivity, Growth Rate, Trade Deficit and Jobs and Where are the Jobs?? - Please stop talking about $8 trillion GDP in 15 years, job growth is dismal during all three years of the Modi administration. For nearly two decades, the US has been witnessing similar job-less economic growth.  It is said – what you sow, you reap. As India is following the US economic policies, no wonder most of India’s job growth is coming from low-wage industries.

During his twelve years regime in Gujarat, Modi was instrumental in getting private investment to establish manufacturing units by providing them facilities like land, electricity and other resources, and creation of jobs was not an important factor. Hence Modi went for unrestricted privatization policy of the Niti Aayog, under its founding chief Arvind Panagariya and this has created havoc in the Indian economy since 2015. On the other hand, creation of quality jobs is the most important issue in states like the UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal. Therefore Modi needs to get out of his Gujarat-development mindset and give job creation top priority. Right now Indians are voting for Modi because he is the first prime minister who has been fighting corruption on large scale despite the fact that job growth is dismal; but after some time, Indians would turn against Modi unless he starts to create jobs. It will be very unfortunate for India if Modi fails to deliver.

 

Jawaharlal Nehru:

 

It is worth noting that during the independence movement, Nehru was not considered by his colleagues to have the leadership quality. Nehru was helped by Mahatma Gandhi to become a mass leader. In 1946, 15 Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC) were to choose the party president who would be eventually the first prime minister of independent India. Although before the election Mahatma Gandhi made it clear that Nehru should be the party president, not a single Pradesh Congress Committee, out of fifteen, nominated Nehru for the party president (Patel A Life, Rajmohan Gandhi, Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, Eleventh Print, Dec. 2014, pp. 370-1; India From Curzon to Nehru & After, Durga Das, The John Day Company, New York, 1970, pp. 229-30). At that time, J.B. Kriplani was responsible for collecting the nominations from the 15 PCCs. As per him, twelve PCCs proposed Sardar Patel and rest three proposed him and Pattabhi Sitaramayya, and none for Nehru (My Times An Autobiography, JB Kriplani, Rupa & Co., 2004, pp. 610-4). Then as per Gandhi’s wishes, Kriplani got signature of few Congress Working Committee members on a piece of paper to nominate Nehru although only the PCCs were authorized to nominate the president. Then Kriplani gave Patel a piece of paper with the latter’s withdrawal written on it. Kriplani showed this paper to Gandhi, who, despite his preference, gave Nehru an opportunity to stand down in the Patel’s favor. “No PCC has put forward your name,” Gandhi said to Nehru, “only the Working Committee has.” To this pregnant remark Nehru responded with “complete silence.” This was the confirmation of Gandhi’s remark about Nehru made earlier that he would not take second place. Then Gandhi asked Patel to sign the paper which Patel did at once. The incident, describing Gandhi giving an opportunity to stand down in the Patel's favor, is from a book on Sardar Patel by Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi (Rajmohan Gandhi, op cit, pp. 370-1). Subsequently the British Viceroy invited Nehru to form the government with him as the prime minister.

At that time, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the President of the Constituent Assembly, said, “Gandhi had once again sacrificed his trusted lieutenant for the sake of the ‘glamorous Nehru’ and feared that “Nehru would follow the British ways” (Durga Das, op cit, p 230). When Rajendra Prasad was using the phrase “once again” he indeed was referring to the denial of Presidentship of the Congress party to Patel in the years 1929 and 1937. Prasad was not the only person to complain about Gandhiji “sacrificing his trusted lieutenant for the sake of the glamorous Nehru.” There were many others as well (Rajmohan Gandhi, op cit, p 371).  It is worth noting that only after pushed by Motilal Nehru, Gandhi made Jawaharlal the Congress Party President in 1929 and again in 1930 (“Motilal pushed for son Jawahar as Congress chief in letter to Bapu,” Paul John, The Times of India News, November 14, 2014).

As per Rajmohan Gandhi, in his biography of Patel and in his later work, “The Good Boatman”, Gandhi regarded Nehru as his son (“Politics before Independence Why Gandhi preferred Nehru, not Patel,” V.N. Dutta, The Tribune, November 1, 2004, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011114/edit.htm#4) (author’s comment-) mainly because none of his four sons was up to the mark and also due to the fact that Jawaharlal’s father Motilal Nehru had helped Gandhi during his initial years in Congress Party after he arrived in India from South Africa.

The 15 Pradesh Congress Committees were proved to be correct in not nominating Nehru for the Congress Party President post in 1946 as he turned out to be a disaster for the country. His decision to take the Kashmir issue to the UN, despite his entire cabinet against it, has turned out to be a deadly cancer, both in terms of security and financial terms, for India. He was also responsible for the resounding defeat and loss of significant geographical area in the 1962 India-China War. For last couple of decades, India has been trying hard to become a permanent member of UN Security Council and also to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on nuclear weapons as a nuclear power. It is worth noting that the US was willing to give both to India in 1950s and early 1960s. Since 1949, the US and its Western allies did not allow the Mao’s Communist government in Mainland China after the overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government in 1949. According to Sashi Tharoor, a Congress Party’s Member of Parliament and former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Jawaharlal Nehru "declined a United States offer" to India to "take the permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council" around 1953 and suggested that it be given to China. In his book, "Nehru — The Invention of India,". Tharoor wrote that Indian diplomats who have seen files swear that Nehru declined the offer (“Nehru declined offer of permanent U.N. seat,” Mahesh Vijapurkar, The Hindu, January 9, 2004). According to M.K. Rasgotra, former Foreign Secretary, Nehru declined the US President John F Kennedy's offer of helping India detonate a nuclear device much before China did in 1964. If Nehru had accepted the offer, not only India would had tested the nuclear device first in Asia, before China, but it would have deterred China from launching its war of 1962 and even imparted a note of caution to [Pakistan's] Field Marshal Ayub Khan's plans for war in 1965 (“Nehru's refusal of Kennedy's offer of nuclear detonation kept India out of the NSG,” Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, The Economics Times, June 14, 2016).

India is fortunate that Patel died only in 1950, after completing the task of unification of India, otherwise Nehru would have balkanized India with 550 countries – there was no one other than Patel who could have unified India which we presently live in. Till Patel was alive, Nehru had limited control over both the government, in internal affairs (JB Kriplani, op cit, p 733), and the Congress Party. In 1950 Congress Party’s Presidential election, Purushottam Das Tandon, Patel’s candidate, defeated Acharya Kriplani, supported by Nehru. But after the death of Patel, Nehru forced Tandon to resign and became party’s president also.

After Patel’s death, Nehru forced every one to fall in line by carrot (by providing party tickets in elections and also positions in government) and stick. Due to not viewing Nehru in favorable light, Nehru was resentful to leaders like Patel and Dr Rajendra Prasad. Nehru asked the then President Dr Prasad, who had worked with Patel for several decades during the Indian independence movement, not to attend Sardar Patel’s funeral claiming that it would be a bad precedent for the Head of the Union attending the funeral of a minister. But Dr Prasad disregarded the instruction despite the Prime Minister’s advice was binding on him in this matter and attended Patel’s funeral in Bombay (Durga Das, op cit, p 305). When Dr Prasad died in Patna in 1963, Nehru did not attend his funeral and went Rajasthan on that day to collect money for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. He also asked Dr Radhakrishnan, then President, not to attend the funeral, but he attended it by telling him, “No, I think I must go and attend the funeral. That respect is due to him and must be paid. I think you should give up your tour and come with me.” But Nehru stuck to his program (Durga Das, op cit, p 339).

 

Indira Gandhi:

 

During early years of her prime minister ship, Indira Gandhi was at her best when she had left the policy formulation and day-to-day affairs of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to PN Haksar, her principal secretary. In 1969, the split in the Congress party established a watershed in the evolution of democracy in India. The Congress (R) as the party was commonly known under Indira Gandhi rule, became a one-person show instead of collective leadership and corruption shot up at the highest level. After the split, Mrs Gandhi went on to dethrone state chief ministers (by misusing the powers of the Central government) who went against her, replacing them with cronies.

But once Sanjay Gandhi took over the Prime Minister Office (PMO) after banishing Haksar, her regime was worse than Laloo Yadav’s regime in Bihar. At least, Laloo Yadav was taking bribes from people only after providing them illegally the state’s resources but Sanjay Gandhi was taking huge amount of money without providing anything in return. Indira Gandhi won elections in 1980 after the collapse of the Janata Party government, but just winning an election after her prior disastrous rule did not absolve her for her misdeeds. It is worth noting that even Laloo Yadav and his family members, won elections and ruled in Bihar not only continuously from 1990 to 2005, but also from 2015 to 2017.

 Sanjay Gandhi started the practice of collecting money by forcing party rulers at state level by assigning quotas for them. The huge amount of unaccountable cash was kept at the prime minister’s home (Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi, Katherine Frank, Houghton Miffin Company, 2002, p. 349). In the name of his small car company, Sanjay collected 37.5 million rupees by granting seventy-five dealerships on the promise of delivering the cars for retail sale within six months. He also obtained loans totaling 7.5 million rupees from the nationalized banks. After D.V. Taneja, head of a government bank objected to these loans, he was forced out (Katherine Frank, op cit, pp 351-2). Sanjay took the money but not a single car was produced. The fact is that Maruti never produced a car during Sanjay’s lifetime. According to Davendra Sen, the CBI chief, there was a lot of shady activity in the Maruti scheme and if the car did not appear, there would be major uproar (B.N. Tandon, PMO Diary-1: Prelude to the Emergency, Konark Publishers PVT LTD, Delhi, 2003, p 242 – B.N. Tandon, an IAS, was Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office). In 1975, when Hindustan Times published a number of articles criticizing Sanjay’s small car firm, its editor, B.G. Verghese was forced out by the owner, K.K. Birla, a prominent businessman (B.N. Tandon, op cit, pp 160-1).

Going against the norm of the process of electing the most senior justice, Mrs Gandhi requested the President of India in 1973 to name of A.N. Ray as the Chief Justice (of India, CJI), superseding the three judges, all of them being in the group of seven judges who had given the majority verdict on the famous Kesavananda Bharti case. This led to the immediate resignation of all the three superseded justices. Mohan Kumaramangalam, Minister of Steel and Mines and an ex-CPI member, was the driving force behind Indira Gandhi’s decision in 1973 to appoint Ray as the CJI superseding the three senior judges of the Supreme Court of India, J.M. Shelat, A.N Grover, and K.S. Hegde (Granville Austin, Working a Democratic Constitution - A History of the Indian Experience, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 182). The superseding of the three Supreme Court justices created a tremendous hue and cry. Even her Law Minister H.R. Gokhale was against the appointment of Ray (B.N. Tandon, op cit, pp. 246-47) and did not defend Ray’s appointment in the Parliament, instead Kumaramangalam defended his appointment in the parliament.

It was worth noting that Ray was the lone dissenter in the Supreme Court Bench, consisting of the eleven judges, which declared the Bank Nationalization Act, in 1969 as unconstitutional (“Bank Nationalization Act declared Unconstitutional by Supreme Court.- Legislation for Renationalization of Banks,” Keesing’s Record of World Events, vol. XVII (1970), May 1970, India, p. 23955, http://keesingsarchive.recordof-worldevents.com/23955n01ind/). The superseding of judges was viewed as an attack on the independence of the Judiciary. This was unprecedented in India’s legal history, and has been called the ‘blackest day in Indian democracy.’ It was marked by widespread protests by bar associations and legal groups across India. The protests continued for many months and on 3 May 1973 all legal groups in India observed a ‘Bar solidarity day’ and refrained from work (http://www.lexsite.com/services/network/scba/history.shtml). Even the Supreme Court Bar Association issued notice to Gokhale and Kumaramangalam asking why they should not be expelled (Seth Leila, On Balance: An Autobiography, New Delhi, Penguin Books, 2007, p. 207).

After becoming Chief Justice, A.N. Ray more than shared the government's economic viewpoint and developed a sycophantic attitude towards Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He made himself amenable to her influence by frequently telephoning her, and also asking her personal secretary's advice on simple matters, conveying the impression that Prime Minister's views might be heard concerning an ongoing court-case (Granville Austin, op cit, pp. 216-17).

When A.N. Ray retired, the Supreme Court Bar Association did not hold the customary farewell tea party. Even when Ray died at the age of 99 in 2011, his memorial service was held in unprecedented privacy, the first to be held behind closed doors, by the Supreme Court (Samanwaya Rautray, "Closed-door tribute to Emergency judge,” The Telegraph (India), January 31, 2011). In the history of the Supreme Court after the independence, there have been only two cases when the most senior judge was not appointed as CJI after the retirement of a CJI. The appointment of A.N. Ray, superseding three senior judges was the first in the history of Independent India. The second such incident occurred during the Emergency Rule, when Justice H.R. Khanna resigned upon finding that he had been overlooked in favor of Justice M.H. Beg to be appointed the CJI. It may be noted here that Khanna had given the lone dissenting verdict in the 1976 ADM Jabalpur case.

The Shah Commission, headed by Justice J.C. Shah, a former chief Justice of India, was a commission of inquiry appointed by the Government of India in 1977 to inquire into all the excesses committed in the Indian Emergency (1975-77). In its reports, the commission decided that the decision to impose Emergency was made by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi alone, without consulting her cabinet colleagues, and was not justified because there was no economic crisis and no crisis of law and order. The report was particularly scathing of Indira Gandhi, her son Sanjay Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, Bansi Lal, Kamal Nath and officers belonging to civil services who helped Sanjay Gandhi. The commission concluded that during the Emergency the provisions of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act and the Defence of India Rules were not followed but were abused in order to damage political opponents.

Navin Chawla, an IAS who was secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi during the Indian emergency (1975-77), took numerous illegal decisions while working on behalf of Sanjay Gandhi. Chawla ordered the torture of opposition party leaders who were illegally detained by the central government during the Emergency. He not only specified who should be arrested and jailed but also how they were to be treated in prison. His orders included the construction of [special] . . . cells with asbestos roofs to ‘bake’ certain prisoners (Shah Commission Report, III, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi, 1978, p. 246, referenced in Katherine Frank, op cit, p. 422). The Shah Commission commented in its final report that Navin Chawla was "unfit to hold any public office." Still the then ruling Congress Party went on to make Chawla the Chief Election Commissioner of India in 2009. The Chief Election Commissioner of India is the highest authority to conduct free and fair elections throughout India.

After forming a government again in 1980, Indira Gandhi got hold of all the Shah Commission reports, even from overseas, and destroyed them. Only one or two copies are known to be in existence today (Katherine Frank, op cit, p. 430). The Modi administration should reprint the Shah Commission reports and send them to all the libraries, including all the college and school libraries so that the people would know how a person in power was able to subvert the democracy to terrorize the entire country.

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