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Nehru : A Founding Father

Recently, the BJP's Prime Ministerial Candidate has made it a point to raise in every rally the UPA's supposed failure to give non-Gandhi family freedom fighters and politicians (with special focus on Sardar Vallabhai Patel) their hard-earned due. While it is in fact a thinly-veiled attempt to milk the Iron Man's popularity among Indian voters what catches my attention is the vitriolic attacks by the duo of Narendra Modi and Advani ji on Jawaharlal Nehru.
One of India's Founding Fathers : Mr Jawaharlal Nehru
My article today has been written with a specific intention to address both these politicians and all other detractors of Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. I would like to make it very clear - I am no supporter of the Congress but an Indian who does not believe in political double standards and has no hesitation in criticizing failures or appreciating achievements of any political leader. This shall be the first among more articles to come in where I shall be solely concentrating on Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, one of India's founding fathers.

Nehru's role in the pre-Independence years is mostly non-controversial and largely admired. Undeniably, Nehru was one of those leaders at the forefront of the Independence Movement, one who was doggedly dedicated to that purpose and had no inhibitions in entering prison if necessary. In fact, he happens to be one of the leaders who was most loyal to Mahatma Gandhi. Even when his own father Motilal Nehru quit the Congress and formed a separate party, Nehru refused to support him and chose to remain with Gandhiji. It was primarily due to his efforts that the Congress managed to pass a resolution calling for Purna Swaraj in 1929. 

Still, many people persist in the belief that it was Nehru's hunger for power that led to Partition. These people refuse to give any credible proof to substantiate their beliefs though history proves again that Partition had become inexorable after decades of the Divide and Rule policy followed by the British Government. I shall go on to illustrate the reasons why I believe that this line of reasoning is flawed.

Nehru was a champion of secularism and made it a point to ensure that Congress too stayed by his secular ideology. To prove this point one does not need to go further than the 1937 provincial elections in India where Congress (which was incidentally headed by Nehru at that time) swept 9 of 12 provinces while the Muslim League failed to form a government even in one provinces. Even among the 59 seats reserved for Muslims, the Congress won a remarkable 25 seats. The only reason that can be attributed for this the fairly good showing in Muslim-dominated areas is the secular tag.

This goes to prove that though the situation in India was particularly volatile when it came to religious sentiments (especially in light of the British Governments naked attempts at a Divide and Rule policy), religious unity persisted until the 1940s. What altered the political dynamics of that time is the imprisoning of the entire Congress top brass (including Nehru and Gandhi) in 1942 after the Quit India resolution and the resultant chaos in India during and after this movement. During this time the League's popularity grew by leaps and bounds, as will be exemplified now. 

 In the elections to the Central Legislative Assembly of 1945, a mere two years before independence, the  League clean swept all the 30 seats reserved for Muslims. In the provincial elections of 1946, the Muslim League won 425 out of 496 reserved seats and a whopping 89.2% of their vote share, on a policy of creating an independent state of Pakistan. If Partition was indeed so avoidable and lacked popular support, how can anyone elucidate as to why the League won such an overwhelming majority of the Muslim votes.

This all goes to prove that communal disharmony was at it's peak in the 1940s and Partition was indeed, ineluctable. During the time that the League gained power and Jinnah stirred up popular support for Pakistan, Nehru was imprisoned. India had a huge minority Muslim population back then and it is unrealistic of us to believe that we can have delayed Partition. Had we kept ignoring and suppressing the will of the millions demanding Partition, an Independent India would have been a farce. We would have definitely never reached the heights we have reached today and we might have even fallen into a civil-war like situation. So before we go about jumping to hastily-drawn conclusion about Nehru and his alleged role in fomenting Partition, let's all do our research properly for a look into the facts which proves otherwise.

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