Knowledge is key to resistance. Must read this excerpt from Purushottam Agrawal’s piece in The Wire titled ‘Why Hindutva Ideologues, and Some Liberals, Love to Hate Nehru’
“Spreading hatred against Jawaharlal Nehru and pitying Gandhi for the “dreadful mistake” of choosing him as his political heir has been an integral part of the disinformation campaign by the cultural and economic Right in India, mainly the RSS and its affiliates. Given the RSS’s understanding of the Indian cultural experience, it is quite natural that Golwalkar in his Bunch of Thoughts sees Muslims and Christians as ‘internal threats’; and ridicules the Indian freedom struggle which Gandhi and Nehru led for ‘reducing itself merely to being anti-British’.
On the other hand, there has been a trend in western academia that insists on denying the devastating effects of colonialism, and locates the causes of all problems facing India in its own tradition and culture. In this project, the terrible man-made famines that accompanied colonialism are normalised as a natural calamity recurrent in Indian history; the deliberate de-industrialisation and de-urbanisation which took place is projected as an eternal characteristic of the Indian landscape and ruthless economic exploitation shown as some kind of ‘service charge’ for the civilising mission.
Belittling the leaders of the Indian freedom movement is necessary for both these projects. Gandhi, who has grown too big to be easily maligned, has to be projected as a politically harmless saint; even as a brand ambassador for the fantastical ‘Swachhta Abhiyan’. But his ‘protégé’ Nehru has to be portrayed as a power hungry hypocrite. Some writers love to negatively contrast the ‘compromising’ Nehru with the ‘revolutionary’ Subhash Bose; while others prefer pitting the ‘anglophile’ Nehru against the ‘authentically Indian’ Sardar Patel. Whatever be the ideological impetus – Hindutva, colonial, ultra left or even liberal – targeting Nehru has become something of a cottage industry for analysts trying to explain what has gone wrong in India.”