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5 Times PM Modi Spread Outright Lies About Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru's contributions to the nation are well-documented. Here is documentation of Modi's contributions to the legacy of Nehru.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the morning of May 27 paid tribute to India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the occasion of his 55th death anniversary, Modi, whose party and supporters have perhaps used everything but the kitchen sink to malign Nehru, wrote:

“Tributes to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Ji on his death anniversary. We remember his contributions to our nation.”

Nehru’s contributions to the nation are more than well-documented. But maybe it’s time to look at Modi’s contributions to the legacy of Nehru, which more often than not, turn out to be spreading lies about him.

1) “Nehru did not meet Bhagat Singh.”

A little more than a year ago on May 9, 2018, Modi said in a Karnataka rally, “When Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Batukeshwar Dutt, Veer Savarkar, greats like them were jailed fighting for the country’s independence, did any Congress leader go to meet them? But the Congress leaders go and meet the corrupt who have been jailed. Congress is supporting those who are corrupt. Such things cannot be accepted.”

Also Read: ‘Why I am an Atheist’. Read Bhagat Singh’s Seminal Essay

That Modi’s statement was a blatant lie was pointed out by many historians, journalists and political commentators. Not only had Nehru met the revolutionaries in prison — on August 8, 1929 — but their lawyer was also a member of the Congress party.

2) “General Thimayya was insulted by PM Nehru.”

Again in Karnataka last year, Modi said, “Karnataka is synonymous with valour,” adding, “But, how did the Congress Govts treat Field Marshall Cariappa and General Thimayya? History is proof of that. In 1948 after defeating Pakistan, General Thimayya was insulted by PM Nehru and Defence Minister Krishna Menon.”

Well, that can’t be, because General Thimayya became the Army Chief in 1957. And VK Krishna Menon also became the Defence Minister in 1957.

Also Read: Looking At Nehru Read & Write In Prison

Yogendra Yadav, the founder of Swaraj Abhiyan, had then fact-checked Modi, saying: “No sir, Krishna Menon was Defence Minister from April 1957 to October 1962. General Thimayya was Army Chief from May 1957 to May 1961. Sir, can’t the PMO afford a fact-checker? It’s so embarrassing!”

Many others, both from the Congress party and otherwise, pointed out Modi’s blatant lie.

3) Media did not highlight the 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede to protect Nehru

“When Pandit Nehru had once visited the Kumbh Mela, a lack of planning and preparation led to a stampede. Thousands died. But to protect the government’s reputation, to make sure Nehru was not blamed, the media did not highlight this story,” said Modi earlier this month at Kaushambi.

The incident referred to in Modi’s speech is from February 3 1954, when a stampede broke out at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, the first ever held after Independence. Unlike Modi’s claim, however, nearly 800 people were trampled to death or drowned in the river — not thousands. The lies did not end there.

The Quint, fact-checking this statement, found that Nehru had reportedly spoken to the media after the incident and said that he was surveying the crowd from the balcony of a fort at around 9:45 am-10:15 am. The stampede is said to have occurred at 9:00 am. However, due to the crowd, Nehru couldn’t fathom that something was amiss when the tragedy occurred. The Quint found that the Nehru-led government was criticised for inadequate safety measures at the mela.

Also Read:Did Jawaharlal Nehru Ever Say “I am English by Education, Muslim by Culture and Hindu by Accident”?

In fact, after the stampede, Nehru even suggested that VIPs and politicians refrain from visiting the Kumbh Mela, and a committee headed by Justice Kamala Kant Varma was set up to initiate a probe into the matter and ensure better management in future melas.

4) “Nehru did not attend Sardar Patel’s funeral.”

In October 2013, when Modi was first campaigning for India’s prime-ministership, he had made a claim to a Hindi newspaper that Nehru did not attend Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s funeral in Mumbai in 1950. The contrary, of course, has been well-documented. Not only did Nehru attend the last rites, he had said in the Parliament: “[Patel] will be remembered as a great captain of our forces in the struggle for freedom and as one who gave us sound advice in times of trouble and in moments of victory, as a friend and a colleague on whom one could invariably rely, as a tower of strength which revived wavering hearts”.

There is a video of Patel’s funeral procession, in which Nehru can be seen riding in a open jeep, following the car that carried Patel’s mortal remains.

After much criticism, Modi was forced to tweet about the issue, something he has stopped doing now altogether. However, the claim Per a report in The Telegraph, Modi had tweeted to say that the paper, Divya Bhaskar, had clarified that the statement was “wrongly” attributed to him. However, Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated the claim immediately after, saying that there was “documentary proof” of Nehru not attending the funeral (there isn’t, see above video again), rendering Modi’s cop-out all but ineffective.

5) “Nehru did not care for farmers.”

In December last year, at an election rally in Jodhpur, Modi said, “Ye gulab ka phool laga karke ghumne wale log bageechon ka gyan tha, unko kheto ka koi gyan nahi tha, unko kisan ke pasine ka gyan nahi tha (Those who went around wearing roses, had knowledge of gardens; they possessed knowledge neither of farming nor the sweat of farmers).”

While Modi took no names, the ‘red rose’ reference to Nehru is something that every child in the country gets.

To say that Nehru did not care about India’s farmers, is ofcourse, a blatant lie.

The Telegraph reported that MS Swaminathan, the father of the Green Revolution in India had written: “Phase I (1947-64): This was the Jawaharlal Nehru era where the major emphasis was on the development of infrastructure for scientific agriculture.”

Jawaharlal nehru facts
MS Swaminathan (Photo: Facebook/Santanu Majumder)

In fact, in a 1952 Parliament speech, Nehru had said, “We certainly attach importance to industry, but in the present context, we attach far greater importance to agriculture and food and matters pertaining to agriculture. If our agricultural foundation is not strong then the industry we seek to build will not have a strong basis either.”

Propaganda and lies targeting Nehru have been a feature of the Bharatiya Janata Party government. In 2017, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya had used photos Nehru, his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit and her daughter Nayantara Sehgal to peddle the idea that Nehru was a philanderer. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra in a debate on Republic TV had attributed the quote “I am English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu merely by accident,” to Nehru despite it having been debunked several times in the past. And the right-wing ecosystem is full of more such bizarre conspiracy theories.

But it is obviously heartening to see that Narendra Modi, when not on campaign mode, can somehow acknowledge Nehru’s contributions to India.

Also Read:  Five Big Modilies That The PM Has Gotten Away With (Almost)

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