Beyond Corruption II – Degradation Begets Dysfunction
Column by Navaratna S. Rajaram -
The dysfunction of the state was facilitated by a systematic degradation of the values and institutions of the nation. This has encouraged the elite and the leaders to prosper by being stooges of alien interests. In their hands the Government has become an agent of plunder instead of providing services to the citizens.
Second concluding part
Corruption of education
First impressions are long lasting. What we learn as children stays with us through most of our lives. We may and do learn new skills as we grow older but the values and beliefs that we acquire as children shape our behavior and character for much of our lives. So it is important that education should teach the right values that guide the children into adulthood. Modern India has largely failed in this.
Nearly fifty years after Nehru’s death, the colonial, Nehruvian model of Indian history and culture continues to be taught in Indian schools. Documents in the National Archives are not available to scholars if the Nehru family members feel that they might contain any damaging information. But the Congress, joined by the Communists, went much further, especially when Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister. Just as Nehru sought control of the economy from its ‘commanding heights’ with his socialistic planning, he and his successors built a centralized educational establishment that would perpetuate his anti-Hindu, even anti-Indian view of Indian history and civilization by glorifying foreign invaders. This led to anti-Hindu forces dominating education for over fifty years.
The first minister of education was Maulana Azad believed to be a ‘nationalist’ Muslim and a close friend and open admirer of Nehru— at least in public. Azad was an indolent man and ineffective administrator, but with a strong commitment to exalting the glory of Islamic rule in India. (He also had a hand in sabotaging R.C. Majumdar’s multi-volume work on the Indian Freedom Movement, which at times was critical of the Congress.) So the official rewriting of Indian history had begun—with its whitewashing of the horrors of Islamic rule accompanied by the introduction of anti-Hindu propaganda—describing Hinduism as full of inequities and Islam as egalitarian. Nehru himself had set the tone with his glorification of vandals like Muhammad of Ghazni and Babar.
Under this program of de-Hinduization, vandals and terrorists like Ghazni, Babar and Aurangazeb were treated as bringers of civilization and equality, while such self-sacrificing fighters as Shivaji, Rana Pratap and others were described as reactionaries obstructing progress. Thanks to the official government support for such historical revisions, the influential National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) came to be dominated by scholars who pursued the Nehruvian agenda or were willing to pander to it. The same was true of another influential educational body— National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA). Independent minded historians and other scholars who were not prepared to toe this official line were removed or made ineffective.
A fateful event that played into the hands of these was the appointment of Nurul Hassan as education minister in the Indira Gandhi regime. He claimed to be a Marxist, but he pursued an anti-Hindu agenda like a Muslim Fundamentalist. (After the creation of Pakistan, many Muslim Fundamentalists overnight became Marxists, and kept attacking Hinduism for its ‘inequality’. The reverse of this happened when the Soviet Union collapsed— Communists, especially in Kerala turned in Christin leaders and missionaries. ) As a result, anti-Hinduism acquired a stranglehold on education. NIEPA is a particularly influential body that administers and oversees educational policy in India. NCERT controls textbooks and other materials that are used in schools and colleges in India. Both were now under the firm control of anti-Hindu forces.
Through his control of these two powerful bodies, Nurul Hassan became the education Czar in India. He extended patronage to the Marxist dominated Jawaharlal Nehru University and Muslim separatist Aligarh Muslim University. They were allowed to provide consultants and experts on all educational matters. As a result, these two academically undistinguished but politically resourceful universities have come to command money and influence out of all proportion to their merit.
A single example should suffice to give an idea of the effects of this feudal educational policy. For over 20 years, H.S. Khan headed the history and sociology division of the NCERT. He is known to hold the view that India became civilized only through the introduction of Islam. This incidentally is also the official Pakistani line. This was also the view of Nurul Hassan who was of course the patron of H.S. Khan. This is taking the Aryan invasion idea a giant step forward (or backward).
In 1986, on Khan’s initiative, textbook writers in all the states were directed to change the version of history to accord with the anti-Hindu model. Specific guidelines were issued to all the states instructing them not to glorify any period of history—meaning any Hindu period— as a Golden Age; the Gupta period therefore was not to be glorified despite its great achievements.
As a further step in de-Hinduisation and rehabilitation of tyrannical Muslim rulers, Hindu leaders like Shivaji, Chandrashekara Azad and Rana Pratap were not to be described as freedom fighters against alien rule, but treated as terrorists who opposed ‘civilized and civilizing’ rulers like Aurangazeb. As a result, the anti-Hindu agenda, which had been gaining strength since the early 1950s, accelerated dramatically under the feudal regime of Nurul Hassan, soon becoming established as the official line.
Over the succeeding years, this perversion of history and culture went from strength to strength as several ‘thinkers’ and so-called ‘public intellectuals’ like Amartya Sen, Praful Bidwai, Arundhati Roy and their ilk used it to gain notoriety and wealth, especially in the form of awards and positions in Western academic and intellectual circles. Christian outfits in particular lent many of them both platforms and money in their campaign of distorting Indian history and defaming her culture. These found willing supporters in Sonia Gandhi controlled Congress and its allies, notably the DMK. (The DMK ideology was shaped by missionary hatred of Hindu culture.) This prepared the ground for the venality and the banality that characterizes feudal court headed by Sonia Gandhi and her family.
India has had encounters with foreign nations and peoples going back time immemorial. For all their discontents, such interactions have produced cultural and intellectual enrichments. Even the brutal invasions of Muhammad of Ghazni produced the memorable work of Al Baruni, and the historical chronicle of Al-Utbi to be followed by others. The Moghul period produced its own distinctive works in painting, music and architecture.
For all their travails, European contacts during the colonial period also resulted in mutually beneficial exchanges in the arts, literature, sciences and political thought. India learnt archaeology and several other sciences while the study of Sanskrit by European scholars enriched linguistics. Even in music, Indians adopted the European violin, now an indispensible part of Karnatak music, while European artists like the Beatles equally readily adopted the sitar and Indian musical ideas. The only exception to this healthy and enriching exchange (except in monetary sense) has been during the four decades during which the Italian Sonia Gandhi has been influential in India.
Italy is a highly civilized country with an immensely rich culture. In fact, European culture is for all practical purposes Italian culture, for the European Renaissance was in essence the Italian Renaissance. In music, painting, opera and other arts Italy stands supreme. In the sciences also, the scientific revolution in Europe began with Galileo. Even the modern number system came to Europe via Europe: Leonardo of Pisa, better known as Fibonacci was the first European to employ the decimal place value system. And yet we see no hint of this in the Sonia Gandhi court which patronizes political hacks, mercenary adventurers and sycophants. Her privileged children show no sign of education or culture. Their friends are opportunists and scoundrels like Ottavio Quattrocchi.
This cultural barrenness extends to her political allies also, notably the DMK. The state of Tamil Nadu, like Italy, is unsurpassed in its contribution to the arts, especially classical music and dance. But borrowing heavily from Christian missionaries (like Bishop Caldwell) its leaders have denounced their own heritage as ‘Brahminical’ while embracing the vulgarities of films and film music. (The fact that some of its leaders including Sri Karunanidhi have an interest in the film industry could be a factor.)
This thread of philistinism in addition to political expediency could serve as common ground for these two culturally debased outfits.
Corrupted nationalism: legalized plunder
The ultimate in degradation is the corruption of nationalism itself with national interest subverted and the government turned into an agent of plunder. While the government has been dysfunctional when it comes to serving the people and the nation, it has sprung into action when called upon to serve the special interests of a favored few.
We should not forget that the first act of the Sonia Gandhi controlled Manmohan Singh Government was the rescue of her family friend and possible business partner Ottavio Quattrocchi,. Beginning with the release of his stolen funds in a London bank and ending with the deliberate sabotage of his case when he was detained in Argentina, the Manmohan Singh Government played an active role in this sordid saga. But this is only the beginning. It is curious that while Manmohan Singh has been the most passive of prime ministers, he is galvanized into action when the interests of Sonia Gandhi or her home country was involved. The public has been kept in the dark about the magnitude of the plunder of the Indian treasury to help the ailing economy of Europe, especially Italy.
Media has been hiding fact that despite owing everything to the generosity of Indians, Sonia Gandhi’s heart is firmly anchored in Europe, the continent of her birth. As a leading journalist (M.D. Nalpat) recently reported, almost every month, there are house guests from Europe in 10 Janpath, the mansion that has been set aside by successive governments in India to provide the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi a home. Now that Sonia’s two children are well into adulthood, the Manmohan Singh government has allocated two other bungalows for them, for daughter Priyanka and son Rahul to use as and when they deem it necessary.
The Nehru-Gandhi family today is practically a European feudal chiefdom. Relatives from the Kashmiri Brahmin side of the family (i.e. the actual Nehrus) hardly ever get invited to 10 Janpath, and don’t enjoy the exalted status as relatives. That privilege is almost exclusively reserved for relatives from Europe, especially Italy, the country of Sonia’s birth. Almost every month, either she or her children go to Europe. In India of course, the Income-tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation collectively ensure that the Gandhi family and their friends are not disturbed by negative reporting. The family has given its name to almost every major government scheme in India, not to mention to airports and even universities despite its negligible educational attainments.
How would Jawaharlal Nehru have reacted to all this? We have a pointer. When the last Maharaja of Holkar died, Nehru refused to allow his son to succeed to the largely ceremonial title because his mother was an American. Was this because Nehru was a xenophobic chauvinist as those questioning Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s fitness for constitutional office have been called? Ever since Mrs. Sonia Gandhi gained control of the government in 2004, corruption has indeed increased manifold. The degradation of Nehru’s India reached a new depth when the ‘distinguished economist’ Manmohan Singh used his position as prime minister to bailout Mrs. Gandhi’s partner, the Italian swindler Ottavio Quattrocchi.
Europe continues its plunder
A recent development during Manmohan Singh’s visit to the European Economic Council has all but escaped media attention. The Prime Minister announced that India would donate $12 billion to prop up the euro and the European economy. Greece and Spain are in deep trouble and indications are that Italy’s economy is next in line, so this gift from India. It is a well-known fact, though the Indian media has ignored it that ever since their assumption of office in 2004, there has been a systematic effort by the Sonia-led ruling coalition to ensure that policies get followed which severely degrade India’s ability to compete against European commercial entities in the global market.
This is being done in a variety of ways, beginning with impossibly high interest rates in India and extravagant social programs like NREGA that has fueled inflation, all going to make Indian exports expensive in world markets. This is on top of the $12 billion already gifted. Until this, Sonia Gandhi and her Italian friends had been making money through conventional corruption practices like kickbacks in the Bofors deal, etc, but now it has turned into daylight robbery with her hand-picked prime minister obligingly opening the Indian treasury to Europeans.
The Indian economy may be just two to three years away from bankruptcy, especially if present policies are allowed to continue unchecked. The decision of the Sonia-led ruling coalition to throw taxpayer money away is in line with other policies that favor Europe at the expense of India. And this is being done at a time when the fiscal deficit of this recklessly extravagant government is reaching crisis levels and Indian farmers are committing suicide in the thousands.
This being the case, how can anyone blame the British for causing the Bengal Famine during World War II by diverting food grains to the war effort? At least Churchill had the excuse that Britain was fighting for its survival, while Manmohan Singh needs only to keep Sonia happy.
No nationalism but colonialism by proxy
Its history, both before and after independence, shows that the Congress and its leaders suffer from a deep-seated lack of confidence in Indians and their Indian heritage. Their own inferiority complex has made them look for solutions abroad. As a result, instead of a national vision rooted in history and tradition, they import ideas and even people from outside to present them as saviors to the nation. This is the message of the Congress party’s sponsorship of the Khilafat, Verrier Elwin (a British missionary who advised Nehru on the Northeast), the Soviet model, and now Sonia Gandhi. When this also fails, where will the Congress go? Look for another import?
In the face of all this, one has to conclude that the Congress party and its followers have no conception of nationalism. They seem to think of the Indian nation as a colonial administration run by Indians rather than Europeans. But even this is now degraded as it has surrendered to a real European of little education or record of service to do a better job of it than they can. It is different story that she has gone on to make a mess of it. They are powerless to make a midcourse correction for they have no national moorings. They have become her willing slaves. The result is the worst government in 200 years—the most corrupt and the most incompetent.
Clearly, a great nation like India cannot build on borrowed foundations (and leadership) anymore than feed its teeming millions with imported McDonald hamburgers. What then is the answer to the state of degradation that has gone ‘beyond corruption’ to affect all parts of national life and national institutions? The answer is simple: there has to be a nationalist ideology that goes beyond personalities and hero worship. India’s ruling ideology is today and has been in the last sixty years, ‘colonialism by proxy’. And now at last its advocates have found a leader in Sonia Gandhi who has turned this proxy colonial rule into real European rule— even if from a part of Europe that is in steep decline.
As for her Indian followers without whom Sonia Gandhi and her foreign agents would never have succeeded— we can borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill and say: “Their names shall live in infamy.”