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Here’s why Modi is right in asking why no one has adopted the surname ‘Nehru’

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Dr Sudhir Bisht
Dr Sudhir Bishthttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-first-lady-of-roli-petroleum
Former CEO, Adjunct Professor, author, independent columnist & life-long learner| Religious Beliefs- Vedant darshan, Bhagavad Gita| Economic beliefs: Capitalism with strong regulatory framework

PM Modi asked in Parliament recently why no one from Nehru Ji’s family took his surname- Nehru- even as they all seem so eager to claim is legacy.

My answer is simple. Nehru Ji’s legacy was not great and Gandhi surname had political dividends for Indira ji and her successors. That is why the Nehru lineage is called the Gandhis and not the Nehrus.

Is it that the legacy is questionable? Afterall Nehru Ji’s lasting legacy is mixed, at Best. He did nothing to encourage the private sector in India and pushed India into money guzzling, slow moving and economically unviable public sector monopolies.

Nehru ji also has the distinction of banning books in India and dismissing democratically elected governments.

In Nehru Ji’s regime as many as sixteen books were banned. The list includes books like Godse’s ‘My testimony’ and Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’

Nehru ji also has the dubious distinction of dismissing the popular and duly elected government of Kerala in July 1959, headed by EMS Namoodiripad.

Nehru ji, it is said, was not too keen on dismissing the EMS government but he was influenced by his daughter- Indira Gandhi- to dismiss the Communist government as the latter had wanted to carry out sweeping changes in the education policy and the land ownership rights of the people of Kerala.
These were state subjects and the state government had the right to enact laws in these two areas but Indira ji forced her father to dismiss the EMS government.

Nehru Ji’s handling of Indian defence sector was woeful and his reluctance in investing in Defence preparation was misguided by his ambition to be seen as the successor of Gandhi who was hailed as the apostle of peace.

However when China started creeping into Indian territory, in the Eastern sector, he ordered a frontal attack on the much stronger and larger Chinese forces. The 1962 India- China war was an abject failure of the political establishment under Nehru that forced an grossly under-armed and under-prepared Indian Army into a war.

If India was not completely routed by China it was thanks to the valour of the brave Indian soldiers. It is said that over one thousand, three hundred Indian brave hearts sacrificed their lives to defend mother India. The ill prepared Indian troops killed at least 733 Chinese soldiers. If China had not unilaterally ceased fire, the casualties on both sides could have been much higher

Nehru Ji’s own ascension to the throne was engineered by his Godfather Mahatma Gandhi ji, who ensured that Nehru was chosen as the PM and not Sardar Patel. The latter was an overwhelming favourite of 12 out of 15 Pradesh Working Committees but he opted out of the race to be the Congress President in 1946. As Congress Party had won most seats in the Central Assembly in 1946, it was a given that the Congress President would become the first PM is independent India.

This takes me back to the moot question of why Indira Gandhi chose to be called as Indira Gandhi and not Indira Nehru, even after she was estranged from her husband Feroze Gandhi. It is interesting to point out here that Feroze was a Ghandy by surname and not Gandhi. He was a Parsee and followed Zoroastrian religion.

Indira and Feroze led separate lives not many years after their two children were born.

Indira and Feroze never divorced and Indira’s children, Rajiv and Sanjay, chose to adopt the surname Gandhi, since their father’s surname was Gandhi. My point is that if Indira’s children adopted their father’s surname, why didn’t they adopt the father’s religion?

Congress leaders say that children in India adopt their fathers’ surname in line with the tradition of India. However as per our tradition, not by law, father’s religion is mostly adopted by the children. However Rajiv Ji’s son is tomtomed as ‘Janeu-dhari-Shaivite-brahman’ and not as a Parsee! Why this policy of convenience?

The answer is simple.

Indira ji chose the surname of her husband for her kids as the Gandhi brand was much more powerful and recognisable among the Indian electorate. However the husband’s religion was not politically advantageous for their political careers. So she gave her sons, her husband’s surname and her father’s religion. It was a choice driven by political compulsions.

Let me extend this further. The Congress party says that choosing the mother’s religion over father’s religion is a matter of choice for the offspring.

This is a very profound explanation.

But why did this custom of adoption mother’s religion not extend to adoption of Christianity by Rahul and Priyanka?

Their mother is a Christian and in keeping with the tradition set by their grandmother, they should have adopted Christianity as their religion!

That’s what the question asked by PM Modi is important and it needs a detailed response from the First family of Congress party

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Dr Sudhir Bisht
Dr Sudhir Bishthttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-first-lady-of-roli-petroleum
Former CEO, Adjunct Professor, author, independent columnist & life-long learner| Religious Beliefs- Vedant darshan, Bhagavad Gita| Economic beliefs: Capitalism with strong regulatory framework
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