Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nehru was no friend of the Tibetan cause: excerpt

"Despite using ‘People’ for everything, the common man in China has no space; in Tibet things are worse, the voice of the ‘People’ has been suppressed for the past 60 years. In the recent times, this has resulted in 124 immolations and a latent bitterness against the Chinese People’s Government. The voice of the people has also been suppressed in India. I was shocked when I recently came across a telegram sent by the Prime Minister (and Foreign Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru to G Parthasarathi (GP), the Indian ambassador to China. This cable, sent on May 10, 1959, just months after a popular uprising in Lhasa, is part of the latest volume of the selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru (Volume 49). The telegram describes India’s ‘China Policy’ just after the Dalai Lama had crossed the Indian border in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh (then the Kameng Frontier Division of the North East Frontier Agency).

The cable clearly shows that the Indian Prime Minister did not realise the Indian common men’s strong sentiments for the Tibetan people soon after the Dalai Lama had been forced to leave his homeland to take refuge in India. Nehru believed that the People’s Government in Beijing could only do ‘good’ (even if, in a painful manner) to the Common Men in Tibet. Nehru tells GP that the Opposition was just making a noise and ‘saying hard things about China chiefly to embarrass our Government’. This is far from being correct. Only three years later, when China entered into India’s territory in NEFA and Ladakh, Nehru realised the cultural and strategic importance of Tibet and its people; but then it was too late.

In 1959 in India, ordinary folks had a genuine feeling for the cause of the Tibetans; but Nehru only saw “some kind of anti-China propaganda will be carried on by some Opposition parties and individuals, chiefly as an attack on our Government.” It is not worth commenting on the Indian Communist leader’s attitudes quoted by Nehru; SA Dange, the Founding Member of the Communist Party of India believed that it was the ‘masses’ which revolted against the ‘feudal landlords’ in Tibet; the Communist theory soon became void of truth as it was mostly common men and women of Tibet who followed the Dalai Lama in exile.

He asks “What do we want? What are we aiming at? I take it that we are sad, we are distressed at events in Tibet”, and again questions, “Why are we distressed? Presumably because, we feel that a certain people are being sat upon, are being oppressed.” Though stating that he does not agree with the Indian Communists, he affirms, “I have no doubt in my mind that it is difficult to draw the line in such cases between the top feudal elements and others. They all can be mixed together. And as a result, for the moment, the [Tibetans] are all uprooted.” He then makes this startling remark, “Where a society has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, it may have outlasted its utility”, adding “any kind of a forcible uprooting of that must necessarily be painful, whether it is a good society or a bad society.” He had decided that Tibet was not modern enough and ‘forcible uprooting’ was the only solution.

Then the Prime Minister tells GP that the Dalai Lama did ‘not fully appreciate the situation’ and ‘imagined that [India] can issue demands and bring pressure on the Chinese Government’, adding, “I am trying to explain to him that this does not fit in with the facts of life.” Other perception about ‘facts of life’ is not considered. Another extraordinary comment of Nehru is worth mentioning, he tells GP ‘the impression here that Mao Tse-Tung [Zedong] is a man of wisdom’. One wonders where this ‘here’ is. In the PMO? In Delhi? or Nehru’s mind only? The Great Leap Forward (which resulted in 40 or 50 million deaths) was then going on full swing in China. The man-made carnage was the consequence of the agricultural and industrial policies of this ‘man of wisdom’; it was one of the saddest chapters of China’s history.

The fact that India’s ruler was not ready to listen to the People has had so many tragic consequences."

No comments:

Post a Comment