Memories of May ’61

Pakistan is under attack from the Taliban and a collection of terror outfits working under different names. The bomb blasts and suicide missions have now been extended to defence establishments. Will Pakistan’s nuclear facilities be the next target?

The Pakistan government, the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) can no longer be mute spectators as the country hurtles towards an explosive situation. The venom secreted by state-sponsored terrorism will turn inward unless the terror units are liquidated. If anyone still had doubts about Pakistan’s terror links, consider this: Osama bin Laden was alone and isolated and with just 500 euros. Without the help of the state would anyone else have lived in better conditions?
In his testimony to a Chicago court, David Coleman Headley — who was arrested in the US in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks — has exposed the ISI’s links to the 26/11 attacks, saying that the ISI had lent support to terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) in carrying out the deadly attacks.
Despite such explosive disclosures, the public outrage is muted. Probably because we are looking at a failed state. But the continuous denial of the Pakistani media, particularly Urdu and television, is pathetic. The United States, whose drone attacks continue in Afghanistan, has much to think about.
I am amazed that the Western world speaks of human rights and democracy but gives sanctuary and financial assistance to dictators like Pervez Musharraf, the man responsible for an illegal war in Kargil, which resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides and derailed democracy in Pakistan.

WE DO not have a perfect government as no such thing actually exists. There can be no doubt that our system of governance is archaic and that we need major reform across the three wings of governance.
Also, there is no doubt at all that the voting public is a step ahead of the political leaders and this is evident in the results to five Assembly election. Dynastic politics, cash for votes, caste and religious affinities were all present but none could prevail over the wisdom of the electorate. Change comes through an alert and committed government or it comes when forced by circumstances.
Tamil Nadu is a classic example. We all know how the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) extended family cleverly used their position both with the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to exploit the system. But after a decade, retribution has come through the apex court.
No one accuses Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of graft but the fact is that he ignored the 2G scam for almost three years. The UPA’s “in-house” investigation and the “no revenue loss” theory had zero credibility and the government, which deserves credit on many fronts, has since been on the defensive. I do not believe that any other government would have done anything different. In fact, no political party can claim of being “not guilty” of corruption unless there is total transparency in political collections and accountability in expenditure.

THE MONTH of May always brings many memories. Sitting in my study with family photographs of four generations around me, I recall several events from the past that have little to do with politics. I remember, in 1961, when my sister Mira was getting married, all branches of the Nehru family came over to Lucknow and stayed together at the “shaddhi ghar”, with Iqbal Ahmed and his family — Dumpy Ahmed’s grandfather — for five days.
Many were surprised that five wings of the family could coexist for seven days in relative peace. Only mild tremors took place when Sanjay Gandhi, who was then 14 years old and an expert driver, took all of us — Rajiv and I were 16 — in an Army truck for a joyride! We were promptly “caught” on the Sitapur Highway and escorted back to the house. Without any hesitation, Sanjay took responsibility and apologised. But after this event there were no unescorted vehicles on the compound.
We had a “black box” in the house — as the telephone was referred to then. Every morning and late at night Panditji was briefed on family affairs by Indu puphi (Indira Gandhi) and Swarup bua (Vijaylakshmi Pandit). A favourite topic of discussion was the traditional menu for the day! The telephone lines in those days were never clear and everyone heard the conversation as one had to speak very loudly into the phone! Panditji also found time to speak with me on the relevance of the “thread ceremony” and sent me an HMT wristwatch (with a yellow dial) and a solar cell radio for the occasion. But I managed to avoid the traditional head-shaving ritual and got away with a minor hair cut!
Memory fades with time and all I can remember now is the utter simplicity of existence then. We stayed at the Constitution Club since my grandmother Uma Nehru was a Lok Sabha member of Parliament. Every fortnight breakfast at Teen Murti was a regular feature with dalia and poached eggs. The one-km distance between the Constitution Club and Panditji’s residence was covered by a taxi and the only conversation I was privy to between Jawahar bhai and Uma bhabhi was the former insisting on paying the return taxi fare!
Times were very different then — in 1952 and 1957, the Congress gave candidates `3,000 each for the Lok Sabha election and a single jeep was used. If the candidate won the election the money was returned to the party in instalments.

Arun Nehru is a former Union minister

Comments

I love the simplicity in Arun

I love the simplicity in Arun Nehrus writing. Agree with both his stance on Pakistan and the corruption in the gov. What I loved most is his Lucknow connection since I am from Lucknow. I can Only imagine all of them staying at Akbar Ahmed Dumpys house,-our neighbour and my dad being their family doctor. Would love to read more from him. Especially about the changing scene of politics and Indian style of governance over the years.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/76488" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-867483c18a98c79458d7754945220252" value="form-867483c18a98c79458d7754945220252" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="61314390" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://call.nlpcaptcha.in/js/captcha.js" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.