Monday, 5 September 2016

On Dr Radhakrishnan's Birth Anniversary: Interesting Anecdotes

On Dr Radhakrishnan's Birth Anniversary :
Interesting Anecdotes

Although Hindus have been honouring gurus/teachers by celebrating ‘Guru Purnima’ for centuries, in the “secular” Nehru era, rather than reinforcing that tradition, we came up with “Teacher’s Day”, on the birth anniversary (5 September) of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975), our ex-President, who was a teacher and a great scholar. It’s fine: honouring gurus twice in a year. Gurus richly deserve it.

Anecdote - I
Related to 1962 India-China War

President Dr Radhakrishnan was so aghast at the Indian military debacle in the 1962 India-China War that when someone told him of a rumour that Lieutenant-General BM Kaul, the then Head of the Eastern Command had been taken prisoner by the Chinese, he commented:
It is, unfortunately, untrue.

Wrote S Gopal, son of Dr Radhakrishnan, and Nehru's official biographer, on 1962 India-China War:
Things went so wrong that had they not happened it would have been difficult to believe them.

Anecdote - II
Dr Radhakrishnan & Nehru

This is from S. Nijalingappa’s autobiography ‘My Life and Politics’:

“Another such instance I remember was when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was president of India...I used to call on him whenever I was in Delhi...In his talks with me, as I believe with others too, he was very frank and open. One day, when I went to him he said, ‘Nijalingappa, today I put my foot down. Do you know why?’ He then continued, ‘Pandit Nehru comes to me and wants me to make his sister, Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, vice-president of India. I had to tell him, “You are the prime minister of India, your daughter is the president of Indian National Congress and you want your sister to be vice-president. What would people say? I cannot have it.” I put my foot down and sent him away.’

“I think Nehru had promised his sister the post and when she could not get it, she was very angry with her brother. She complained to me about it when she came to my house for breakfast, and said that her brother did not keep his promise. I did not tell her what Dr S. Radhakrishnan had told me.”

Incidentally, this is what a piece by GS Ujjanappa states in The Time of India of 12 June 2013 about Nijalingappa:
“The grand old man of Chitradurga [Nijalingappa] was known for his Gandhian ideology and had an unblemished innings of more than six decades in politics. While most ministers take months together to vacate their official residences and continue to enjoy the benefits even after demitting office, Nijalingappa was a class apart. The veteran Congressman politely declined the offer of free government accommodation in Bangalore after his wife passed away in 1989, and moved to his house in Chitradurga. He had built the house in 1932 from his earnings as a practicing lawyer.”

Anecdote - III
Dr Radhakrishnan & Netaji Subhas Bose

Subhas Bose had NOT died in that reported plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945.

Subhas was perhaps sent to Yakutsk prison (world’s coldest and harshest prison camp) by Stalin. There were many camps, known as Gulags, each with 500-1000 prisoners of war or political dissidents living with minimal facilities, in Yakutsk by the river Lena in Siberia. Most of the captives couldn’t survive the harsh weather and primitive living conditions, and died building new shafts for coal mines, roads, dams, and so on, for which they were deployed in that coldest city on earth.

There is also a startling report—unconfirmed—that India's the then ambassador to Russia, Dr S Radhakrishnan, was permitted to see Netaji Subhas from a distance in an undisclosed location in the Soviet Union. The details are not known.

In his book, ‘Back from Dead’, Anuj Dhar mentions that reportedly “the Ambassador was then taken to one of the labour camps in Siberia and he saw Bose from a distance of 10 metres. On his return, the Ambassador filed a report to the Prime Minister.” As per the book, many witnesses before Khosla Commission charged that Radhakrishnan and his predecessor Vijaylakshmi Pandit [Nehru’s sister] knew something about Bose’s presence in the USSR.

Dr Satyanarain Sinha was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. He was a Congress MP elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967. He had been the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Sinha had an adventurous life. He had sailed for Europe in 1930, and studied medicine in Vienna. Reportedly, he had also once stayed at Sorrento near Naples with Maxim Gorky. He was fluent in several foreign languages, including German and Russian. He was a staff captain in the Soviet Army for two years during 1932-34; and also served as an interpreter for six months in Siberia where he befriended many Russian and German spies. He had joined Mussolini’s forces, and fought on the side of the Italians in the battle of 1935-36 in Ethiopia against the Allies. He returned to India in 1936. After 1947, on behalf of the Indian government, he worked as an informal secret agent, and travelled to Germany, Italy, France and Yugoslavia. He joined IFS (Indian Foreign Service) in 1950, and served as First Secretary in the Indian legation in Berne, Switzerland. He resigned from IFS after 2 years and became an MP.

Dr Satyanarain Sinha had also worked as an interpreter to Dr Radhakrishnan at Geneva. Dr Radhakrishnan was later ambassador to the USSR. Sinha had claimed that he had raised the issue of Netaji Bose with Dr Radhakrishnan. Said Sinha:
He (Radhakrishnan) warned me that I should not meddle in these things. I asked him why. Then he said ‘you will be spoiling your career, you will not be anywhere’.

Incidentally, Dr Radhakrishnan was proposed by Nehru as India’s first Vice President—a post that did not exist then as per the Constitution—upon his return from Russia. He remained Vice President for 10 years beginning 1952, and then President for 5 years.

Dr Radhakrishnan also became the first Bharat Ratna awardee in 1954. He deserved the award, but should he have got it ahead of the freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Bose, Sardar Patel, Dr BR Ambedkar, Dr Rajendra Prasad, although he was not a freedom fighter.
The above are extracts from the book
"Foundations of Misery : Blunders of the Nehruvian Era"
Pages: 472; Words : 1,43,000

The book covers, among many other things, the following:
1)  History of Kashmir from the 6th century BCE to the times of Nehruvian Blunders on J&K.
2)  History of Tibet-China relations since the 7th century CE, and how Nehru allowed erasure of Tibet as a nation.
3)  India–Tibet/China Boundary History,
     1962 India–China War, and Nehru’s Himalayan Misadventure.
4)  Integration of Princely States; and how left to Nehru, Hyderabad would have been another Kashmir or Pakistan.
5)  History of Sinhala and Tamils of Sri Lanka; and Nehru’s neglect of the problems of Srilankan Tamils.
6)  Nehru: Foreign to Foreign Policy.
7)  Nehru & Netaji Subhas Mystery.
8)  Avoidable Internal Security Problems.
9)  India’s Self-Inflicted Poverty thanks to Nehruvian Poverty-Perpetuating & Misery-Multiplying Socialism.
10) Mental & Cultural Slavery thanks to Nehruvian Ways.
11) Feudal Dynastic Democracy thanks to Nehru.

* * * * *
Rajnikant Puranik
September 5, 2016