Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:44 am

Biographical note of Pyare Lal Bedi XVI
by Alleva Franca
[Translated from Italian]

Bedi faced his own moment of revelation which, uncannily, also involved a breakdown and a dramatic change in his life. It was as if husband and wife were mirroring each other at just the moment their marriage was unravelling. He started taking part in seances -- perhaps, Ranga believes, to try to contact his brother who had recently died. He started writing wildly, sometimes apparently in languages of which he had no knowledge. One day, Ranga returned home to find his father motionless and with his eyes closed. He eventually arose, came out on a terrace and held his hands outstretched 'like a Muslim prayer'. Ranga's recollection is that his father remained as if in a trance for days. He was motionless and without speech. A doctor repeatedly administered injections, which failed to have any obvious effect. 'About eleven o'clock on the third day, he came down the stairs, went into the loo, had a bath, put on his kurta and went to sleep. He woke up that evening and ate something. But for two months, he was exactly the same as mother had been -- no recognition, no eye contact. His eyes looked totally stoned, though he never took drugs,' Ranga says. 'It was so similar to mother's breakdown. And he also came out of it.'

As with Freda, Bedi's crisis had a lasting spiritual aspect. He developed a keen interest in the occult, establishing the Occult Circle of India; he became attracted to the mystical Sufi tradition within Islam and -- re-engaging with the religion he was born into -- in Sikh mysticism; he believed he had acquired special powers, and took to hands-on spiritual healing. He dressed in a smock and carried a staff; as his hair became increasingly unkempt, he looked like a latter-day Moses. He chose to be known as Baba, which carried with it an echo of a mystical or spiritual identity. It was a reinvention almost as complete as those that marked out the phases in Freda's life; he had gone from gilded youth, to communist and peasants' rights activist, to political apparatchik, to prophet and visionary. Bedi had largely broken links with the organised left and although he remained active in a Delhi-based Kashmir support group, he moved decisively away from active politics.9 'I had been under an impulsion to take to spiritual life,' he recalled a decade later. 'I resigned at once from all organisations .... It was like a realization that now [the] time had come to quit all this work and take to a new form of life.'10 Bedi insisted, not altogether convincingly, that his embrace of a spiritual purpose did not involve any repudiation of his socialist beliefs. 'The statue of Lenin I loved still lies on my mantelpiece, and not a dent on [my] Marxist convictions exists.'11 But several of his old associates felt uncomfortable with Bedi's new look and message and kept their distance. Ranbir Vohra, who had known the Bedis in Lahore and Srinagar as well as Delhi, recalled that his old friend offered to help him communicate with anyone who had passed on: 'He suggested that I talk to Marx. I declined the generous offer.'12 Among the constants in his life were the heavy smoking and use of paan masala, and a more occasional appetite for alcohol.

The death of Bedi's brother also provoked another far-reaching change for the family. T.D. Bedi had a mistress, Raj Narindra. Before his death, he asked his younger brother to keep an eye out for her. Bedi saw through that obligation -- and helped Raj complete the building of a house in Jangpura in south Delhi. 'At first this posed only a financial problem,' Kabir commented, 'later it became emotional. As Freda moved closer to the spiritual path, through Buddhism and meditation, Baba's relationship with the mistress grew closer. It was a time of testing.'13 Bedi's increasingly intimate relationship with Raj was an open secret. 'It was clear to me, absolutely, that there was more than just friendship,' Guli recalls. 'He would tell me not to tell mother about my visits to Jangpura Extension with him.' And there were other women in his life. Guli describes her father -- in the demotic language of modern-day America -- as a chick magnet. 'My mother never spoke about it, but he did have a wandering eye.... He was very charming and charismatic and women came to him like moths to a flame,' Gull says. 'It wasn't exclusive; my father was a free spirit. It was his Achilles heel. He just enjoyed women. He loved my mother -- but that was his Achilles heel. She must have suffered with that. She was a woman, after all.' Whether Freda's celibacy encouraged her husband to be less circumspect about his extra-marital liaisons, or whether his affairs made it easier for Freda to adopt this form of renunciation, it's difficult to say. Her husband's affairs certainly weren't the impetus behind Freda's turn to Buddhism, but it may have made her pursuit of a religious life easier. Her husband had disavowed his marriage through his infidelity. It perhaps allowed her to forsake sex without feeling she was being selfish.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

"As a student, athlete, politician, mystic, and writer, Baba Pyare Lal Bedi, better known as Baba Bedi XVI, considered the sixteenth descendant of Nanak, who was in the past, one of the best known and active Sikh teachers.

Father of the well-known actor, Kabir Bedi, he spread a Sikh spirituality. Its setting is different from that of the Sikh master Yogi Bhajan who founded in Toronto, in 1968, the 3HO organization, also known as Sikh Dharma. Master of the Occult Circle of India, he is the descendant of the sixteenth generation of Sat Guru Baba Nanak, Founding Master of the Sikh faith, in the 15th century. Born in 1909 in Punjab, Northern India, he graduated from universities Punjab and Oxford; he was a researcher at the University of Berlin with a scholarship named after Alexander Von Humboldt, working with Prof. Werner Sombart and with Prof. Rudolf Otto of the University of Marburg.

As an athlete he won the championship in the hammer throw in the Indian Olympic race and at the English inter-university meeting in Oxford. Returning to India in 1934 he began to participate, as a leftist revolutionary, in the liberation battle of India and passed a few years in concentration camps and in English prisons.

He was head of the Indian delegation and spent some years in the concentration camp in English prisons. He also headed the North Indian delegation to 1st Congress of the Communist Party of India and member of the National Executive Union of Farmers of India. When the Chinese invaded India it formed the Front of Resistance of Revolutionary Veterans.

During this period of political activity he founded and directed "Contemporary India" (India Contemporanea), a quarterly socio-political publication and the "Monday Morning" (Monday morning), a left weekly.

After the Independence of India in 1947, for five years, he lent his service to refugees following the partition between India and Pakistan.

In 1953, after 20 years of political activity, he gave up politics and turned to mystical life. In 1961, to dig deeper into the heart of the occult, he founded the "Institute for Inquiry into the Unknown"(Institute of Investigation into the Unknown).

Main Sources Consulted:...

-- Baba [BPL Bedi]: Holy Commandments of The Saint of Oneness, Hazrat Mahboobi-Ilahi Hazoor Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, The Beloved of the Almighty, Institute for Inquiry into the Unknown, New Delhi 1967.

-- El capitán Richard F. Burton, y Edward Rice

Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya (Urdu: محمد نظام الدّین اولیاء‎‎; sometimes spelled Awliya; 1238 – 3 April 1325), also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin, and Mahbub-e-Ilahi (Urdu: محبوب ء الاھی ‎ lit. "Beloved of God") was a Sunni Muslim scholar, Sufi saint of the Chishti Order, and unarguably one of the most famous Sufis on the Indian Subcontinent. His predecessors were Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, and Moinuddin Chishti, who were the masters of the Chishti spiritual chain or silsila in the Indian subcontinent.

Nizamuddin Auliya, like his predecessors, stressed love as a means of realising God. For him his love of God implied a love of humanity. His vision of the world was marked by a highly evolved sense of religious pluralism and kindness. It is claimed by the 14th century historiographer Ziauddin Barani that his influence on the Muslims of Delhi was such that a paradigm shift was effected in their outlook towards worldly matters. People began to be inclined towards mysticism and prayers and remaining aloof from the world.

-- Nizamuddin Auliya, by Wikipedia

In 1963 he added a new dimension to his work by starting the Center for Psychic Art (Center for Psychic Art).

From 1972 onwards, he came to Italy where, after numerous conferences in Rome and Turin, he stopped in Milan, where he founded and lead the Aquarian Philosophy Center, from which he dissociated and opened his School of New Philosophical Thought by developing his philosophy for the Aquarian Age, taking courses to learn Vibration Therapy, and helping the development of human personality through the Psychic expression. His teachings are about meditation, awareness of God, psychophysical well-being, and evolution of personality.

In 1981 he chaired the International Congress on Reincarnation, held in Milan, and began the World Movement to "live according to Ethical Consciousness," as a means for achieve social Peace.

In the Italian years, Baba Bedi XVI published 3 reference books of Aquarian philosophy: "Total Man" (1975), "Man in the Age of Aquarius" (1982), and "Consciousness, eye of the Soul "(1991). Furthermore, in 1981, he founded and directed the Aquarian philosophy magazine “La Resonance".

He revealed truly new positive dynamics to humanity, which can be implemented on all levels, and at every level, as long as one desires it first. He never tired of repeating: “You can't bring the horse to the river and force him to drink, even if he is thirsty; no violation is possible to free will."

His works published jointly with his wife Freda M. Houlston Bedi* are:

• *India analyzed, work in 4 volumes, (1933-1934 London, Victor Gollancz);
• *Gandhi: Mahatma Gandhi, Saint and statesman, with a preface by Prof. Rudolf Otto, London 1934);
• Karl Marx - Letters on India, Lahore, Contemporary India Publication (1936);
• Sheikh Abdullah: his life and ideals, (1949);
• Harvest from the Desert, Sir Ganga Ram Trust Society (1940);
• Muslims in USSR, Lahore, Indian Printing Works (1947);
• Mystic India, (3 vol.), for The Unity Book club of India, New Delhi;
• Hands off West Irian: Indonesia's national demand from Dutch colonialists (1962);
• Prophet of the Full Moon: Guru Baba Nanak, founder master of Sikhism, New Delhi, Chaudhari Publishers, (1966);
• The art of the tetress, Bombay, Pearl books, (1968), translated into Italian by La nuova Via ed. 1972;
• The pilgrim's way, with a preface by the Indian President S. Radhakrishanan, India (1969), Patiala, Punjabi University;
• *Dynamics of the New Age, New Delhi 1970’
• Conscience as Dynamics of the Psychic for Human Well-being, New Delhi, Institute for Inquiry Into the Unknown;
• Mystic & Ecstacy Eros, New Delhi, Institute for Inquiry Into the Unknown;
• The dynamics of the occult, New Delhi, Unity Publishers;
• The total man, Age of Uranus ed. 1977;
• Soul Eye Consciousness, ed. Zanfi, 2008, second edition of Cittadella Instit. Aquarian pedagogy.

Biographical note of the first wife FREDA MARIE HOULSTON BEDI


Bedi says : "... in the thirties, when he was in Oxford, my partner of studies Freda Houlston, daughter England, had a such dedication to the cause of Liberty for submissive peoples, whom we fell in love with and we got married.

Back in India, inflamed by needs for Freedom, Freda became one of the chosen followers of Mahatma Gandhi for the non-violent movement of Civil Disobedience. Of course the government she sentenced to prison, entering where she was forced to take off even the ring matrimonial!

The turning point during the events occurred in 1959, with the Chinese attack on Tibet. This led to the mass exodus of the Tibetan people and the great Lamas, led by the Sovereign spiritual and temporal personality of the Dalai Lama himself. At that time Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first to be Prime Minister of India after our Independence, famous for his great heart, he took upon himself the responsibility of providing for thousands of spiritual refugees. To carry out this huge project he called my wife, Freda Bedi, to take in hand the organizational commitment to provide for the needs of the Lamas and of the other refugees.

With its characteristic humanitarian idealism it carried out this commitment to the point that one day, returning from a trip, she arrived accompanied by two young Lamas, adopted as sons. These young Lamas belonged to the singular color category which were Lamas highly evolved in the previous birth and which at the time of death had indicated the time and place of their rebirth.

After being discovered, following the indications, they underwent severe tests and they are known as Tulku and after reaching the maturity of the years they acquired the honor of being called Rimpoche. At this point it may be important to remember that one of them was Trungpa Rinpoche, who went to America and became famous for his teachings and likewise for his wonderful books. The other young Lama adopted son it was Akong Rinpoche, who now founded the largest Buddhist monastery in Scotland.

Fully involved in providing for the well-being of Tibetan refugees and adults Lama, Freda decided to become a Buddhist nun and lived this role with that absorption and dedication of the Soul that was given the sacred title of Gelongma: this is the highest step a nun can reach in the Tibetan Hierarchy. Thus, after centuries of Mahayana Buddhism, she, as a woman, had the right to give Initiation for both men and women who wanted to make Buddhism their own. Arrived to this rank he had around him the halo of serenity and wrapped in it he gave quietly goodbye to the Earth while sitting in his contemplation. It was the year 1976.

Source: Baba Bedi XVI, "Australia". But this also told us during some lessons .

Biographical note of the second wife: Antonia Chiappini


At the time of the meeting with Bedi Antonia he is 25 years old and, from that moment, he dedicates entirely his life, together with him, to creation of a corpus of courses aimed at development of the human personality, of the creativity.

They married in 1977 and in 1979 they founded the New School that Bedi presents like this:

"This New School of Thought Philosophical arose by working hand in hand hand, with my wife Antonia Chiappini Bedi and my gratitude goes to her soul.".

Antonia graduated in psychology, continues the teachings of her husband. integrating them.

Sources: Baba Bedi XVI, "Australia"; Baba Bedi XVI, "The Soul human and the Vibrational Centers for Being and Becoming ". (The human Soul and the Vibrational Centers for Being and Becoming); excerpts from the notebook of Proff. G. Tascini

Pyare Lal Bedi, left the body on the morning of March 31, 1993, in the home of Cristina Aprato in Rivarolo (Turin). He would have turned 84 on April 5. Its sacred ashes are immersed in the river Ganges on January 4, 1998.

INDEX of conferences held by B. Bedi in Italy present in my personal archive


How to avoid negativities
Why the study of reincarnation is important?
Why is 1975 important?


The dynamics of the ego
Food and human system

Essence of Man
How to get to know myself

The character of the new Age: Age Aquarius

The alphabet of vibrational therapy
The Basics of Aquarian Philosophy


The Aquarian concept of Justice
Psychic writing and automatic writing
The study of previous life like therapy and human consciousness
Live according to nature
The specter of identity
New light on the nature of the mind
Pedagogy in the Aquarian Age
The illusion of sociality
Goodbye! supernatural and paranormal
The physiognomy of prejudice
Destiny prophecy and free will
Handicapped sociality and sexuality
The morality of the soul
The dynamics of ethical consciousness


Aquarian Trinity: democratic purpose
The divinity of desire
The roots of holiness
Listening to the inner voice
The invisible source of aspirations
The language of dreams
Human purpose
The alphabet of Being
The dynamics of becoming


The anatomy of frustration
The essence of the doubt
The roots of power
The art of living
Live? Like?
The physiognomy of peace
Peace and human conscience


Nobility of selfishness
Social presumptions
Roots of realization
The illusion of love
The reality of the present
Physiognomy of individuality
Anatomy of Individuality
Purpose of the ideology


The frontiers of ecology
The mirage of sociality
The soul of knowledge
I do not know
The wisdom of ignorance
Creativity and peace
The real need
To hell with the devil


The spiral of ecstasy
The call of the flame
The identity of the source esoteric
The divinity of the woman
Gorbachev flies to Marx
Purpose of the couple
The purpose of the moth


Spirituality and realpolitik
Linguistic nonsense
Violence yes or no?


Justice in the Aquarian era
I, you, the others
Exist or be?


It was Aquarian and contemporary changes
Cosmos and human consciousness
Mysterious number: 17
The nest of silence: art


Aquarian philosophy
Ethical awareness
Consciousness and holistic feeling
Magic of balance


The birth of the Light


I attended Baba Bedi from 1979 to 1992, studying, practicing and developing:

5 basic courses of Vibrational Techniques personality development through the drawing
5 courses of Aquarian Pedagogy
Vibrational anatomy
Distance healing
The art of contemplation
The sacred communication technique (mediumship)
The soul of dance, word, music, painting, color
So-called mental illnesses
Esoteric light of sexuality
Birth preparation (my program discussed with him)
Planetary emanations
Precious stones-chakras- the 18 senses
The vibrational network

first in Via Cicco Simonetta in Milan and then in Segrate.

On the technique of personality development through drawing, one of the many elaborated by Bedi that deal with the human living recognizing the roots of psychosomatic and behavioral manifestations, I wrote two texts, one with Cinzia Rffinerngo: The language of Consciousness, ed. Psyche2, Turin 2006 and the other: Breaking chains and StreetLib ebook 2016 but also others handwritten on this technique, before me and you can find them, and browse some pages, in the menu: Publications.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:11 am

Vibration techniques, description and use
[Translated from Dutch]

Vibration techniques lead the individual to eliminate certain emotional and spiritual blockages and to bring them back into balance in their totality. Let's invent it better.


What are vibrational techniques?

Baba Pyare Lal Bedi, better known as Baba Bedi XVI , father of the more famous Kabir Bedi, was a great Indian mystic born in Punjab, considered the sixteenth descendant of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Baba Nanak. He spread the spiritual movement of the Age of Aquaria, the Aquarian Philosophy, based on the existence of a single divine source and separate from any existing religion, participated in the liberation war of India against the English and, after independence, held a held a prominent position for a few years, and then devoted himself to searching for the Truth and teaching. In 1961, Baba Bedi XVI founded the research institute at the unknown in New Delhi; in 1972 he moved to Italy, where he developed his Aquarian Philosophy, based on the teachings of Vibrational Therapy and the development of human personality through Psychic Expression. The technique or vibration therapy is essentially a holistic methodology that focuses on seeking inner balance, well-being and spiritual growth, taking care of the entire person. He uses different techniques based on two common denominators of light: paranormal sensitivity and intuition.

How do they work?

Vibration techniques are based on the idea that humans are not born to suffer, but to realize themselves. Fears, conditioning, unconscious fears, distrust, complexes of different origins and resistances are obstacles that can stop the natural progress of self-realization, unleash opposing waves, forces that resist growth that generate blocks, discomforts and existential disorders, both on the plane physically, psychologically and emotionally. Vibration techniques are intended to stop or prevent the formation of these blocks. Every part of the physical system is related to a state of mind, an emotion or a life situation, for example: the kidneys with fear, the liver with suppressed anger, the temples with worries, the eyes with the vision of life and the opportunities it offers, the nose to orientation.

The imbalance affects different organs and the conscious part, the conscience of everyone, brings darkness. The more intense the imbalance, the darker the halo. The starting point of the vibration technique is to identify the organs involved in the imbalance and to bring them light thanks to the psychological sensitivity to discover and release all those 'talents' and abilities that make people complete.

Which ailments cure vibrational techniques?

The vibration techniques are methodologies often explained in "courses of spiritual healing", which, thanks to the work of responsible people, have the so-called "activators of Light" to activate the "talents" of each person, eliminating the blockages and darkness, they are eliminated. During these meetings, a method is taught to activate the "psychological sensitivity" of all those who want to speed up the process of their own evolution or who for some reason have not had access to it themselves. The disorders that this type of holistic therapy is going to cure are mainly related to an emotional part, which relates to dissatisfaction with oneself, depression, anxiety and uncertainty, which in turn can cause physical problems of greater or lesser magnitude, of insomnia, panic attacks, high blood pressure.

Who are the vibration techniques for?

Vibration techniques are designed to bring Light of awareness to the suffering person, who wants to free his consciousness from blockages and outflows that have stratified over time. In this way the person returns to activate the communication between his own psychic sensitivity and consciousness, so that the latter is able to develop total perception. I will hear the reality beyond the five physical senses. Once activated, psychic sensitivity stimulates the positive capacity of the person and makes them active through "talents" (painting, sculpture, music, dramatization, writing, singing, dancing and poetry), if he is fully experienced, promotes evolution, the personality development and the full realization of the individual.

The law in Italy and abroad

In Italy and abroad there are many centers of psychophysical well-being that are concerned with the re-awakening of conscience and aimed at balancing and harmonizing the person. The law in Italy defines them as holistic professions, therefore valid at the level of support and knowledge, not the administration of real treatments as can be considered as those at the medical level. There is also a vibrational medication that uses therapeutic diapasone or other instruments, such as stiper's quartz crystal discs, acupressure, sound therapy and vibrational acupuncture, as energetic and emotional rebalancing tools. The SIAF (Italian Family Harmonization Society) is one of the associations that organizes courses for holistic operators.

Associations and reference bodies

In 1981, Baba Bedi XVI organized the second international congress on reincarnation in Milan, started the world movement of "living according to ethical consciousness," and in 1979 set up the Aquarian Philosophy Center with his wife. In 1992 he founded the Institute of Aquarian Pedagogy in Cittadella, in the province of Padua. For more information about the teachings of Baba Bedi, the book by Cristina Aprato "Baba Bedi and the Way of Joy" is recommended.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:18 am

Center of Acquarian [Aquarian] Philosophy
[Translated from Italian]

Vibrational techniques, Growing up with fairy tales, Masaru Emoto Informed water ..

Masaru Emoto (江本 勝, Emoto Masaru, July 22, 1943 – October 17, 2014) was a Japanese author and pseudoscientist who said that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. Emoto's conjecture evolved over the years, and his early work revolved around pseudoscientific hypotheses that water could react to positive thoughts and words and that polluted water could be cleaned through prayer and positive visualization.

-- Masaru Emoto, by Wikipedia

"The fundamental purpose of the Center is to bring awareness: suffering exists because man does not know himself, we know a very small part of ourselves, of others and of the world around us."

The vibrational technique offers a methodology for learning to become aware of the relationship existing between emotions, feelings and the quality of life we ​​live, in other words the state of serenity and well-being of the body".

Happy New Year Light, Love, Joy.

March 14, 2020 Saturday: 1st level of Vibrational technique.

March 21, 2020 Saturday: Discover the baby inside you.

March 28, 2020 Saturday: "Getting cured through fairy tales."

February 17, 2020 5.30 pm at the Sporting Club of Milano due Presentation of the book: "Transformation tales for children and adults."

March 25, 2020 Wednesday 8.30 pm Philosophical coffee at the Tibaldi Library Viale Tibaldi, 41 Milan on the theme: "What is the relationship between psychological time and chronological time?" Free participation.

Last places available for the Experiential Philosophical Laboratory Self-care; we will confront our limits to transform them into resources. We will reflect on Epictetus' statements: "To accuse others of one's evils is ignorance, to accuse oneself means to have begun a path of understanding, not to accuse neither oneself nor others is true wisdom".

7/8 March 2020 Saturday and Sunday Experiential Philosophical Laboratory "On the wings of the butterfly - Self-care: Overcoming our limits - Living the ancient wisdom of our soul". at the Sporting Club in Milan due.

Residence Cantone 304
20090 Milan 2 - Segrate (MI)
VAT no. 91526930150

Telephone 02.26419760

Antonia Bedi Chiappini: graduated in psychology and philosophy.
II level Master in Philosophical Consultancy at the Ca ’Foscari University of Venice.
Graduated counselor at the school of psychophilosophy in Milan.
Teacher in Philosophy for Children Higher education course at the University of Padua.
Certificate of Hado Instructor at Masaru Emoto Tokyo school.
Founder of the Center for Aquarian Philosophy.

At the time of the meeting with Baba Bedi, who later became her husband, Antonia is 25 years old and together they dedicate themselves to the creation of a corpus of courses aimed at the development of human personality, creativity, and Esoteric Research.

Following the disappearance of Baba Bedi, his wife Antonia Chiappini Bedi continues the activity of the Center for Aquarian Philosophy together with a team of collaborators.

The Center of Acquarian Philosophy was born in 1974 as Baba Bedi says:

"This New School of Philosophical Thought arose working for 20 years hand in hand with my wife Antonia Chiappini Bedi and the gratitude of my soul goes to her." (From her latest book "The Eye of Soul Consciousness").

The Acquarian Philosophy center does not attribute any health qualification, but offers people the possibility of expanding their awareness.


The Philosophy of Courses

The courses created at the Center of Acquarian Philosophy are aimed at bringing dynamics positive to social life for the evolution of human personality and are based on the propagation of the World Movement of Ethical Consciousness, for the Birth of a Social Order, based on dignity and peace.


Courses: Know Yourself

You are born know yourself. Nothing too much.

I warn you, whoever you are. Oh, you who wish to probe the arcana of nature, if you cannot find what you are looking for within yourself, you will not be able to find it outside. If you ignore the wonders of your home, how do you expect to find other wonders? The treasure of the Gods is hidden in you. Man, know yourself and you will know the universe of the Gods.


Courses: Vibrational Technique

Courses for the development of Human Personality.

To know all the information on the course program on the development of Human Personality, click on the button below.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:32 am

Dosabhai Framji Karaka
by The Open University, Making Britain
Accessed: 3/10/20

Alongside this noticeable success, Freda faced some acute disappointments. She made enemies as well as friends, and sometimes these rivalries became vicious. Lois Lang-Sims commented, without saying what prompted the observation, that Freda's enemies 'were not only numerous but of an almost incredible malevolence'. That intense animosity seems to have been behind the most wounding public assault on Freda and her integrity. The stiletto was wielded by D.F. [Dosabhai Framji] Karaka, an Oxford contemporary of the Bedis. He was a writer and journalist of some distinction, though by the early 1960s he was the editor of a not-so-distinguished Bombay-based tabloidstyle weekly, the Current. This was awash with brash, sensationalist stories, reflecting Karaka's fiercely polemical style, his crusading anticommunism and his impatience with Nehru, India's prime minister, for his supposed lack of zeal in standing up for the national interest. The weekly paper bore the slogan 'God Save the Motherland' on its front page.

The front page of 'Current' in September 1963 which caused Freda great distress.
Saturday, September 28, 1963 GOD SAVE THE MOTHERLAND
THE CURRENT, VOL. XV, NO. 3 All India Edition 30 N.P. WEEKLY
On Govt. of India notepaper ...
... Noted Communist appeals to unwary Americans for funds for
by D.F. Karaka
According to an All India Radio news bulletin, Mr. Ghulam Mohammed Bakshi recently stated in Srinagar that Communism was infiltrating into Kashmir through Buddhism. This statement was later confirmed by Mr. Kusho Bakula, Minister of State for Ladakh Affairs, who is himself a Ladakhi and a Buddhist monk.
Information reaching CURRENT through reliable sources indicates that an Englishwoman, married to an Indian, is attempting to express a great deal of anxiety to help the Buddhist cause as a screen for her Communist activities.
This Englishwoman, whose name is FREDA BEDI, and her husband, BABA P.L. BEDI, have been most active workers for Communism for nearly 30 years.
Freda has dabbled with Communism ever since my student days in Oxford. She was, in fact, at Oxford at the same time as myself. Later, she married Bedi, a well known Indian Communist. They both came out to India and plunged themselves into the Communist movement.
They were at one time said to be card-holding Communists, and their police records in this country would certainly testify that before Partition they were not mere sympathisers, but active workers of the C.P.I.
Comrade Bedi was the leader of the Communist Party in Lahore, where in pre-Independence ...

In September 1963, Freda's photograph graced the front-page of the Current, accompanying a story which also took up much of the following page. It was a hatchet job. Under his own byline, Karaka asserted that 'an Englishwoman, married to an Indian, is attempting to express a great deal of anxiety to help the Buddhist cause as a screen for her Communist activities'. He insisted that 'Mrs Freda Bedi ... will always, in my opinion, be a Communist first, irrespective of her outwardly embraced Buddhism.' This was an absurd accusation. Freda's days as a communist sympathiser had come to a close almost twenty years earlier. Her husband had abandoned communism a decade previously.

By 1951, the thorny political issue of offering the people of Kashmir a plebiscite to let them decide whether they wanted to join Pakistan or accede to India hung heavily in the air. Freda was torn. While she believed in the people’s right to choose, she was adamantly against Pakistan’s propaganda, with its call for Islamic separation and the holocaust she feared would irrevocably follow, with Hindus and Sikhs the losers.

“There will be a tough fight when and if a plebiscite takes place. The other side uses low weapons – an appeal to religious fanaticism and hatred, which can always find a response. We fight with clean hands. I am content as a democrat that Kashmir should vote and turn whichever way it wishes, but I know a Pakistan victory would mean massacre and mass migration of Hindus and Sikhs – and I hate to face it. God forbid it should happen,” she said.

For the first time she revealed an anticommunist leaning. “I feel the British Press –- with the exception of our friend Norman Cliff on the News Chronicle -– is Pakistan minded, and while I realize that Pakistan and Middle East oil interests are linked, I think it is a great injustice to Kashmir. While a very brutal invasion and a lot of propaganda from the Pakistan side has been trying to make the state communist minded, it has valiantly stuck to his democratic ideas and built up this very war-torn, hungry world.”

BPL was valiantly doing his part in promoting counterpropaganda (a role given to him by Sheikh Abdullah’s administration), churning out publicity and articles both in Delhi and in Kashmir. One day in 1952, things went catastrophically wrong. BPL had a huge argument with his old friend Sheikh Abdullah, who was about to make a speech ratifying the plebiscite.

Kabir said, “My father warned him that India would never accept such a move and that Sheikh Abdullah would be jailed. He was also afraid that a plebiscite would deepen the split already existing in the state and would destroy the work that he, Mummy, and others had been carefully building up over the fragile early years to promote harmony and improve the living conditions of all the people. Kashmir had a huge Muslim majority, but anti-Pakistan feeling was also very high In Kashmir. That was what my father was working with, especially with his counterpropaganda. His ultimate commitment and hope was that Kashmir would be joined to secular India, with its democratic principles. Sadly the best of friendships ended in a bitter battle.”

The minute his argument with Sheikh Abdullah was over, BPL went home, packed up all his household goods and his family, and within twenty-four hours had moved everyone to Delhi. He could no longer stay in a Kashmir that he felt was heading for trouble, and in the employ of a man whose policies he no longer believed in. His prediction was right. In 1953, Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed as prime minister, arrested on charges of conspiracy against the state, and jailed for eleven years.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

[1954] As with Freda, Bedi's crisis had a lasting spiritual aspect. He developed a keen interest in the occult, establishing the Occult Circle of India; he became attracted to the mystical Sufi tradition within Islam and -- re-engaging with the religion he was born into -- in Sikh mysticism; he believed he had acquired special powers, and took to hands-on spiritual healing. He dressed in a smock and carried a staff; as his hair became increasingly unkempt, he looked like a latter-day Moses. He chose to be known as Baba, which carried with it an echo of a mystical or spiritual identity. It was a reinvention almost as complete as those that marked out the phases in Freda's life; he had gone from gilded youth, to communist and peasants' rights activist, to political apparatchik, to prophet and visionary. Bedi had largely broken links with the organised left and although he remained active in a Delhi-based Kashmir support group, he moved decisively away from active politics. 'I had been under an impulsion to take to spiritual life,' he recalled a decade later. 'I resigned at once from all organisations .... It was like a realization that now [the] time had come to quit all this work and take to a new form of life.' Bedi insisted... that his embrace of a spiritual purpose did not involve any repudiation of his socialist beliefs. 'The statue of Lenin I loved still lies on my mantelpiece, and not a dent on [my] Marxist convictions exists.' But several of his old associates felt uncomfortable with Bedi's new look and message and kept their distance. Ranbir Vohra, who had known the Bedis in Lahore and Srinagar as well as Delhi, recalled that his old friend offered to help him communicate with anyone who had passed on: 'He suggested that I talk to Marx. I declined the generous offer.'

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

But the accusation of being a concealed communist was deeply wounding especially when the Tibetan refugees regarded communist China as their arch enemy -- the occupiers of their homeland and destroyers of their culture, faith and tradition -- and when India had recently been at war with China.

The idea to write Red Shambhala developed gradually as a natural offshoot of my other projects... By chance, I found out that in a secret laboratory in the 1920s Gleb Bokii -- the chief Bolshevik cryptographer, master of codes, ciphers, electronic surveillance -- and his friend Alexander Barchenko, an occult writer from St. Petersburg, explored Kabala, Sufi wisdom, Kalachakra, shamanism, and other esoteric traditions, simultaneously preparing an expedition to Tibet to search for the legendary Shambhala. A natural question arose: what could the Bolshevik commissar have to do with all this? ...

Meanwhile, I learned that during the same years, on the other side of the ocean in New York City, the Russian emigre painter Nicholas Roerich and his wife, Helena, were planning a venture into Inner Asia, hoping to use the Shambhala prophecy to build a spiritual kingdom in Asia that would provide humankind with a blueprint of an ideal social commonwealth. To promote his spiritual scheme, he toyed with an idea to blend Tibetan Buddhism and Communism. Then I stumbled upon the German-Armenian historian Emanuel Sarkisyanz's Russland and der Messianismus des Orients, which mentioned that the same Shambhala legend was used by Bolshevik fellow travelers in Red Mongolia to anchor Communism among nomads in the early 1920s.

I came across this information when I was working on a paper dealing with the Oirot/Amursana prophecy that sprang up among Altaian nomads of southern Siberia at the turn of the twentieth century. This prophecy, also widespread in neighboring western Mongolia, dealt with the legendary hero some named Oirot and others called Amursana. The resurrected hero was expected to redeem suffering people from alien intrusions and lead them into a golden age of spiritual bliss and prosperity. This legend sounded strikingly similar to the Shambhala prophecy that stirred the minds of Tibetans and the nomads of eastern Mongolia. In my research I also found that the Bolsheviks used the Oirot/Amursana prophecy in the 1920s to anchor themselves in Inner Asia. I began to have a feeling that all the individuals and events mentioned above might have somehow been linked...

Shambhala... was a prophecy that emerged in the world of Tibetan Buddhism between the 900s and 1100s CE, centered on a legend about a pure and happy kingdom located somewhere in the north; the Tibetan word Shambhala means "source of happiness." The legend said that in this mystical land people enjoyed spiritual bliss, security, and prosperity. Having mastered special techniques, they turned themselves into godlike beings and exercised full control over forces of nature. They were blessed with long lives, never argued, and lived in harmony as brothers and sisters. At one point, as the story went, alien intruders would corrupt and undermine the faith of Buddha. That was when Rudra Chakrin (Rudra with a Wheel), the last king of Shambhala, would step in and in a great battle would crush the forces of evil. After this, the true faith, Tibetan Buddhism, would prevail and spread all over the world....

In the course of time, indigenous lamas and later Western spiritual seekers muted the "crusade" notions of the prophecy, and Shambhala became the peaceable kingdom that could be reached through spiritual enlightenment and perfection. The famous founder of Theosophy Helena Blavatsky was the first to introduce this cleansed version of the legend into Western esoteric lore in the 1880s. At the same time, she draped Shambhala in the mantle of evolutionary theory and progress: ideas widely popular among her contemporaries. Blavatsky's Shambhala was the abode of the Great White Brotherhood hidden in the Himalayas. The mahatmas from this brotherhood worked to engineer the so-called sixth race of spiritually enlightened and perfect human beings, who possessed superior knowledge and would eventually take over the world. After 1945, when this kind of talk naturally went out of fashion, the legend was refurbished to fit new spiritual needs. Today in Tibetan Buddhism and spiritual literature, in both the East and the West, Shambhala is presented as an ideal spiritual state seekers should aspire to reach by practicing compassion, meditation, and high spirituality. In this most recent interpretation of the legend, the old "holy war" feature is not simply set aside but recast into an inner war against internal demons that block a seeker's movement toward perfection....

Lama Phuntsok was one of the dozens of lamas we had met, or were going to meet, in our future. It was already starting to get boring; all these amazing, enlightened Tibetan lamas and their cookie-cutter teachings we had access to, for free, because of our circumstances taking care of Trungpa's son. Although I wouldn't admit it, these lamas were all starting to sound the same and quite dull to me. This old lama from Tibet was different, however, being straight from the old country; unskilled in the strategic charms the lamas had learned for western audiences.

Phuntsok, we were told, was the incarnation of every great lama of the past, which was always the case for any new lamas who needed the boost, and this one seemed incoherent and all over the place. But, one thing was for sure, he was teaching us the real Kalachakra prophecy and its inner and secret teachings; how Trungpa's Shambhala legacy was embedded within it. It was not the Camelot Kingdom terma of Trungpa, nor the Shangri-la paradise of Saint Dalai Lama, filled with peace, love, and harmony, that we had come to believe.

This Kalachakra prophecy, the real one, we had never heard about before. Not in this direct and non-evasive way.

The Dalai Lama had finished giving his fourth, U.S. Kalachakra Wheel of Time empowerment in 1991, in New York City, to crowds of unsuspecting thousands, with the usual pitch that it was about bringing peace throughout the world. This Kalachakra prophecy, the real one, straight from this Lama Phuntsok's mouth, straight from Tibet, wasn't talking peace. He was talking about a third world war, the idea of which he seemed to relish, when Tantric Lord Chakravartins, as Rigden Kings, like Trungpa, would come to rule the world.

Lama Phuntsok told us we were the "special" Trungpa students of the "Shambhala Kingdom" and that Trungpa was a lama, who was not just a great bodhisattva, but a great military leader, connected to Gesar of Ling; an emanation of Rigden Kings who would come to rule the earth, in the near future. We were the future army of Shambhala warriors. Nothing new here; the usual teaching by Trungpa and his early students, but told were simply symbolic. We, as his students in this life, and part of his military branch, his kasung, were going to be reborn in the pure land of Shambhala. Yes, that was the same, but then Phuntsok continued: 'when you will come back to fight as Shambhala warriors, some of you as generals, in this great Wheel of Time war between heretics and Shambhala.'

When this war ended, he told us, it would usher in the Age of Maitreya, the Adi-Buddha world of Shambhala and its enlightened society, after this future great apocalyptic war, predicted by these lamas and their ancient prophesies, had destroyed the enemies of their 'dharma.' It was starting to sound like being reborn as kamikaze in a great, epic bloody battle. Not something you would wish for, for any of your next lives, as Lama Phuntsok was describing it. I just flinched, and filed it away.

What remained clear, however, was this great coming war was very real to this old lama from Tibet, and not symbolic at all; not an internal fight, or struggle within us, to tame our own demons -- our egoistic propensities, -- as we had been taught.

It was the first red flag, waving madly before my eyes, about why these lamas are building all their centers and temples, around the world. I realized, that they really believe they will rise up, at the end of this apocalypse they are all predicting; as the new Lord Chakravartins, the Rigden God Kings, ruling over the earth.

Lama Phuntsok, unskilled in donning a 'peaceful' mask for western consumption, had just told us that Tibetan Buddhism is an apocalyptic cult, that believes it will be the world religion in the not too distant future; once it has conquered the other heretic religions. The lamas had been telling us the same thing; but always making sure it was seen as just a metaphor; in a twilight language; about the war inside us, caused by that bug-a-boo: ego. Lama Phuntsok, straight from Tibet, and therefore straight from the thirteenth century, was telling us the truth about his Tibetan Buddhism; this religion of peace.

In a few short years, in Digby, Nova Scotia, at my last graduate Shambhala retreat -- Trungpa's Kalapa Assembly -- I would learn that Trungpa's ambitions to rule the world were as real for him as it was for Lama Phuntsok, transmitting the prophecy of Shambhala before me, now. Clearly, all these lamas believed and wished for the same thing.

-- Enthralled: The Guru Cult of Tibetan Buddhism, by Christine A. Chandler, M.A., C.A.G.S.

Red Shambhala is the first book in English that recounts the story of political and spiritual seekers from the West and the East, who used Tibetan Buddhist prophecies to promote their spiritual, social, and geopolitical agendas and schemes. These were people of different persuasions and backgrounds: lamas (Ja-Lama and Agvan Dorzhiev), a painter-Theosophist (Nicholas Roerich), a Bolshevik secret police cryptographer (Gleb Bokii), an occult writer with leftist leanings (Alexander Barchenko), Bolshevik diplomats and revolutionaries (Georgy Chicherin, Boris Shumatsky) along with their indigenous fellow-travelers (Elbek-Dorji Rinchino, Sergei Borisov, and Choibalsan), and the rightwing fanatic "Bloody White Baron" Roman von Ungern-Sternberg. Despite their different backgrounds and loyalties, they shared the same totalitarian temptation -- the faith in ultimate solutions. They were on the quest for what one of them (Bokii) defined as the search for the source of absolute good and absolute evil. All of them were true believers, idealists who dreamed about engineering a perfect free-of-social-vice society based on collective living and controlled by enlightened spiritual or ideological masters (an emperor, the Bolshevik Party, the Great White Brotherhood, a reincarnated deity) who would guide people on the "correct" path. Healthy skepticism and moderation, rare commodities at that time anyway, never visited the minds of the individuals I profile in this book. In this sense, they were true children of their time -- an age of extremes that gave birth to totalitarian society.

-- Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia, by Andrei Znamenski

'Freda has dabbled with Communism ever since my student days in Oxford,' Karaka reported. 'She was, in fact, at Oxford at the same time as myself. Later, she married Bedi, a well known Indian Communist. They both came out to India and plunged themselves into the Communist movement.' The article resorted to innuendo, suggesting that 'the alleged indoctrination of Sheikh Abdulla [sic] was largely to be traced to his very close association with Freda Bedi'. It suggested that some former associates of the Bedis in Kashmir had 'mysteriously disappeared'. Freda was alleged to have been caught up in controversy about Buddhist property and funds before turning, 'with the active encouragement of Shri J. Nehru, the Prime Minister', to the running of the Young Lamas' Home School. The article suggested that Freda was getting money from the Indian government, and using government headed paper to appeal for funds from supporters in America and elsewhere. Karaka suggested that the Tibetan Friendship Group was a 'Communist stunt' and he alleged that 'noted Communists, with the usual "blessings" of Mr. Nehru, are using the excuse of helping Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monks for furthering the cause of Communism in strategic border areas.'

Aside from the venomous smears, the only evidence of inappropriate conduct that the article pointed to was her use of official notepaper to appeal for funds for her school and other Tibetan relief operations. It cited a letter of complaint, sent by an unnamed Buddhist organisation which clearly was antagonistic to Freda, stating that she had been using the headed paper of the Central Social Welfare Board which bore the Government of India's logo. A civil servant's response was also quoted: 'Mrs Bedi is not authorised to use Government of India stationery for correspondence in connection with the affairs of the "Young Lama's Home" or the "Tibetan Friendship Group". This has now been pointed out to Mrs. Bedi.'

Even if Freda has been using government headed paper to help raise money -- which those who worked with her say is perfectly possible -- it was hardly a major misdemeanour. But detractors were able to use this blemish to damage her reputation. She was, it seems, distraught at this vicious personal attack and took advice about whether to take legal action. She was advised, probably wisely, to do nothing, as any riposte would simply give further life to accusations so insubstantial that they would quickly fade away. 'The accusation was that Freda was a communist in nun's clothing -- not that Freda was a nun at that time,' recalls Cherry Armstrong. 'I remember her being particularly distressed and "beyond belief' when she believed she had identified the culprit. Freda was totally dumbfounded about it.'

Freda was convinced that another western convert to Buddhism, Sangharakshita (earlier Dennis Lingwood), was either behind the slur or was abetting it. They had much in common -- including a deep antipathy to each other. Lingwood encountered Theosophy and Buddhism as a teenager in England and was ordained before he was twenty by the Burmese monk U Titthila, who later helped Freda towards Buddhism. During the war, he served in the armed forces in South and South-east Asia and from 1950 spent about fourteen years based in Kalimpong in north-east India, where he was influenced by several leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers. In the small world of Indian Buddhism, the two English converts rubbed shoulders. More than sixty years later, Sangharakshita -- who established a Buddhist community in England -- recalls coming across Freda, then new to Buddhism, living at the Ashoka Vihar Buddhist centre outside Delhi. 'She was tall, thin, and intense and wore Indian dress. She had a very pale complexion, with light fair hair and very pale blue eyes. In other words, she looked very English! I also noticed, especially later on, that she was very much the Memsaheb ... During the time that I knew Freda she knew hardly anything about Buddhism, having never studied it seriously .... She had however developed what I called her "patter" about the Dalai Lama, compassion, and the poor dear little Tulkus. So far as I could see, Freda had no spiritual awareness or Enlightenment. She may, of course, have developed these later.' His view of the Young Lamas' Home School is also somewhat jaundiced -- 'some of [the tulkus] developed rather expensive tastes, such as for Rolex watches.'

In 1989 he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, he is the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism -– and he, himself is a self-confessed watch lover. The speech is of course by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Granted, the ascetic monk is not the first name that comes to mind in connection with luxury watches. But the Dalai Lama has a weakness for mechanical watches and has been happy to disassemble and reassemble them for years. His personal collection consists of over 15 watches, about which, however, little is known....

However, three of his watches can be clearly seen in photos and we are able to identity them. In addition to a Patek Philippe pocket watch, given to him as a young boy from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the monk also has two Rolex models whose origin is unknown.

His love of mechanical watches began very early: At the age of 6 or 7, the Dalai Lama received his first watch, from none other than the U.S. American President Franklin D. Roosevelt....Eric Wind identified the watch... in a Hodinkee article as a pocket watch with Ref. 658, of which only 15 were made between 1937 and 1950, a truly special gift!... Roosevelt did not hand over the gift personally. Two agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of today’s CIA, offered the watch along with a letter from the president. Brooke Dolan and his colleague Ilia [Ilya Andreyevich] Tolstoy, who was allegedly the grandson of the famous author Leo Tolstoy, strictly followed the protocol: visitors silently handed over their presents and received a so-called 'katha‘, a prayer shawl traditionally handed over. The two had a mission to find out more about the possibility of building a road from India to China, which was strategically important to the United States for supplying China during the war with Japan.

The Dalai Lama’s watch is a complex and rare specimen that displays the moon phases, date, day of the week and months. It aroused his enthusiasm for mechanical watches and watchmaking. A well-known photograph shows him working on watches....

If you are interested in mechanical watches, there is no way around a classic Rolex. The Dalai Lama owns two models that are well-known: A Rolesor Rolex Datejust made of gold and stainless steel with a Jubilee bracelet and a Rolex Day-Date, both presumably gifts. The latter is made of yellow gold and has a blue dial, as seen in some photographs. Some people say that they are a sign of proudness among a monk, but if you look at the meaning of the colours in Tibetan Buddhism, you will see a beautiful picture: blue stands for heaven and spiritual insights, yellow for earth and the experiences of the real world. Thus, the watch purely by chance reflects the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

-- The Dalai Lama and his [Rolex] watches, by Manuel Lütgens

Sangharakshita's recollection is that he and Freda 'got on quite well, even though I did not take her "Buddhism" very seriously' as they were both English and (in his view) of working-class origin. He was not impressed by her husband: 'he struck me as a bit of a humbug ... I was told (not by Freda) that he was then living with one of his cousins.' In his memoirs, he recycled one of the allegations that featured in Current, that an 'Englishwoman married to a well-known Indian communist' was trying to 'wrest' control of Ashoka Vihar outside Delhi from the Cambodian monk who had founded it. Decades later, he continues to recount this and other of the items on the Current charge sheet, describing Freda as 'a rather ruthless operator' while in Kashmir. He recalls the furore over the Current article, but says that he had no reason to believe that Freda was using the Lamas' School for a political purpose. Freda never tackled him over her suspicions, but he does not deny a tangential involvement. 'It is possible,' he concedes, 'that certain reservations about the Young Lamas' Home School eventually reached the ears of Current.'

The incident was a reflection of the intense rivalries within the Tibetan movement and its supporters. 'Strong personalities do seem to draw opposition by their very nature,' Cherry Armstrong comments, 'and there is a lot of personal politics amongst the Tibetan groups -- not all light and loveliness as one might like to think.'

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Other Names: D. F. Karaka; Dosoo Framjee Karaka
Date of birth: 14 Apr 1911
City of birth: Bombay
Country of birth: India
Current name city of birth: Mumbai
Date of death: 01 Jun 1974
Location of death: Bombay
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 01 Jan 1930
Dates of time spent in Britain: 1930-8, 1945
Location: Oxford, London.


D. F. Karaka was born in Bombay in 1911. He is the grandson of Dosabhai Framji Karaka, whose History of the Parsis became the authoritative text on the Parsee community in the late nineteenth century. Karaka arrived in England in the autumn of 1930 and joined Lincoln College at the University of Oxford to study law. Karaka became an active member of the Oxford Union, participating in debates. He would occupy a number of posts - Treasurer, Secretary and Librarian - before being elected the first President of South Asian origin of the Oxford Union. He succeeded Michael Foot, who was a close friend of his.

Karaka was Secretary of the Union when it held its controversial ‘King and Country’ debate (9 February 1933). The Union discussed the pacifist motion ‘that this House will under no circumstances fight for its King or Country’. The controversy provoked heated debate in the national press and among Oxford students. At a subsequent meeting of the Union, Karaka’s minutes were torn from him and destroyed. He also received protection from the university police for a limited amount of time. During his time at Oxford, Karaka started writing non-fiction, especially about his experience as an Indian in Britain and his position as a 'coloured' man. After Karaka finished his degree, he sat the examination for the Indian Civil Service. He failed but went on to pass his Bar examination in London.
In order to earn some money, he briefly worked at the clothes store Simpson's on Piccadilly, advertising the store to newly-arrived Indian students in Britain. Against his parents wishes, he decided to pursue a career in journalism. He published an article on the colour bar in 1934 in the Daily Herald, one of the most widely read newspapers in the 1930s. He also wrote several non-fiction books that dealt with the colour bar and the position of Indians in the British empire and Britain, most notably The Pulse of Oxford, I Go West and Oh! You English. Some of his journalism of the period is collected in All My Yesterdays.

He returned to Bombay in 1938 where he worked as a journalist for the Bombay Chronicle, later being promoted to its editorial board. During the Second World War, he worked as a war correspondent. Initially he was posted to Chungking, covering the Chinese war against the Japanese, before becoming effectively an embedded journalist with the 14th Army in Burma in the run-up to the battles of Kohima and Imphal. He transferred to the Western Theatre of War in early 1945, covering the advances of British, American and Indian Forces in Italy. After a short time in London, where he was able to reconnect with friends such as Michael Foot from his Oxford days, as well as gain an exclusive interview with Lord Amery, Secretary of State for India, he was accredited to Southern Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to witness the Allied Forces’ final push through France and the Low Countries into Germany. He was one of the first journalists to reach Bergen Belsen concentration camp. He was also among the journalists who travelled to Rheims to witness Germany surrender on 8 May 1945.

After the end of the war in Western Europe and his return to England, Karaka wanted to move via New York to the Pacific to cover the war there. However, he did not make it to the Pacific theatre in time. At the end of 1945, Karaka returned to India. After falling out with the editor of the Bombay Chronicle, he founded his own weekly newspaper, The Current. Karaka supported Indian independence and the Indian National Congress, while also supporting the British war effort. He was witness to partition violence, covering for his newspaper the displacement of 10 million people and the atrocities that accompanied it. After independence he became increasingly critical and sceptical of Nehru’s policies. He wrote critically about corruption, and Nehru’s ‘autocratic’ style of government, which led to his phone conversations being tapped and the monitoring of his movements. In 1971, with heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, he was imprisoned briefly on grounds of national security. D. F. Karaka died in 1974 from a heart attack.


Lord Amery, Michael Foot, M. K. Gandhi, Roy Jenkins, Michael Joseph (publisher), M. R. Jayakar, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Humayun Kabir, Madan Mohan Malaviviya, Sarojini Naidu, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru.


Oxford Union

Involved in events:

Second World War (war correspondent for the Bombay Chronicle in East India, Burma, the western front and Germany)

Published works:

The Pulse of Oxford (London: J. M. Dent, 1933)

Oh! You English (London: Fredrick Muller, 1935)

I Go West (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)

Out of Dust (Bombay: Thacker, 1940) [biography of Gandhi]

Chungking Diary (Bombay: Thacker, 1942)

There Lay the City (Bombay: Thacker, 1942) [novel]

Karaka Hits Propaganda (Bombay: Sound Magazine, 1943) [pamphlet]

All My Yesterdays (Bombay: Thacker, 1944)

Just Flesh (Bombay: Thacker, 1944) [novel]

We Never Die (Bombay: Thacker, 1944) [novel]

With the 14th Army (Bombay: Thacker, 1944; London: D. Crisp, 1945)

New York with its Pants Down (Bombay: Thacker, 1946)

Freedom Must Not Stink (Bombay: Kutub, 1947)

I’ve Shed My Tears: A Candid View of Resurgent India (New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1947)

No Peace at All (Bombay: Kutub, 1948)

Arre Bhai: Being Rephlection of the Problems oph Bharat, i.e. India, Boycott British Language (Bombay: S. B. Phansikar, New Era Printing Press, 1950)

Betrayal in India (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950)

Nehru: The Lotuseater of Kashmir (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1953)

Fabulous Mogul Nizam of Hyderabad (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1955)

Morarji (Bombay: Times of India Press, 1965)

Shivaji: Portrait of an Early Indian (Bombay: Times of India Press, 1969)

Then Came Hazrat Ali: Autobiography 1972 (Bombay: D. F. Karaka, 1972)

This India (Bombay: Thacker, n.d.)

(with G. N. Acharya) War Prose [anthology]

Contributions to periodicals:

Bombay Chronicle (war correspondent, editor, columnist)

The Current (editor)

Daily Herald

New Statesman

Oxford Isis

Sunday Standard

Secondary works:

Visram, Rozina, 'Karaka, Dosabhoy Framji [Dosoo] (1911–1974)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2013) []

Archive source:

L/I/1/1423, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras


Dosabhoy Framji [Dosoo] Karaka
by Rozina Visram
Oxford DNB

[Karaka, Dosabhoy Framji [Dosoo] (1911–1974), journalist and writer, was born on 14 April 1911 in Bombay, British India, into a middle-class Parsi family, the eldest of three children of Framji Jehangir Karaka, imperial customs official, and his wife, Homai (d. 1952). He grew up in a house on Malabar Hill called The Cloisters, in a fashionable quarter of Bombay. His great-grandfather, Dosabhai Framji Karaka, was the author of the History of the Parsis published in Britain by Macmillan in 1884. After two years at the Jesuit college in Bombay, when the family moved to Karachi he attended the Dayaram Jethmal Sind College there, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature. In 1930 he entered Lincoln College, Oxford, graduating with a second in jurisprudence in 1933. At the same time, in October 1930, he was admitted to Gray’s Inn and was called to the bar in 1938. Two events which proved decisive in shaping his life and intellectual development occurred when he was still young. The first was when as a child in Bombay he witnessed mill workers shouting ‘Mahatma Gandhi ke jai’ and learned about the independence movement under Gandhi’s leadership. The second was his time at the University of Oxford and his eight years in Britain.]

Dosabhoy Framji Karaka, by Howard Coster, 1930s

Oxford in the 1930s was changing: there was growing student radicalism. Caught up in undergraduate politics, Karaka became active in several clubs and societies. He was president of the University Liberal Club and the Oxford Majlis.

The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford. Founded in 1823, it is one of Britain's oldest university unions and one of the world's most prestigious private students' societies. The Oxford Union exists independently from the university and is separate from the Oxford University Student Union.

The Oxford Union has a tradition of hosting some of the world's most prominent individuals across politics, academia and popular culture, including US Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron and Theresa May, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, activists Malcolm X, Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, actor Morgan Freeman, musicians Sir Elton John and Michael Jackson and sportspeople Diego Maradona and Manny Pacquiao.

-- Oxford Union, by Wikipedia

At a time of an upsurge in the freedom struggle many prominent Indian figures addressed the Majlis and there were heated debates on Indian independence. Although ‘essentially an Indian club’ (The Pulse of Oxford, 35) it exercised a considerable influence on some of his contemporaries such as Michael Foot. Considered ‘the chief star in our Union constellation’ (Lincoln College Record, 2003/4, 21), Karaka was active in the Oxford Union. He was secretary during the notorious ‘king and country’ debate, and the furore over the outcome meant that Karaka had to re-record the minutes, torn out by some angry undergraduates from the minute book. It was in this charged atmosphere that Karaka wrote his first book, The Pulse of Oxford (1933). In 1934, having worked his way through the society’s ranks, he became president of the Oxford Union, succeeding Foot. As he was the first Indian to hold that office his election made headlines in the national press. While still at Oxford he was commissioned by Michael Joseph to write a book on India, which he entitled I was Born Dark. But the publishers, thinking this would suggest African authorship, changed it to I Go West (1938). His first piece of journalism, ‘Colour Bar’, commissioned by the Daily Herald, was published in 1934.

In 1938, by now a firm believer in the democratic way of life and a ‘budding crusader for the equality of man’ (Then came Hazrat Ali, 103), Karaka returned to Bombay. In December he joined the Bombay Chronicle, one of the leading dailies and a newspaper in the front line of the independence struggle. Under the pseudonym DIM (from Dominus illuminatio mea, the Oxford University motto) Karaka wrote a racy daily half-column as well as a serious feature, ‘I cover the town’. As a reporter for a nationalist paper he met many luminaries of the Indian National Congress. During his nine years with the Bombay Chronicle he wrote a series of eloquent, well-researched pieces. Among his more notable articles was his graphic eyewitness report on the 1943 Bengal famine countering the version of events given to parliament by Leo Amery, the secretary of state for India.

April 1942 saw Karaka in Chungking on his first major assignment as the Bombay Chronicle‘s war correspondent. His daily broadcasts to India, permitted by the Ministry of Information, were aimed at raising awareness of Chinese resistance to Japan. His book Chungking Diary (1942) was a lively account of his experiences, including interviews with Chou en Lai and Madam Chiang Kai-Shek. Next he was on the China–Burma border witnessing the long-drawn-out run-up to the battles of Kohima and Imphal. His monograph With the Fourteenth Army (1944) narrated a human story of courage and endurance in this frontier war. In December 1944, wishing to gain a bigger picture of the war, he transferred to the western front to cover the allied forces’ final push into Germany. With his usual knack for securing interviews he gained an exclusive interview with Amery, which was reported in twenty-seven Indian newspapers on their front pages. Karaka summarized Amery as ‘a cunning little river fish’ (BL OIOC L/I/1/1423), skilful at manoeuvring interviews and difficult to pin down. Karaka was one of the first journalists to enter Bergen Belsen concentration camp. But his eyewitness account, one of the major stories of the war, remained unpublished as the proprietor of the Bombay Chronicle chose not to print it.

The event that was to haunt Karaka, which he witnessed and reported at the request of Brigadier B. S. Chimni, was the partition of the Punjab. His graphic description of the harrowing scenes of slaughter and the helplessness of the refugees lifted the curtain on what he called ‘virtually a war of extermination’
(Freedom must not Stink, 4). He saw no justification in whitewashing Indian shortcomings. He was to return again and again to the images, drawing comparisons between the Punjab and the stench of Belsen in several publications including his autobiography, Then came Hazrat Ali (1972).

After nine years with the Bombay Chronicle Karaka edited a weekly, The March, and in 1949 founded his own weekly, The Current. He remained steadfast to his liberal ideals of a democratic way of life and journalistic ethics. Increasingly disenchanted with Nehru—witness the title Nehru, the Lotus Eater from Kashmir (1953)—and the Congress style of government, he became fiercely critical of its policies, accusing Congress of ‘virtually creating a dictatorship’ (Betrayal in India, 82). In 1971, during the emergency, he was briefly imprisoned on grounds of national security. The Current was a financial struggle and affected his health.

A well-regarded and politically committed journalist, Karaka also wrote works of fiction. At Oxford he was renowned for his wit and sherry parties. A cultured man, he spoke French fluently. He was also fond of betting on horses and playing cards for high stakes. He married in 1952 and lived latterly in Bombay, where he died of cardiac failure in 1974.


Current is back: D.F. Karaka and Ayub Syed’s legacy of trailblazing journalism is back with a bang
by Inder Malhotra

There was an era, long gone by, when there was no media in this country, only the Press. The government-owned and controlled All India Radio seemed not to matter. Mainstream, metropolitan newspapers -– generally respected, even if rather Victorian in style and substance -– dominated the scene that was enlivened, however, by precisely two Mumbai-based newsmagazines in tabloid size. One was the heavily left-leaning Russy Karanjia’s Blitz and the other Current of Duso (D.F.) Karaka whose politics was the exact opposite of Karanjia’s. Their barbs at each other added to the readability of their rival publications without damaging personal relations. More important, both men had deliberately shed the constraints major national newspapers had accepted voluntarily. Their reporting was spicy and their comments hard-hitting. Even at the risk of being accused of sensationalism, they won the reader’s attention and a measure of admiration of the common man—in today’s jargon, aam aadmi. With the passage of time and in accordance with the laws of life, both the trail-blazers eventually disappeared in limbo.

Karaka was the first to call it a day. He looked forward to retired life, but had absolutely no need to shut down the journal he had nurtured so lovingly. There were many wannabe publisher-editors scrambling to buy it from him. He was, however, choosy about the potential buyer. He decided to sell Current to Ayub Syed, a professional journalist of standing, full of dynamism and initiative, and determined to make a mark. When asked why he had opted for Syed, Karaka, a Parsi, gave the startling reply: “Appearing in my dream, Hazrat Ali had so ordered me”.

All through his heyday Karaka had been a trenchant critic of Jawaharlal Nehru and, later, of Indira Gandhi, earning her wrath and brief imprisonment during the Emergency. Ayub Syed, a member of the Congress party for some years and a known Leftist, was in no mood to follow the Karaka line. He adopted his own independent policy. Soon enough, under his stewardship, Current flourished and became an influential and powerful forum for vigorous political reporting and fearless exposure of wrongdoing whenever and wherever perceived. He had close relations with political leaders of all hues, across the entire spectrum. No wonder therefore that there were attempts to influence him. There were also whispers that he was promoting one leader or the other. Ignoring these, he did exactly what he wanted and tried to be as even-handed as humanly possible. This is not to say that he and his newsmagazine made no errors. They did. For instance, in its initial stages and for quite a while later, Current and Ayub supported the Emergency but, later, he was candid enough to admit that it was a mistake. At the same time, he never tampered with, leave alone block, writings by columnists like me that were contrary to his own stand. During the historic 1977 General Election he and I traveled together extensively, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to gauge the ground reality. He was quick to perceive the sea change in public opinion. By the time we reached Lucknow, we nearly exclaimed in unison: “By God, she has had it… but if we are wrong, we have had it even worse”.

Yet, it is to Ayub’s credit that when the Janata government crossed all limits in calling Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay to account for the Emergency and its excesses, and instead of prosecuting them started persecuting them, he sternly cried halt, unmindful of reproaches from his friends on the then ruling party’s highest rung. Similarly, by the time Bofors and much else had overwhelmed Rajiv Gandhi’s government, Ayub’s sympathies were with V.P. Singh, by then the rallying point of all forces opposed to Rajiv and the Congress. But this never prevented him from lambasting his good friend Singh’s Mandalization policy. And then something terrible happened. Ayub fell seriously ill. He struggled hard to fight for his life as well as to keep Current going. But fate willed otherwise. The iron crab got him; three years later his beloved weekly went into coma.

Now, with this inaugural issue, on the sixty-first anniversary of Independence, Current is back with a bang. Edited and produced by the Generation Next, the weekly in its new avatar is aimed at reviving Ayub Syed’s legacy, on the one hand, and catering to the wishes, aspirations and needs of the rising youth of rising India, on the other.

During the long interval between Current’s closure and revival, the change in India and the world has been phenomenal to the point of boggling the mind. The transformation of the Indian media scene has been even more staggering. Round-the-clock TV news channels, partly foreign-financed, are giving the print media a run for its money. But, instead of being swamped and supplanted by TV – as was predicted by Jeremiahs and is indeed happening in some Western countries – Indian newspapers and journals, in English as well as regional languages, have not just stood their ground, they have registered expansion beyond all expectations. Burgeoning circulations have been matched by mounting profits. However, this upsurge has not been an unmixed blessing.

On the contrary, with the gargantuan expansion of quantity – it is difficult to keep count of publications: one sinks, several appear almost instantly -– quality has, most distressingly, taken a nosedive. Barring some honourable exceptions, even major and responsible papers of yore have trivialised their contents. Page 3 has overshadowed Page 1. Worse, crass commercial considerations have increasingly eclipsed journalistic ethics and the editor’s authority. Collusion between the movers and shakers of the newspaper industry and the unhidden persuaders of the advertising and PR agencies has reached a stage when editorials have been converted into ‘advertorials’. Nor is any sign of corrective action by newspaper moguls in sight.

To be sure, after its Second Coming, Current is not going to be a charitable outfit, unmindful of earnings. But there need be not the slightest doubt that it would never compromise professional values, leave alone sacrifice them, for the sake of pelf or any other consideration. Equally, the weekly would remain steadfastly committed to giving a wide berth to trivia and titillation that is becoming the USP of far too many publications. Serious but lively journalism is the objective of those infusing a new life into Current, which is why subjects like film and fashion, so hugely splashed by others, will be avoided, and the publication’s priority focus would be on the ‘business of politics and politics of business’.
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The American who had Nehru’s ear: Recently declassified papers reveal the role of Solomon Abramovich Trone, a personal advisor to India’s first prime minister, in charting the direction of the economy in newly-Independent India.
by Rakesh Ankit
May 05, 2017

Two years after India’s independence, Solomon Abramovich Trone, a former director of the storied General Electric (GE) came to India and became a personal advisor on economy to Jawaharlal Nehru, joining an extraordinary band of people who participated in state-building after Independence. His memorandums to Nehru on planning, a product of Trone’s extensive tour of the country, in their observations on institutions and places provide an unlikely insight into the early days of Independence; unlikely because planning in India is associated with Soviet influence, not an engineer from the home of capitalism.

“Modi sends Soviet-inspired Planning Commission Packing”, ran a headline in The Wall Street Journal (India) on August 18, 2014. Two days later, The New York Times proclaimed the end of “An experiment with Socialism”. These are just two examples of the words and sentiments that greeted the demise of the Planning Commission and its substitution by NITI Aayog. They reflect the popular understanding of the commission as a “Soviet-style behemoth”.

Even in academic literature, when the inspiration(s) behind Nehru and his Planning Commission are enumerated, the usual suspects are turn-of-century British Socialists: G. B. Shaw and R. H. Tawney, the Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Soviet Russia from the time of Nehru’s visit in 1927 and the British Labour Government from 1945. (Brown, Nehru, YUP: 2003; 239)

But advice to Nehru came from far and wide. In September 1946, days after taking over as vice-president and member, external affairs, of the interim government, Nehru read a note from P. C. Mahalanobis, containing reports of his tour to Canada, UK and USA—not the usual suspect, the USSR. Mahalanobis spent time at the Statistical Commission of America and attended scientific conferences in the UK. At both places, he found “a friendly attitude and a general desire to help” and, upon return, made concrete suggestions to take advantage of this. One was a central statistical organisation with a focus on planning. In August 1947, both an official mind (Tarlok Singh, ICS) and an unofficial (Manu Subedar) prepared elaborate notes on the machinery and mandarins for planning.

In May 1949, Dr. Stanley Jones, an American missionary who had visited India many times and knew Gandhi, sent a comprehensive letter to Nehru after his return from a tour of Indo-China, East Asia and China. He took the letter and the advice it contained seriously enough to share it with his provincial premiers. Reflecting upon the rise and fall of Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang party, Jones wrote thus:

Congress forestalled Communism through their wise radicalism but will the Congress go the way of the Kuomintang? Will it hesitate about getting the land back to people? Will it tolerate bribery and corruption among lower officials? Will it try to save capitalism by insisting that profit-sharing be a basic principle of industry? A wise radicalism now will be true conservatism then [as] it will take the wind out of the sails of both the Socialists and Communists. (H.K. Mahatab Papers)

Jones’ views were, of course, not wholly applicable to India but he was echoing, in a sense, what Nehru himself held deeply and more forcibly. In a note accompanying Jones’ letters the prime minister remarked to his provincial premiers:

There is a risk for us to be complacent...We do not show a sufficient awareness of the swift currents that are convulsing Asia at present...The real problem lies behind Communism. It is an economic distemper coming at a time when political consciousness and expectations have been roused...Agrarian problem is first in priority in India...Socialists carry on petty agitations and satyagraha...Most people think in terms of the election to come...Congressmen are often static...Our contacts with the masses diminish...We [have] taken them for granted... Communism attracts idealists as well as opportunists. Because there is an element of idealism in it, it draws earnestness... Those who are impelled by a faith in a cause can seldom be crushed by superior force. They can only be defeated by higher idealism and a capacity to work for the cause (H.K. Mahatab papers).

The presence of Solomon Trone (1872-1969) alongside Nehru in late-1949 has gone largely unremarked, an exception being Michael Brecher (Brecher, Nehru, OUP: 1959; 515-16). Trone’s life provides an alternative vantage from which to see the birth of planning in India. Born in Latvia in 1872 to Jewish parents, he took part in the 1905 Russian Revolution. An engineer by training, Trone migrated to the US in 1916. There he ascended rapidly in the echelons of GE and became a director in 1931. In the 1930s, he was a key figure in the GE-led electrification of Russia and creation of the Dnieper power-station. Later, he was an advisor on industrial development to the Kuomintang government in 1940 and a member of the Allied Reparations Commission in 1945.

Trone came to India in the autumn of 1949. Between September and November, he wrote five comprehensive memorandums. After this, he became an economic adviser to the Israel government. Having come under a cloud during the McCarthy era because of his associations, Trone moved to London in 1953, where he died in 1969. He was recently celebrated as The American who electrified Russia in a film by Michael Chanan of Roehampton University, London.

Trone was invited by Nehru who set out the background in a long letter to his finance minister John Mathai on September 13, 1949. He “wanted men with wide experience and ideas”. No one in India had “big experience of rapid development of a country or the ideas for it except in a limited or theoretical way”. Trone had “just that experience in very different environments–the US, Russia, China, [and] Japan”. Nehru had consulted “large numbers of people about him and every single report was that he was a very exceptionally able man”.

The impression he himself got from Trone’s memorandums, as we shall see, confirmed this and Nehru thought he could be of “the greatest use”. He wanted Trone “to stay for a number of years” (John Matthai papers). Right from his work in the Congress’ National Planning Committee of 1938 to the Interim Government over 1946-48, Nehru had felt the need “for a full [economic] picture” especially “so that no money need be wasted”.

The plans made in this period—from Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s 1936 initiative in Mysore and Congressman Syed Mahmud’s 1938 plan for provincial reconstruction in Bihar, to Sir Henry Knight’s food plans during the Second World War years, to the famed 1944 “Bombay Plan” by a group of industrialists, and the post-war department of planning and development that comprised General T. J. Hutton, Sir Akbar Hydari, Sir Ardeshir Dalal and H. V. R. Iyengar (ICS 1925 and RBI Governor 1957)—were to Nehru:

...hardly planning, from a national point of view [but] departmental planning, provincial planning, planning in fits and starts and more or less industrial planning...just a large number of separate schemes and projects which have little relation with each common outlook, no clear objective, no coordinated approach.

Moreover, there was little consideration of what he liked to call “the human aspects of planning, that is, unemployment”. Nehru envisaged plans as “a popular appeal to the people—something big and far reaching that enthuses and draws out the best from everyone”, including the capitalist class. Trone’s memorandums were not made public then as they dealt, in Nehru’s words, “rather frankly” with the state of the economy. They are available now at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi in the P. N. Haksar Papers (III Instalment, Subject File Serial No. 187) and give a detailed account of the economy in 1949—the year of currency devaluation and food and foreign exchange shortage.

Against that background, it was “axiomatic” for Trone, as he noted in his first memorandum of September 12, 1949, that the Indian state had to emerge as a producer of basic goods and services as well as a regulator of private and provincial undertakings. Moreover, for coordinated growth, a national industrial plan with a “clearly defined singular social purpose” had to be formulated. This planning of production and regulation could only be made compatible with democracy by delegating authority and responsibility.

Trone began by reminding Nehru of something we would do well to remember ourselves; that in the last century planning had been undertaken for different purposes in different contexts. Between the late-1920s and mid-1940s, the Soviet Union began the production of heavy machinery for manufacturing and defence with a concomitant neglect of consumer goods, Japan produced a plan for cheap export-oriented goods with a resulting neglect of domestic markets. The military complex in Nazi Germany was planned, too. Before any suggestions for planning, though, Trone had strong words for the way the economy was organised. First, government departments appeared as “watertight compartments without organic unity of purpose”. Second, without an overall plan, it seemed impossible in a country of India’s size and diversity to attempt any planning provincially, especially industrialisation. The crying need was for “a man with power and authority as coordinator to unify and pursue a common purpose” (Memorandum No. 1).

Citing the Central Electricity Commission (CEC), Trone remarked that it was an advisory body with about 70 engineers. But the bulk of big engineering work, for instance, the building of the Bhakra power plant, was being done by foreign consulting engineering groups. Trone wanted active participation for CEC engineers in future enterprises so that the government could develop its own specialists and eliminate the expense on foreign consultants. But the most important point was, Trone found, “responsibility divorced from authority”. Every action by a local official responsible for results had to be cleared by the Secretariat. Even in cases where specified sums for specified work were allocated, expenditure within the allotment had again to be approved.

This was a problem not unique to India. In America, the creation of a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and in England, the Electricity and Transport Board, had compelled governments to devise new machinery to unite responsibility and authority.

Trone began a two-week survey of major industrial establishments in Bengal and Bihar. He visited the office of the Coal Commissioner, Geological Survey of India, Titagarh Paper and Jute Mills, and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in Calcutta. In Jamshedpur he went to Tata Steel (then Tisco), Indian Cable Company, Agrico, Indian Steel and Wire Products, Tinplate Company, Tata Locomotive and Engineering. In Asansol it was the Aluminium Corporation of India, in and near Dhanbad, the Fuel Research Institute, Indian School of Mines, Tata Colliery, Burrakur Coal, and the fertilizer factory in Sindri. In Giridih he looked at the mica industry, railway collieries and coking plant, and in Bokaro the railway collieries and the site of the power plant for DVC.

Upon his return on October 4, 1949, he wrote a detailed memorandum. The contents read familiar to a student of Indian industrialisation. Trone saw the power of local authorities limited to a degree incommensurate with production, economy and efficiency. He found managerial bodies laden with responsibilities, but real authority was vested in the ministries and secretariats. Certain paper patterns, created or inherited in New Delhi, had become inflexible and ground conditions were made to conform to them in a way that reminded Trone of the old Greek story of Procrustes’ Bed. Trone was blunt in his report to Nehru: “If your government expects results, the authority to act and to change along with changing conditions must be on the spot”.

This problem was compounded by the fact that the central authorities—ministers and secretaries—seldom visited production sites and when they did, were not around long enough to acquaint themselves with conditions. At the Bokaro collieries, labour was living in conditions unfit for man but local managers had neither authority nor money to create new settlements though the colliery paid large sums to the Mines Welfare Fund for the purpose of improving labour conditions.

Trone worried that such conditions fed agitation as industrial labour fluctuated between factory and farm—a condition he knew well from China and pre-revolutionary Russia. Unsurprisingly, labour productivity was abysmal. The major stop on Trone’s tour was DVC. An autonomous agency set up in March 1948 under the DVC Act, its engineering programme comprised eight multi-purpose storage dams with hydroelectric plants, two additional hydroelectric plants, a steam power plant at Bokaro, an irrigation barrage, canals, a 145 km-long navigation canal, and a power transmission grid.

More complex than the TVA, this first multi-purpose project in India was expected to have a far-reaching impact as it was in a mineral-rich region akin to the Ruhr Valley in Germany and Donetsk Basin in Russia. At the time of Trone’s visit, DVC was facing three key obstacles.

First, there was no qualified and experienced chief engineer. Trone recommended getting someone from abroad. Second was the steel in the design for the Bokaro power-house, by GE along with the Philadelphia consulting firm of Kuljian. Going by American practice, they had incorporated rolled steel in place of fabricated steel. But rolled steel was not easily obtainable in India. The shortage of dollars, especially after devaluation, had prevented the import of American rolled steel. The quantity in question was about 6,000 tons, of which GE was providing 1,200. The remainder, if not imported, was to be fabricated indigenously. The choice was between time and money. Rolled steel from America came at $210 per ton with a delivery time of five months via Calcutta. Fabrication in India meant a delay of 18-20 months.

According to the DVC master plan, the first boiler at Bokaro was to arrive in June 1950 and the first turbo-generator in January 1951, with the powerhouse to be ready by the end of 1952. To realise this schedule, steel needed to be at the site by the beginning of April 1950. DVC was staring at a delay similar to the fertilizer factory at Sindri, caused by paper-work jammed in New Delhi. The original sin had been that the Bokaro powerhouse design was made in America. Had Indian engineers been present, design, schedule and supply orders could have been adapted.

Third, there was the Konar Dam. In September 1949, construction had not begun nor final agreements for design and engineering made with the French firm working on it. The dam, which was to supply water for the Bokaro powerhouse, was to be ready by the middle of 1951. In each case, Trone found “the autonomy and authority of the DVC to exist only on paper. Decisions rest with Delhi and are delayed”. This feeling was amplified at Trone’s next stop, the Sindri Fertilizer Factory. He reiterated that such large-scale undertakings “cannot be directed from New Delhi” and anticipated problems that arose a year or so later, when the plant was ready. No long-term plan existed for the coke and gypsum requirements or ammonium sulphate disposal. Secondly, he did not find any technical and administrative personnel. It is a tribute to Trone’s command of local conditions that he suggested the practical solution of coking coal from nearby Giridih instead of then ongoing negotiations with the comparatively far-off Indian Steel company (Asansol).

This question of raw material supply led to a more fundamental challenge: the Geological Survey of India’s limited knowledge of existing mineral sources. No drilling equipment was available to it, the whole of India had no more than three-four diamond drills, the geophysical department was underdeveloped, and hydrological studies non-existent. A few Indian geologists who spent a year or so in the US and a German geologist made up the whole of the Geological Survey. The Indian School of Mines and Applied Geology was little better, with about 170 students. From his experience, Trone knew industrial development went hand in hand with geological knowledge.

A rare example of this was the Aluminium Corporation at Asansol where the entire process of extracting aluminium from bauxite was concentrated on one spot. Yet, at the time of Trone’s visit, only 33/48 furnaces were working and the plant usually shut down for two months for repairs. Some 1,500 men produced 2,500 tons of alumina and 1,000 tons of aluminium over ten months—much lower than the mill’s rated capacity. It got a subsidy of Rs 900 per ton of aluminium. Trone grasped the need to enhance aluminium production in India, since it could to a large extent replace copper, a scarcer item. He argued that if cheap power, bauxite and soda could be brought together at one spot, as in Asansol, there was no reason why cheap aluminium could not be produced.

Any attempt to answer this question took him to planning. In 1949, planning in India was in a chaotic state: “at best, provincial and even then on a departmental basis”. Trone was clear about his vision of a broad, non-political planning effort in his second memorandum dated October 4, 1949:

I propose that a small central planning agency be set up without delay...directly attached to the PM...It should consist of a very few members, selected with the utmost objectivity and care for their experience, their background and their acquaintance with planning. This agency could evolve a unified national plan...fix priorities, coordinate activities, overcome bottle-necks, and transform plans from paper to reality.

Trone also had some advice for Nehru before he embarked on his maiden US trip. It was obvious that no country could indefinitely pay for large imports of technical equipment and the first objective for India, therefore, was self-sufficiency in iron and steel, tool-making and hydroelectricity. Trone believed America would be interested in a democratic, developed India—given Chiang-Kai-shek’s defeat by the communists in China—and willing to give India self-liquidating loans with as few strings attached as possible. Trone advised Nehru to seek a loan to cover steel mills, power generation and tool-making, apart from ensuring DVC’s requirements of a chief engineer. This would allow Indian personnel to work closely with Americans and benefit from the experience. Trone had little doubt that DVC and the steel and electricity plants would have a ready market that could easily pay off US debts.

After eastern India, Trone turned his thoughts to the south, central and western provinces of Bombay, Mysore, Travancore, Madras and the Central Province. He was in these areas for three weeks, and went to industrial establishments and cottage industries, met cabinet ministers and bureaucrats, addressed engineers and chambers of commerce, discussed matters with labour leaders, academics and the press and, in Mysore, met Visvesvaraya and Mirza Ismail. The tour yielded a typically detailed memorandum on November 21, 1949. Trone was struck by “the achievements of the former benevolent [princely] government of Mysore” and “the educational facilities in [princely] Travancore”, observations that ring familiar even at this distance in time. He was also struck by “primitive agricultural methods” and “economic consequences of caste and sub-caste including one case where, in manganese mines near Nagpur, while water was sparse, each sub-caste had its own”.

Trone organised his report by provinces and began with Bombay. The textile capital of the country disappointed him with its working and living conditions for labour: “worse than Calcutta and Bihar’s coal region”, with “understandable low production and discontent”. This, to Trone, was one of the reasons why the much-touted prohibition law was not working in Bombay as scarcity of consumer goods left workers with “spare cash even from his small earnings that he drinks and gambles away”. It was a lose-all situation: “the loser is the state in money and in health of its poisonous-liquor drinking population; the gainer is the black-marketeer”. Here, Trone drew parallels with the failure and harm of enforced prohibition in the US and argued that prohibition succeeded gradually only if the state provided substitutes for drinking in the forms of better housing, schools, recreation centres, etc.

In Mysore, Trone felt a “discrepancy” between the “fine outer appearance of the state—its buildings, roads, hospitals, educational and scientific institutions, fine irrigation dams, public gardens, all inherited from the past, and the present state of its industries”, with the sole exception of the Jog Falls. There he saw “four 18,000 KW [18MW] turbo-generators of English make being installed by first-class Indian engineers without foreign assistance”. Mysore was a model-state with respect to developing hydroelectric energy. On the back of this, the state was planning fertiliser, cement and acid plants, an extension of the Mysore Iron and Steel works, trolley buses in Bangalore and railway electrification. To Trone, a great believer in national development, these projects were “schemes that try to make Mysore self-sufficient in all respects and overlook the bigger unit—India. The economic justification and prospects for self-liquidation of these projects, if executed, are very questionable” (Memorandum No. 3).

In Travancore, also one of the more progressive states, Trone noted the well-built and maintained Pallivasal hydroelectric station and Alwaye Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd. Nevertheless, some all-India ills were present here too: production below capacity, mechanical troubles, foreign exchange requirement for imported machinery, superfluous labour and, above all, correspondence with New Delhi. The factories had “a special man there—a pusher—to hasten procedure”. It was in Travancore that Trone found his arguments for all-India planning. The Indian Aluminium Co. at Alwaye, a subsidiary of the Aluminium Ltd. Group of Canada, had first-class engineers and equipment but no rolling facilities. The aluminium produced went to Asansol. On the other hand, the latter needed a full overhaul of its infrastructure. A third aluminium plant at Muri in Bihar could not reduce alumina to aluminium for lack of equipment and sent alumina to Alwaye.

As Trone put it, “One need only look at the map to see how uneconomical the whole process from ore to rolled product—Muri-Alwaye-Asansol—must be”. Aluminium production in India was only 3,500 tons a year, regardless of the subsidy for producers.

From Travancore, crossing the Nilgiris, Trone reached Madras, where the issue was power shortage. The province had three government-run hydroelectric stations: Pykara (43 MW, est. 1933), Mettur (40 MW, 1937) and Papanasam (21 MW, 1944), and was in the middle of a six-year development plan (1945-51) that envisaged four new plants. Here, for the first time, he visited a village development scheme and pronounced a harsh judgement on the hand-spinning and hand-weaving cluster: “Aside from sentimental value, there is no economic future whatsoever”.

For him, modern cottage industries as in Japan could be an instrument of growth but India was better off planning outfits like the highly mechanised West India Match Company in Madras where 1,600 workers produced three million boxes of 60 matches daily. Trone’s final stop was Nagpur. The Central Province appeared rich in natural resources but poor in terms of infrastructure and planning. On the one hand, a poorly planned thermal plant was being set-up at Khaperkheda, on the other, manganese mines in the province produced 400,000 tons of ore yearly with primitive manual labour.

Trone also visited the Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. in Bangalore. The “unsound atmosphere” he found merited a separate memorandum and this was the report considered too embarrassing to be made public at the time. Trone himself suggested that this memorandum “should not be widely circulated” (Memorandum No. 3 (a)). Hindustan Aircraft had started as a private enterprise in 1941 with equipment from China. Under the management of the American Air Force, it had developed into an enterprise for aircraft overhaul and repair. At its peak, it did about 300 engines and 100 frames per month and employed 14,000 people. In 1949, it was jointly owned by the Union government and Mysore government. It had about 6,200 workers, a technical staff of about 100 and twice as many supervisors. Reflecting the prevailing environment of transition, the general manager was Indian, while the production controller, chief inspector, commercial manager and manufacturing superintendent were English and the factory manager, rail-coach factory superintendent and airline overhauling superintendent were Americans. In addition, about 20 Indian engineers held responsible positions.

The factory now rebuilt about 35 engines and six frames per month and had started producing rail-coaches. In addition, a prototype of an Indian airplane was being made. Nevertheless, the plant was more than one-third idle and working at a loss. The Indian engineers confided in Trone about the “strains between foreign and Indian staff”. As a result, regular customers like Airways India, Bharat Airways, Deccan Airways etc., were setting up their own repair shops. They did not complain of the engineering service as much as “uneven treatment, high prices [and] priorities given to preferred customers”. Trone left with “an uneasy feeling” and suggested an investigation, given the importance of Hindustan Aircraft in the country’s development.

So what were the general observations that convinced this former GE director that planning was the right, indeed the only, way forward for India? Contrary to usual analysis and his own expectations, it was a feeling of “general let-down and apathy” that led Trone to suggest the initiative.

In the mind of the people Congress sways in its economic and political policies and this estranges the industrialist, labour, the middle class [and] the socialist. The peasant seems to be outside the active field...The general opinion seems to be that the administrative machinery is not in the hands of the best men but Congressmen (Memorandum No. 3).

The usual “black features” of an economic crisis—corruption, falling production, rising unemployment, growing inflation—were in evidence. More seriously, relations between industry and government had deteriorated, and ministerial and secretarial interference in production and regulation from afar, often without knowledge or understanding of the process and problems, was assuming chronic proportions.

Life has found an unhealthy way out. Industries now have men at the centre whose function it is to push their interests...We, in the US, complain of the existence of “lobbies” in Washington that try to push their special private interests before public interests. But that a state-owned industry should need similar devices in its dealings with its own government... (Memorandum No. 3)

Consequently, few government industries were working well. Trone reckoned Mysore Iron and Steel could dispense with four-fifths of its labour and Alwaye Fertilisers and Chemicals with one-third. Managements at both places were keen to do so but prohibited by government. The answer for Trone was planned creation of more industries to generate employment. This inevitably led to mechanisation, a process both costly and slow. Moreover, an abundance of cheap labour reduced its economic value, especially where the time element was not important. Labour resisted mechanisation, fearing more unemployment.

The way to square this circle was to assure labour that “growing industrialisation will absorb the unemployed. England had to go through similar experiences, when destruction of machinery was a policy used to fight unemployment”. Efficient production was possible only by conscious cooperation between labour and management but in India Trone saw “quite the opposite”.

A great obstacle in the way of cooperation was the absence of opportunities for self-development and advancement—universities, libraries, parks and cinemas—for workers. For Trone, these had to be created, as much for generating production as for maintaining peace. As he put it, “sons of workers must be taught alongside boys from [the] middle class”.

His observations brought Trone to tie up his recommendations in a final memorandum on “Planning and Planning Machinery”, dated November 21, 1949. He brought up the example of England under Labour. A “mixed economy” like India, political power in England was in the hands of a party with a “social ideology”. The resultant policy had been to utilise natural resources and provide full employment for the increase of national income, which was then equitably distributed as well as suitably invested in capital goods, housing and agriculture that, in turn, contributed to generate a bigger national income. In India, Trone warned Nehru, the Congress party and government, “not being homogeneous in social structure nor in ideology”, was slipping from its pledge to work towards a social democratic society with full employment, growing standard of living and increasing national income.

Instead, he saw powerful industrial groups on their way to gain influence in government. “By withholding investments, closing factories, refusing to pay taxes on past profits thereby deepening the existing economic crisis and creating more unemployment and unrest”, these groups, Trone felt, had “already almost succeeded in forcing government into acceptance of their laissez faire policy”. Simultaneously, they used inflation to make quick profits in speculation and quick turnover in trade.

Trone conceded that this private sector might bring new investment in consumer goods, given the chance for quick profits but doubted that they would have a substantial impact on the economic crisis or unemployment. He argued that for fear of a possible reversal in government policy, it would be reluctant to go fully even into consumer goods. It was an axiom with him that free capital in India—even if available in sufficient quantity—would not seek new investment in capital goods industries as they took years to develop and more before they yielded profits. Indian capital then was, basically, “trade capital seeking quick profits and quick turnover”.

Secondly, industrial labour in India, as in China, had not lost its connection with the village. For Trone, existing labour conditions, coupled with unemployment, must create labour trouble and unrest and then carry it into the village, where a disintegrating economy was itself the basis for growing discontent. Given his experience with the Chiang-Kai-shek government, Trone saw many analogies between China and India.

Trone urged Nehru to take the lead by investing in capital goods, without which neither development of natural resources nor full employment was possible. Besides resources and manpower, capital goods demanded money and in India it could only come from either foreign exchange or in the form of long-term cheap loans aided by exports. Trone envisaged an expenditure of about $500 million over five-six years for two steel mills of 500,000 tons each, one electrical plant generating 300 MW per year and a machine tools industry.

He believed that “a common spirit of sacrifice and hope” that mobilised “all inner reserves” could generate “creative power” as in Soviet Russia, Hitler’s Germany, militaristic Japan and Labour’s England. For Trone, like many Americans of his generation, India was the last big country in Asia with a chance to grow into a social democracy and “no sacrifice was too great to make this chance a reality”.

The basis for this was to be an “all-India plan of a managed mixed economy with a wide field for private enterprise sufficiently controlled not to interfere with plan purposes in order to mobilise natural resources and manpower to create common wealth and distribute it equitably”. The first step had to be a new village economy around a reorganised and cooperative agriculture and cottage industries by pooling land, existing equipment, farm hands and working animals.

This required land reforms which for Trone could not be achieved without adequate planning. Reiterating his vision of a social-minded body that would consist of “an engineer, an economist, an administrator, a businessman and an expert on rural economy”, Trone insisted on it being invested with sufficient authority and autonomy, by being responsible directly to the Prime Minister. This national-level team would be assisted by regional planning boards and constituent units. Trone argued for a two-fold exercise of authority by this commission: control of scarce materials, export, import and exchange, price, investment and transport, and long-term plans in agricultural, industry, consumer goods, transport and communications, public health, education and recreation, scientific organisation, research and development in technology and public administration.

Trone repeatedly cautioned against over-centralisation and wanted the material and financial targets of the Planning Commission to reflect the objective situation in resources and requirements as well as regional appraisals and aspirations. State units and industries, in light of their capacities, were to be free to make alternative suggestions. India’s diversity and federal political structure had to be kept in mind but provincial cooperation was to be secured through a cadre of experts, financial and material assistance to provinces and exercise of constitutional powers by the centre. More than that, Trone wanted to ensure “the interest, enthusiasm and cooperation of people” in the working of the plan and, for this purpose, suggested that various means of communications, especially radio, be employed to communicate results achieved and issues outstanding. After all, the most important guarantee for any success was “an enlightened public opinion and continuous popular interest”.

The nub of Trone’s advice, a Planning Commission, came through in 1950. Similarly, the first plans saw his basic thrusts at village cooperatives and heavy industries being realised. The Planning Commission is today derided as the folly of a man, his vanity and dogmas. But in the aftermath of the Second World War, a broad international consensus existed on the role of the state as a creator, provider, manager and distributor of national economies. Nehru especially highlighted the experience of the “entirely dissimilar” Russia and Japan. With “little social capital and little help from outside” they industrialised themselves, they increased their production and raised their standard of living, because “both planned with the greatest thoroughness...and in a large measure achieved them within a remarkably short span of time”.

In 1949, he sent Mahalanobis, chairman of the Committee of National Income, to a conference on national income in Geneva. The proceedings emphasised developing “social accounting” (Mahalanobis papers), then being done in nine countries, two of which could be called “socialist” but none “communist”—France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Australia, the UK and the US.

In June 1954, Nehru sent Mahalanobis to the West again to meet a veritable Who’s Who of the “economic mind”. They included the Norwegian Ragnar Frisch and the Dutchman Jan Tinbergen (first winners of the Nobel prize in economics in 1969), the French Marxist Charles Bettelheim, the Polish economist Oskar Lange, the English trio of J. R. N. Stone (Nobel in economics in 1984), Joan Robinson and P. M. S. Blackett (Nobel in physics in 1948) and, in America, Simon Smith Kuznets (Nobel in economics in 1971), Solomon Fabricant, Paul A. Baran and the Harvard duo of Abram Bergson and Robert Dorfman.

In July, Mahalanobis was told in Moscow that Indian planning “need not, cannot and must not be a mere copy of Soviet planning”. National economies are complex creatures and as long as India remains a democracy where the desires of a few contrast with the deprivation of many, there will remain a desperate need for planning and regulation. The democrat that Jawaharlal Nehru was, he never forgot that “when government depends on the goodwill of large numbers of people”, planning was imperative to “offer them [an] objective, [a] clear picture” so that they do not “have a sensation of being asked to labour and to suffer with no promise of reward in future”.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:10 pm

Part 1 of 2

Guru tricks 3 — Lying
by Angelo Mouthful Marketing
Mar 17, 2019

With the help of John Driver, an Englishman who was also tutoring Trungpa, Freda set about getting a Spalding Scholarship for Trungpa, and succeeded. In early 1963 Trungpa set sail for England accompanied by Akong Rinpoche, to enter into the arcane, privileged, and hallowed halls of Oxford University. It was another epic journey into the unknown, heralding as many adventures, pitfalls, and triumphs as they had met in their escape from Tibet.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

Along with John [E. Stapleton] Driver, a scholar of Tibet who had spent several years in Kalimpong, she managed to secure a Spalding scholarship to allow Trungpa to study at Oxford University....At Tilbury, Cherry's parents were on hand to welcome the two Tibetans -- as were Anita Morris and other well-wishers -- and to provide them with an initial berth at the family home in High Wycombe. Once installed at Oxford, Trungpa and Akong were joined by an old friend and another alumnus of the Home School, Chime Rinpoche. They shared a small flat in St Margaret's Road, on the same street as Freda's old college, and Akong took work as a hospital orderly to help support the household. All three became powerful beacons of Tibetan Buddhism in the west.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Driver was a graduate of Merton College (in Classical Chinese, 1954), and then pursued his interests in Tibetan studies (Guhyagarbha Tantra) in Kalimpong, Gangtok and Kathmandu, 1957-60.

He returned to St Antony's College as a fellow to continue his researches (1961-65), and thus was in Oxford when the Tibetan Buddhist lama tulkus Trungpa Rinpoche, Akong Rinpoche and Chime Rinpoche first came to Oxford (1963).

-- Donation of J.E. Stapleton Driver Collection of Tibetan texts to Bodleian, by

Around this time, Rinpoche received a Spaulding [Spalding] Scholarship to attend Oxford University. This had come through the intercession of Freda Bedi and John Driver, an Englishman who tutored Rinpoche in the English language in India and helped him with his studies later at Oxford. The Tibet Society in the United Kingdom had also helped him to get the scholarship. To go to England, Rinpoche needed the permission of the Dalai Lama's government. They would never have have allowed him to leave if they had known about his sexual indiscretion, nor do I think it would have gone over very well with the Tibet Society or his English friends in New Delhi. He and Konchok Paldron kept their relationship a secret, and it was a long time before anyone knew that Rinpoche was the father of her child. This caused him a great deal of pain, although I also think that he hadn't yet entirely faced up to the implications of the direction he was going in his relationships with women. At that time, in spite of the inconsistencies in his behavior, he still seemed to think that he could make life work for himself as a monk. Rinpoche continued to stay in touch with Konchok Paldron and his son Osel, and a few years later, he returned to see them and to make arrangements for his son to come to England.

Rinpoche sailed from Bombay for England early in 1963, on the P&O Line, accompanied by his close friend Akong, who was to be a helper and companion to him at Oxford. Rinpoche had been working very hard on his English, but when he left India, he was still struggling with the language, speaking what would be called a form of pidgin English. When Rinpoche and Akong docked in England, they were welcomed by members of the Tibet Society, and before his studies started at Oxford in the fall, Rinpoche spent time in London, where he met many of the most prominent members of the English Buddhist community. He was invited to give several talks at the Buddhist Society, and he attended a kind of summer camp they sponsored each year, where he gave a number of lectures....

When he went up to Oxford, he had quite a challenge trying to bring his English up to speed so that he could understand the lectures and the books he was given to read. Rinpoche wanted to learn as much as he could about English history, philosophy, religion, and politics, but it was pretty tough going for him at the beginning. John Driver, whom he had met in India and who had been instrumental in bringing him to England, returned to England and helped Rinpoche a great deal with his lessons, and Rinpoche never forgot this kindness. In the evenings, Rinpoche attended classes in the town of Oxford to improve his English...

Rinpoche had started writing poetry in English while he was in England. He had studied English poetry at Oxford, and his early poems tended to be more formal, with allusions to Christian themes and Greek mythology as well as to Buddhist deities....

Most of the Western students at Samye Ling were English or Scottish. I don't remember meeting any Americans at that time. In addition to Rinpoche and the painter Sherab Palden Beru, we were introduced to another Tibetan: Akong Rinpoche, Trungpa Rinpoche's longtime companion and the cofounder of the center. Akong had escaped from Tibet with Trungpa Rinpoche and had lived with him at Oxford University, where Rinpoche had studied for several years after he arrived in England....

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

In 1963, with the assistance of sympathetic Westerners, Trungpa received a Spalding sponsorship to study comparative religion at St Antony's College, Oxford University.

-- Chogyam Trungpa, by Wikipedia

And at that moment, a young woman came in the door, and she kind of pulled me aside and she said, “If you don’t mind me asking, ‘what are you doing here’?” I said, “Well, it’s really hard to explain, but I’m really interested in the teachings of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism.” She said, “Oh, you know there are two Tibetan lamas in this country, and they belong to that Kagyu order.” And then she reached into her purse and she pulled out a photo, and she pointed to the one on the left and she said, “That’s Trungpa. That’s the one you want to meet.” I said, “Yes. Okay.” And then she proceeded to give me the address and phone number. They were living in Oxford.

And so I was very excited. She actually gave me the photo. And I remember going into the park -- it was in the summer -- and sitting on the grass and trying to meditate. And I was looking at this photo – I had it on the grass in front of me – and I could see this kind of aura around the head of Trungpa Rinpoche in the photo. And I felt the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, and I thought, “I have to contact him. I can’t wait any longer.” And I rushed home, and I phoned the number in Oxford, and asked to speak to Venerable Trungpa, and someone with a weird foreign accent said, “Oh, he no here right now. Better you write to him.” And then they gave me an address of some place called Biddulph in Staffordshire, Biddulph Old Hall in Staffordshire.

And so I sat down and wrote a letter, “Dear Venerable Trungpa. I’d very much like to come and meet you, and study under your guidance. And I’d be willing to meet you any time or place that would be suitable to you.”...

So during the week, he told me that the time would come when he would have his own center, which seemed at the time utterly improbable, because he was living, as it turned out, with two other Tibetans in a basement flat in Oxford. And they had virtually no money. One of them was working part-time as a porter, just enough to put a little bit of food on the table. ....

And I guess Rinpoche was studying a little bit at St. Antony’s college in Oxford....

-- Richard Arthure on Meeting Chogyam Trungpa, The Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Today’s article is part 3 in the internet guru series. I have been looking at some of the tricks that internet gurus use to draw you in and depart with your cash. Today’s trick is a simple ploy that has been around since the dawn of humanity. Lying. In the internet guru world, lying can range from exaggerating your achievements, camouflaging your environment or just plain old, out and out lying. Today I want to talk about how to protect yourself from these tricks.

A lot of gurus exaggerate what they have been able to do. In some cases, gurus will lie in order to appear successful. They are incentivized to do so because they have something to sell. In the 21st Century, it is easier than ever to masquerade as a successful entrepreneur when in fact you are nothing of the sort. By creating an online persona, with ‘evidence’ of wealth displayed all over a website and videos and instructional videos littered with bold statements of success, internet gurus are able to generate perceived value in their pitch.

How the human brain works in this area is very interesting. If I want to sell you something, all I need to do is provide you with perceived value multiple times. Following this, the brain generates an element of trust in that value and the prospect becomes an attractive purchase. This translates to the same mechanisms that lying achieves in the context of internet guru advice selling. Once the gurus have reiterated their perceived value, genuine or otherwise, a cognitive rapport of trust is generated and you become motivated to buy.

This isn’t to say that every individual on YouTube is a liar when it comes to promulgating their success. In the business world, if you are just starting out with a new venture then you do need to blow your own trumpet. As a seller, it is important to inform prospective clients that you are a high achiever, and demonstrate what you have accomplished due to your prosperous acumen.

As a buyer however, you need to validate these claims. It is your responsibility to differentiate between the self-promotion of a successful individual and a fraud. By definition, this can be a difficult task. Your own critical analysis will play a leading role in this fraud detection. Thankfully, there are a number of techniques you can incorporate in your assessment that will assist you in telling the genuine from the fake.

The first is a simple logic check. If most, or even none, of the proclaimed advice appears to make any sense or departs from pragmatism, then you need to question the validity. It is important here, however, to be mindful of your own cognitive biases. I have talked in a previous article about how the human brain is not always a rational machine. We have a range of quirky biases that influence our behavior. Being aware of these biases is an important step in avoiding being negatively influenced by them. Take an objective view of the advice the guru is offering. Do not become a ‘hater’ and dismiss advice purely for the narcissistic benefit of always being right. Only with an objective and unbiased mindset will you be able to properly asses the validity of the advice proffered by an internet guru.

The second technique is to conduct a deep analysis of the individual claiming internet guru status. If someone is claiming they made $50 million last year doing a certain action, how can you verify that? How do you know whether XYZ actually sold the 500 houses they are claiming to have sold? Well, you can check to see if they are registered under any companies or if any sales of similar magnitude have actually taken place. There are a wealth of websites and institutions that can help you do just that. This method is a more time-consuming approach but offers an effective way to detect fraud.

The third technique is perhaps the most powerful and pragmatic — experimentation. By putting the advice on trial, you can get an idea of the validity of the presented instruction. If you prototype the advice, using a small amount of your resources, and the advice works for you, then by definition what the internet guru has provided you has value. You can then move forward with this advice and either conduct more tests, using more resource, or begin the lifestyle change and follow the path the guru is offering.

This is perhaps the most powerful technique as its benefits are centered along two main lines. First, it is effective in fraud detection as it puts the guru’s advice under the microscope. Secondly, it offers a window into whether the advice is right for you, regardless of the validity of the provider. If you repeatedly test out the advice and it never works, then you have a clear signal to avoid the advice from that particular guru. Failure to repeat their success could mean one of two things. Either, the advice is incorrect and will never work, or their advice is generally correct but happens to not work for you. Regardless, the advice is to be avoided and you should move on. If you are trying to replicate the behavior of an individual whose cognitive style is fundamentally different from yours, you may struggle to achieve the same results they did. If this is the case, regardless of how genuine their success is, you should depart and find new advice. If it doesn’t work for you then it doesn’t work.


Katherine Felt, Plaintiff, vs. Yogi Bhajan [Excerpt]
by Gordon Reiselt, Esq., Singer, Smith and Williams and Peter N. Georgiades, Esq. & Robert S. Whitehill, Esq., Rothman, Gordon, Foreman and Groudine, P.A.

....The method by which Bhajan induced others to follow him was to pose as a Yoga master and teacher, and then covertly subject yoga students to a process of mental and emotional conditioning in which their personalities are disrupted and ultimately destroyed, and then are supplanted with a "reformed" personality ("reformed" in this context having its most literal meaning of "making over" or "forming again"). This reformed personality is, by design, intellectually, emotionally and ideologically committed exclusively to Bhajan and the service of Bhajan. Once a follower is in this condition, he or she becomes part of Bhajan's cult following, and is invariably exploited by Bhajan for whatever Bhajan can get out of the follower, be that money, property, sex, labor, administrative or business skill or assistance, or social or political contacts, prestige or credibility. This process is, by design, carried out without the knowledge or understanding of the inductee, and was carried out upon the plaintiff in this case.

In order to facilitate the expansion, operation and maintenance of his cult, Bhajan has created and operated a number of corporations and associations, including but not limited to the corporate defendants named in this case. These corporations and associations are used, inter alia, as devices through which he has intentionally misrepresented his personal history and background, his education, training, abilities, goals and objectives, as well as the nature, objectives, history and purposes of the various corporations and other associations. This misrepresentation is necessary in order for Bhajan to attract new followers, maintain the loyalty of the followers he already has, obtain the money, property, sex, labor and other assistance he extracts from his followers, as well as to conceal the true nature, objectives and operations of his organization from those outside the organization....

In addition to the foregoing general misrepresentations, Bhajan also made a number of knowing misrepresentations to the plaintiff while she was at the women's camp that related specifically to his status as a teacher, representative and leader of the Sikh religion of India. These misrepresentations were also made on virtually a daily basis from July 1975 through September, 1975, both orally and in articles, brochures and other promotional materials produced by the defendants, and were made for the purpose of inducing the plaintiff to remain at the women's camp until she could be indoctrinated, and to facilitate the thought reform process. These representations were false, and Bhajan knew them to be false at the time he made them. They included, inter alia:

(a) That he was an "avatar," which means a reincarnation of God. Bhajan has never believed this of himself.

(b) That the form of religious practice observed by Bhajan's followers was ancient in origin, and was followed worldwide by those professing to be Sikhs, including the Sikhs of India. In truth, Bhajan well knew the religious beliefs and practices espoused by Bhajan are not of ancient origin, are only superficially based upon the Sikh religion as it was practiced prior to the founding of Bhajan's organizations, and are very different from or contrary to the Sikh religion as it was practiced in India prior to the founding of Bhajan's organizations.

(c) That in 1971 he was appointed by the governing body of the Sikh religion at Amritsar, India (the Shiromani Gurdware Parbandhak Committee) as the "Sin Singh Sahib," and that this title and office were those of the chief religious leader of the Sikhs in the Western Hemisphere. In truth and in fact, Bhajan never did receive any such appointment, and indeed there is no body within the Sikh religion which as the power to make such an appointment, nor is there any such office within the Sikh religion as it is known and practiced in India. Moreover, the title "Sin Singh Sahib" is not a title of religious significance to the Sikhs of India, and is nothing more than a respectful mode of address used by one Sikh when addressing another.

(d) That he had studied the Sikh religion in India under a Saint of that religion for years before coming to the United States, and that as a result of his long study he was schooled in the ways of the Sikh religion. In truth and in fact Bhajan had not made any such study, could neither read nor write the language in which the teachings and scriptures of the Sikh religion are written (Punjabi), and in fact at least until he came to the United States he had never even read them.

(e) That he had over 250,000 followers, mostly of Indian birth. In truth and in fact he had never had in excess of a few thousand followers, and few, if any, of his followers were or are of Indian birth (other than Bhajan's wife).

(f) That he had washed the floors of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, India for four years to "purify himself," when in fact he had never done so.

(g) That he was always faithful to his wife, and for a period of many years prior to meeting the plaintiff had been entirely celibate, when in fact he was at that time regularly engaging in sexual relations with various members of his staff.

At no time material to this Complaint has Bhajan entertained a sincere belief in the religion he espouses to his followers, or to the Sikh religion as it was practiced prior to the founding of Bhajan's organizations. Nor has Bhajan ever personally acted in accordance with the teachings, tenets or practices of the religion he espouses to his followers, or of the Sikh religion as it was practiced prior to the founding of Bhajan's organizations. Rather, Bhajan's professed religious beliefs and objectives are espoused by him in bad faith, for the purpose of bolstering his credibility with the public and potential recruits, obtaining favorable tax treatment from the government of the United States and various states, concealing the covert manipulation he engages in to effect the thought reform process to which the plaintiff in this case was subjected, and justifying to his followers some of the arbitrary, cruel, bizarre and exploitive actions he takes with respect to his followers.

38. In addition to the foregoing general misrepresentations and misrepresentations pertaining to his status and affiliation with the Sikh religion, Bhajan also made a number of knowing misrepresentations to the plaintiff while she was at the "women's camp" which specifically related to his status as a master and teacher of all forms of yoga. These misrepresentations were initially made at plaintiffs private audience with Bhajan, and also made on virtually a daily basis from July 1975 through September 1975, orally and in articles, brochures and other promotional materials produced by the defendants. These misrepresentations were made for the purpose of inducing the plaintiff to remain at the "women's camp" until she could be indoctrinated, and to facilitate the thought reform process. These representations were false, and Bhajan knew them to be false at the time he made them. They included, inter alia:

(a) That he had studied 22 years with a famous yogi in India named Drindra Brahmachari, when in fact he had studied with Drindra Brahmachari only a few days.

(b) That the forms of yoga which Bhajan taught were ancient forms of "Kundalini" and "Tantric yoga," when in fact they were a collection of exercises put together by Bhajan, sometimes literally made up on the spot by Bhajan as a yoga class progressed.

(c) That the forms of yoga Bhajan taught had physically curative and beneficial properties which they did not and do not in fact have, and which Bhajan knew full well they did not and do not have.

(d) That the forms of yoga which Bhajan taught had spiritual properties which they did not and do not in fact have, and which Bhajan knew full well they did not and do not have.

(e) That he was recognized in India as a master of Kundalini yoga at age 16, when in fact he had not achieved such recognition.

(f) That in 1971 Bhajan was bestowed with unique skills and knowledge by a yoga teacher known as the "Mahan Tantric," who had selected Bhajan to be his successor and who bestowed the title of "Mahan Tantric" upon Bhajan when the former "Mahan Tantric" died. In truth Bhajan did not study under the "Mahan Tantric," nor was he ever vested with any such title by anyone previously holding the title.

(g) That forms of yoga which Bhajan told the plaintiff to perform were designed to benefit the plaintiff in various physical and emotional ways, when in fact they were designed to mentally debilitate the plaintiff and place her in a state of extreme suggestibility, which state was then exploited by Bhajan and his followers as part of the thought reform process the plaintiff was subjected to.

(h) That special diets prescribed for the plaintiff would have curative and beneficial effects upon the plaintiffs health, when in fact Bhajan knew they would not. In truth the special diets prescribed by Bhajan were designed to mentally debilitate the plaintiff and place her in a state of extreme suggestibility, which state was then exploited by Bhajan and his followers as part of the thought reform process the plaintiff was subjected to....

In The Man Called The Sin Singh Sahib, supra, Bhajan makes and publishes a number of misrepresentations concerning his education, qualifications, background and teachings. Among those fraudulent misrepresentations, are the following:

(a) That Bhajan has authored nine (9) books, as well as lectures and articles (p.4). In truth and in fact, employees of the defendant corporations have authored the books, articles and lectures.

(b) That Bhajan has given himself to the service of "God and guru" (p.10). In truth and in fact, Bhajan has no good faith belief that he is serving "God or guru," but rather is devoted to serving himself by obtaining his followers money, talents and sexual services.

(c) That Bhajan's family was wealthy and the family's combined land holdings included the entire village in India where Bhajan was born (pp.19 and 35).

(d) That Bhajan's birthday was a festive occasion in the town of his birth, and that baby Bhajans weight in gold, silver and copper coins and wheat was distributed to the poor of the village (p.19).

(e) That Bhajan was the only male child at the girls convent school in his village, and that he frequently "unnerved" the Mother Superior with his "profound and unanswerable" questions (p.19).

(f) That Bhajan graduated with honors from Punjab University with a B.A. in Economics and a Masters equivalent in 1950 (p.26).

(g) That Bhajan single-handedly led his family and entire village, as well as many people from surrounding villages, to safety when the partition of India and Pakistan occurred in 1947, saving them from "roving bands of murderous Muslim bandits" (pp.2627).

(h) That Bhajan was president of the Student Union at Camp College in Delhi, India (p.35).

(i) That Bhajan organized the Sikh Student Federation in Delhi, India (p.35).

(j) That Bhajan established the Khalsa Council as the chief administrative body for the Sikh Dhanma in the Western Hemisphere (pp.120 and 126).


Lying on Your Resume? Here’s How You’ll Get Caught
by Megan Elliott
The Cheat Sheet
November 19, 2018

Honesty isn’t the best policy, at least according to some job seekers. People often stretch the truth on their resumes and cover letters in an attempt to land work, new research by OfficeTeam has revealed.

Nearly half of workers surveyed by the staffing company say they know someone who lied on their resume. That’s a 25% increase from 2011. Fifty-three percent of managers have a sneaking suspicion that candidates are often dishonest, and 38% have said no to an applicant after discovering their lies.

Employers are clearly clued into the fact that some applicants are either exaggerating their experience or handing over resumes that are more fiction than fact. But that doesn’t appear to stop some people from telling a few whoppers as they attempt to weasel their way into a job. Giving in to the temptation to lie when applying for a job is risky though. You could miss out on a job offer, damage your reputation, or even get fired once your fibs are revealed.

Plus, it’s easier than ever for a hiring manager to discover you’re not telling the truth about your past. Here are 10 ways employers discover the truth behind your resume lies.

1. Your alma mater can’t confirm you graduated

Claiming to be a Harvard graduate when you really have a degree from a no-name state school is one of the worst things you can lie about on your resume, according to hiring managers surveyed by Hloom. And while some employers will take you at your word when you say you went to a fancy school, others will check on your educational background by calling the school directly or using a service, such as the National Student Clearinghouse.

Sometimes, it’s interested third parties who clue an employer into a lie, such as the student journalists at a Kansas high school who discovered their new principal had inflated her educational credentials.

2. You can’t pass a skills test

It’s easy to say you’re proficient in everything, from conversational French to coding, on your resume. But proving you actually have those skills is another thing entirely. Employers realize how simple it is for people to exaggerate their skill set, so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to demonstrate your talents.

An interviewer might ask you a question in the language you claim to be fluent in or give you an on-the-spot quiz. Failing such a basic test is a sure sign that you’ve either stretched the truth or overestimated your abilities, both of which are likely to take you out of the running for a job.

3. Dates don’t add up

Roughly a quarter of resume liars are fibbing about their employment dates, according to OfficeTeam. If you’re tempted to cover up a resume gap by fudging employment dates, don’t do it. A quick call to your past employer is all it takes for someone to find out that you got laid off back in January, not June.

Trying to cover a gap by listing your job history by year, rather than month and year, is also suspicious and might prompt a hiring manager to do some further digging. If you’re worried about a resume gap making you look like a slacker, fill it with volunteering or consulting work, not lies.

4. Your resume and cover letter don’t match

A sparkling, error-free resume paired with a messy cover letter is a red flag that a candidate is not being totally honest. Such a discrepancy suggests you got a helping hand with your C.V. or maybe even stole another person’s work history to pass off as your own. Being unable to recall key details of your past experience and jobs during an interview is another huge giveaway that you’ve fabricated your past employment.

5. Your job titles are too good to be true

Two years out of college and already sitting in the C-suite? Expect an interviewer to ask some pointed questions about your responsibilities to make sure you’re actually telling the truth about your title. Inflated job titles will also come to light if the prospective employer calls your ex-boss to confirm your past employment. That’s when the promotion you gave yourself from marketing intern to senior marketing manager is going to be revealed.

6. You’re vague about your skills and experience

Job candidates might stretch the truth by using vague terms to describe their skills and experience. Perhaps they reason that as long as they’re not spouting an outright lie, it’s OK. But savvy interviewers will spot people who aren’t quite as knowledgeable as they initially appear. “Using ambiguous phrases like ‘familiar with’ or ‘involved in’ could mean the candidate is trying to cover up a lack of direct experience,” noted OfficeTeam. In other words, claiming to be familiar with event planning because you sometimes pick up doughnuts for the weekly staff meeting isn’t going to fly.

7. Your body language betrays you

You might think you’re an impeccable liar. But subtle body language cues in the interview could be giving away your resume lies. “A lack of eye contact or constant fidgeting may suggest dishonesty,” noted OfficeTeam, though those behaviors aren’t guarantees of dishonesty.

Touching your nose, looking down when you’re answering a question, and turning your body away from the interviewer are other ways you might inadvertently signal that you’re not telling the truth, according to the Los Angeles Times.

8. Your references don’t back you up

If you’re a skilled liar, you might get away with embellishing your skills or past responsibilities in an interview or on your resume. But you won’t necessarily be able to count on your references to back you up. An honest reference will reveal the real extent of your job responsibilities or the truth about your so-called accomplishments.

Even if you find a reference willing to go along with your charade, the interviewer might do some extra digging on their own, reaching out to mutual connections or independently contacting your old boss or co-workers to find out what you’re really like. And remember, there are no laws restricting what an ex-employer can say about you, despite what some job seekers might think.

9. A Google search reveals the truth

Seventy percent of employers snoop on candidates before offering them a job. You better hope that what HR finds on social media or as part of a basic Google search matches what you have on your resume. Of employers who decide not to hire someone after researching them online, 27% did so because they discovered the candidate had lied about their qualifications, CareerBuilder found. A little Nancy Drew-style sleuthing is all it takes to discover that your alma mater is a diploma mill or that the company you claimed to work for last year went out of business a decade ago.

10. The employer conducts a background check

Not all employers conduct formal background checks. But if you encounter one that does, it will sink you if you’re being untruthful. If a prospective employer conducts a background check and discovers you’ve lied (either directly or by omission) about your work history, criminal past, education, professional certifications, or other key facts, don’t expect a job offer.


BUSTED: This Is What Happened To 10 Executives Who Lied About Their Resumes
by Vivian Giang and Jhaneel Lockhart
Business Insider
May 7, 2012, 6:15 AM

A little fibbing on your resume might not seem like a big deal when you're applying for a low-ranking position, but you never know where your professional career will end up.

And these little lies can come back to threaten you career, as in the current revelation of Yahoo's CEO Scott Thompson's fake resume.

As these top-notch executives prove, even if your career stays intact, be prepared to be publicly shamed, or at least embarrassed.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine lied about designing Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake


In 2008, British chef Robert Irving was fired from his own show on the Food Network's Dinner Impossible when it was uncovered that he didn't actually design the royal couple's wedding cake, but that he only attended the school where it was made and contributed by picking fruit for the cake.

An MIT dean never received any college degrees despite claiming to have a bachelor's and a master's


Marilee Jones had been with MIT for 28 years before the university realized that she never received the undergraduate or master's degrees that she said she got on her resume. In fact, Jones never received any college degrees.

In 2007, she resigned stating on the university's Web site that she had "misrepresented her academic degrees to the institute" and explained that she "did not have the courage to correct [her] resume when [she] applied for [her] current job or at any time since."

She is now a college admissions consultant at the Berklee College of Music.

An IBM president kept his position after lying about his records, but later resigned due to a sexual discrimination complaint


In 1999, it was revealed that Jeffrey Papows, president of IBM's software maker Lotus Development, fibbed about his academic and military background.

Jon Auerbach at ZDNet reported that Papows said he was a pilot when he was actually an air traffic controller and a captain when he was actually a first lieutenant in the Marines. He also said he got his PhD from Pepperdine, but actually got it from an unaccredited correspondence school.

Despite the lies, Papows kept his position with the company, but resigned the next year after he was named in a sexual discrimination complaint, according to CNET News.

His LinkedIn page says he's now CEO of Maptuit Corp. and Weblayers, Inc.

A top Wall Street analyst lied about studying at MIT when he actually attended Boston University


At one time, Salomon Smith Barney's Jack Grubman was Wall Street's highest-paid analyst with a salary of $20 million per year.

Then it was uncovered that he never attended MIT like he told his employers. In an interview with BusinessWeek, Grubman said that he lied because he "probably felt insecure."

He is now the founder of Magee Group, which provides strategic advice to telecom and technology companies.

Former Notre Dame Head Coach lied about a master's degree and being a football legend in college when he never even played a game


Five days after being named as Notre Dame's news head coach, George O'Leary was forced to resign for lying about a master's degree in education from New York University that he never received.

The university did verify that he was a student there in the '70s, but that he never graduated.

Furthermore, O'Leary told his employers that he played college football for three years at the University of New Hampshire, but, in actuality, he never even played a game of football.

In a statement released to the Notre Dame, O'Leary said: "Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans."

O'Leary is known for his coaching success with Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets from 1994 to 2001.

He is currently the head coach at University of Central Florida.

A top Norwegian bureaucrat lied about being a registered nurse and having two degrees. She was sentenced to 14 months in prison


Before she became a convicted felon, Liv Løberg held top administrative jobs within health care and other public sectors, and was also a former politician for the Progress Party in Norway.

In 2010, a journalist revealed that Løberg did not have the degrees she claimed she did from the London School of Economics, Queen Mary College and Norges Handelshøyskole. She wasn't even a registered nurse. In actuality, Løberg dropped out of high school and only had one year of practical nurse education.

In 2012, she was sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined 1 million NOK.

Bausch & Lomb CEO lied about his MBA degree, but was able to keep his position because he was deemed 'too valuable'


Ronald Zarrella had to give up his $1 million bonus when it was revealed that he never received his MBA from NYU like he claimed he did. He actually started the program, but never finished it.

However, Bausch & Lomb — a supplier of eye health products — decided that Zarrella was too valuable to the company and he was able to keep his job, but eventually left in 2008 when the company experienced "extensive product recall and hundreds of product liability lawsuits."

RadioShack's CEO lied about having a four-year degree when he only had a three-year degree


David Edmondson joined Radio Shack in 1994 and quickly advanced in the company until he became CEO in 2005.

A year after attaining his new title, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reported that Edmondson had not earned degrees in theology and psychology from Heartland Baptist Bible College as he had claimed. Radio Shack's board of directors stood up for their new CEO, but Edmondson decided to resign. In his statement, he said:

"I clearly misstated my academic record, and the responsibility for these misstatements is mine alone. I understand that I cannot now document the ThG diploma."

The CEO of a major software firm lied about getting an MBA from Stanford. The company's stock dove when the truth surfaced


Kenneth Lonchar joined Veritas Software Corp. through a merger in 1997 — both companies were small at the time.

Four years later, Lonchar won CFO Magazine's Excellence Award for Managing External Stakeholders, but the next year, the glorified CFO fell from grace when it was revealed that he never received an MBA from Stanford as he claimed.

He never even earned the accounting degree he said he did from Arizona State University, but instead got his degree from Idaho State.

Shortly thereafter, a Merrill Lynch analyst downgraded the company's credit ratings and shares dropped by as much as 20 percent.

Lonchar was asked to resign, saying the following in a statement released by the firm:

"I regret this misstatement of my educational background. Under the circumstances, I believe my resignation is in the best interests of both the company and myself," Mr. Lonchar said in the written statement.

Yahoo's CEO never earned the computer science degree he claims he got


On Scott Thompson's resume, he had degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College.

When Thompson, the former president of PayPal, was named as Yahoo's CEO in January 2012, Daniel S. Loeb, the founder of hedge fund Third Point and a shareholder of Yahoo, investigated into Thompson's background and uncovered that the new chief executive only had a degree in accounting, not computer science.

Loeb wrote:

“If Mr. Thompson embellished his academic credentials we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the C.E.O. who has been tasked with leading Yahoo! at this critical juncture. Now more than ever Yahoo investors need a trustworthy C.E.O.”

BONUS: Former Harvard student fabricated SAT scores, letters of recommendations and transcripts to gain admissions and received $40,000 in grants


Adam B. Wheeler lied about his entire academic background in order to get into Harvard University — even telling the school that he was transferring in from MIT with perfect grades. He was actually a former student at Bowdoin College, but was suspended for academic dishonesty.

Once admitted into Harvard, Wheeler plagiarized essays and research proposals that would eventually earn him more than $40,000 in grants and prizes.

His background was revealed when Wheeler attempted to apply for the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships in his senior year.

Wheeler eventually pleaded guilty to 20 misdemeanor and felony counts of larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval, and pretending to hold a degree. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to pay a restitution of $45,806 to Harvard University.

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Part 2 of 2

17 successful executives who have lied on their résumés
by Hope Restle and Jacquelyn Smith
Business Insider
Jul 15, 2015, 6:34 AM

Your résumé is a place to highlight your biggest accomplishments and showcase your most valued skills. It's what hiring managers use to determine whether you'd be good at the job, and whether you're worth meeting in person.

So, it's no surprise that a majority of people lie on their résumés. A 2014 poll from CareerBuilder found that 58% of hiring managers caught applicants exaggerating or fudging details about previous roles, skills, or awards. And entry- or mid-level workers aren't the only ones guilty of fibbing. Top execs have done it, too.

Here are 17 successful executives who were caught or admitted to fudging, exaggerating, or straight up lying on their résumés.

Vivian Giang and Jhaneel Lockhart contributed to an earlier version of this article.

David Tovar, former VP of corporate communications for Wal-Mart


In September 2014, David Tovar, the vice president of corporate communications for Wal-Mart, resigned from the company after it was discovered that he had not, in fact, received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Delaware, like his résumé stated, according to Bloomberg.

The New York Times reported that he didn't remember what he had put on his résumé. He said, "I definitely didn't disclose that I didn't have a degree, and there were times where it was probably an error of omission." He said he was a few credits shy of his degree, and had even participated in the graduation ceremony.

Sandra Baldwin, former president and chairman of the US Olympic Committee


In May 2002, Sandra Baldwin, the first woman to be appointed the president and chairman of the US Olympic Committee, resigned after admitting she had put false information on her résumé, according to The New York Times.

She had stated on her résumé that she received her bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado in 1962, and her doctorate from Arizona State University in 1967.

She eventually admitted that she only attended the University of Colorado for three years, but received her bachelor's from Arizona State — and that she never actually earned her doctoral degree because she didn't have time to finish the dissertation.

Baldwin came forth because a University of Colorado student interviewing her for an alumni publication intended to disclose the truth, according to The New York Times.

David Geffen, billionaire entrepreneur


Decades ago, looking for an "in" into Hollywood, David Geffen lied about attending and graduating from UCLA in order to obtain a mail room job at talent agency William Morris.

According to Fortune, Geffen soon became worried because he heard of someone else who had lied on their résumé — and subsequently got fired.

So he went into the workplace early each day for six months, and waited for the university's letter to arrive, stating he had never attended.

When it finally arrived, he intercepted it and replaced it with another that stated he had indeed graduated.

Though Geffen didn't specify during the Fortune interview, he insinuated he learned a lot and left the agency on his own terms (without them discovering his CV fib).

He also added in the interview: "Look, I'm not setting an example … But it's an idiotic thing that you have to be a college graduate to be an agent … Did I have a problem with lying to get the job? None whatsoever."

David Edmondson, former CEO of RadioShack


David Edmondson joined RadioShack in 1994 and quickly advanced in the company until he became CEO in 2005.

A year after attaining his new title, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reported that Edmondson had not earned bachelor's degrees in theology and psychology from Heartland Baptist Bible College as he had claimed. RadioShack's board of directors stood up for their new CEO, but Edmondson decided to resign. In his statement, he said:

"I clearly misstated my academic record, and the responsibility for these misstatements is mine alone. I understand that I cannot now document the [theology] diploma."

John Davy, former CEO of Maori Television Service


In March 2002, Canadian businessman John Davy was appointed the CEO of the New Zealand television network, Maori Television Service.

He was fired less than seven weeks later when it was discovered that his résumé was almost entirely fabricated. For one, he claimed to hold an MBA from "Denver State University" — the New Zealand Herald investigated, only to find counterfeit credentials of the same university name and degree being sold online.

Secondly, he claimed to have worked with the British Columbia Securities Commission in 1986, who in turn found no records of him, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Two months after being sacked, Davy was sentence to be jailed for eight months, after pleading guilty to one charge of using a document — his CV — "to obtain a benefit or privilege 'namely a senior appointment with the Maori Television Service,'" the New Zealand Herald reported.

Albert Dunlap, former CEO and chairman of Sunbeam


In July 2001, The New York Times published an article about the famous businessman Albert Dunlap, CEO of home appliance company Sunbeam and the best-selling author of "Mean Business."

The Times revealed that when Dunlap applied to Sunbeam, he had omitted two prior positions from his résumé that had ended poorly due to his performance.

Dunlap was fired from Sunbeam in 1998 and accused of accounting fraud. He denied any wrongdoing.

James Peterson, CEO of Microsemi Corporation


In late 2008, a board investigation revealed that James Peterson, CEO of Microsemi Corporation, had not received his bachelor's or master's degree from Brigham Young University, according to Bloomberg.

Microsemi decided to keep him as CEO, saying he was a valuable asset to the corporation.

He was asked to pay Microsemi $100,000 and forgo the year's bonus.

Peterson is still CEO of Microsemi.

Bryan Mitchell, former CEO and chairman of MCG Capital


In November 2002, Bryan Mitchell, CEO and chairman of the financial services firm MCG Capital, resigned from his position as chairman after it was unearthed he had only attended Syracuse University for three years, despite his claim that he had graduated with a bachelor's degree, according to The New York Times.

He was still able to stay on board as CEO, but the company asked him to repay his 2001 and 2002 bonuses — his 2001 bonus alone totaled $350,000, according to the Times.

Mitchell is no longer CEO of MCG Capital — he left in 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Scott Thompson, former CEO of Yahoo!


When Scott Thompson, the former president of PayPal, was named as Yahoo's CEO in January 2012, his résumé said he had degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College.

Daniel S. Loeb, the founder of hedge fund Third Point and a shareholder of Yahoo, decided to investigate Thompson's background and uncovered that the new chief executive only had a degree in accounting, not computer science.

Loeb wrote:

If Mr. Thompson embellished his academic credentials we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the CEO who has been tasked with leading Yahoo! at this critical juncture. Now more than ever Yahoo investors need a trustworthy CEO.

Thompson left Yahoo! in May 2012.

Alison Ryan, former head of communications for Manchester United


In February 2007, Manchester United fired Alison Ryan, its new head of public relations, before she even began the position, according to the Manchester Evening News.

While she didn't lie on her Manchester United application — she did graduate with a law degree from Cambridge University like her CV stated — she had previously lied on her résumé about earning a first-class honors degree instead of a second-class honors degree, and when Manchester United found out about her past, they were "furious," reported the Manchester Evening News.

Patrick Imbardelli, former head of Asia Pacific operations for InterContinental Hotels Group


In June 2007, Patrick Imbardelli, the head of Asia Pacific operations for Intercontinental Hotels Group, left with two months salary after an internal review of his educational background found he had embellished his résumé, according to Forbes.

On his CV, he claimed to have graduated from Victoria University in Australia with a bachelor of arts degree in business studies and hotel management, and a bachelor of science and MBA from Cornell University. Though he attended classes at both colleges, he never graduated, Forbes reported.

Bruno Sorrentino, former head of IT and director of research for Telstra


In October 1993, Bruno Sorrentino resigned as the head of IT and director of research for Telstra, a major Australian telecommunications and media company, reported.

Though he said his resignation was for "personal reasons," it had just been discovered that he had not graduated from Imperial College with a PhD in physics like his résumé stated. Telstra had tried to look into his thesis, only to find it didn't exist since he had never attended the college.

Marilee Jones, former dean of admissions at MIT


Marilee Jones had been with MIT for 28 years before the university realized that she never received the undergraduate or master's degrees that she said she had on her résumé. In fact, Jones never received any college degrees, according to CNN.

In 2007, she resigned stating on the university's web site that she had "misrepresented her academic degrees to the institute" and explained that she "did not have the courage to correct [her] résumé when [she] applied for [her] current job or at any time since."

She is now a college admissions consultant at the Berklee College of Music.

J. Terrence Lanni, former CEO of MGM Mirage


In November 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that the CEO and chairman of MGM Mirage, J. Terrence Lanni had not received an MBA from the University of Southern California (though he did receive a bachelor's degree).

Shortly after the questioning, Lanni stepped down as CEO for "personal reasons."

"I simply believe that change is inevitable and this is the right time for me to do this," he said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

After 13 years with the company, he still remained a member of the board of directors. "The company will always be indebted to Terry for his many years of leadership and wisdom," said the MGM Mirage's majority shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian.

Gregory Probert, former CEO of Herbalife Ltd.


In 2008, Gregory Probert, CEO of Herbalife Ltd., resigned after it was discovered he never completed his MBA from California State University, Los Angeles, despite what his résumé claimed, according to Bloomberg. He said he was just shy of finishing the degree, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Probert was a former executive at Walt Disney, and was appointed CEO of the weight-loss supplement company in 2003.

"Greg made substantial contributions to Herbalife,'' CEO Michael Johnson said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News. "The circumstances surrounding his resignation are disappointing."

Ronald Zarrella, former CEO of Bausch & Lomb


Ronald Zarrella had to give up his $1 million bonus in 2002 when it was revealed that he never received his MBA from NYU like he claimed. He started the program but never finished it, according to The New York Post.

Bausch & Lomb — a supplier of eye health products — felt Zarrella was valuable to the company, and he was able to keep his job. He eventually left in 2008.

Jeffrey Papows, former president of IBM's Lotus Development


In 1999, it was revealed that Jeffrey Papows, president of IBM's software maker Lotus Development, fibbed about his academic and military background, according to ZDNet.

Jon Auerbach at ZDNet reported that Papows said he was a pilot when he was actually an air traffic controller, and said he was a captain when he was actually a first lieutenant in the Marines. ZDNet reported that Papows didn't get his PhD from Pepperdine, but rather from an unaccredited correspondence school.

Despite the lies, ZDNet reported that Papows kept his position with the company. He resigned the next year after he was named in a sexual discrimination complaint, according to CNET News.

His LinkedIn page says he's now CEO of Maptuit Corp. and Weblayers, Inc.


Exposed. In politics and business, appearances can be deceiving. Bernie Madoff is only the latest in a long line of poseurs who have proven the need for investigative due diligence. Here are our classic cases of resume revisionism.
by Investigative Check
Accessed: 3/11/20



Software CEO’s Memory Crash? Kenneth Lonchar, the former CFO of Veritas Software, had long claimed an MBA from Stanford University. Ah, not so much. Lonchar never attended Stanford and was forced to resign from Veritas— which means "truth" in Latin.
Source: ... ily56.html



Cooked His Resume? British-born celebrity chef Robert Irvine made claims that he was a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and had been given a castle by the Queen herself. His official bio claimed a food degree from a prestigious university—which the university denied. It turns out the Food Network chef was seriously spicing up his resume. Irvine was forced to apologize. "I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences ... [with] the Royal Family," Irvine said. "I am truly sorry for misleading people and misstating the facts."
Source: ... vine_N.htm



Bronze Star for Deceit? Bob Levy, the former Mayor of Atlantic City, had long boasted that he had been an Army Green Beret with two Bronze stars who had served two tours of duty in Vietnam. But after a local newspaper investigated, the Mayor admitted his war heroics were a lie. He skipped town and was forced to resign.



A Case of Fantasy Football? In Maryland, state lawmaker Michael Vaughan claimed on his official bio that he had played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys for three years. But when a reporter investigated and the Cowboys denied it, the politician acknowledged an “error on my campaign website."
Source: ... -have-a-3/



Catch Him If You Can? Frank Abagnale posed as an airline pilot, doctor and lawyer with a Harvard degree. In reality, he was a teenage con man and serial check forger. His autobiography, full of con-man hype and impossible to verify, became the basis for the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” Abagnale served several years in prison and today is a security consultant and lecturer.
Source: ... et-baker28



Top Gun Fired? James Joseph Minder, the Chairman of the Board of Smith & Wesson, had an impressive resume. But his list of accomplishments failed to mention the 15 years he had spent in prison for armed robbery and attempted escape. In fact, a newspaper article from 1959 referred to him as the “shotgun bandit.” When the convictions became public, the gun-company executive swiftly resigned.
Source: ... /index.htm ... %2C1877402



Dean of Admissions? Marilee Jones, the Dean of Admissions at MIT, claimed on her resume she had degrees from three prestigious colleges, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College. In reality, the longtime dean, renowned for guiding nervous high-school students through MIT’s application process, had fabricated her credentials. She said in a press release that she had lacked "courage" to correct her résumé, and stepped down.
Source: ... 66/?sid=at



Credentials Un-Sealed? Texas A&M's No. 3 administrator presented himself as a former Navy SEAL with a doctorate from Tufts University. But military records made clear that Alexander Kemos never was part of the elite fighting force. And university officials confirmed that Kemos didn’t have a doctorate, either. Kemos was forced out of his $300,000-a-year position as the top adviser to the Texas A&M's President.
Source: ... 56724.html



Hardwired for Exaggeration? Former Radio Shack CEO David J. Edmondson claimed on his official company bio that he had earned degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California. But the school never even offered a degree in theology, and Edmondson was forced to admit errors and step down after a newspaper challenged his academic credentials.
Source: ... i-radio211



Counterfeit Colonel? As a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel, William Hillar was a popular consultant and lecturer who taught counterterrorism at the prestigious Monterey Institute of International Studies. His bio boasted of his extensive international experience in “tactical counter-terrorism.” Hillar frequently mesmerized audiences with the story of how his own daughter had been kidnapped and tortured before being thrown into the sea. But it was all a massive fraud. Hillar never served in the Special Forces, did not receive counter-terrorism training and did not lose his daughter to sex traffickers. In 2011, the con man was sentenced to 21 months in prison for wire fraud. Prosecutors said Hillar even admitted that he fabricated the story about his daughter, who is alive and well.
Source: ... enced.html



Doctored Credentials? Dr. William Hamman was a respected cardiologist who wowed other doctors with his lectures at medical conferences. He trained hospital staffers how to handle simulated medical exercises, and lined up millions of dollars in research grants and salaries at hospitals and universities. But Hamman was not a doctor, and never graduated from medical school. A routine background check uncovered his 15-year charade.
Source: ... ake17.html


That Time Joe Biden Lied About His Academic Credentials: The presidential candidate bragged about graduating in the top half of his class at law school. He was 76th in a class of 85.
by Ben Dreyfuss
May 3, 2019

A commenter at the wonderful blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money dug up this C-SPAN video of Joe Biden lying about his academic credentials in 1987.

He later apologized for misrepresenting his record. Here’s the New York Times report published soon after the incident.

In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: “I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inaccurate.”

As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: “I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors – I said ‘three’ and should have said ‘two.'” Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.

”With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,” the statement went on. “My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.”

In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ”My recollection is – and I’d have to confirm this – but I don’t recall paying any money to go to law school.” Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ”on half scholarship based on financial need.”

In his statement today, Mr. Biden did not directly dispute this, but said he received a scholarship from the Syracuse University College of Law “based in part on academics” as well as a grant from the Higher Education Scholarship Fund of the state of Delaware. He said the law school “arranged for my first year’s room and board by placing me as an assistant resident adviser in the undergraduate school.”

As for the moot court competition, Mr. Biden said he had won such a competition, with a partner, in Kingston, Ontario, on Dec. 12, 1967.

You should read the whole thing.

There is also a very weird part of the video where Biden seems to say that Martin Luther King, Jr. and the women’s suffrage movement lacked policy ideas.

“When we got involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Frank, nobody asked Martin Luther King what his legislative agenda was. He marched to change attitudes. When the women’s movement started, it did not move with a constitutional amendment. They marched to change attitudes.”

MLK definitely did have legislative goals! And he was asked about them a lot! Gave a lot of speeches about them! And the women’s suffrage movement was responsible for two constitutional amendments.


These high school journalists uncovered a principal’s resume lie
by Abigail Hess@AbigailJHess
Published Thu, Apr 6 201711:46 AM EDTU pdated Thu, Apr 6 20172:36 PM EDT

It was a big win for “meddling kids” everywhere.

On March 29th, the student reporters at Pittsburgh High School in Kansas published an article in the school’s paper, The Booster Redux, scrutinizing the resume of new principal Amy Robertson. It later led to the administrator’s resignation.

Robertson, who had been approved for the role by the local board of education, claimed to have earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa, a master’s degree and a doctorate degree from Corllins University, and a teaching degree from the University of Cambridge.

But Pittsburg High junior Gina Mathew told CNBC that students were surprised by how little they were told about their incoming principal and decided to investigate further.

“There really was no information being provided on this new administrator coming in,” says Mathew, “so we felt it was our duty to make sure that the community was informed.”

As student reporters looked deeper into Robertson’s credentials, her story began to unravel.

Connor Bathazor, a 17-year-old junior at Pittsburgh High, told The Washington Post, “There were some things that just didn’t quite add up.” Maddie Baden told The Kansas City Star that when they researched Corllins University, “We found a website that didn’t work.”

Robertson claimed to have received her M.A. in 1994 and her Ph.D. in 2010. But the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that Corllins University had been closed since 1986, and Robertson was also unable to provide evidence confirming her degree from the University of Tulsa. On April 4th, Robertson resigned.

While the students say they never intended to undermine the new principal, they felt a responsibility to report their findings.

“She was going to be the head of our school,” says Trina Paul, Pittsburg High senior and editor of the newspaper, “and we wanted to be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials.”

The students’ reporting has earned them praise from across the U.S. — and a day off from school.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:30 am

Part 1 of 7

Nehru: The Lotus Eater From Kashmir
by D.F. Karaka

In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters (Greek: λωτοφάγοι), were a race of people living on an island dominated by the Lotus tree, a plant whose botanical identity (if based on a real plant at all) is uncertain. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were a narcotic, causing the inhabitants to sleep in peaceful apathy. Figuratively, 'lotus-eater' denotes "a person who spends their time indulging in pleasure and luxury rather than dealing with practical concerns".

-- Lotus-eaters, by Wikipedia

To Pita Without Any Fanfare of Trumpets

Table of Contents:

1. Paris Episode
2. Heritage
3. Two Ornamental Pillars
4. ‘Liberation’
5. Manpower
6. Intolerance
7. Spotting Genius
8. The Promised Food
9. The Emperor Himself
10. The Oracle of Delhi
11. In Mountbatten’s Jeep
12. Big Talk
13. Spellbound
14. Imperious
15. The Glamour is Gone


In June of 1952 I was in Paris. At the house of Andre Leleu, the interior decorator, I met an old carpenter, seventy years of age. In his free Bohemian way, Leleu often asked one of his workmen to stay on and share his lunch.

The carpenter was a rigidly orthodox Frenchman, with light blue eyes and an almost transparent complexion. His snow-white hair, well brushed, was carefully parted at the side. His suit, though ancient, was tidily worn. His powder-blue shirt was neatly buttoned up at the collar, but he apparently thought it pointless to wear a tie.

Leleu, who was always stressing ‘basic values’, said this was the ‘real France’. In turn, he told Monsieur Letzichez that I was from India.

'Ah oui,' the carpenter registered, without being unduly impressed.

‘You know about India, ne c'est pas? Leleu went on to drive the point home and also to make Monsieur Letzichez’s dormant reflexes spring to attention. And Monsieur Letzichez oui-oui-ed a few more times.

The ‘real France’ was not responding so well on this occasion, but Leleu was not giving up. With prodding, he was confident Monsieur Letzichez would produce some intelligent observation on my country. Leleu asked him if he knew of Gandhi.

'Mais oui' the carpenter replied with an of-courseness which ruled out any further questioning. Everyone knew Gandhi. ‘Gandhi was a great man,’ he volunteered, but qualified the remark by adding ‘for his country’.

‘For his country?’ Leleu asked, a little surprised.

Monsieur Letzichez repeated himself: ‘Gandhi was a great man -- for his country.’

‘Why only for his country?’ Leleu asked.

Monsieur Letzichez said Gandhi was for his country; and he was great. When he died, it was a great loss -- ‘for his country’.

By now Leleu was not clear, nor was I, what was the particular significance of this phrase ‘for his country’. ‘Would you say he was as great as Churchill was par example -- for his country?’ Leleu asked, in order to clarify the situation and ascertain comparative values.

Monsieur Letzichez said the two were different: Churchill was a politician; Gandhi, he explained, was ‘more religious’.

There was a pause and I chipped in to ask: ‘And what do you think of Nehru?’

The expression on Monsieur Letzichez’s face turned completely blank, as if I was asking him about some obscure Asiatic. ‘Neyrue?’ he said, then, shaking his head, added: ‘Je ne le connais pas.'

He had never heard of the man.

That’s how this book began.


I am no iconoclast. I am just one of the disillusioned. There is a whole generation in India like me, whom Jawaharlal Nehru has let down. We are too old to look for a new hero to worship, but young enough to feel the sting of defeat.

We were the young men who whipped ourselves into a frenzy as our long struggle for freedom showed signs of ending and the goal came within sight. The British were leaving and we were on the threshold of a new life. The path to freedom was lit with our hopes and aspirations. Gandhi was our torch-bearer. Swaraj, that beautiful Indian word which connoted freedom, ‘home-rule’ and democracy rolled up in one, did not mean only the ousting of the British; it was to bring to us the component parts of that larger freedom to which all men of self-respect aspire: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religious belief, freedom of public meeting, freedom from want, fear and hunger.

In Gandhi we believed we had a man of the stature of Lenin, and in Nehru, who was his second-in-command, a democrat of the shape and tone of Abraham Lincoln. Then freedom came. Gandhi retired, leaving Jawaharlal Nehru to crystallise and express in words the pent-up feelings and emotions of the people he had led for a quarter of a century. As Jawaharlal said: ‘A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.’ As we listened to these words on our little radio sets at home, we found in Nehru’s words an echo of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. ‘Freedom and power bring responsibility,’ he said. ‘The past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting, but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken . . . The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye . . . Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster, in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments . . .’ I felt goose-flesh creeping over me that night, around the midnight hour. It was August 15th, 1947.

Not many months passed before Mahatma Gandhi disappeared from our midst. He fell at an assassin’s hand with the name of God on his lips. His ashes, symbolic of him, were strewn into our rivers. He had given us a new creed, a new faith, a new religion based on the two cardinal principles of truth and non-violence, and a new name by which we could now call ourselves. We were no longer a little part of a great Empire; we were an entity unto ourselves -- the Republic of India. That was the heritage Gandhi left us. As part of it, he left us his political heir, Jawaharlal Nehru.


I forget where I saw him first, but the picture still remains vivid in my mind of a handsome aristocrat with well-chiselled features, looking more like a Greek god than a Kashmiri Brahmin. He makes a terrific first impression.

Fate had been kind to this young man, who had had the advantage of being born into a well-to-do Indian home. His father, Motilal, was a wealthy Allahabad lawyer who had already made his mark in India, both in his profession and in politics, and who had gained admission into what may be called the Indian Cliveden set which grouped around the rebel, Gandhi.

Long before Jawaharlal returned from England, the elder Indian politicians had already reserved a place for him on the rostrum of the Indian National Congress. The young Jawahar, with his schooling at Harrow and his polished Cambridge manners, was obviously an asset to the group of khaddar-clad patriots, who struggled in their own way to be the articulate expression of a people’s desire for freedom. It was like throwing Hedy Lamarr into a village fair in order to attract the crowd.

Nehru was undoubtedly that attraction. He was the idol of the younger men. He fired their imagination. He attracted them to the struggle. Unconsciously he played the role of a recruiting officer to the ranks of the Congress, for, wherever he went in the name of the Congress, people flocked to him. Therefore, when he returned to India, Jawaharlal got easy entry into the inner circle of Indian nationals, and overnight he became a leader without having to go through the mill.

Nehru’s early contacts with the West and its political philosophies have left a permanent mark on him. If he cannot translate these philosophies into action, he still faithfully continues to pay lip-service to them. Nehru was never born of the masses and he will never be one of them, though circumstances have forced him to mix with large crowds of our people. Whenever I have seen him, through the years, he has always stood aloof from the crowd: an aristocrat by birth, a well-read, cultured and facile Kashmiri Pandit. Although he has assumed mass leadership, he is uncomfortable in his surroundings. He once seemed impatient with the mediocrity he found around him, but gradually this mediocrity has grown on him, and his resistance to it has worn down. He has always been known to lose his temper; in the initial stages it was only because he was impatient, but now it has become part of the mental make-up of the man. As he becomes more and more aware of his limitations, he tends to become nervous and, at times, even afraid. You can see he dislikes himself for having behaved in that manner, but that is his temperament -- hot-tempered, easily irritated, sometimes unbelievably intolerant.

Nehru once believed that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but this is not the way things have worked out for him. Of late he has been seen going around in circles, like a dog trying to catch its tail, and getting increasingly annoyed at his inability to do so. Finally, we have seen him exhaust himself in the process and end up with delivering yet another sermon to the nation, pious, rambling, full of platitudes and good purpose, but achieving nothing in the process.

Non-violence, for instance, only came to him because of his blind and implicit faith in Gandhi. In the hectic days of our struggle he gave us the impression that he would have preferred to pick up a gun and fight his way out of the Bastille which was once India, and lead us to the open Elysian fields of freedom, rather than spend years in offering steady, solid moral resistance which was the essence of satyagraha. But as Gandhi never compromised on this fundamental issue, non-violence prevailed. Today, Nehru is left with the creed on his hands, unable to apply it at home, but content to preach it in the assemblies of the world, even with a world conflict looming on the horizon, and the power blocs rearming for action.

Power, as Nehru said, brought responsibility, and he who was for us an inspiration became overnight the symbol of government and the administration. In the eyes of thousands of Indians, however, the man he succeeded was not Mahatma Gandhi, but Lord Louis Mountbatten, from whom power was transferred. As responsibility weighed on him, the image of the democrat shattered under the strain. The splinters took odd shapes; one little piece resembled a demilitarised General Franco in a Gandhi cap and khaddar kurta,1 [1. Indian shirt of home-spun material.] and yet another shattered fragment was so like the ranting and verbose Ramsay MacDonald, whose latter-day public utterances indicated that he was gradually losing his grip on the problems with which he was faced. Something had always to look Oriental about Nehru, even a tiny piece of him, and as one picked up another broken piece, it bore a close resemblance to a flamboyant Chiang Kai-shek, who moved from the mainland of China to his retreat in Formosa, persisting in the belief that the West was still looking upon him to redeem the East. That is the level at which Pandit Nehru has steadied himself in five years of independence. Naturally, he is somewhat nettled that he, whom everyone in India applauded as the greatest Indian of them all, was able to achieve so little for his people and his country.

All great men have their little weaknesses, which characterise them. Nehru’s weakness is emotion, which rules him much more than his head. He has got away with it through the years, because he has always been able to count on the personal affection the people have for him, which has carried him through every and any opposition. That is his strength. That is also his Achilles heel. The destiny of India cannot perpetually depend on an individual’s emotional appeal, and everyday affairs of administration cannot always be conducted by intuition. Consequently, the planning of Jawaharlal Nehru, whether it is the planning of our nationalism or of our economy, has been chaotic. Figures cannot tally when they are based purely on emotion.

Men often call themselves progressive when they only mean that they are not reactionary. Progressive men start and lead progressive movements like the many we have seen spring up around us all over the world in the last two decades. Some of these progressive movements have had a great fascination for Nehru. He always likes to be looked upon as a modern; he wants to be a Picasso hung up in the Royal Academy, looking upon the classical forms around him with a supercilious air. He is easily moved by the righteousness of a cause and by anything that smacks of a crusade. He always comes back from his trips abroad full of admiration for some other people in some other part of the world who may be fighting their battle for freedom, whether that battle is to achieve freedom or to retain it. He is fond of reading literature which speaks the language of freedom. All this has endeared him to our people, to whom he is more a legend than a practical leader. In terms of folklore, he could be likened to a prince, ready with his sword to defend the unarmed, to guard the rights of man, to fight for human justice. But all this Tennysonian allegory of the days of King Arthur and Lancelot does not sit so well at the desk of the Prime Minister of India, more especially when this knight with the shining piece of steel has constantly got to dip it in ordinary blue-black ink to append his signature to executive actions, some of which could be likened to those of a small-town dictator in a neo-fascist state. That new streak, perceptible in Jawaharlal Nehru, some say has come with responsibility; others strongly suspect it has come with power.

To understand this, one has to go back fifteen years, when, in the staid Modern Review1 [1. November 1937.] of Calcutta, a magazine which circulates among ‘highbrows’ only, there appeared an article, anonymously written, entitled ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’. Readers of the Modern Review were disturbed by the appearance of this ridiculously melodramatic article in an otherwise weighty publication. The author was obviously an enthusiastic college student whom the editor was trying desperately hard to encourage. Nehru was at that time President of the Indian National Congress, and he had indicated his unwillingness to carry on the appointment for another term. The young writer was trying to dissuade the Congress from reelecting him, on the grounds that in Jawaharlal was the germ of a fascist, and that if he were pampered too much, the pampering would go to his head. Of course, he wrote in glowing terms about Jawaharlal all the way through the article, as some of the passages quoted below will indicate:

‘ . . . The Rashtrapati2 [2. Sanskrit word for President.] looked up as he passed swiftly through the waiting crowds, his hands went up and were joined together in salute and his pale hard face was lit up by a smile. It was a warm personal smile, and the people who saw it responded to it immediately and smiled and cheered in return.

‘The smile passed away and again the face became stern and sad, impassive in the midst of the emotion that it had roused in the multitude. Almost it seemed that the smile and the gesture accompanying it had little reality behind them; they were just tricks of the trade to gain the goodwill of the crowds whose darling he had become. Was it so?

‘Watch him again. There is a great procession, and tens of thousands of persons surround his car and cheer him in an ecstasy of abandonment. He stands on the seat of the car, balancing himself rather well, straight and seemingly tall, like a god, serene and unmoved by the seething multitude. Suddenly there is that smile again, or even a merry laugh, and the tension seems to break and the crowd laughs with him, not knowing what he is laughing at. He is god-like no longer but a human being, claiming kinship and comradeship with the thousands who surround him, and the crowd feels happy and friendly and takes him to its heart. But the smile is gone and the pale stern face is there again . . .

Jawaharlal is a personality which compels interest and attention. But they have a vital significance for us, for he is bound up with the present in India, and probably the future and he has the power in him to do great good to India or great injury ....

‘ . . . From the far north to Cape Comorin he has gone like some triumphant Caesar passing by, leaving a trail of glory and a legend behind him. Is all this for him just a passing fancy which amuses him, or some deep design or the play of some force which he himself does not know? Is it his will to power of which he speaks in his autobiography that is driving him from crowd to crowd and making him whisper to himself: “I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars”?’

Then came the young writer’s warning:

‘. . . Men like Jawaharlal with all their capacity for great and good work are unsafe in a democracy. He calls himself a democrat and a socialist, and no doubt he does so in all earnestness, but every psychologist knows that the mind is ultimately a slave to the heart and that logic can always be made to fit in with the desires and irrepressible urges of man. A little twist and Jawaharlal might turn into a dictator, sweeping aside the paraphernalia of a slow-moving democracy. He might still use the language and slogans of democracy and socialism, but we all know how fascism has fattened on this language and then cast it away as useless lumber.' (The italics are mine.)

On the other hand, the writer went on to say, ‘Jawaharlal is certainly not fascist either by conviction or by temperament. He is far too much of an aristocrat for the crudity and vulgarity of fascism ...’ Since when has aristocracy been a bar to fascism? In fact, history proves that it has fostered it. But when an editor decides to encourage a young man who fancies he has a flair for writing, it would be pointless to mutilate the script on grounds of historical accuracy. So the Modern Review printed this effusion, obviously without any sub-editing.

Soon the young writer was becoming wobbly. He could not make up his mind about Jawaharlal, and ended by proving that Jawarharlal could not become a fascist but that he would! The passages in the article that followed read:

‘Jawaharlal cannot become a fascist. And yet he has all the makings of a dictator in him -- vast popularity, strong will directed to a well-defined purpose, energy, pride, organisational capacity, ability, hardness, and, with all his love of the crowd, an intolerance of others and certain contempt for the weak and inefficient. His flashes of temper are well known, and even when they are controlled, the curling of the lips betrays him. His overmastering desire to get things done, to sweep away what he dislikes and build anew, will hardly brook for long the slow process of democracy. He may keep the husk but he will see to it that it bends to his will. In normal times he would just be an efficient and successful executive, but in this revolutionary epoch, Caesarism is always at the door, and is it not possible that Jawaharlal might fancy himself as a Caesar?

‘Therein lies danger for Jawaharlal and for India. For it is not through Caesarism that India will attain freedom, and though she may prosper a little under a benevolent and efficient despotism she will remain stunted, and the day of emancipation of her people will be delayed . . .

‘Let us not . . . spoil him by too much adulation and praise. His conceit, if any, is already formidable. It must be checked. We want no Caesars.’

This quite incredible article, which read like a rough shooting script for a Cecil B. De Mille version of an Indian Quo Vadis, was obviously not taken seriously by anyone except the author himself. It certainly made no difference whatsoever to the Indian National Congress, which voted Jawaharlal as President despite all warnings.

Imagine our surprise when some years later it was revealed that the author of this anonymous absurdity was none other than Jawaharlal Nehru himself.

Nehru has never contradicted the attribution of the authorship of the article to him. It has been reproduced again and again, the last known occasion being August 31st, 1951, when the New Delhi weekly Thought reproduced it under the title ‘Jawaharlal NEHRU -- By Jawaharlal Nehru’. Nor is Pandit Nehru careless about contradictions. The meticulous care with which he scrutinises every remark affecting him even remotely, and the frequent occasions on which he sets the whole machinery of the government of India, now at his command, into action to contradict even a single inaccurate or unfavourable comment in the Indian press about his regime, his ministers, his government, his policy or himself, make it certain that the frequent attributions could not possibly have escaped him.

Aristocracy was no bar to Jawaharlal’s metamorphosis. We spoiled him with too much adulation and praise, despite his own warning. His conceit, which he said was already formidable, grew with power until it became chronic with what he called responsibility. No one could check it, not even Nehru himself. In time he became Caesar, as he said he would -- or would he prefer Pandit Caesar? How could we ever drop that scholastic prefix which distinguished him from the ordinary Indians over whom he held undisputed sway after we were freed from the British?

Nehru has always lived, even during the days he spent in jail, somewhere in the clouds. Like some of the Russian princes who have remotely stemmed from the late Tsar, he refuses to come down to earth. Drama must always surround him; not the light comedy of the foibles of everyday life, such as you would see in any little bourgeois theatre, but the heavier variety, something like Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, accompanied by the music of Wagner, preferably the Funeral March, at the end of which Nehru could rise to rhetorical heights such as when he said on Gandhi’s death: ‘The light that shone in this world was no ordinary light ... for that light represented something more than the immediate present; it represented the living, the eternal truths . . .’

Something like that must always happen around Jawaharlal Nehru to bring out the greatness in the man. He is not just a steady plodder.

Robert Bernays, that brilliant young M.P. who was killed in an air crash during the war, once told me that Churchill was a man who wanted life to be one great tragedy and that he should always be in the centre of it. When I ran into Bernays accidentally in Rome, the fateful night before his plane crashed on its way back to the United Kingdom, I reminded him about this little epigram he had produced in Oxford many years ago. ‘Well, of course,’ Bernays said, ‘he has got the right part now, and he is certainly playing it brilliantly.’ In recent months I have often thought that this description of Churchill fits Nehru in the setting of India and Asia. Nehru has been at his best fighting for the liberation of our people, and, as the territorial limits of his crusade have expanded, he has been privately rehearsing to play the role of Liberator of Asia. But, as Asia is not likely to be ‘liberated’ except by communism. Pandit Nehru would find the role of a Soviet satellite somewhat irksome to his Caesarian susceptibilities.

But at home there are no such great and dramatic roles to play. Instead, innumerable little details keep cropping up in Nehru’s India. There is the Congress party machine continually in the process of being overhauled; there is the Planning Commission, which has been incessantly planning and producing blue-prints, apparently too impractical or expensive to be translated into action; there is the food problem, which Nehru has tried to solve with grandiose speeches on self-sufficiency and with the mass planting of trees, Vanamahotsava, which never grew, leaving our people dependent on the charity of nations we had antagonised; there is the acute shortage of foreign exchange; cloth is periodically rationed and then released overnight because of a glut due to under-consumption. These little things need the attention of Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, and once again President of the Congress.  

But to our three hundred and sixty million people these little things are as important as freedom; they are freedom itself. The greatness that is in Nehru unfortunately does not come out in rationing coupons or at economic conferences. It wants vivid colours to portray it; it needs to be painted on the broad canvas of suffering humanity. The canvas has, moreover, to be of pure khaddar, or, at least, hand-woven and hand-spun somewhere in Asia.
It required a world war to bring out the genius of Winston Churchill; that of Jawaharlal Nehru will likewise have to wait its turn to express itself. The failure of a local monsoon does not bring it out, even though this is how all our famines begin.  


Nehru’s over-preoccupation with Asia, which he regards as his beat and orbit of protection, is due to a constant fear within him of the possibility of the white man returning, or at least of his ability to achieve remote control over Asian affairs. Nehru is very sensitive about anything that savours of Western patronage; he will not brook even a charitable gesture, however genuine, and even when he agrees to take an occasional loan or any form of material help from the West, whether in the shape of food-grains or capital, he will not take it as a gift, but insists on regarding it as a loan, given unconditionally and ‘with no strings attached’. The only deviation from strict international financing he allows himself is to accept an indefinite date for its redemption. The obligation to pay is therefore always there and negatives any presumption of foreign patronage.

Chiang Kai-shek used to take the assistance and be thankful for it, but Nehru’s intense national pride and his highly-strung sense of self-respect make it necessary for the loan to appear almost forced upon him. Never before has a nation shown such determination to stand on its dignity at such a chronic stage of its helplessness. It is nevertheless determination that counts; all things done under the shadow of the Asoka pillar appear to have a sanctity which they did not have under the Royal Crown. In the old days, the offer of foreign aid would have been construed as an attempt to dominate the East and to enslave its people. Today the far greater assistance which we receive from those quarters is regarded only as friendly gestures of fellow democracies. In the old days, too, we would have boycotted this help from others; today we accept it, but nullify the danger of patronage by saying there will be ‘no strings attached’. Just as the ideals of administration weigh more with Nehru than administration itself, so, too, practicality takes second place to the greater value we attach to the gaining of a position in the comity of nations where, despite our recent entry, our representatives often behave as if they own the place. This innocence in flaunting our new status is a passing phase; not only India but the whole East, Near to Far, is passing through it as a rebound from the years of servitude. In Iran, Mussadiq believes the oil-taps of the Middle East can be switched on and off from his bedside, and Nehru, with equal Oriental charm, appears to be under the impression that India virtually has a casting vote on most of the important problems discussed by the United Nations.

Our attitude to the powers of the West has, therefore, been conditioned by the personal complexes of Pandit Nehru. The translation of these complexes into action has become our foreign policy.

This policy is based on two ornamental pillars: the one is the enhancement of our prestige abroad; the other, neutrality.

The first pillar has been raised brick by brick with Nehru’s own hands. It is he who has worked out the intricate details of how our prestige abroad should be enhanced. The belief is widespread among his still-constant followers that were he to be spared from his arduous duties at home, and allowed to roam the cities of the world as a pedlar of goodwill, he would promote enough understanding to last us a lifetime. Others do not think that Nehru’s personal presence is necessary in view of the whole host of celebrities who represent us abroad, occasionally or permanently.

Nor is the privilege of enhancing our prestige abroad the sole prerogative of the star turns of the diplomatic corps. The whole story can best be read in the report of the Auditor-General, Narahari Rao, who was sent out to check on our missions abroad, and who reported, to Pandit Nehru’s dismay, that accounting was by no means the forte of the corps. The Auditor-General’s report revealed inter alia that in one instance an equivalent of twenty-seven thousand rupees1 [1. Approx. £2,000.] was withdrawn from the bank account of the mission for the private use of the Minister, who credited the amount to his bank account a few weeks later. The irregularities did not stop with mere private and unauthorised borrowings from the official cash, which at least were restored after long periods. The report disclosed that there were also instances of purchases being made without proper sanction, which were prima facie objectionable and extravagant. Some of these purchases were said to be of a private nature, such as cigarettes, theatre tickets, flowers, etc., required by the officials of the mission. A subsequent thorough inquiry confirmed that there had been misuse of government money and falsification of accounts, and that some of the officers of the legation had employed highly improper and high-handed methods.

‘It is a pity,’ our correspondent1 [1. Thakorelal M. Desai in The Current, November 7th, 1951] said, breaking the story of the contents of this startling report, ‘that the identity of those who were responsible for these objectionable practices, especially those who are still members of the diplomatic service, has been shrouded in mystery and left to the people to guess. Such finicky regard for the niceties of official etiquette and considerations of our prestige in the foreign capitals is clearly out of place in matters of such gravity.’

Personalities, though regarded as important at the time of selection to our newly formed diplomatic service -- in which the selectors have paid more attention to breeding than to form -- have to be discarded in any criticism of this corps. Otherwise we are accused of bad taste.

Nehru resents any kind of personal criticism or any pin-pointing or documentation, even in a question in Parliament, with regard to his pet service, which he once proudly announced was ‘hand-picked’ by him. The Indian taxpayer still finds it difficult to understand why, in the state of poverty in which we perpetually proclaim ourselves to be, there was such urgent need for one of our diplomatic representatives to re-condition his bathroom at the cost of fifteen hundred pounds, or for Pandit Nehru to sanction yet another large sum for the opening of yet another diplomatic branch office, when the head office has so little to do. But on these little points, which affect any department under Pandit Nehru’s personal supervision, inquisitive people, however highly placed, find themselves often clashing with the Pandit, to the latter’s irritation and the former’s eventual disillusion.

It was one such incident that resulted in the resignation of Dr John Matthai, whose services as Finance Minister Pandit Nehru had requested on lend-lease from the Tata billion-dollar industrial empire. The situation became intolerable for the Finance Minister when, every time he effected an economy, the cabinet over which Pandit Nehru presided ‘adopted proposals for expenditure either without or in anticipation of their [the Standing Finance Committee’s] approval’.1 [1. From Dr Matthai’s statement following his resignation.] Dr Matthai had resigned quietly, without stating any specific reasons whatsoever, but Nehru, in a speech he made in the South, without any warning to the Minister who had silently resigned, provoked a contradiction which spoke for itself. Dr Matthai said: ‘Some of the greatest offenders in this respect have been the ministries functioning under the immediate control of the Prime Minister. It has been for me a difficult uphill task, and a definite weakening of our campaign for economy has naturally resulted.’

‘The last case of this kind I had to deal with’, the former Finance Minister continued, ‘is typical of what is happening. When it was decided that our High Commissioner in the United Kingdom should be our Ambassador in Ireland, the Standing Finance Committee agreed to the proposal on the distinct understanding that no expenditure other than the travelling expenses of the High Commissioner should be incurred. There was to be no building or staff for the Embassy.

‘This proposal was agreed to in November last by the External Affairs Ministry as part of our economy campaign. But the High Commissioner would not accept the suggestion made by us and the matter was, therefore, brought before the cabinet, at the Prime Minister’s instance. The cabinet has now agreed that our Embassy in Dublin should be provided with a building and also staff, not merely without the approval of the Standing Finance Committee, but against its recommendations.’2 [2. Ibid.]  

So this fetish of enhancing prestige abroad is a personal weakness of Nehru, resulting from his complex that his India — Nehru’s India — must be made to look as great a land as any in the world. If only the outward show were backed by inner substance, the expenditure on this count would be worth our while. But this object cannot be achieved by putting fifth-rate diplomats into first-class motor-cars.

All this goodwill promotion and this exchange of understanding would have no meaning, according to Nehru, were it not to promote peace between the nations involved. Therefore, as a natural corollary to this, our foreign policy is based on the idea of maintaining the status quo as at the end of the second world war. Altering this balance of power would be permissible only if it were done by means short of war. Thus, the sliding of the whole of China behind the Iron Curtain is not regarded as an act of aggression by the U.S.S.R., or even an infiltration move. It should rather be regarded as the legitimate exercise of the Chinese people’s right of self-determination, expressed spontaneously under the indigenous leadership of the great triumvirate: Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai and Chu Teh. Presumably the old Generalissimo, Chiang, was moved from the Chinese mainland to his new retreat in Formosa by a constitutionally conducted referendum. It, however, becomes our duty, so Pandit Nehru’s mind runs, to recognise this de facto change in the constitution of China from a Republic under Chiang to a People’s Republic under the tutelage of the U.S.S.R. Yet the same Pandit Nehru was, but a few years ago, strolling in the gardens of Viceregal House, to Lord Linlithgow’s discomfort, with none other than the Chiangs whom Nehru phrased as ‘our valiant neighbours’. And when, on my return from China, I respectfully indicated to Nehru that Chiang’s days appeared to be numbered and that the Reds were doing a terrific job, he merely smiled at me in a knowing sort of way. Britain, too, has recognised Red China, but not with the pious platitudes in which our spokesmen glorified the event.

Not to recognise China would be to displease her, and, after all, the British had really no tangible right on Chinese soil. Even the cities which the British claim to have developed, admittedly with their capital, were built with cheap Chinese labour, and that falls under exploitation which Nehru will not tolerate. China for the Chinese, as India is now for the Indians. Conquest by arms never established a claim which an upright democrat, pledged to non-violence, can recognise; the subtle conquest by infiltration was, however, on a different footing. Thus the foundation was laid for the policy of neutrality which was to revolutionise the mind of Asia, and which was to be a forging-house for promoting understanding with the West. The sweeping changes over the map were only the manifestations of a natural evolution of an awakened Asia. All this was plausible, except for the strange coincidence that Asia was being stirred to life in a dawn which was noticeably red.  

Neutrality implied staying aloof from all forms of controversy which could not be settled without recourse to arms. Therefore, it also implied the denial of any moral support to one side which would provoke action by the other side. It implied the denial of any form of preparation for any eventuality, or any training for participation in any future conflict, other than that required for the guarding of our frontier with Pakistan. Militarily, India’s prime concern is to be a little stronger than Pakistan, but no more. That is the official outlook. The question of defending ourselves in the event of China waging a secondary war on India to support the U.S.S.R. in the coming world conflict does not arise, because Pandit Nehru has been convinced of China’s goodwill towards us.

It is now officially accepted in India that Mao has no territorial ambitions outside his own frontiers. The highly militarised manoeuvres of Chinese troops along and behind the Brahmaputra river, which the Chinese prefer to call the Tsangpo, have to be written off as P.T. exercises. Pandit Nehru is said to have been further impressed by Chinese good intentions because, when the Chinese accidentally crossed our border some time in 1950, they were polite enough to apologise for their mistake, and their erring soldiers were made to return every little item which they had pilfered or pillaged from our northern villages. After all, what is a little fraternisation between understanding neighbours?

The Sino-Indian War, also known as the Indo-China War and Sino-Indian Border Conflict, was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a Forward Policy in which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of the Line of Actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.

Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3,225 kilometre- (2,000 mile-) long Himalayan border, the Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962.
Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang La in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre. The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal to its claimed 'line of actual control'.

-- Sino-Indian War, by Wikipedia


Things took a somewhat different shape when the new Chinese war-lords kept paying far too much attention to their cultural affinities on the Indian borders while they too easily ignored those dubious regions which divided them from the U.S.S.R. For instance, the somewhat strange similarity between the Tibetan and the Chinese Mongol brought, overnight, whole garrisons into Tibet to proclaim a suzerainty which, although we did not dispute it, we never knew the Chinese were so keen on emphasising. As a result, our own military mission in Gyangtse, the outpost on our trade route to the North, disappeared, without our Foreign Minister, who was Nehru himself, being able to account in Parliament for this vanishing act.

To understand what was happening in these parts, it is necessary to review in fuller detail these recent events which transformed large tracts of sleepy areas into active communist pockets.

With the ‘liberation’ of Tibet by the Chinese, this once autonomous province, which at one time could exchange diplomatic missions with other nations, found its foreign affairs controlled directly from Peking. This was announced one fine day over Radio Peking, and no one in India was in any position to question Peking’s decision. Possession is ten-tenths of international law.

Below Tibet lie the two kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan, stretching over the top of our provinces of Bihar and north-west Assam. Tibet was too easily liberated. At first the Chinese had planned to enter Tibet from their provinces of Chinghai and Sikang, to the east, but in this process some of Red China’s reconnaissance units strayed into Indian territory, violating the McMahon Line, which is the recognised territorial demarcation between India and China. It was then that Nehru protested and the Chinese promptly withdrew, admonishing their troops. The Chinese then swung the whole operation north-west and proceeded to carry out their ‘liberation’ movement from Sinkiang, north-west of Tibet, to avoid the risk of clashing with India and offending our so-called neutrality.

It was as the Chinese rolled along the Brahmaputra, or the Tsangpo, that our mission at Gyangtse tactfully withdrew along with the garrison battalion of the Indian army which had been placed there to guard our lines of communication.

In November of 1950 there appeared on the front page of The Current an article over my name, entitled ‘Nehru’s neutrality brings Mao to our frontier’. It dealt with Nehru’s reactions to the invasion of Tibet.

Relying always on his ‘hand-picked’ men, Nehru had refused on more than one occasion to take the advice of seasoned experts on their subjects. Our representative in Lhasa at the time was an Englishman by the name of Richardson, who had continually warned the Indian government against the recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet. Richardson was accepted as a competent authority on Tibetan affairs. Pandit Nehru, however, did not relish taking advice on Asian affairs from an Englishman. The government of India recalled Richardson from Lhasa. In his place, Pandit Nehru appointed an Indian, Dr Sinha. Dr Sinha was from the new Indian diplomatic service; he was formerly in Peking. The learned doctor was credited with a deep understanding of Mao Tse-tung.

It is now an open secret that the Chinese invasion of Tibet came as a complete surprise to the Indian government. Comment is superfluous on the fact that neither Sardar Pannikar, who was our former Ambassador at Peking, nor our new representative in Tibet, Dr Sinha, had any information to communicate to New Delhi on Chinese troop movements and manoeuvres which preceded the coup d’etat. They had apparently no knowledge of Chinese intentions with regard to Tibet. Pandit Nehru, when he heard of the invasion, was furious; he sent a frantic cable to Ambassador Pannikar in Peking. The message is said to have read somewhat as follows: ‘Either you did not explain our point of view to the Chinese, or you did not understand what the Chinese told you.’ Two days later, a cool and collected Ambassador replied that he knew nothing of the invasion until he heard about it over All-India Radio!

It is no secret that at the last Pacific conference at Lucknow, high level Americans present told the Indian representatives in very specific terms that they did not understand from where India got its information about China, but that American Intelligence reports were very clear on the point that China was shortly to invade Tibet. Surely this must have reached the ears of the Prime Minister, but Pandit Nehru often closes his ears to anything that he does not wish to hear.

Nor was this the only occasion on which Nehru has ignored advice given to him on Tibet. He had been told, we understand, that we should increase our representation at Kashgar, the vital key-point where Tibet touches the Chinese province of Sinkiang. Kashgar is on the direct caravan route, and we had only one trade representative there. Pandit Nehru disregarded this advice. He probably feared that our keeping an eye on this vital spot would offend the Chinese government. He went further; he recalled our sole representative, Mr Sathe, on the eve of the invasion. Mr Sathe returned, ostensibly for consultation, and while he was in New Delhi the Chinese army struck at Tibet. The Chinese came from two places, and one of them was Sinkiang.  

The invasion of Tibet has had momentous consequences for the defence of India, which neither our government nor our people wish to appreciate. The border of Tibet runs along the Indian frontier for approximately two thousand miles. Hitherto, the Himalayas have been our silent sentinels, separating us from the Chinese, but now it has been realised that this mighty mountain barrier is no longer impregnable. Moreover, the Indian army and the other defence services, in which we all naturally take great pride, are hardly equipped to fight the first-rate power which China has become under Soviet influence. It was different when the Chinese were only limp, knock-kneed soldiers, as in the days of Chiang Kai-shek, but the army of Mao is a very different proposition. In the event of a clash, Mao can always fall back on the U.S.S.R., whereas we, by our neutrality, have alienated all our friends.

Our deliberate unpreparedness is unforgivable. So eminent an historian as Professor Arnold Toynbee has said in his Civilization on Trial that there would be two theatres of war in World War III, and that one of them would be Tibet. Tibet touches not only the disturbed area of Nepal, but also the disputed portion of Kashmir; important trade routes pass through Ladakh. Tibet also borders on Assam, which has been for some time in a restless state due to perpetual communist activities of which our government is aware, but not poignantly. Attempts to point out to our government the danger of underestimating the communist menace in these areas have been dismissed by the remark that the communists are ‘not unduly unmanageable’.

Pandit Nehru has always had faith in the Asiatic, however treacherous certain Asiatics can be. An indication of this is to be seen in the exchange of official correspondence between India and China, released to the press on November 3rd, 1950. The correspondence was on the subject of the delay of the departure of the Tibetan delegation from New Delhi, on the personnel of which China had said foreign influence was being brought to bear. India said; ‘Owing to lack of knowledge on the part of the Tibetan delegation in dealing with other countries, and the necessity of obtaining instructions from their government who in turn had to consult their assemblies, certain further delay took place. The government of India do not believe that any foreign influence hostile to China has been responsible for the delay in the delegation’s departure.’

There was nothing apologetic about China’s reply. China said: ‘The Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China would like to make it clear; Tibet is an integral part of China’s territory. The problem of Tibet is entirely a domestic problem of China. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army must enter Tibet, liberate the Tibetan people and defend the frontiers of China. This is the resolved policy of the Central People’s Government.’ When this correspondence was released, I knew it was pointless kidding ourselves that the leadership of Asia was ever likely to rest with us. Mao was way ahead of the Pandit.

But Nehru’s ‘neutrality’ was in no way disturbed by this major operation in Tibet, whereby a huge territory, situated among formidable mountains and stretching thirteen hundred kilometres from south to north and two thousand kilometres from east to west, virtually slipped behind the ever-expanding Iron Curtain. The directive issued by Peking to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for this offensive said; ‘This attack is to liberate three million inhabitants of Tibet from the imperialist yoke and to strengthen the defence of western frontiers’. We swallowed this pious platitude. Tibet may be essential to China’s defence; it can also be dangerous to India in the event of our being attacked.

The ‘liberation’ was confined to Tibet, but its effect overflowed farther south. Nepal, where the Gurkha soldiers come from, began to show signs of becoming unstable.

Nepal had long been an almost feudal state, lorded over by the handle-bar moustachioed military chiefs, the Ranas. In the name of democracy the Ranas were deposed, and a grim three-cornered struggle ensued for political power, in which the two Koirala brothers vied with each other. The one was Chief Minister of Nepal, the other controlled the Nepal Congress party. While these two brothers were sparring, a third factor cropped up on the scene. A small band of insurgents attempted to blast their way to power; but beaten by the government forces, who called themselves loyalists, their leader crossed the frontier into Tibet and escaped to China, where, it is reliably learned, he is being trained to ‘liberate’ Nepal in due course. Communists everywhere, after liberating themselves, always seem anxious to liberate everyone else around them.

No one had paid much attention to Nepal during all these years. Life in Nepal was controlled by a primitive economy which fitted into the feudal pattern. Its international finance transactions were confined to receiving tributes from the British and the Indian governments, in return for which Nepal allowed its Gurkhas to be recruited into the armies of these two governments, virtually as mercenaries. On the outgoing side, it used to pay money tribute to China because of some obscure historical war which Nepal had lost. The modern term for this sort of payment would be reparations.

Today Nepal has become a focal point of the world’s attention because of its strategic position. It is below the Himalayan range, and therefore a vital defence position which India cannot afford to lose. The cultural war now going on, between China on one side and India and the Western democracies on the other, for Nepalese understanding and goodwill is only a cover for a future military position which these two sides hope to acquire in Nepal. Point Four aid to the Nepalese cannot have been prompted entirely by humanitarian motives. Even the stray Americans in the hotels of Kalimpong, who maintain they are interested only in rare fauna, are hardly sufficiently convincing as naturalists. It is said that the Americans wanted a consulate there and that Nehru turned down the suggestion. He was probably afraid the Russians would make a similar request which he would then not be in a position to refuse. So that all this area of and around Nepal is loaded with dynamite which India is doing its best to dampen with neutrality.

Coming eastwards and south-east from our northern borders, we run into the Naga territory of the Abor and the Mishmi tribes, north of Assam. On this primitive terrain has sprung up a strange character, an educated Naga whose name is Phizo. Into his head-hunting compatriots, who would change sides overnight for the gift of a blanket and whose most tasty dish is dog cooked in rice, Phizo tries to inculcate an ancestral affinity with the Chinese. Admittedly the Nagas look more Chinese than Indian, but strategically the Naga land is too important for us to be finicky about facial resemblances.

The influence of the new Chinese and the restlessness which accompanies it flow farther south, down the Lushai Hill range, till they reach the tea-plantations of Assam, owned by British and Indian interests in the proportion of nearly three to one. Several of these once-prosperous plantations are having to close down due to the rise in the cost of labour. Unemployment has spread among the plantation workers, and the ground has gradually been prepared for further affinity with the doctrines of communism.

Mr C. Rajagopalachari, former Governor-General of India and now Chief Minister of Madras in South India, sounded a note of warning only recently when he said: ‘The British have gone. But my trouble is with China and Russia . . . From outside there is some influence creeping into this country. It is good to make the poor govern the country. It is one thing if we do it, but quite another when others do it for us here.’1 [1. Speech at Tirupati, October 1952.]

That is how Nehru’s neutrality has worked for us. It has brought one of the most dangerous enemies of democracy right on to our northern gates, while Pandit Nehru sleeps the soft slumber of innocence, exchanging goodwill missions with the Chinese.
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Part 2 of 7


Early in 1951, the United Nations branded Communist China an aggressor in Korea, and the General Assembly ratified this decision at a plenary session. This was perhaps the most important step taken in international affairs since the end of World War II.

While our government was right in making every possible effort to restore peace in Asia, there was no justification for the way we voted on the American resolution which brought the issue to a head. The fact that in the division lobby we found ourselves with Burma and the Soviet group of five states against forty-four nations of the world speaks for itself.

Ridiculous situations like these in which our country constantly finds itself on many other international questions are the direct result of Pandit Nehru’s untenable foreign policy. We have the misfortune of having our foreign affairs conducted by a man who still keeps talking in vague emotional generalisms on vital world problems.

We shirked casting our vote against communist China for fear that China might break off the peace negotiations, not being sufficiently up to date in modern Soviet strategy to realise that the quest of peace in which communists frequently indulge is only another communist front.

We are naturally surprised when time and again Pandit Nehru goes out of his way publicly to contradict any least offence that may have been given to China and Russia, but remains strongly silent when the Western democracies are embarrassed.
This does not mean that he is in any way more fond of the communists; Stalin gave Nehru an inferiority complex which he did not feel in the presence of his British and American counterparts. Stalin was an unknown mysterious factor; Churchill, Attlee, Truman and Eisenhower are ‘the devils we know’. Mao is again on a completely different footing. Nehru very likely feels superior to Mao, because Mao is after all a Soviet satellite. Nehru is too big to play this small supporting role; he secretly fancies himself as being able to play the greater role of the arrowhead of progress in Asia.

Nor was this impossible at one time. Soon after our liberation, wherever Nehru went he received the deafening applause of the common men and women of the world, who looked upon him as a great fighter in the cause of freedom. The story is told of his triumphant visit to Malaya, and how the crowds went mad when Nehru and Mountbatten drove in the same car, and how when they stopped on the way to pay a visit to Lady Mountbatten’s canteen -- it was the first time Nehru met her -- a whole platoon of Indian troops had to be called out to rescue him from being mobbed. Crowds still follow Nehru wherever he goes in India, larger than ever before, but they now go to him in a questioning sort of way, and some go out of amusement also, just as people go to hear pretentious tub-thumpers in Hyde Park, only to listen to the amusing nonsense they speak.

Nehru’s complacent attitude towards communism is a most dangerous thing. History records that before communism creeps in, it gives the victim an amazing sense of security, a quiet self-confidence and inflated self-assurance, all of which quickly dies down when the coup is effected and the victim is in the stranglehold of the ‘forces of liberation’. But Pandit Nehru knows better; this is one of the great tragedies India has to face.

Pandit Nehru believes that what is happening in China today is similar to what happened in India under Mahatma Gandhi: just an awakening of national consciousness. Chinese communists are likened to our well-meaning Congress volunteers. The leader of our delegation to the United Nations at that time, Mr B. Narsingh Rau, even said that China is misunderstood! All of which goes to prove that the Soviets have worked more subtly, but more surely and successfully, in Asia than the Nazis did in Europe in the last decade. The pattern of these two ‘isms’ may differ, but their effect on the lives of free people and on those who cherish freedom will be found in the long run to be the same. There will be no misunderstanding on this score when the time comes, despite what our spokesmen say.  

The New York Times, which expresses the most seasoned American opinion on international affairs, accurately appraised Pandit Nehru and his limitations, when, in an editorial written about that time, it said: ‘Mr Nehru, who has spent most of his adult life denouncing “imperialism”, cannot recognise it when it appears in any even slightly unfamiliar pattern. It is quite obvious that Mr Nehru, along with many other, has made a misappraisal of the Chinese communists. He persists in thinking of them in terms of dynamic Chinese nationalism, just as some other apologists have persisted in thinking of them in terms of “agrarian reform”. He is apparently still unwilling to recognise that the Chinese communist invaders of Korea are a militant wing of Soviet imperialism.’

Inability to recognise this new pattern of imperialism has now become the fashion of the day in Nehru’s India. Even the most honourable and learned judges of our leading High Courts have found hidden depths in Soviet art and culture; their Lordships are frequently to be found presiding over the opening of what appear to them to be innocuous art exhibitions. This, to my mind, is a most dangerous portent.

While we draw cultural inspiration from the Soviets and their satellites, we appear to have no qualms about placing our orders for our military requirements with Great Britain and America. Our General Officers brush up their knowledge of modern warfare at the Imperial Defence College. They do not attempt to gain admission in Russia’s Sokol Academy. We beg for food from the U.S.A. and the Commonwealth; we beg for loans from the World Bank; we beg for American capital to come over to stimulate our industries and assist in the process of industrialisation. In comparison, what do we get from the U.S.S.R.?

With all the granaries of the Ukraine and all the tremendous food-growing schemes about which we have heard so much, we do not appear to have received more than a few crumbs from Comrade Stalin’s dinner-table. What, then, is the basis of this neutrality of which our Prime Minister has, in the last few years, been making such a fetish? And, what is even more to the point, how do we propose to safeguard it?

Field-Marshal Montgomery, who should know a little more about military matters than any non-violent pandit, laid down in August 1947 five essentials for the security of a nation. They were: (1) a strong national character; (2) a great development of scientific and industrial research; (3) a powerful and well-disciplined industrial power; (4) a regular army; (5) preparedness. Montgomery was obviously speaking in terms of Great Britain, which already had the advantage of a vast industrial potential in addition to an alliance with a rich and powerful military power like the U.S.A. Moreover, as founder member of NATO, Britain had other nations pledged to rush to its aid in the event of Russian aggression. But, of the five essentials which the Field-Marshal mentioned, India has got only one — a regular army — a great part of which is preoccupied with holding a cease-fire line in Kashmir, and the remainder sparsely scattered over our country. Our vast mainland jutting into the sea, which has to be defended by land, air and sea, needs more than gallant men to guard and maintain its territorial integrity. The complaint of the first Indian Commander-in-Chief,1 [1. General Cariappa.] just retired, was that not a single vehicle was turned out in this country to keep the army moving on wheels. Barring a few shells turned out in the Kirkee factory, everything the army needed had to be imported, mainly from Britain. Scientific military research is nil. In fact, while Britain is putting finishing touches to the jet prototypes, Mr Birla, our second-best industrialist, is still grinding the valves of his Hindustan 14, which is only an acclimatised Morris made from carbon copies of Lord Nuffield’s old blue-prints. The finest fighting men in the world, which we have, can do but little without an adequate industry behind them which can turn out war material in an emergency.

Neutrality may be possible in the case of a small state in Europe, like Switzerland. A friendly people, content with yodelling on their mountains, can remain neutral in the event of a conflict. But with India the situation is entirely different. We have become strategically important in terms of World War III. As soon as the first shots are fired in the next war, the one who can get to us first will squat on our neutral pitch.
Nehru can then protest to the utmost, but I don’t think it will make much difference.

The growth of India’s importance in terms of military strategy is of comparatively recent occurrence. In the old days India was important because it was the half-way house to Britain’s vested interests in the Far East, but that is now no longer the criterion. New factors have come to the fore which must be considered in order to understand why the Americans have changed their policy towards India almost overnight. Soon after India’s independence was declared, the high-powered policy-makers of America were of the opinion that America should do nothing which might be construed as interference with or influence over a country which had just shaken itself free from foreign domination. The U.S.A. believed that India was to Britain what the Philippines were to America. Ours was a nationalism which America, as an upholder of freedom everywhere, should encourage. As a result, America had written off India from the military point of view. This laissez-faire attitude to India was based on the belief that the next war would be fought either in those areas where American troops were constantly brushing with the Russians or it would take the form of a direct attack on America itself. American militarists were therefore not inclined to plan long-range, remote-controlled action in India, which, from their bitter experience of China, they had found to be a waste of time and money.

Following this decision to write off India as a prospective military base of operations, the Department of State swamped their consulates here with a whole heap of well-meaning, pious and good-intentioned missionaries. The State Department probably thought that religious-minded Vice-Consuls would go down well in Gandhi’s India.

This American phase passed away soon after that brilliant young man from the Department of State, Assistant Secretary George C. McGhee, came to India. McGhee was here on a brief visit to study South-East Asia from the American point of view. It may be only a coincidence, but the American policy towards India indicated a change soon after his return.

Overnight, India became most important to the Americans. No one really knew why. Economic aid, substantial long-term credits for food-grains and loans from the World Bank virtually flowed into our country. Not many people in this country realised what had changed the American attitude so suddenly. It appears that the more intelligent American observers were quick to see that, while India may be useless militarily, it would be suicidal to allow this formidable mass of manpower to slip into Soviet hands.
It was Korea which brought this danger home to the Americans. The Chinese rice-soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek presented a completely different proposition under Mao Tse-tung, who trained them in the shadow of the Kremlin. The tough, long-drawn opposition which these soldiers have put up in Korea is proof of this contention.

The U.S.A. could make arms and ammunition better and quicker than any other nation in the world. It could not, however, produce anywhere near this quantity of manpower, and the Americans realised that if five hundred million Chinese had already become a factor to be contended with in any future operation with the U.S.S.R., it was unwise to allow this manpower to be increased by the addition of three hundred and sixty million Indians, for then the Soviets would have nearly nine hundred million Asiatics under their command. Nine hundred million men need not all be great fighters, but they could be used for slave labour, for the building of bridges, roads and war factories, even for cannon-fodder in delaying actions and secondary wars. All this was a powerful potential which the Soviets could exploit and which the U.S.A. could not easily ignore.

The missionaries in the consulates, therefore, were quickly pulled out and replaced by others who looked far too intelligent to be chopping passports and visas. The truth was that the eyes and ears of the American army had been sent out here with Nehru blissfully unaware of the transformation that had taken place. The Pandit was still glued to his neutrality.


Nehru’s sympathetic understanding of communism abroad is in sharp contrast to his government’s treatment of communists at home. The indigenous variety appears to irritate Nehru because it disrupts his regime and challenges his authority. It is healthy but nevertheless difficult to understand how Nehru, who is so extremely careful about the sensitivity of Russian and Chinese Reds, treats their satellites and sympathisers in India with such utter contempt.

Nehru had earlier believed that communism was a very weak force at home, and that the Congress still held sway over the people, as in the days of Mahatma Gandhi. It is true the elections resulted in a country-wide Congress victory, but a close analysis of the votes cast against the Congress revealed that this once great nationalist party had landslided in the people’s estimation. In many cases the people had voted Congress only because the alternative appeared even worse. Even so, it was a communist who polled the largest number of votes at the elections. This unknown little comrade, Ravinarayan Reddi, collected 309,162 votes at Nalagonda, an obscure agrarian constituency in the Telengana district of Hyderabad, while Nehru at Allahabad, a densely populated major city, could only boast of 233,571.

When, in one or two minute areas as for instance in the State of Tripura, in the valley below the troubled northern areas - the communists actually secured a ‘democratic’ majority, far from allowing them to come to power, Nehru entrusted the administration to the Red-baiter, Captain Nanjappa. This administrative officer governed the district as if he were commanding an infantry company. Democracy was suspended; an emergency had apparently arisen. So that, while Nehru pays lip service to communism abroad, he is by no means tolerant of communism at home. He uses methods to crush it which would make any lover of democracy blush.

While one may have no sympathy for communists, it is difficult to overlook and ignore the slow destruction of the normal processes of democracy. Nor have the democratic methods been discarded only to meet the case of communists. Our governments, both at the centre and in the states, appear to have no scruples whatever about discarding these time-worn processes. As one who has tasted official wrath on more than one occasion, I know what it feels like to be a ‘free’ man in Nehru’s India. Time and again I have been dragged through the law courts on charges which the government have not been able to prove or substantiate. Acquittal follows in due course, but in the meantime one is made to suffer the costs of the long process, for which acquittal in the criminal courts brings no relief. Nehru’s governments believe that the best way to silence their critics is to declare a nerve war on them. On a seasoned ‘accused’ like myself it may have little effect, but for the meek it can be a nerve-shattering process. There is no respect for the liberty of an individual, and less for his self-respect.

These are only minor pin-pricks. It is the gradual liquidation of civil liberty itself with which we should be more concerned. Reports from all parts of India tell of new processes adopted by various administrative authorities to mow down whatever little resistance an individual can offer his government in the exercise of his freedom of thought and expression. Many of these instances have gone to court, and on almost every occasion the High Courts have reacted splendidly, standing four-square between the individual and the mighty power of an ever-growing despotism. The government has countered this by amending the legislation under which they acted, making it inscrutable by the judiciary. This renders the High Court helpless, and deprives the individual of his sole defender.

Nehru could not be unaware of all this; yet he maintains a sphinx-like silence. The Nehru who once sat in a bullock-cart behind Gandhi, humbly joining his hands to greet his people, now allows his minions to ride in a slow but sure moving steamroller, crushing down every head that bobs up against the administration. No wonder the people lament that Nehru’s India is not the land of freedom which the Father of the Nation promised us.

The people of the world believe that the days of lathi charges [baton charge is a British era method for crowd control] and police firings in India are over. When the British did this, Nehru thought it was cowardly. Therefore the great liberator of India would not allow his government to fire on his own people in the hour of their liberation, would not stand by and watch the menials of his police force brutally lathi-charge them, as in days of yore.

The records of the various state governments, however, tell a different tale: In July 1952 The Current published on its front page a five-column photograph. It was an action picture of the police lashing out at the people. The incident occurred at the foot of the Ochterlony monument in Calcutta, the premier city of West Bengal, over which presided the healer of the people, Dr B. C. Roy. The meeting which the police attempted to break up was convened to protest against the food policy of the West Bengal government. The protest meeting was held in defiance of an order banning the calling of public meetings, for the government naturally wanted to avoid scenes of huge crowds protesting, so vehemently and so publicly, on such a vital issue as food. For this defiance of authority, even though the manner of protest was peaceful, the crowds were charged with lathis and dispersed exactly as in the days of the British. The Hindustan Standard, an old and established Congress paper, referring to the events, commented editorially: ‘So faithfully has this government aped its predecessors, that if a Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep a decade ago, and had suddenly awakened on the fateful Tuesday, he would have noted no difference between 1942 and 1952. Not only police action but also ministerial reaction in 1952 bear a familiar resemblance to those in 1942, and are marked by the same arrogance and the same heartlessness.’ At least some Congressmen were beginning to feel ashamed of their kind.

There was a time when Nehru himself bore the brunt of a lathi charge. He describes one such in his autobiography. It was in Lucknow when the Simon Commission was due to arrive in that city, and the Congress had prepared a great demonstration to protest against it. Nehru describes the large crowds that gathered, swelled by sympathetic onlookers, when suddenly there was seen in the far distance a moving mass:

‘There were two or three long lines of cavalry or mounted police, covering the entire area, galloping down towards us, and striking and riding down the numerous stragglers that dotted the maidan. That charge of galloping horsemen was a fine sight, but for the tragedies that were being enacted on the way, as harmless and very much surprised sightseers went under the horses’ hooves. Behind the charging lines these people lay on the ground, some still unable to move, others writhing in pain, and the whole appearance of that maidan was that of a battle-field. But we did not have much time for gazing on that scene, or for reflections; the horsemen were soon upon us, and their front line clashed almost at a gallop with the massed ranks of our processionists. We held our ground, and, as we appeared to be unyielding, the horses had to pull up at the last moment and reared up on their hind legs with their front hooves quivering in the air over our heads. And then began a beating of us, and battering with lathis and long batons, both by the mounted and the foot police. It was a tremendous hammering, and the clearness of vision that I had had the evening before left me. All I knew was that I had to stay where I was, and must not yield or go back. I felt half blinded with the blows, and sometimes a dull anger seized me and a desire to hit out. I thought how easy it would be to pull down the police officer in front of me from his horse and to mount myself up, but long training and discipline held and I did not raise a hand, except to protect my face from a blow. Besides, I knew well enough that any aggression on our part would result in a ghastly tragedy, the firing and shooting down of large numbers of our men . . . The excitement of action held us; but, as it passed, immediately the question arose: To what end was all this? To what end?’1 [1. Nehru’s Autobiography, p. 179.]

Yes, to what end? The Indians in 1952, reading of the lathi charges in Calcutta and the police firings on students in Hyderabad, are still looking for an answer to Jawaharlal’s question. Nor does Jawaharlal answer the question himself. Speech dries up in him on occasions like these. His respect for constitutional procedure does not allow him to interfere with the action of the state governments. Quelle delicatesse! After all, what else would one expect of a man who in his autobiography1 [1. p. 20.] admits that his attitude to life was a vague kind of Cyrenaicism [The doctrine of Cyrenaics that people should ultimately aim at the pleasure of the present moment, disregarding future pain that could result from it.], partly natural to youth, partly the influence of Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater.

Civil liberty in India is dead in more senses than one. It is not only shot down by authority in the literal sense of the word; it is bound down in heavy chains, as even a cursory glance at our police records will indicate.

The list of those who have been detained without trial in India, often without so much as a charge made against them for as long as six months in some cases, are ugly, black marks on the career of any democrat. Again Nehru maintains that these are the executive actions of various state governments in which he is unable to interfere. It is like the old madame denying responsibility for the morals of her individual girls.

The state governments of India are Nehru’s direct responsibility. At the last elections it was he who supervised every important nomination of the state Congress party, and when the elections were over, it was he who gave his personal attention to the formation of the various state ministries. In the name of democracy, he created oligarchic pockets which he could use to effect in safe-guarding his new despotism, his neo-fascist state which was unfortunately our Republic of India.

Nehru will not admit that India under his regime is gradually becoming a police state. He gets angry if anyone accuses him of adopting the familiar methods of a fascist state. But the record speaks for itself, always the record. The attempts may be amateurish, but the trend is to supersede the rule of law by executive action, the validity of which cannot be challenged in the courts of law. Time and again have the judges of the High Court deprecated these undemocratic acts of the government, but that does not appear to deter the ‘drunken old Omars’, drunk with power. Nehru’s responsibility is that he retains these small-town Caesars in office. Inasmuch as they derive power and authority from Nehru himself, the smear of fascism must necessarily spread to him.

Nehru sees red when he is accused of adopting these shabby methods in the working of an avowed democracy. He gets easily angry nowadays, and even more easily irritable. He litters his wrath all over the country.

Recently he thought nothing of insulting a very high police officer in public, and in the presence of his subordinates, merely because the arrangements made by this officer for Pandit Nehru’s visit did not meet with the Prime Minister’s approval. Nehru frequently insults pressmen, which is unwise; even Secretaries to the government, who are highly paid civil servants, could hardly be content with the treatment they receive from him.

Nehru has become so impulsive these days that he makes up his mind without so much as hearing the other point of view, and, having made up his mind, he goes to town on it, irrespective of the normal canons of justice or fair play. The list of people with whom Nehru is angry is growing daily. The more ground he loses, the more despotic he becomes, as those who have dealt with him over a long period of years say. Only recently one of his colleagues remarked to me: ‘The Prime Minister is always irritated by anyone whose criticism he cannot meet’.

Nehru’s best friends are beginning to show concern over his growing intolerance. They feel that he will break down one day in a sorry spectacle of shattered nerves and frayed temper because of his inability to accept the fact that people have a right to differ from him. Nehru is failing in India; only because of the emotional hold he still has on the people who will not desert him is he able to escape defeat. People suffer his shocking exhibitions, partly out of fear of the power he wields, and partly also because of the affection they have for the man who was once the spark that kindled the flame of resistance in those great and now forgotten days of our struggle.

The people of the world are accustomed to see Pandit Nehru as he appears in their capitals, with a pleasant, friendly grin on his face, stretching out his hand for a warm handshake or joined in the Indian manner of namaskar. They know him as the essence of gentility, a humble little Pandit from India, educated at Harrow and Cambridge. But that is not the Nehru we know. There is very little humility in him now, and even the little he had learned from Mahatma Gandhi is hardly to be evidenced these days.
Nehru’s concept of humility is that the Indians should gather to acclaim him as the greatest of them all, and that he should try to dissuade them from such a process of thought. The article which Pandit Nehru wrote on himself in the Modern Review appears to substantiate this view.

There is nothing humble about the way he runs his cabinet; to his ministers he is like a schoolmaster taking his class. Only two of his colleagues, Maulana Azad and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, exercise any influence over him. Of the rest, two more, Deshmukh and Gopalswamy Ayangar, stand on their dignity, but most of the others who theoretically share joint cabinet responsibility according to the parliamentary convention, find moron-like agreement with their Prime Minister, once he expresses a definite view. A grunt from Nehru produces immediate acceptance of an idea. A dissenting opinion, apologetically expressed and prefaced by: 'I wonder, Mr Prime Minister, whether we should not also consider . . .’ produces a look of disgust on his face, which indicates how utterly stupid the Prime Minister regards such a suggestion to be, and, if occasion arises, Pandit Nehru is not unwilling to say it in so many words. The more ambitious anglers for power, which can only emanate from his authority, now spend their time trying to forecast how he is likely to react on any matter which they may have to discuss with him.

Even so, there is no dearth of worshippers at the Nehru temple. The legend continues.


Glib talk of grandiose schemes easily impresses the great Nehru, more so when it comes from foreigners, even though of no known distinction. The Pandit believes he has a flair for spotting genius, as is evidenced in the case of Dr Solomon Trone.

In December 1949 the name of Dr Solomon [Abramovich] Trone figured in the question hour in the Indian Parliament. Our New Delhi correspondent described him as a ‘bespectacled man, always trailed by his bespectacled wife-secretary ... a short, squat and portly American engineer who was in Russia before the revolution’. He was reported to have operated at the top engineering levels in Germany, Japan, America, China and Manchuria. He came to India at the invitation of the Indian government to advise on industrial planning. Dr Trone had prepared a report, but the Prime Minister was unwilling to release it; it was ‘top secret’! No one could understand why a report on industrial planning should be held back, and members of Parliament were getting very agitated at the large salary being paid to the doctor.

Dr Trone, however, appears to have been a pet of Pandit Nehru. Nehru liked the way Trone talked in economic generalities, which was also the language of Nehru. It is relevant that before Nehru, it was Chiang Kai-shek on whom this learned doctor had made an equally profound impression. The economic planning of Chiang’s China was the certificate of Trone’s work, and Nehru, undismayed by the chaos which followed in China, had invited the doctor over to India.

It was our Ambassador in Peking1 [1. Sardar Pannikar.] who located this ‘economic genius’ for Nehru. Trone was then out of a job; Chiang was out of China. The new Republic of India, in its infant stage, needed the sort of economic planning of which Trone was capable. About the same time, Pandit Nehru was also enthusing over national planning. He had gathered experts to plan our millennium. The time was ripe for one genius to meet another. The meeting took place in the Prime Minister’s house, where Dr Trone was invited to stay as a guest of honour.

Dr Trone fitted easily into the Indian picture. His sojourn in China had helped him to get the feel of Asia. It was decided that Dr Trone was to be entrusted with the momentous task of preparing a report.

The Finance Ministry, however, before sanctioning the expenditure, wanted more concrete evidence of Trone’s achievements; they asked for a reference on the doctor before they agreed to his employment at a salary -- with expenses -- which the Indian Treasury could hardly afford.

The Prime Minister’s position became somewhat awkward. He could not possibly turn down an economic genius who was his own find. He therefore took the responsibility upon himself and employed Dr Trone for a probationary period of three months, at a salary higher than that of the Prime Minister himself. Dr Trone’s first job was to report on the Damodar Valley experiment and the Hindustan Aircraft factory.

The Finance Minister, Dr Matthai, found himself in the equally awkward position of having to write off a large sum of money which the learned doctor was costing the Indian exchequer. Dr Matthai therefore preferred to wait for Dr Trone’s report before making any further commitments on this score. When in due course the report was received, the Finance Ministry was of the opinion that the report was more a catalogue of local grievances than an enunciation of economic policy for India. Dr Matthai declined to confirm Trone’s appointment. He bluntly pointed out to Pandit Nehru that, in his opinion, this expenditure would be a gross wastage of public money, which India could not afford.

Pandit Nehru was most upset by Matthai’s attitude, and it became a sore point of difference between the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister until the latter resigned.

In the meanwhile, through top-level channels, enquiries were made about Dr Trone from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, because the doctor was American-born. These confidential enquiries did not reveal anything very definite about him or his genius for economic planning. The Americans were not in a position to vouch for him; in fact they were rather disturbed about his presence on the Indian scene bearing in mind the environment in which he had more recently been operating.

This did not in the least diminish Pandit Nehru’s enthusiasm for his find, nor did the remark of a highly placed American visiting New Delhi, who told very high officials in India that if Trone was the type of person advising the Indian government, American capital could not feel very confident about their investments in this country.

After that, no one appears to know what happened to Dr Trone. In any case, Pandit Nehru was justified in keeping his report ‘Top Secret’. Its publication would have caused a rebellion in Parliament, and Nehru is a stickler for law and order.


An Englishman in Bombay, married to an American and browned- off with too many social evenings with his wife’s compatriots, caustically remarked to his friends one day that he never did fancy himself as much of a brain, but latterly he had been feeling some- what of an intellectual giant.

He illustrated this by telling how, at the end of one of these dinner-parties, which, because of his wife, he attended, the hostess decided to play ‘The Game’. It was one of the guessing games. By questioning the circle of guests, you had to arrive at the name of some well-known world figure, living or dead, pinned to your back.

It came to the turn of a pretty American girl, the Betty Boop type, whose husband worked for a tyre company. She started off quite well, and got as far as finding out:

(1) that the man whose name appeared on her back was dead a long, long time ago;

(2) that he was a king and a warrior; and

(3) that he was an ancient Greek.

Then it came to her in an inspired flash: Buddha!

Pandit Nehru has been feeling an intellectual giant under similar circumstances. You should see the minutes of the old Congress meetings, unless these have been destroyed after Independence, and wade through the resolutions he proposed or seconded which attempted to lay down the economic policy of Free India long before freedom became a reality. Some of these were sweeping resolutions couched in Jawaharlal’s majestic prose, with phrases borrowed from Karl Marx, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and with an occasional splash from Nietzsche to produce the superman effect. Nehru’s forte was that he could adapt these abstract socio-economic cliches to suit the needs of India when it could be liberated from the British.

But the tragedy of Nehru has been that India got liberated in his lifetime, and, as its first Prime Minister, it fell on him to put his own words into effect.

Among the subjects on which he had, through the years, waxed eloquent, was nationalisation. The time now came for him to set some sort of date for the redemption of that pledge. The setting of a dead-line was proof of an intention to fulfil an obligation. Eight months after the fateful 15th of August, 1947, [independence day] the Prime Minister made a pronouncement in Parliament. He prefaced it with an apology, saying that within a few months of coming to power he was ‘a wiser and more cautious man’.

So Nehru said on nationalisation:

‘One has to be very careful that in taking any step the existing structure is not injured too much. In the state of affairs in the world and in India today, any attempt to have a clean slate, that is, a sweep-away of all that we have got, would certainly not bring progress nearer, but might delay it tremendously. If we spend large sums of money on acquiring this and that we would be acquiring things which were ninety per cent obsolete today.

‘There is a great deal of difference between theory and practice. All manner of difficulties crop up in implementing a theory. There has been destruction and injury enough and certainly I confess I am not brave and gallant enough to go about destroying much more. I think there is room for destruction in India still of many things. They would, no doubt, have to be removed. Nevertheless, there is a way of approach.

‘Perhaps there never has been a clean slate even when people imagined that there was going to be a clean slate. Nevertheless, there could be more or less a clean slate. The alternative to that clean slate was to try and rub out here and there . . . But, nevertheless, not with a great measure of destruction etcetera in its trail. Maybe I have been affected by recent events but more and more I have felt that it is wrong to destroy something that is producing something or doing good.

‘I have no doubt in my mind that we have to change this existing structure and as rapidly as possible. The lament of burdens that are put on industry, taxation, this and that is based on a certain view of the world, which, I fear, cannot possibly come back. I am not thinking in idealistic or any terms but practical terms when I say that you cannot have it back.’1 [1. In the Indian Parliament, 7th April 1948.]

The late Mr Ramsay MacDonald could not have done better had he expressed these thoughts himself. It reminded me of the quotation fabricated by Michael Foot in the days of the Oxford Union, and jokingly referred to by him as one of Mr MacDonald’s epigrams. It read; ‘The longer I remain in political life, and the more I see of the varieties and discrepancies of political experience, the more I am coming to recognise that it would be neither unsafe nor exaggerated to say that upon all subjects there is a lot to be said on both sides.’

Mr Tata and Mr Birla, the two shriyuts2 [2. Gentlemen.] of our industry, were, however, quick to remark that Pandit Nehru was showing signs of coming to grips with reality at an early date.

Nevertheless, it would all take time.


Nehru revels in spontaneous utterances. They come from the heart, we are told, and apparently circumvent the head. One such utterance he made when he was addressing the important Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce in March 1949. Cautious Indian merchants, listening to him with rapt attention, heard that the Oracle had decreed that there was to be no import of food after two years, that is from the end of 1951 onwards. Speaking without any notes, and completely ex tempore, the Prime Minister maintained that the food shortage of India was about ten per cent of the total quantity consumed in the country. Where he got his figures from no one was able to say, and certainly the first time that the Department of Food heard about all this was when they read it in the papers the next morning. With typical Nehruvian courage, he added: ‘Let us make up our minds to live on the food we produce or die in the attempt.’1 [1. In Parliament, on November 18th, 1952 -- three years later -- Nehru admitted: ' . . I regret that my words were falsified and I felt thoroughly ashamed of myself for having made what was almost a pledge to the country.’]

The starvation deaths which followed in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Gujerat and in the Rayalaseema district of Madras, the total of which will never be available even to the statistician, were the price our people paid for those brave words.

Moreover, at the end of it all, far from stopping our imports of food, we found ourselves in the humiliating situation of not being able to afford to pay for the food we imported. We had to request credits from the United States and other nations who came to our assistance. But not an ounce of food would Nehru take ‘with any strings attached’. The strings were on the dead, holding the emaciated bodies together so that they could be carried to the burning-ghats without falling apart.

I know what a famine looks like, for I saw one for myself in Bengal in 1943, with death hovering in every village through the day. I have heard the wailing of the living through the night. I have seen them again the next morning carried on a lonely bier with not a mourner walking behind. No one had the strength to follow their dead. I have seen men gasp in death for a morsel of food, with pain and anguish on their cold, grey faces. In Bengal I felt the same inner sickness which I experienced as I entered the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen Belsen, the day after it was liberated.

Freda Bedi's increasing profile as a writer opened new opportunities, the most challenging of which was an assignment to report at first hand on the most terrible of India's wartime tragedies. From the summer of 1943 onwards, newspapers carried accounts of famine in Bengal, where crop failures and cyclone damage were exacerbated by official indifference, a preoccupation with the war effort, and a determination to ensure that if the Japanese army -- already well established in Burma -- managed to invade they would be denied stockpiles of rice and the boats so essential for local transport. A huge number of Bengalis -- perhaps as many as four million, Freda believed -- died of starvation or succumbed to diseases which if well-fed they would have resisted.1 The Communist Party was particularly active in drawing attention to the famine and demanding relief. In December 1943, both Bedi and Freda addressed meetings in and around Lahore on behalf of the Bengal Central Relief Committee.2 By the end of the month, she was on the spot, sent by the Tribune to give a sense of the human consequences of the disaster. Freda didn't speak Bengali and she was almost certainly accompanied when travelling from village to village. Her job was 'to make the famine a reality' for newspaper readers in Punjab rather than 'a bundle of figures' by writing reflective and descriptive columns from the areas worst affected.

In a letter to her old Oxford friend Olive Chandler, Freda recounted that she spent a month 'tramping the villages and seeing the worst spots, something so horrible that an Airgram can't hold it.'3 She had seen plenty of human suffering, but nothing remotely like this. The paper carried Freda's articles as a series under the title 'Bengal Today' and within a matter of months these were compiled as a slim book. Bengal Lamenting was published not by the Bedis' own imprint but by the much larger Lion Press in Lahore. Accompanying the articles were deeply unsettling images. The cover was designed by the progressive artist Sobha Singh whom the Bedis would have known from Andretta. It was a stark and arresting drawing, depicting a naked and emaciated woman with the wasted body of her son on her lap. Pinned in to the book were five photographic images of the famine, one of which showed a dog gnawing on human remains.

In her travels across Bengal and Orissa (now Odisha), Freda made a point of venturing off the beaten path. At times, she travelled by bicycle, 'a perilous affair with inactive brakes. It was in addition a man's cycle and I couldn't get off easily. So I quietly fell off whenever the crowd got too great.' This allowed her to see something of life and suffering in the villages, 'always the barometer of Indian life. There, in one of the hundreds and thousands of huddles of mud huts away from the main road, barely reachable by a muddy path, lies India's destiny, her life, her death, her intolerable longings, her inertia, the remnants of her joy of living, and her last and most bleeding despair.' Her account of the individual stories of loss and destitution gave particular force to her writing.

At every door I stopped to hear the same pitiful theme, with its hundred variations. 'Here the men have gone away to work in Assam: the women have nothing. They make a bare occasional living working at marriages and festivals. In between they starve' ... 'Here they have all run away: the men to the town, the women to beggary and destitution and the gruel kitchens.' I shuddered. There was a lot behind that inadequate word, destitution. Humiliation, demoralisation, casual prostitution, disease. And behind it the face of abandoned children.

We came across a hut without its corrugated roof. It had been casually torn off, the room gaped dully to the sky. In reply to my half-formed question they pointed out a dried up husk of a woman cowering in the next hut. 'Her husband died a few days ago,' they said. 'Her children died before that. She sold the roof, her last possession, to buy him a coffin.'4

As so often, her particular focus was village women: those who had seen their menfolk head out to 'get food' and had no idea whether they were alive or dead; those forced by despair and the plight of their children to sell themselves. She reported on the manner by which young girls, some of them infants, were sold for sex. 'The need to take people from beggary to self-supporting work is a real one. In the case of women, it is the only road open to them if they are not to become mere cattle in the markets of human flesh.'

Freda was more an essayist and columnist than a reporter and she was not used to disaster journalism. Her writing from Bengal was vivid, compassionate and resolutely non-sensational. Her challenge was to break through with her prose the barrier that she herself identified -- that middle-class readers on the other flank of India had become 'famine weary', She spoke warmly of the Friends' Ambulance Unit, the People's Relief Committees and all the other local efforts -- religious, secular and military -- to provide food and medical relief to those in gravest need. There is also a pervasive anger running through Bengal Lamenting at the greed and hypocrisy she witnessed amid the many generous and selfless initiatives. 'Doctors who profiteer on patients, and traders who profiteer on foodstuffs and medicines, deserve no mercy at the hands of the people. Peaceful as I am by temperament, by the time I had been round a few villages and heard [the] same stories I felt even transportation for life would be too mild a sentence for them.'5 In Calcutta, Bengal's capital, the poor and emaciated had been pushed out of the city to harvest the next rice crop -- and also, she surmised, to be hidden from the view of the urban middle class. 'Calcutta is a lady with a painted face,' Freda wrote. 'She is hiding her ugliness and her sores under a coating of powder and the red on her lips is die red of the people's blood.' And even as one famine was starting to ease, everyone was talking about the next one round the corner.

In the foreword to Bengal Lamenting, Freda declared that her book 'is more than a cry of pain, a call to pity, a picture of another tidal wave of tears that has wrenched itself up from the ocean of human misery. It is a demand for a reconsideration on a national scale of that problem that cannot be localised, a plea for unity in the face of chaos, one more thrust of the pen for the right of every Bengali and every Indian to see his destiny guided by patriots in a National Government of the People.'6 This was reportage with a political purpose. She dismissed conspiracy theories that the British had allowed Bengal to slip into famine to punish the home province of Subhas Chandra Bose, whose supporters were fighting alongside the Japanese. But she argued that the official response to the Japanese invasion of the rice-exporting regions of Burma, and the policy of 'denial' to ensure that advancing Japanese troops would not be able simply to commandeer river transport and grain, 'meant the sealing up of Bengal from the world rice market.'

Actually what happened was that artificial scarcity in Denial and cyclone areas ... combined with dislocated transport, overburdened with war responsibilities, created local panics that translated themselves into, on the one hand, exaggerated private-hoarding by the middle classes and, in particular by the big rice-growing landlords who are the king of Bengal's rice, and on the other, profiteering and hoarding by local trades people, backed up by the big commercial rice firms. Add to this inflation, and you have chaos complete. Money flowed into the Stock Exchange; rice became a commodity of scarcity value; and the sharks of Big Business made their daily thousands by trading in the people's life-blood -- their staple food.

From this she made the obvious argument that if India was governed by those whose first concern was the welfare of India's citizens, the tragedy would not have been on anything like the same scale. 'There is no argument left for the status quo when it has failed so miserably, and there is no doubt about it that any patriotic team of Indians could have averted such a terrible loss of life. The Indian demand for a National Government at the Centre has become not only insistent, but a matter of life and death.'7

Freda ended the book with a quote, unacknowledged, from one of the great political poems to come out of the Spanish Civil War. Cecil Day-Lewis's 'Nabara', published six years earlier, was an account of a fascist-aligned warship intercepting and destroying a convoy carrying relief supplies to the Republican-controlled Basque country.

Freedom is more than a word, more than the base coinage
Of statesmen, the tyrant's dishonoured cheque, or the dreamer's mad
Inflated currency. She is mortal, we know, and made
In the image of simple men who have no taste for carnage
But sooner kill and are killed than see that image betrayed.

She implied some moral equivalence between the brutality of the supporters of Franco in Spain and of the misery British imperialism forced on Bengal.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

The famine of Bengal was attributed to maladministration by the British; the periodic famines in Nehru’s India are apparently only acts of God.

It was at Rayalaseema recently that the Prime Minister put in an appearance. The Chief Minister of Madras believed that the presence of Nehru might be food for the hungry. Nehru could spare but little time for the starved; he rushed through the district with an impatient look of annoyance on his face. He was annoyed with the whole state of affairs, annoyed with the crops that had failed, annoyed apparently with himself also. He was even annoyed with the people because they were starving. He told them not to look at his government so helplessly! The destiny of free India was not working out according to plan, his plan. The fruits of freedom were not growing in the orchards as he had said they would. Everything was dying, dying, dying around him. He could not understand why. The Liberator of Asia was seeing his people liberated from his folly only by death.

But that should not deter him now. ‘Let us make up our minds to live on the food we produce or die in the attempt,’ he had said. The people were perishing in the attempt. If only they would do it quietly and die in stoic silence, perhaps it would not trouble his conscience too much, but all this adverse publicity was bad for our prestige abroad.

Nehru immediately felt that something had to be done -- something humanitarian, dramatic, something to ease the tension of a people expectantly waiting to hear what he proposed to do now. At one of the villages he got his cue. A father was purchasing a toy for his child. Nehru enquired from the vendor the price for the whole lot. Pat came the answer: ‘Five rupees, sir’.1 [1. 7s 6d.] The Prime Minister had the entire lot purchased and, with the superb gesture of a monseigneur, he entrusted them to the headman of the village to distribute to the children. It would make them happy -- before they died.

Wherever he went, the crowds gathered to hear him. The official news agency, the Press Trust of India, made a lot of that. But what were they trying to prove? Was it implied that despite the fact that Nehru and his government had failed them so miserably, the people came out to pay homage to him? Or was it that a mass of hungry people came to ask: ‘Where is that food you promised us?’

From Rayalaseema, Nehru returned to New Delhi, but within a week he was off again to the opposite end of India, significantly to Assam, to inspect the new defence installations from the air.

Why? Was he afraid of the communists coming?
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:39 am

Part 3 of 7


And so we come to Kashmir, the sore spot of the Indian Union, from which Pandit Nehru traces his descent.

The Pandit says: ‘Over two hundred years ago, early in the 18th century, our ancestor came down from that mountain valley to seek fame and fortune in the rich plains below.’1 [1. Autobiography.] It took an emperor, Farrukhsiar, to induce the Nehru family, whose original Kashmiri name was Kaul, to migrate to the imperial capital, to accept a jagir2 [2. Feudal tenancy.] with a house situated on the banks of a canal, and later to accept, in successive generations, the high offices of First Vakil of the ‘Sarkar Company’ and Kotwal of Delhi, which were bestowed on the Nehru ancestors.

The urge to lean back on his Kashmiri ancestry is still strong in him, even though these ancestors have been settled and absorbed in India from about the year 1716.

Significantly, Nehru begins his Autobiography with the chapter ‘Descent from Kashmir’, and only as an afterthought, in a footnote, does he mention: ‘I was born in Allahabad on the 14th November, 1889 ...’

To be an Indian today is to be just one of the milling crowd. To call oneself a Kashmiri shows quality of breeding, learning and scholarship. Nehru is very proud of his prefix, Pandit. When titles were abolished and the order was given that everyone should henceforth uniformly be called ‘Shri',3 [3. Mister.] the officials of one of the departments of government proceeded to drop the ‘Pandit’ and began to refer to the Prime Minister as Shri Nehru. The Prime Minister was most upset; he made it quickly clear that ‘Pandit’ was not a title and there was no objection to anyone using it! It was, therefore, reinstated forthwith, though some people wondered whether, in a secular state whose constitution held all men to be equal, the Prime Minister should call himself a Pandit when this allegedly scholastic designation was available only to the top drawer of the Hindu caste system. No harijan1 [1. Untouchable.] would ever dare to flaunt ‘Pandit’ before his name, no matter how high his qualifications might be. A descent from the heights suggests an altogether superior being, different from the millions of Indians who breed like rabbits and die like flies.

It is not surprising, under the circumstances, that Kashmir occupies such a privileged position in the attention of our Prime Minister; it is his spiritual home. Kashmir is the appropriate setting for a liberator; posterity should not be allowed to associate the great Nehru with a railway junction like Allahabad, just because this humdrum, middle-class town was his birthplace.

Jawaharlal describes his first visit to Kashmir, after his marriage, in 1916: ‘This was my first experience of the narrow and lonely valleys, high up in the world, which lead to the Tibetan plateau.
From the top of the Zoji-la pass we saw the rich verdant mountainsides below us on one side, and the bare bleak rock on the other. We went up and up the narrow valley bottom, flanked on each side by mountains, with the snow-covered tops gleaming on one side and little glaciers creeping down to meet us. The wind was cold and bitter, but the sun was warm in the daytime, and the air was so clear that often we were misled about the distance of objects, thinking them much nearer than they actually were. The loneliness grew; there were not even trees or vegetation to keep us company -- only the bare rock and the snow and ice and, sometimes, very welcome flowers. Yet I found a strange satisfaction in these wild and desolate haunts of nature; I was full of energy and a feeling of exaltation.’2 [2. Autobiography, p. 37.]

Such is the hallowed valley of Kashmir, where nature in all its glory spreads its canvas for man to behold. During the days of the British, Kashmir was the playground of the north, the summer spot to which the elite flocked in search of coolness and beauty. Over it ruled a weak but pleasure-loving Maharaja, a courteous, pleasant-looking Indian prince, fond of racing, fond of throwing parties, fond of good food and singing.

I used to live below him at one time -- in the same apartment house in Bombay. Sometimes when I would return home in the evenings I would hear the singing-girls on our terrace, rehearsing their long ragas1 [1. Scale of notes in singing, though the literal translation is ‘noise'.] before the prince and his party came out to hear them sing. ‘The singing-girls are warming up’, my bearer would say with a glint in his eye.

This would go on for hours, interspersed with periodical clearings of the throat and coughing and spitting, all of which are necessary preliminaries to the production of pure notes which only the maestros of Indian music can appreciate, until at some stage the process of warming up would be complete and the fat would be in the fire. All next morning the elevator of our apartment house would reek with the strong perfume of the raja’s singing troupe, and the ragas would linger long on the lips of our bearers.

That was as close as I came to the ex-Maharaja, as he is now. No one regarded him as important in the structure of our society. Like any other ruling prince of India, His Highness the Maharaja Hari Singh Bahadur of Jammu and Kashmir sat on his gadi2 [2. Throne.] by the grace of the British, who flattered his vanity by saluting him with the fire of twenty-one booming guns.

The scene changed when, soon after Independence, the Maharaja was rudely awakened one day and told that a savage tribe of raiders had appeared on the borders of his state. The raiders were pressing inwards, towards Srinagar, his capital city.

Just a little before this, the Maharaja had put under arrest the popular agitator, Sheikh Abdulla. Abdulla was the crusading force which transformed the restlessness of the people into a movement which clamoured for freedom from the Maharaja’s despotic rule. Too preoccupied with racing and the pleasures of life, the ruler had allowed his people to sink deeper into poverty and to be gripped by bigotry and superstition. Education had been completely neglected and very little money was spent on the social services. The luxury in which the ruler lived was deeply resented by his subjects.

When the raiders came, the Maharaja quickly released Sheikh Abdulla. At the same time he sent a distress call to the Viceroy of India. The help of the Indian government was urgently requested by Sir Hari Singh Bahadur. ‘Bahadur’ means the brave, but there was very little bravery to be seen in him in the hour of crisis; he was, in fact, packing up to move to a place of safety, leaving Abdulla to mobilise the people and defend the state. The state of Jammu and Kashmir had not yet clarified its position, unlike other ruling states which had acceded to the Indian Union. Consequently, the Maharaja was told that the Indian Union could do nothing until the accession was effected. The Maharaja readily acceded, and from that time Kashmir became the responsibility of the Indian government, and the personal charge of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

The long story of how the raiders looted and pillaged the villages of Kashmir, and the complicity of the Pakistan government in their activities, is too well known to need repetition here. Nor is it necessary to enlarge on the monies spent on the Kashmir operation during the months that followed. Kashmir is estimated to have cost the Indian government 900,000 rupees1 [1. £60,000 approximately.] per day when the campaign for liberation was on. All this is understandable in the context of the military importance of Kashmir, which is bounded by five countries -- India, Tibet, China, Russian Turkestan, and Afghanistan -- completing the circle from the south through the east, north and west. It is, however, the character of Pandit Nehru, as it emerged from the Kashmir incident, with which I am more concerned.

Pandit Nehru rushed early to the scene of the battle, to see for himself the harrowing devastation which that little war had caused. Artillery fire had destroyed the homes of the Kashmiris, and when Nehru reached Baramulla, he could still see the smoke rising from the smouldering debris. As a tribute to Kashmir, Pandit Nehru rushed into the arms of Sheikh Abdulla -- in reality at the airport, and metaphorically in every speech and gesture he subsequently made. In Srinagar’s main square the people had gathered in their thousands to acclaim the liberator of India who had now made the liberation of Kashmir his prime concern, pledging the Indian Union to protect Kashmir in the process. The skies were rent with the echo of voices shouting hysterically: 'Pandit Nehru ki jai! Sher-e-Kashmir1 [1. ‘Tiger of Kashmir’ as Sheikh Abdulla is called.] ki jai.’ What greater tribute could the Prime Minister want from the land of his ancestors?

Carried away on a wave of emotion, Pandit Nehru, addressing the people of Kashmir in the square, told them, on his own responsibility and without any consultation whatever with his government at home, that when the process of liberation was over, they would be free to choose whatever form of government they desired.

This was yet another of Pandit Nehru’s solemn pledges. In other words, after the Indian Army sweated blood to protect the Kashmiris from the marauding bands from Pakistan and peace was restored, the people of Kashmir could, on a referendum, decide to opt out of the Indian Union to which their ruler had acceded and even go over to join Pakistan of their free will and accord. Nehru naturally did not believe such a possibility could ever occur. It now transpires that he grossly misjudged the mood and temper of Kashmir’s predominantly Moslem population, which had smarted long under the rule of a Hindu despot. The pledge remains; its redemption, as in the case of our government loans, will have to be indefinitely postponed. Nehru’s judgment had again misfired; it was based as always on emotion.

That is the crux of the Kashmir problem; let me explain it to you in simple terms.

Kashmir is vital to the defence of India. If we were to abandon it, we could not fall back on any proper line of defence. The strategic outposts of this defence position are the various passes which we now firmly hold. It was the comparatively young Lieut.-General Thimayya, recently raised to that rank and given an Army command, superseding six senior men, who foresaw the need to block these passes permanently, and without much ado, when he was put in charge of the Kashmir operation, he sealed them once and for all.

Nehru chose Thimayya for the Kashmir operation because of his masterly handling of the exchange of populations which followed the partition, in the inflammable border zones between India and Pakistan. Thimayya’s method was often unconventional, but, as a result, he brought that delicate situation under control. This had placed the General high in the Prime Minister’s esteem, and when equal tact and initiative were required in Kashmir, Pandit Nehru called upon Thimayya to do the job.

The day-to-day fighting on that front and the niceties of the various military operations he had conducted are not relevant to the story. What is important is the eventual result for which Thimayya was largely responsible.

Irrespective of what had been said in India, Kashmir or elsewhere in the world, the General concentrated on the closing of the vital mountain passes beyond the valley, so that these could become our first and impregnable line of defence. Soon the United Nations began to take a hand in the settlement of the dispute, and it was generally believed that after a few rounds were fired in the early excitement, the parties to the dispute -- India and Pakistan -- would sit around a conference table to thrash out their differences and restore an atmosphere of peace and friendly feeling in which the referendum which Nehru promised the Kashmir people could be held. But United Nations’ mediation was only lip-service to collective security; it was Nehru’s belated attempt to sprinkle the holy water of the ashrams1 [1. Hermitage.] of non-violence on what could be nothing more than necessitous rape.

We had to go into all the paraphernalia of the truce talks only because of Nehru’s impetuousness in promising the Kashmiris the right to decide their future, but it is now abundantly clear that if the people of Kashmir were to decide to accede to Pakistan, the Indian Union would seriously jeopardise its chances of finding a new line of defence. But that was just like Nehru, always committing himself on the spur of the moment, without any thought of the far-reaching consequences which such a pronouncement would involve. Situations like these will continue to recur so long as Pandit Nehru believes that the running of India is part of his family’s destiny, and the finances of the country part of the family ‘cook’s book’.1 [1. The book in which the Indian cook contrives to manipulate his daily accounts.]

Ever since the passes were sealed and the cease-fire line agreed upon, Pandit Nehru’s preoccupation has been to find ways and means of holding on to this practical solution of our defence problem, without too blatantly going back on his impracticable pledge. It is now his hope that years of close association with India may veer the Kashmiris round to accept a permanent self-willed association with India in preference to accession to Pakistan. With this end in view, crores of rupees are being spent on the development of Kashmir under the aegis of Sheikh Abdulla, whose allegiance to us periodically wavers. The Sheikh, so like Nehru, is prone to break out into a torrent of emotional Kashmiri nationalism, which the Pandit, in his turn, finds most embarrassing. Recently it appeared as if Sheikh Abdulla wanted Kashmir to be an autonomous state, independent even of India, and owing no allegiance to it. He even went so far as to say that Kashmir would have its own flag and that it would fly no other.

This altered situation came to light some time in the middle of 1952, when Sheikh Abdulla arrived in New Delhi with his team of advisors to hold discussions with Pandit Nehru. The talks were at the Prime Minister’s level. Before leaving on this political excursion to the Indian capital, Sheikh Abdulla had made a staggering speech in Srinagar. He declared that he was a Moslem, a Kashmiri and an Indian too! How he contrived to manipulate all these three conflicting loyalties within himself, no one knew; nor was he challenged on this point by the Indian Prime Minister. The quarrel of the Congress with the ‘communal’2 [2. The word communal is used here not in the dictionary meaning of the word, but in accordance with its usage in India. It means those who think in terms of one community to the exclusion of the other.]-minded Moslems has always been that they put their religious faith before their Indian nationality. Sheikh Abdulla did not express his differently, but Pandit Nehru did not brand him as ‘communal’-minded. Such tolerance is rare in Nehru. It was forced on him because he was in no position to destroy the man whom he himself had claimed to be the rightful leader of the Kashmiri people.
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