Nehru: TNG 4 PM?

On Monday Rahul Gandhi became Congress General Secretary and consequently a likely future candidate for Prime Minister. At 37 he is the same age as his Rajiv Gandhi was when Rajiv first started his political career. If Rahul succeeds in becoming Prime Minister, that would make him the fourth generation from his family to have held the top leadership post, something I believe would be a record for any democracy.

India’s obviously not the only country with a political dynasty. The United States has two examples where a father and son held the Presidency in over 200 years: John Adams (2) and John Quincy Adams (6); George H.W. Bush (41) and George W. Bush (43).

There are other dynasties in the American Congress or in various governors’ offices. Just off the top of my head I know there were two generations of Gores, two generations of Dodds, and three generations of Kennedys in Congress (although more than three Kennedys in those generations).

Outside the US, Pakistan has two generations of Bhuttos, Bangladesh had Rahman and Sheikh Hasina, and Indonesia has had Sukarno and Sukarnoputri. I’m sure there are others.

Still, we’re talking about 3 generations of Gandhis as PM in a mere 40 years, and the possibility of a fourth generation being raised within 60 years. It reflects quite poorly on the quality of India’s institutions. What does it say that Congress thinks Rahul will give it an advantage in the next elections, despite his poor political showing in UP where he got schooled by the BSP?

Does the Congress party have such poor politicians that the best repeatedly come from a single family? It’s clearly not genetic because the PM’s position had been offered to Sonia, who was a Nehru by blood, not birth.

It must be the name, but does the party have so little to offer that they have to ride on name recognition alone? If so, what will happen if Rahul’s cousin Varun runs for office? Could there be a Gandhi as PM under the BJP?

Lastly, why Rahul and not Priyanka? Rahul left Harvard, and may not have finished at Cambridge or kept his job as a management consultant at Monitor [Link]. Priyanka was the charismatic sibling, and the one everybody thought would enter politics. Does India only want Nehru women if there are no Nehru men to be had?

Somebody really should remind both Hollywood and the Congress party of the danger of sequels. Police Academy 4 anyone?.

196 thoughts on “Nehru: TNG 4 PM?

  1. Maybe we should have some other blog on Kashmir to get different viewpoints..

    In the current scenario, when a losing captain of a Pakistani team apologises to all the Muslims of the world for the loss and Sharia being the state law of Pakistan, people talking about a federation or union should have their heads examined.. There is nothing beneficial for India to sign up on those lines. As I said earlier, if dirt poor India can hold on to Kashmir for 60 years, there is no reason why a growing India cannot maintain the status quo for the next 60 years.. It is not a big cost.

    And I don’t think anyone needs to be apologetic for India’s inconsistent behavior in the case of princely states.. Jinnah offered a blank cheque for the Rajput princes bordering Pakistan and supported Travancore diwan’s plan for Independence, same for Hyderabad Nizam and allowed raiders from NWFP to forcibly takeover Kashmir.. It’s basically a game in which there were two opponents trying to garner as much land as possible using whatever means available and Jinnah/Pakistan lost out in the end. Congress promised freedom and democracy to the people of the states (princely) and delivered on those promises.

  2. As I said earlier, if dirt poor India can hold on to Kashmir for 60 years, there is no reason why a growing India cannot maintain the status quo for the next 60 years.. It is not a big cost.

    will is not constant. dirty poor states are often good at making war because the population has less to lose through mobilizations. on the other hand, i don’t indian transnational corporations would be excited if the kashmir issue loomed larger and larger and cast a negative pall over its human rights record. after all, one of the major bonuses that india has over china is that india isn’t as much of a thugocracy.

  3. Lack of freedom of information in Pakistan is the biggest reason why the Pakistani masses are so gung ho on Kashmir. Most Pakistanis believe that the situation in Kashmir is analogous to the situation in Palestine, i.e. just like in Palestine where Israeli settlers continue to expand on West Bank and engage in brazen land grab, it is an article of faith for the Pakistanis that similar ground realities have existed in Kashmir. I once was talking to a Pakistani Ivy League Phd student in political science and he told me that there has been a massive population displacement of local Kashmiri Muslims with Non-Hindu Kashmiris from India. If a person of his means/education can believe in such patent nonsense, I shudder to think what an average Pakistani believes. I would stipulate that less than 1% of Pakistanis are aware of the fact that there are restrictions on Non-Kashmiris for buying property in Kashmir. I have relatives in Pakistan and their opinions on Kashmir are astonishingly ignorant. Kashmir is not Palestine. Kashmir is not even similar to Punjab in the 80s. Kashmir problem is a creation of the ISI and the Indian army has only played a marginal role in exacerbating the situation.

  4. Dhamaka – You obviously have never been to Kashmir, if you had, you would have noticed that some Kashmiris do look more “white” than many southern Europeans. If you happen to live in New York, I can direct to a Kashmiri Pandit event next month, where you can visit and see for yourself.

    And, as for Nehru and Indira’s cronies, do take a look at the links below, for D.P.Dhar and R.N.Kao. Two Pandits who helped create Bangladesh. While at it, do take a close look at their pictures and judge for yourself if they would pass for white. Dhar, who happens to be my wife’s great uncle was whiter than Sonia.

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/jun/15tps.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Kao

  5. Patel wanted to settle Kashmir with all the Hindu refugees that had been expelled from Pakistan. Too late for that but India can still change policy and encourage Hindu settlement in Kashmir to change the balance. Lets see how strong the calls for referendum are then.

    “Permanent Revolution” is an apt label for Islamic politics.

    Its time for Hindus to recognize that Islamic terrorism and aggression against Hindus is never going to end and there are no concessions Hindus can make to buy peace. Each concession by India towards Pakistan or its own Islamic population is simply setting the state for a new round of aggression and demands against Hindus. For the last thousand years, suffering from Islamic aggression has been an integral part of the Hindu experience and it will probably continue to be the case for the next thousand years.

    Instead of looking for elusive peace, Indians and Hindus ought to focus on policies that increases Indian power. A Hindu dominated Kashmir would make India stronger. When peace is impossible, the only rational goal is making yourself stronger.

  6. how do you feel about letting the population of kashmir decide? ;-)

    Which population?

    From 1946-47

    From 1988

    From 2007

    Please take your pick? Because the demographics has changed massively.

    The Kashmiri Pandit displacement is not the reason why India will not hold a plebiscite. Kashmir would have ceded to Pakistan in 1946 and 1988 and 2007 and that is why the Indian government wont hold a plebiscite. The ethnic cleansing of the Pandits of course will make the plebiscite more lopsided but wlill not change the result of a freely held plebiscite.

    I personally find the Kashmiri quest for self independence rather lame to be honest. There was no displacement of population, no discrimination, no mistreatment by the Federal Government, no oppression by the Federal government. The independence claim is based on what happened in 47-48. At some point you have to move on. Whats so great about Pakistan Administered Kashmir anyway?

  7. Has anybody here been able to provide the legal argument for Kashmiri [sunni] Muslim freedom?

    As far as International Law goes, this case (111 onwards) has a nice discussion on the legalities of secession. Kashmiris however are not demanding self determination based on commonly accepted principles which give rights to oppressed people to seek self determination because even though the Kashmiris qualify as a seperate ‘people’ there was no internal oppression by the Indian government which would warrant a right to self determination.

    The Kashmiris are asking for self determination based on UN Security Council resolutions passed in the 40s and 50s. In a nutshell,

    The Pakistanis say:

    Enforce the UN Security Council resolutions and hold a plebescite

    The Indians say:

    The prerequisite to the plebiscite is a completely demilitarized Kashmir valley and Pakistan controlled Kashmir and Jammu. That hasnt happened so the plebiscite cannot be held.

  8. A Hindu dominated Kashmir would make India stronger.

    yes! hindus should be appointed to all leading positions in society. the hindus of jammu should be given lands in the vale and assigned muslim serfs who till the land for them. each hindu noble would then be responsible for his muslims, with the power of life and death, a local lord shiva. the hindu should be the brain and hands of kashmir, the muslim can remain the feet.

  9. Instead of looking for elusive peace, Indians and Hindus ought to focus on policies that increases Indian power. A Hindu dominated Kashmir would make India stronger. When peace is impossible, the only rational goal is making yourself stronger.

    The Indian Muslims have rights in India as citizens of the secular republic. But the secular republic only exists because of Hindu will. Confederation=Islamization.

  10. By Hindu dominated I mean a majority Hindu population not domination of Muslims by Hindus.

    “”But the secular republic only exists because of Hindu will.”

    Correct. India is secular because of Hindus not despite of them. A Hindu majority is needed for a secular, liberal Kashmir.

  11. “what if the primitives there don’t want that? why should hindus take up the uncircumcised man’s burden?”

    I consider a secular Hindu Kashmir to be in India’s interest. Pakistan’s national identity is based on Islam and opposition to India. If the Kashmir issue is resolved, another grievance would have to be conjured up by necessity. There will always be a grievance, a reason to commit aggression against India which is seen as a proxy for Hinduism. Better that grievance be centered around a farfetched wish that Hindu-majority Kashmir returns to Pakistan. If India foolishly compromises of the Kashmiri issue, the very next day there will be grievances for more parts of Punjab and Kutch.

  12. what if the primitives there don’t want that? why should hindus take up the uncircumcised man’s burden?

    either it’s a typo.. or i need to go home and get some sleep..

  13. If India foolishly compromises of the Kashmiri issue, the very next day there will be grievances for more parts of Punjab and Kutch.

    yes. of course. since the portion of india right across the border from punjab to kutch was one of the most depopulated of muslims after partition, it makes total sense that pakistan would want to annex those vast swaths of land and expel the hindus.

  14. btw, i just had an ingenious idea. how about the gov. of india contract with japan to build krishna robots? these robots have one goal, to run across pakistan and jump into the india ocean around the makran coast. since muslims are obsessed with hindus and their “idolatrous” gods they’ll chase the krishna robots into the ocean and die!!!! (the robots need to be fast so as to escape the muslims attempting to demolish them) then hindus can move into lands depopulated of insane iconoclasts and peace will reign upon earth.

  15. After I read the chapter on Kashmir in Pankaj Mishra’s “Temptations of the West,” I really lost heart to any “solution” to the Kashmir problem–that was uber-depressing. Yes, I know his account is controversial, etc., etc., but still–really disheartening. Oh, humanity!….

  16. I consider a secular Hindu Kashmir to be in India’s interest. Pakistan’s national identity is based on Islam and opposition to India. If the Kashmir issue is resolved, another grievance would have to be conjured up by necessity. There will always be a grievance, a reason to commit aggression against India which is seen as a proxy for Hinduism. Better that grievance be centered around a farfetched wish that Hindu-majority Kashmir returns to Pakistan. If India foolishly compromises of the Kashmiri issue, the very next day there will be grievances for more parts of Punjab and Kutch.

    And an India that deliberately tries to displace muslims to push them into a minority would still be secular? Because hindus are secular by definition? Grow a brain. It helps.

    Many years ago I made a promise to someone that I would never discuss the Kashmir issue. It was the best promise I ever made: productivity is up by 250% since. But I agree with rob(#169): no solution to the problem. Its become way too emotional on all sides.

  17. I personally find the Kashmiri quest for self independence rather lame to be honest. There was no displacement of population, no discrimination, no mistreatment by the Federal Government, no oppression by the Federal government. The independence claim is based on what happened in 47-48. At some point you have to move on. Whats so great about Pakistan Administered Kashmir anyway?

    Hari Singh had prior to accession dismissed all the muslims from his military and had begun depopulating sectors of northern Kashmir with his remaining Sikh and Droga soldiers. By depopulating of course I mean killing and burning people out. This didn’t magically end with the accession and the arrival of Indian forces. If I recall correctly, in Indian Summer, Von Tunzellman mentioned once incident in particular where the Indian army was supposed to be withdrawing civilians from the conflict zone. After rounding up 3000 or so men, women, and children ostensibly to be transfered away from the fighting to the south, they were instead driven a few miles, made to get out and then summarily shot.

    Like the rest of partition, there is blood on everyone’s hands and and these old memories die hard. Since the federal government has not in anyway oppressed, mistreated, or discriminated Kashmiri’s in anyway since those years, its no wonder that the Kashmiri’s seem to love the hundred thousand or so soldiers stationed there.

    Sarcasm is difficult to convey through text.

  18. Many years ago I made a promise to someone that I would never discuss the Kashmir issue.

    I should have said never again discuss the Kashmir issue.

  19. “And an India that deliberately tries to displace muslims to push them into a minority would still be secular? Because hindus are secular by definition? Grow a brain. It helps.”

    No Hindus are not secular by definition. But India is 80% Hindu. Secularism only exists because Hindus are not sectarian, or at least not expressing sectarian preferences at the ballot box.

    And turning Kashmir into a Hindu-majority state should be done for national security interests – a secular goal. Its not tolerable to have a region that openly supports a hostile foreign nation. No one is talking about displacing the Muslims already living there. Only giving Hindus permission to move there.

  20. Ennis #40 – Manmohan Singh isnt a career politician and, it should be noted, has never been occupied an elected seat in Parliament. He’s never led a state campaign, either. I think he’s been a superior Prime Minister, but you think he’d have notched up many points for his political acumen if he had come up the party ladder? I doubt it.

    By no means do I want to defend a system that promotes ignorant apparatchiks and political operators, but that is the system in existence, and so the appointment of RG can be seen as both half full and half empty.

    If, however, we really want to expose the political hollowness of the AICC, we only need to look at one other member: RK Dhawan, who was allegedly involved in orchestrating the 1984 Sikh massacre.

  21. will is not constant. dirty poor states are often good at making war because the population has less to lose through mobilizations. on the other hand, i don’t indian transnational corporations would be excited if the kashmir issue loomed larger and larger and cast a negative pall over its human rights record. after all, one of the major bonuses that india has over china is that india isn’t as much of a thugocracy.

    That’s right.. large scale war is not likeable. But India can manage with what is happening now.. militancy in the border regions.. As Amfd pointed out, the Kashmiri (to be particular, Kashmiri Sunni Muslim) grievances are not all that legitimate. Though there are human rights abuses here and there it is not as bad. Inspite of the grave provocation, I have not seen the air force being used to bomb hostile civilian areas.

  22. Though there are human rights abuses here and there it is not as bad. Inspite of the grave provocation, I have not seen the air force being used to bomb hostile civilian areas.

    i believe this is the lesser known rumsfeld 90% doctrine.

    Here, anything that’s on is on — every 15 minutes it’s on, if something’s burning in Baghdad. I mean, I fly over Baghdad frequently, and it’s where — within 30 miles of Baghdad is about 90 percent of the violence in the country. And you fly over it and there are people waiting at gas stations, there are people out eating and doing things. The place is not in flames. Now, there are a lot of people being killed — a lot of Iraqis being killed, and the sectarian violence is real and serious.

    nothing to see here, people. move on.

  23. Jing: Can you cite me some references which document the atrocities committed by the Indian army and the oppression of the Indian government between 1950 and when the terrorism started. I am personally not aware of such incidents.

    We can of course go back to the time of the partition and talk about the massacre by the Dogras etc. but the fact remains that Kashmiris were not really being oppressed as a people when the terrorism started in the late 80s.

  24. Cachaji resurrects the Cabinet Mission Plan! Where have you gone Maulana Azad — a real Islamic scholar, unlike that “Muslim Lord Haw-Haw” lionized in Pakistan today!

    RevBayes wrote:

    I also believe that Pakistan has no claim to Pakistan

    I think that’s the mainstream SepiaMutiny position.

  25. No Hindus are not secular by definition. But India is 80% Hindu. Secularism only exists because Hindus are not sectarian, or at least not expressing sectarian preferences at the ballot box. And turning Kashmir into a Hindu-majority state should be done for national security interests – a secular goal. Its not tolerable to have a region that openly supports a hostile foreign nation. No one is talking about displacing the Muslims already living there. Only giving Hindus permission to move there.

    I don’t care why India is secular. The point is, if it is to remain secular, it has to treat all its citizens equally irrespective of religion. It cannot base its policies on assumptions about the proclivities of different religions. If India feels it cannot be secular while Kashmir is part of India, it should let go of Kashmir.

  26. that’s right.. Cabinet Mission Plan through which Hindus voluntarily accept to become dhimmis again.. I don’t think it will work.. It never worked in 1946, never will.

  27. No confederation of the sorts outlined above is going to work. So everyone is going to be peaceful, EU-style? Likely the states will war over natural resources, and whatever $ are left from service exports will be used to arm the newly founded banana republics. And I doubt there are any serious Pakistani takers – they, after all bat for “international Islam.” This is a concoction of liberal high SES Hindus, mostly diasporic. Its cognate with the South Asian identity here. Again, that identity is promoted mainly by Hindus and not Muslims, who opt for “Muslim-American” instead. Here it is harmless as it mainly relates to cultural commonalities, and not politics. There, its all political.

    Split Kashmir at the LOC, be done with it!

  28. This family should not even be seen as viable candidates/leaders, much less as automatic shoo-ins. These elected royals are creepy whever they are. Either have an outright monarchy whose parameters and rules are a known quantity, or forbid sions of previous elected leaders from running for office. Too much possible conflict of interest, unfair advantage, whifs of nepotism, etc. Combining democracy with hereditarily “elected” officials, forms a treacherous chimera, deeply disturbing and unhealthy. Once a person is elected to high office, there should be a law against a descendent obtaining office for many, many years. If said descendants are so fervid to serve their nation, and so replete with talent to do so, let them find another venue than high elected office. Certain of the U.S. founders feared most of all that the U.S. would succumb to monarchy.

  29. Al chutiya

    If a person of his means/education can believe in such patent nonsense, I shudder to think what an average Pakistani believes.

    I had a conversation with an educated Pakistani about Urdu, and how it is one of many Indian languages. He vehemently disagreed, and even sounded offended by this, and said that Urdu was a language that started in Lahore and was closer to Persian and Arabic than it was to Hindi, which was ‘bastardised’ Urdu. I told him about the historical fact of Urdu originating in Uttar Pradesh and its home being Lucknow, but he was just adamant it wasn’t so. He claimed it originated in Punjab. You don’t know what to say in the face of that kind of aggressive ignorance.

  30. 90 Runa

    Krishnan # 86,

    I did mention and reiterate -that I cannot remember the 2 entities between whom this happened but it did happen .I meant the 62 war and not any other skirmishes that followed.Happy now?

    –> I probably jumped to conclusions. Sorry.

    105 Jing

    Patel wanted Kashmir for two reasons, one to simply make the territory of the Indian state larger, and just as important out of pure spite towards Pakistan.

    –> I am horrified Patel had spite for Pakistan. After all that happened in 1947, why didnt he go for “hindi-paki bhai-bhai” ? Being a home minister, how could he have thought making the territory of the indian state larger ? Totally selfish of him.

    For an ostensibly democratic India, the legacy of Kashmir has one of military rule, fraudulent elections, and arbitrary arrests for political agitation.

    –> And Pakistan is the land of freedom.

    Prior to the entry of the Pathan irregulars from the NWFP and his flight to Delhi, Singh’s policy was one of systemic persecution of the Muslim population, culminating in liquidations by his Sikh and Doghra soldiers. Singh aimed to create a no man’s land between Kashmir and Pakistan by depopulating the border, driving thousands of refugees into Pakistan. The killings didn’t end with the arrival of the Indian army either.

    –> I didnt know this. Can you provide some resources for this ?

  31. 107 chachaji

    I suggested in a different thread that all of South Asia ought to move toward a (con)federation. Just as Scotland might separate from Great Britain, but still stay in the EU – similarly, if ‘Kashmir’ wants to leave ‘India’, they should be able to, but they would not secede from the federation of South Asia, they’ll see it in their overwhelming interest to stay. EU becomes stronger just as Great Britain might become ‘weaker’.

    –> Maybe South Asia will do that after we have had our own War, Hitler like figure and enormous losses in population, economy and pride. Didnt Belgium(brussels being the seat of EU) have its hands full fighting partition into north and south portions ? Maybe they will have a better appreciation if they recognize the north and south portions will remain in EU but Belgium ceases to exist.

    Whatever the local Hindu-Muslim etc dynamics might have been, Pakistan wouldn’t have been born or survived as an independent state unless it also served both ‘Great Game’ and ‘Cold War’ strategic purposes, both vis-a-vis India and vis-a-vis (Soviet) Central Asia.

    –> Cold War propped up Pakistan but that doesnt mean Cold War caused the birth of Pakistan ? New theory, perhaps ?

    The AQ Khan issue and the North Korean entanglement of Pakistan, for example, makes world system managers think – that this is ultimate result of the creation of two mutually antagonistic states in South Asia in 1947, so perhaps we should address the core issue, which is not just Kashmir, but the logic of Partition itself.

    –> That Pakistan is a broken down state doesnt mean it is the result of creation of India-Pakistan as “two mutually antagonistic nations”. Both examples you cited are the result of the internal breakdowns of the state of Pakistan. What is next ? A dog dies in Pakistan and logic of partition is in serious jeopardy ?

    131 Dhamaka

    He was the worst of this sorry lot.

    –> What sorry lot is this ? He made mistakes for sure but to call him worst takes denial of the worst sort.

  32. 152 Ponniyin Selvan

    In the current scenario, when a losing captain of a Pakistani team apologises to all the Muslims of the world for the loss and Sharia being the state law of Pakistan, people talking about a federation or union should have their heads examined.. There is nothing beneficial for India to sign up on those lines.

    –> I agree to the point about the lack of necessity for India signing up for a federation but not to questioning the sanity of those suggesting it. That is taking things too far.

    162 amber pilsner

    The Indian Muslims have rights in India as citizens of the secular republic. But the secular republic only exists because of Hindu will. Confederation=Islamization.

    –> So, you are saying secular republic is not driven by secular considerations per se but by the underlying magnanimity of hindu majority. Isnt that a breathtaking swipe at contributions by minorities in India ? Does Hindu will include Nehru’s actions also ? Last I checked he was agnostic. The secular republic of india exists because of the will of its people of whom the majority are hindu. That doesnt automatically mean secular republic only exists because of hindu will.

  33. Ennis, I plead guilty to having sidetracked the thread a little bit with the federation idea, which was a response to someone else having brought up Kashmir in the thread earlier.

    But that apart, it’s hard impossible to discuss the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhis without also discussing Kashmir. Although they were settled in the plains – Delhi and Allahabad – the Nehrus maintained their identity of ‘Kashmiri Brahmin’ – at least till Indira, and even Rajiv.

    Jawaharlal’s sentimental attachment to Kashmir significantly clouded his judgment on both the Kashmir problem vis-a-vis Pakistan and the Aksai Chin problem vis-a-vis China, in one fell swoop messing up India’s relations with both neighbors for over half a century. This part of the Nehruvian legacy is rarely analyzed through this lens, and richly deserves to be.

  34. As a long as India’s masses remain illiterate and ignorant, the political parties will flay people like Rahul Gandhi, the son of Madhab Rao Scindia, the son of Amitabh Bachhan etc for politics. Look at China. One day, I will not be surprised to see Indians working in Chinese factories (probably within 10 years).

  35. One of the interesting fact that had come to my attention some time back – Feroze was NOT a “Gandhi” – he was a Parsi as in “Gandhy“. He later changed it to Gandhi after entering politics with his wife India Nehru!!