Yesterday I went for a lecture at LSE by Dr. Ramchander Guha. It was no doubt one of the most interesting talks I’ve been to. He knows his subject well and seems so dedicated. One of those few pro Nehrus remaining in the country which is quite believable.
He spoke about how Nehru was a great leader until the war of 1962. And that it’s after the war with China, Nehru’s reputation went downhill. He mentioned that Nehru considered retiring in 1958, which of course would’ve changed the course of history. He rightly mentioned that China war is one of the biggest humiliations for Indians.
There were other interesting thoughts he shared about China and about Nehru. Nehru had foreseen multi-polarized world and how he thought India China relation would have changed the entire power dynamics. Nehru envisioned formation of European Union(sort of), if European nations were to stay powerful. Nehru’s emotions for China might have motivated him to make wrong decisions when it came to China.
He mentioned this incident that happened in Bombay. When Dalai Lama took refuge in India and China was invading Tibet, Indians protested against China and burnt a portrait of Mao which was in front of Chinese consulate. China mentioned after that incident that it would never forget this incident in a 1000years. There are several reasons for china India rift and most of these are because of difference in sovereign and communistic values. A huge gap to bridge.
There were other comments from the lecture that have stayed with me. There was one about Nehru being like America, democracy within and be dictatorial outside.
I had two thought to take away with me. First was about the difference in cultures and it’s impact on society for years to come. If China and India would’ve shook hands, we would be living in an entirely different world.
the other was whether there can be another war. Dr. Guha answered that its highly unlikely because China is focussed on economic development and wars hinder any development. Are we moving into a world where ammunition wars become a thing of barbaric era? Where politicians and economists focus on different kind of wins than winning in battlefield? Is it going to be a battle of mental than physical strengths?
And when I hear these people, think all this I realize just how little I know about the world and just how mall my life is.
More on Dr. Guha next term when I attend his lectures on why India should be and should not be a great power.
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