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Ravi Speaks:- The Stature Of Leaders Like 'Indira' And 'Vajpayee'.

 Ravi Speaks:

The Stature Of Leaders Like 'Indira' And 'Vajpayee': -

Yesterday one of my friends Mr. Gawande sent a small snippet in our friends WhatsApp group-which talks of the times when Mrs. Gandhi was the Prime minister and Mr. Vajpayee was the Opposition Leader. Those days the relationship with the United States was pretty bad during the early seventies and our Prime minister had to face awkward criticism through the then President and the American press when she had gone to the White House in November 1971. This snippet more or less has references from Mr. Kissinger’s book-“The White House Years” in which he has described the role of Indian premier in dealing with the United States and admitted more profoundly about the real gutsy caliber of our Indian premier. I was really influenced so much that I thought let me share as to what statesmen we had then and how we are facing the political scenario nowadays? Hope today on Sunday-you enjoy it and introspect a bit.

Brief Before The Snippet: -

MRS. INDIRA GANDHI

Everyone knows Mrs. Indira Gandhi-(19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984)-She was an Indian politician and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the 3rd prime minister of India and was also the first and, to date, only female prime minister of IndiaGandhi's first eleven years serving as prime minister saw her evolve from the perception of Congress party leaders as their puppet, to a strong leader with the iron resolve to split the party over her policy positions, or to go to war with Pakistan to liberate Bangladesh. At the end of 1977, she was such a dominating figure in Indian politics that the Congress party President D. K. Barooah had coined the phrase "India is Indira and Indira is India."

During Mrs. Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister, Mr. Vajpayee served as the responsible Opposition Leader in the Parliament-showing his class as an ideal statesman and a patriot -who was always first for his country and then anything else. Although he was the follower of Shama Prasad Mukherji’s ideology and even maintained his own level of a separate statesmanship par excellence-he on the request of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Gandhi agreed to represent the country in the UN. Which proved one fact for sure is that even those days the caliber of our great leaders was such that they forgot the opposition leadership or the ruling power of Congress that time and agreed to go to the UN for the country’s sake.

MR.A.B.VAJPAYEE & MRS. GANDHI

Atal Bihari Vajpayee-(25 December 1924 – 16 August 2018) was an Indian statesman who served three terms as the prime minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of 13 months from 1998 to 1999, followed by a full term from 1999 to 2004. He was a member of the Indian Parliament for over five decades, having been elected ten times to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house.

Those days during late the sixties and early seventies our relationship with America was pretty bad and Americans were helping Pakistanis very well and trying to create an atmosphere of safety net around them much against the Indian attacks which they were apprehending. Strategically, also Americans wanted to have control on Pakistan so that they could easily have the influence on the northern Indian borders for dictating their terms.

Much has been written about the bad chemistry between the then US President Richard Nixon and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Princeton University Professor Gary J. Bass quoting from the newly declassified White House documents said they revealed a “stunning conversation” between Nixon, Kissinger, the then-White -House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman in the Oval Office on June 17, 1971.

MRS. GANDHI & MR. NIXON IN WHITE HOUSE-1971

Even before Indira Gandhi’s state visit on November 4 and 5, 1971, Nixon made vulgar remarks about India and her. “Undoubtedly the most unattractive women in the world are the Indian women, said Nixon repeating “Undoubtedly” again in a venomous tone.

MR. NIXON-THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA

Though he agreed with Nixon, Kissinger wrote in his autobiography years later: “Mrs. Gandhi was a strong personality relentlessly pursuing India’s national interest with single-mindedness and finesse. I respected her strength even when her policies were hurtful to our national interest."

BOTH MRS GANDHI & MR. NIXON.

Gandhi told a journalist that “times have passed when any nation sitting 3 or 4 thousand miles away could give orders to Indians on the basis of color superiority to do as they wished.” To this Nixon told Henry that “she doesn’t mind the color of our aid dollars”.

MR. HENRY KISSINGER-SECRETARY OF STATE-SEEING THROUGH(FOREIGN POLICY)

Kissinger says “Thus Mrs. Gandhi’s visit ended without progress on any outstanding issues or even on a procedure by which procedure could be brought.” Of all Indian PMs, no other leader had shown the Americans their place like Indira Gandhi. This was reflected in the deep hatred that Nixon and his advisor Kissinger had for Indira Gandhi.

It wasn’t just a military victory but a foreign policy coup and it was also a message to the world that a new India had arrived. It also showed a stunning appreciation of realpolitik from an Indian premier hitherto unseen, particularly in contrast to Nehru’s ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ 

[SNIPPET]

Some History Not To Be Forgotten:-
The year was 1971 and the month of November.

“If India pokes its nose in Pakistan, US will not keep its trap shut. India will be taught a lesson”
- Richard Nixon.

“India regards America as a friend. Not a boss. India is capable of writing its own destiny. We know and are aware of how to deal with each one according to circumstances”
- Indira Gandhi

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi articulated these exact words sitting with the U.S. President Richard Nixon in the White House, while maintaining eye-to-eye contact. This incident was narrated by the then Secretary of State and NSA, Henry Kissinger, in his autobiography.

That was the day when the Indo-U.S. joint media address was canceled by Indira Gandhi who walked away from the White House in her inimitable style.

Kissinger, while ushering Indira Gandhi into her the car had commented, "Madam Prime Minister, don't you feel you could have been a little more patient with the President?".
Indira Gandhi replied, "Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your valuable suggestion. Being a developing country, we have our backbones straight - & enough will and resources to fight all atrocities. We shall prove that days are gone when power can rule and often control any nation from thousands of miles away”.

Thereafter, as soon as her Air India Boeing touched down at Palam runway in Delhi, Indira Gandhi summoned the leader of the opposition, Atal Behari Vajpayee to her residence.

Post an hour of discussion behind closed doors, Vajpayee was seen hurrying back. It was thereafter known that Vajpayee would be representing India at the United Nations.

Donald Paul of BBC had jumped in with a question to Vajpayee, "Indira ji regards you as a staunch critic. In spite of that, are u sure you'd be at the United Nations shouting your throat (voice) out in favor of the Incumbent Government?”

Vajpayee had a repartee. "A rose adorns a garden, so does a Lily. Each is beset with the idea that they are individually the most beautiful. When the garden falls in a crisis, it's no secret that the garden has to safeguard its beauty as one. I have come today to save the garden. This is called Indian Democracy."

The resultant history is all known to us. America sent 270 famed Patton tanks to Pakistan. They called the world media to demonstrate that these tanks were produced under exclusive technology, and are/were thus indestructible. The intention was very clear. This was a warning signal to the rest of the world that no one should help India.

America did not stop here.
Burma-Shell the only U.S. company supplying oil to India was told to stop. They were sternly told by the U.S. to cease dealing with India anymore.

India's history thereafter was only about fighting back. Indira Gandhi's incisive diplomacy ensured oil came in from Ukraine.

A battle that lasted just a day destroyed a majority of the 270 Patton tanks, in the Thar Desert. The destroyed tanks were brought into India for display at traffic crossings. The hot deserts of Rajasthan still stands as a witness where US pride was decimated.

A war that lasted eighteen days thereafter culminated in the capture of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war.

Mujib-ur-Rehman was released from Lahore Jail.

The month now was March - Indira Gandhi recognized Bangladesh as an independent nation in the Indian Parliament.

Vajpayee addressed Indira Gandhi as “Maa Durga”.

These events had a packet of long-lasting manifested fallouts.

— India's own oil company, viz. Indian Oil came into being.
— India expressed itself as a nation of strength in the eyes of the world.
— India led the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) from the front. Its leadership was unquestioned.

Times and events of such strength however did get submerged into the great depths of yore and lore.

Truthful history till date nevertheless remains as a baton that needs to be passed down generations.

Today Democracy finds itself lonely as a word in the lexicon. Political and religious forces are now so self-centered and selfish that resulting acrimony forces them to no longer be part of good democracy. Dissidents are put down and truth spun to represent evil, sacrificed years ago.

This year is the 51st anniversary of the Indo Pak Bangladesh war. Our children must read this. Lest we forget… (16/ 12 /2020)


(REPRODUCED & UPDATED ON 18/09/2021-THANX TO Mr. GAWANDE.)

 


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