The Desi Englishman & the Fakir


Someone pointed out a tweet by Sanjay Jha (lovingly called Jha2 by his countless admirers) It made me realize that there are so many fallacies regarding why we got our freedom. The how of the freedom struggle is relatively well known but the “why” is where a lot of propaganda gets pushed around. So here is the answer to the “why we got our freedom?”

At the outset let me make it clear that at no point of time did the Gandhi/Nehru congress fight for total freedom.

Note:- Yes on 26th Jan 1930 Cong did pass the Purna Swaraj Resolution but later Nehru interpreted it as permitting India to remain within the British Commonwealth under a Dominion status of the British crown.

It was always the, much decried reactionaries (also known as “Garam Dal”) who fought with irrepressible intensity to rid Hindustan of the stain of foreign rule. And it was they who posed the biggest challenge to the British. But their acts of defiance (in isolation) could not and would not have forced the British to leave India – at least not in the 4th decade of the 20th century.

As much as Jha2 or any other faux-gandhi loyalist want it to be, there’s no denying the fact that MKG’s non violence was nothing more than a pleasant spectacle, a tea time gossip for the British. One has to be extremely naive to believe that “sitting on a dharna” will bring an empire to its knees. 

End of World War 2 saw the allies emerge victorious. Unfortunately for Britain the balance of power had shifted. US was the new hegemon and Britain was a bombed out, bankrupt, broken nation that was teetering on collapse. To help them rebuild they asked the US for loan but even that was withheld as the US feared that the Britain would not be able to pay back the USD 3.75 billion loan. The crown jewel of the British crown was no longer the great storehouse of rubes and diamonds and spice and indigo. The British had robbed it clean. The granaries of Hindustan were empty, having been looted to feed to the British. To make matter worse the crown owed Hindustan USD 6 Billion in war time bills.

Meanwhile in Europe, the nazi was dead but the communist was getting stronger. Red Russia was expanding fast throughout Asia and it was knocking at the doors of the Hindustan. Lord Viceroy Wavell knew the reality and advocated that the British withdraw from Hindustan. He drafted his “Breakdown Plan” that would, pit a dapper, naïve, desi Englishman Nehru against a truculent, egoist Jinnah. Demand for Pakistan was already gaining momentum and when these two small men with giant egos clashed, partition of our Hindustan became inevitable.

Wavell knew that his bankrupt broken Britain was not capable of fighting of the new threat of communism. He hoped that by getting out of Hindustan, they would create a nation that would be indebted to Britain. He hoped that a grateful Hindustan would be ready to support Britain and the west against the red menace. And if it did not, plan was already afoot to create a failsafe by putting in motion the break up of Hindustan.

Hence dear Jha2 crediting Nehru/Gandhi for our independence is facile and foolish. A handful of factors forced Britain to leave and Gandhi/Nehru were not it.

Once again, I summarize the factors – The British were bankrupt, Subhash Bose’s INA had shown that the next uprising (naval mutiny) would unravel their empire. The Communist threat and Nehru’s incompetence was surpassed by his massive ego.