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Henry Judd

Nehru – Leader of a Free India?

(March 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 10, 9 March 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

When General Chiang Kai-shek visited India recently for the purpose of swinging that country over to the side of the United Nations in the war, he spent much time with Nehru – leader of the Indian Nationalist Congress and right-hand man of Gandhi. Those who speak of India’s future always do so with the idea that Nehru will be at its head.

What sort of a man is this Nehru? Can we really expect him to stand at the head of a free and independent India?

His record and his character, far from leading to such a happy conclusion, point rather to his becoming a spokesman and leader for a modified British rule in India.

Nehru is known among his friends and the people of India as “The High Priest of Confusion.”

He has earned this uncomplimentary title by his actions over a long period of years – actions which we can summarize as follows:

  1. He has always been the adjutant and stooge of the conservative Gandhi in the Nationalist movement. Whenever the Nationalist radical wing threatened to get out of line Nehru was “there to patch up affairs.”
  2. Nehru has always – at moments of crisis – supported the right wing of the Congress, as opposed to the left wing. At every opportunity he has made it clear that the slow, easy-going methods of the conservative leaders are more suitable to his tastes.
  3. His claims of being a socialist are really something to laugh at. His “socialism” is no more radical than that of Sir Stafford Cripps or Bevin – both of whom sit in the English war cabinet along with Churchill, leader of England’s Tory Party. Nehru has no idea what constitutes the theory and practice of revolutionary socialism.
  4. Nehru has constantly worked for an agreement with the British during the course of the war. When Gandhi said “Our objective should not he to embarrass the opponent in his hour of need,” Nehru nodded his agreement and approval to this cowardly policy.

Nehru has – along with the reactionary Congress leadership – aided in the stifling of every desire on the part of India’s 385 million people to take their fate into their own hands and gain their freedom by their own action against the British or any other foreign power that attempts to rule them.

Nehru sees himself NOT at the head of a free and unified India, but at the head of a national government that will rule and administer India supposedly in the name of the people, but actually in the interests of British imperialism because its REAL power, its ECONOMIC power, will remain unbroken under such a set-up.

Nehru – son of a wealthy, high caste and aristocratic family – does not represent the great working class and peasant masses of his country. He is far closer to the native Indian capitalists, landlords and bankers who wish to rule in conjunction with the white British capitalists, landlords and bankers. This “High Priest of Confusion” proves his real character now – in India’s hour of crisis – when, instead of issuing a ringing call to the people to rise in their own defense, he indulges in secret and suspicious negotiations and conversations with Chiang Kai-shek and other British agents and, representatives. Nehru will not lead a free and independent India.

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