Gulf in India

SABAVALA, SHAROKH

Hostility of Indian public to Nehru's upcoming meeting with Chou En-lai widens the growing GULF IN INDIA By Sharokh Sabavala NEW DELHI COMMUNIST CHINESE Premier Chou En-lai's announcement that...

...China was a big talking point for his party in the election campaign...
...Nor does he agree with his countrymen's inability to distinguish between the aggression of one Communist power and the friendship of another...
...What is interesting about all this is the manner in which Indian public opinion now is exerting its pressures...
...The opposition to his party's cooperative farming program, for example...
...Nehru's invitation actually gives nothing away ; it is a request for face-to-face talks, not for negotiations...
...Parliament's wrath is understandable...
...They still love the man they have made their leader, but they are saddened by the gulf now appearing between them...
...Hungary, however, almost was obliterated in the Indian mind by the Anglo-French adventure in Suez, enabling the Russians to enjoy the pretensions of coexistence with which they continue to woo this country...
...For other Indians it was natural to presume that he was now modifying his stand, and they rose up to prevent him...
...He admitted, moreover, to being very upset because Praja Socialist leader Acharya J. B. Kripalani, also a former colleague, described his invitation to Chou En-lai as a betrayal of India...
...For a whole decade it has been quiescent, it has given Nehru more absolute power than is perhaps wielded by any other man, except Khrushchev...
...But it is an emerging fact that more and more the Government, instead of leading opinion, is one step behind it...
...But then the Indian press and Parliament began to react to the invitation with unprecedented violence and the sharp change in climate made a rejection seem most likely...
...How does he expect Indians to react when these goals are threatened, or even appear to be threatened...
...And he appeared bewildered by the interest in a proposal of one of his former Cabinet colleagues that a permanent tribunal be appointed to probe corruption in high places...
...Nehru himself created a fresh uproar in the Lower House by implying the same thing...
...Hostility of Indian public to Nehru's upcoming meeting with Chou En-lai widens the growing GULF IN INDIA By Sharokh Sabavala NEW DELHI COMMUNIST CHINESE Premier Chou En-lai's announcement that he would come to India for talks with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru has come as something of a surprise here...
...The press followed the same general lines, but with greater circumspection...
...While a startled Prime Minister was giving his elaborate explanation, the Chinese in Delhi clearly indicated that they had taken fright...
...This is also apparent in domestic affairs...
...These are questions which today puzzle manv Indians...
...In Parliament, while his Congress party men maintained an embarrassed silence, Nehru was told by Opposition leaders that he had recoiled from a previous position endorsed by Parliament, and that this Parliament had once again not been taken into confidence...
...one did not have to be in the know to realize that these reactions óright or wrongówere inevitable...
...In his opening address, which is written for him by the Government, Prasad accused China of "breach of faith...
...The Chinese were less fortunate...
...Nehru has not abused this power...
...How can they go on giving unqualified support to a policy which is being treated with scant respect by those who until yesterday were alleged to be Indias firmest friends...
...If anything, in the last six months they have been more sensitive than ever before to the public mood...
...Why does he seemingly expect Indians to be dispassionate when the very reasons for which they sought freedom appear to them to be in jeopardy...
...It would be wrong to assume from all this that Nehru and his Government are completely out of tune with the people...
...On February 12, four days later and after a marathon private session with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, Nehru came to tell the House that prospects of an early meeting with the Chinese leader were remote because there was no bridge between opposing viewpoints...
...Nehru, apparently, does not fully understand or appreciate this inability to forget...
...This was true before he went to Kerala, it remained true after he left...
...They also charged that Indian President Rajendra Prasad, who had delivered an opening address to both Houses of Parliament on February 8 without mentioning the invitation, had been insultedóthe implication being that he was deliberately kept in ignorance...
...All this time, it now appears, he was marking time until Peking got his invitation...
...The rumble of Soviet tanks was heard throughout India by an unbelieving nation which had accepted Moscow's signature on the Declaration of the Five Principles of Coexistence as a guarantee against interference by one nation in the domestic affairs of a neighbor...
...Nothing came along to obliterate their actions in Tibet, and several feet of frozen snow and subarctic temperatures cannot make Indians forget even temporarily that their erstwhile friends are sitting on 50,000 square miles of their territory...
...in fact, the complaint is that he has not used it either for good or bad...
...soldiers on his hands...
...Yet...
...Careful hints were dropped that the Indian climate is not particularly favorable for a Chinese journey at this time...
...has taken Nehru by surprise...
...The integrity of India and the freedom of the individual living in it always have been the twin goals of the freedom movement which Nehru has led with such distinction...
...Finally, they declared that if the Government was prepared to treat Chou En-lai as an honored guest, the country was not, because "he is a murderer with the blood of Indian SHAROKH SABAVALA, NEW LEADER correspondent in India, also writes for the Christian Science Monitor...
...Immediately after Nehru disclosed that in a letter dated February 5 he had issued an invitation to Chou, activity in the Communist diplomatic community indicated that fair weather was expected for the Chinese leader and he would accept...
...Other Communist diplomats, including the Russians, grumbled about the obstructionist tactics of those who want to keep the cold war going...
...The rumble of the Soviet tanks also pierced the carefully laid smokescreen behind which Communism sought to hide the fact that it was an imperialist power...
...This state of affairs might have continued indefinitely, but something happened in 1956...
...But the Prime Minister, convinced he was doing the right thing and could explain it as he always has been able to explain everything, apparently forgot that his Government constantly had been stressing that there could be no meeting until aggression was stopped...
...During the recent Kerala elections, he told a meeting of potential voters that it was necessary to separate China's actions in the Himalayas from the actions of other Communist countries and parties who remain "our" friends...

Vol. 43 • March 1960 • No. 12


 
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