Had Sardar Patel and Rajaji been at the top of India, India’s spotty post-independence could have been different.


What were the blunders committed by India’s first prime minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru which have cost India a lot since its independence until now?

I have read about the indecisiveness shown by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru regarding Kashmir and Tibet. The former one is costing India a lot of resources and making it vulnerable and the latter is lost to a communist nation which has no value for life in Tibet. Can any one shed more light on any such incidences ?

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Balaji ViswanathanBalaji Viswanathan, History buff.1.2k upvotes by Apoorv Chopra, Quora User, Quora User, (more)

Nehru’s big blunders were:
1. During the Indo-Pak war of 1948 when India was gaining back the Kashmir captured by the invaders, he prematurely went to the UN Security Council. This was a great strategic mistake. India now wants to distance itself from 3rd party intervention in the dispute and the UN resolutions on this, but it is Nehru who did it in the first place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ind…

2. Nehru had a total impractical approach to integrating Kashmir with rest of India. He didn’t allow Sardar Patel to deal with Kashmir issue. Patel was quite successful in integrating other troubled regions such as Hyderabad Nizam’s province with India.

3. Nehru took India as a socialistic nation, in the path of USSR. Patel was firmly capitalistic and Mahatma wanted more rural development. Either of the latter paths could have been beneficial for India. With Nehru’s lopsided projects – going for big industries and dams without any rural development, meant people were forced to move to cities, without having enough infrastructure. Thus, cities were ruined with overpopulation and villages were neglected. We tried to jump to industrial era without even fixing the agriculture and paid a heavy price. Nehru’s failed economic ideals held Indian economy as a prisoner until 1991. While the rest of Asia – Korea, Singapore, Thailand Taiwan, Japan and China were waving past us in Capitalistic wagons (China since 1976), we were still in abject poverty riding Nehru’s socialistic bullock cart. Until the Rockefeller’s foundation helped us with "green revolution" we were just begging for food from other countries.

4. And worst of Nehru’s works were related to China war of 1962. He was totally unpragmatical. While, Nehru’s cronies have virutally silenced his failures in China war, the rest of the world made us into a mocking stock. As Nevile Maxwell put it:

hopelessly ill-prepared Indian Army that provoked China on orders emanating from Delhi … paid the price for its misadventure in men, money and national humiliation

Nehru’s empty rhetoric of "India-China bhai bhai" ignored the rise of China as a confident military power and he was trying to defend the indefensible McMahon line (what we assume as our border with China). In fact, none of the Indian leaders or army generals have ever been to the north east corner of Kashmir that we just have it in maps for no real reason. Had we taken a less confrontational approach, we could have avoided the war and made the China-Pakistan relationship less strong.
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Had Sardar Patel and Rajaji been at the top of India, India’s spotty post-independence could have been different.

Written 15 Sep, 2012. Asked to answer by Abhijit K Rao.

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