Is Sino-Indian bonhomie a farce? The author has been juggling several roles from being an adept administrator to the deftness of a writer. Call him a whistleblower or a good Samaritan drumming his duty to disseminate nuggets of truth stashed under politique shambles. Right upto 1949, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India had maintained to give sanction to the sanctity of ?the Tibet Government? as a distinct sovereign entity. But then, he seized a bizarre turn to concede to the Chinese Communists and their avowal to liberate Tibet.
The Chinese invasion of Tibet sent alarm bells ringing in the minds of the then President Dr Rajendra Prasad and several statesmen like Sardar Patel then Defence Minister and B.C. Roy, then Chief Minister of West Bengal. But yet Panditji remained nonchalant and rebuffed all fears as preponderous. Sardar Patel had categorically stated in his letter to Panditji that ?very soon they (the Chinese) will disown all stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in the past. That throws into the melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the last half century.? Sardar Patel was prudent enough to speculate the threat posed to north Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan, the Naga Hills and swathes of Assam. Panditji debunked all speculations and conjectures of trepidations with his rebuttal ? ?There has been much talk of Chinese troops? concentration on our frontier with Tibet. There is not much truth in this except that some Chinese troops are present on the frontier and in various parts of Tibet. The total numbers are not great and spread out,? while speaking to his menagerie of Chief Ministers. The Tibetans entreated Panditji to move a resolution in the UN over the unprecedented Chinese aggression. Sardar Patel vented his ire, ?The final action of the Chinese, in my judgement, is little short of perfidy. The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put their faith in us; they chose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence.? Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee recalled the doggedness of the Prime Minister over advocating the case of China and asked, ?How has China reciprocated? The reply that China has sent has shocked, surprised and has given sorrow to the Government of India?. But alas! The then Indian Prime Minister had turned a deaf ear to all. So, Arun Shourie rightly points out ?we laid booby trap for ourselves.
Arun Shourie tables ample evidence giving excerpts from Panditji'sletters, how he scorned at the Chinese troop'sincursion into the Indian territory. ?I replied to a question in Parliament yesterday about some Chinese soldiers coming into India. As a matter of fact, one unfortunate Chinese soldier lost his track and penetrated into the Indian territory by mistake?. How could this frivolous statement fly past a discerning Prime Minister? It is incredulous by all means and speculations. The book brings forth ChouEn-lai'sfibbing and demurring the McMohan Line. Despite the Chinese premier'sassurances on giving sanctity to the demarcation, the author says, the Chinese government began constructing roads that eventually hacked off thousands of square miles of our territory in the west. And yet Panditji hankered after China getting a seat in the coveted UN Security Council. But why did we adopt such a partial stand? Arun Shourie quips in ? ?Our position in Tibet was a relic of imperialist Britain?. Panditji remained a die-hard supporter of ChouEn-lai'smacabre designs over countries in S.E. Asia imposing Chinese suzerainty. He espoused for Chinese causes at the UN and vouchsafed the Chinese plans to be clandestine. Shouldn'tPanditji be held for having a tacit underhand in aiding the Chinese in their devious plans? So the book pops out several questions to glare at Panditji who is held an astute statesman. The book implies a scathing attack upon Panditji corroborating indubitable proofs.
In the aftermath of Chinese invasion of China, in a letter written in December 1962, Panditji is found grieving and ruing over spilt milk. Panditji offers a seeming explanation for why the Chinese invaded India. Arun Shourie puts down Panditji'ssophistry in the chapter ?a roundabout thesis?. And the final chapter reverberates those hard truths that the author has been able to extricate out of the entire gameplan of Indian and Chinese governments and their stashed vendetta. The epilogue of the book offers to readers a profound weltanschauung of the author.
Yes, indeed this book is bound to jolt the Indian mass and cause upheavals among the echelon of society to realise we are sitting on a tinderbox. Arun Shourie has proved that Panditji'sappeasement policy of China has hung the sword of Damocles over the Indian peaceniks leaving us vulnerable preys for Communist hawks. Shouldn'twe confess being turncoats on Free Tibet stand that we had initially adopted? Panditji'sforeign policy that has led to the present anathema will haunt the Indians forever.
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