I think I have discovered why Modi loathes Jawaharlal Nehru so much. Nehru had a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. It made him realize that to pull India and Indians out of superstition, from what Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore called “the dreary desert sands of dead habit”, modern India must cultivate a “scientific temper”, an expression that drives sanghis nuts because they like to believe the “udan katholas” of mythology were the earliest F-16s to be invented by Hindus and that Hindu plastic surgery, not a transplant operation, is what led to an elephant’s head surmounting Lord Ganesh. Both these stunningly illiterate claims come from the mouth of none less than the PM of our country, whose acquaintance with higher education has gone no further than lying about degrees from Delhi and Gujarat University that he never got and who can obviously not tell a scientific proposition from a ‘dhokla’.
That, in itself, would not matter. For neither Indira Gandhi nor Rajiv Gandhi had a University degree and yet made good, perhaps even great, Prime Ministers. Statesmanship is not a civil services exam and it is not necessary to go to University to reach the pinnacle of government. Perhaps the most famous example of that is Winston Churchill. But why lie about one’s educational qualifications – or lack of them? Unless, of course, such lying is a compulsive psychological disorder.
We have just heard from our PM (yes, he is the nation’s PM for another ten days or so) that he ordered the Indian Air Force to strike at Balakot despite heavy cloud cover because while senior Air Force officers were trembling their knees pleading for postponement of the strike till the weather improved, he (MODI) thumped his 56-inch chest and saw that heavy cloud cover was actually good for the Indian Air Force because Pakistani radar would not be able to penetrate thick black clouds.
This is to insult our brave airmen and, above all, the Chief of Air Staff. Not one of them was so ignorant of the fact that radar is not a telescope whose vision can be clouded over. Radar is used precisely because, whatever the weather conditions, it can pinpoint incoming aircraft. Did Modi take his senior-most Air Force officers for fools that he could trot out such ridiculous unscientific rubbish before them? And were they so pusillanimous that they dared not correct such a vacuous Prime Minister?
This insult to our defence forces compounds another insult directed at senior officers of the Navy who were involved in December 1988 in transporting Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minster of India, and his good lady from off-shore Thiruvananthapuram to the Lakshadweep islands to witness the annual naval exercises that had been scheduled months earlier. Admiral L. Ramdas, then Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, and later Chief of Naval Staff, has gone on record certifying that only Rajiv and Sonia were on board INS Viraat when it sailed to Lakshadweep. Three other very senior Navy officers - Admirals Arun Kumar, Madanjeet Singh and Pasricha - who had personal knowledge of the voyage because they were involved in the arrangements, including one who was to succeed Ramdas as Chief of Naval Staff, have publicly affirmed that there were NO foreigners on board the aircraft carrier. If after four of the senior-most Naval officers have said so, does not decency demand that Modi withdraw the allegations he has made about Rajiv using the Indian Navy as a ”personal taxi” to ferry “foreigners” to a holiday on one of the islands, Bangaram? How dare he cast aspersions on the patriotism of such distinguished veterans of our defence forces? Either Modi is lying or these four senior, if retired, naval officers are lying. How could two of them have been promoted to the rank of Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – the highest post that a naval officer could aspire to - if their record had been blotted by their allowing unauthorized foreigners to be on board a naval ship bristling with the latest in warfare technology?
Modi needs to be warned that he is guilty of anti-national activity in trying to ride on the sacrifices of our army and CRPF martyrs in a dirty election campaign; of defaming the Indian Air Force by portraying them as complaisant idiots in his scientific illiteracy; and the Indian Navy as being packed at its highest echelons with traitors who would acquiesce in unauthorized foreigners being allowed to board a top of the line defence vessel.
But then, why bother? Modi will, in any case, be ousted by the people of India by 23 May. That would be a fitting end to the PM. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?