Chamberlain and Churchill, Nehru and Patel

Date: 4/5/2004


.......Chamberlain and Churchill, Nehru and Patel

1. On 9th September 1938, Mr. Chamberlain returned to England after France and England signed a Treaty of Peace with Hitler and Mussolini at Munich, and declared that "Now we shall have Peace in our time." On 3rd September 1939, we heard on the radio that England had declared War against Hitler and his supporting nations: Italy, Japan and Russia. I was a college student at that time, quite alert to what was happening. Britain was practically un-prepared for a ferocious war which ensued; war is a war; no question of half-hearted measure or starting preparations almost from a scratch. Britain had half-learned to live and prosper in Peace. That Peace was shattered, British Empire over which the sun never set, started withdrawing "successfully" from many of its earlier strong bases. It was a ridiculous retreating phase of war, for Britain.

2. We young boys and girls of India, who were against the British Rule in India under the leadership of the Indian National Congress, rejoiced in the defeats of Britain, implicitly supported Hitler and also Netaji Subash Chandra Bose who had escaped from the clutches of Britain in India and had reportedly come to an understanding with Hitler that India will be set free from British Rule. France surrendered to Hitler/Mussoloni on 25th June 1940. Mahatma Gandhi started "Quit India" Movement on 8th August 1942. There was embarrassment for Britain almost on all fronts.

3. Mr Churchill, an outspoken opponent of Chamberlain's Appeasement Policy towards dictators, took over from Mr. Chamberlain as the Prime Minister of Great Britain on 10th May 1940 at his age of 66. Himself a soldier at one time, but a great thinker, writer and fighter in spirit at all times, Churchill turned the tables in favor of Britain in the field of War that was raging throughout the world and harassing Britain almost everywhere.

4. Hitler made a great mistake of attacking Russia on 22nd June 1941, its own partner in War; Japan attacked USA Navy in Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 and the scene of war reversed its direction. USA entered into the War officially with full force, with a pressure on Britain that it will give, after the World War II, political freedom to its colonies, particularly India which had made a great impact on the minds of Europe and USA. President Roosevelt, though physically partially incapacitated, was a man of great will, morally and militarily. Mussolini, the great friend of Hitler was hanged and filled with bullets by his own Italians in revolt. Britain and its strong ally USA landed at Normandy on the famous D-day (6th June 1944), in which operation my co-scientists, Meteorologists, had helped a good deal and won laurels. Russia attacked Germany from the east and Hitler was doomed and finally decided to commit something like suicide rather than be captured by the Allies Forces (UK, USA & USSR). The third Member Japan of the Fascist Axis (Germany, Italy & Japan) was left alone to fight. Two successive devastating bombs (Atomic Bomb over Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and Nuclear Bomb over Nagasaki on 9th August 1945) brought the World War II to a close, with surrender of Japan also. Churchill, the warrior in will and action, emerged as a hero of England. He had a will and a vision, strength to fight, will to hit the enemy with full force without hesitation and confusion of mind, a very clear-headed man. He commanded respect, spontaneous even from his enemies including his Indian enemies because he was not in favor of India being given political Independence; we Indians wanted Independence. You read the accounts of World War II , Mr. Chamberlain is recounted as a man of timidity and responsible for disastrous failures of the British Empire, while Winston Churchill is referred to with great respect. While Mr. Chamberlain had created depression in! the minds of Englishmen, some of whom even wanted to surrender to Hitler like France was preparing to do, Mr. Churchill created or generated amongst the Englishmen, will to fight to the last. They voluntarily worked for 14 to 16 hours a day to save England from the clutches of Hitler and Mussolini, even when a thousand aeroplane attacks were bombarding London everyday. The inner strong character of English men and women came into play under the inspiring leadership of Mr. Winston Churchill.

5. Something similar has happened in India also; every country has a share of men of success and men of failures. Sardar Vallabhai Patel never became the Prime Minster of India; Shri Jawaharlal Nehru had earnestly fought the Britishers to gain political Independence for India. But the two great men of India are viewed with different judgments by the people of India; Sardar Vallabhai Patel is regarded as a great administrator, who unified about 500 Princely States into a strong India, including Nizam's State of Hyderabad. I clearly remember the radio announcement of the Police action by General Chowdhry making Nizam surrender in a couple of days, ending the Rule of terror by Nizam's Khaksars on the Hindu population of Hyderabad State. Soon after, I was posted to Begumpet (Hyderabad) Airport and had several chances of witnessing the Nizam Sahib at the Airport- a changed man. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru made a mess in case of Jammu-Kashmir State; he kept Sardar Vallabhai Patel out of bounds in respect of Jammu-Kashmir State and himself made a thorough mess, from which we are suffering as a Nation till today. That is the historic difference between the two historic men of India.

6. Is history repeating itself in India now also? Perhaps, Yes.