Ravikiran has a nice entry on Yazad’s blog about Nehru and IIT.
The point about most people is that because somebody benefitted from studying in the IIT, it is somehow the duty of the person not to criticize its creator, Chacha Nehru.
Why? Applying this analogy to Subrata Roy Sahara (read my yesterday’s post) who organized a mass wedding (Samuhik Vivah), can we say he is above reproach for having spent a whopping Rs.500 Crore on his son’s wedding?
Let’s give credit where it is due: Nehru did a good thing by establishing the IITs, but his other Socialist policies prevented the beneficiaries of the IIT education from prospering, or rendering their services in India honestly and efficiently. It’s like this: you give me a yoke to work the earth but tie both my hands, and then ask me to till the land. What do I do? Either you untie my hands, or I wait for an opportune moment and then escape from you.
The problem with people–like the one who reproached Ravi from criticizing Nehru–is that for some reason they put “leaders” or other “important people” on a pedestal and try to make it impossible to criticize them. Gandhi is another example. There was a time when nothing negative was to be said about Gandhi. I agree that he was a great man, a noble soul, and a patriot, but he had his flaws for he too, like us, was human. What made him stand tall was that he had managed to transcend several common weaknesses that most of us find difficult to overcome due mostly to lack of courage and conviction. For example, how many of us have the conviction and courage to say, “because millions of my countrymen don’t have enough to wear, I shall adopt a similar dress?” Does this sound stupid? It might. But for Gandhi, it held a deep significance and he adhered to it till his last breath.
On the same note, did his efforts at uniting Hindus and Muslims succeed? No. Isn’t it our duty to critically examine what went wrong? Does this criticism in any way diminish Gandhi’s greatness? No.
This unfortunately, is a lesson most people need to learn.