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JuicyLesson 220: The Truth About Indira Gandhi, One-Time P.M. Of India and Head of Congress Party (I) …

First, please forgive my about-face in terms of the substance of JL 220, this one in other words. Yesterday, I made a promise regarding the compoenents of today’s JuicyLesson. What I said was this:

“Something to look forward to … tomorrow (that is, today, Thursday) we have a video summary along with commentary from Don Cherry and Claude Julien of the seventh game vs. Boston, from the TD Garden last week. As I have already stated, I believe that this was the Canadiens finest playoff hour in recent memory, in at least the last 15 years, and, for the record let me add that seventh game victory represents perhaps their best playoff work since their – i.e. the Habs’ – last Stanley Cup win, way back more than twenty years ago in 1993”.

Anyway, my apologies, but that’s gonna have to wait as I have burnt myself out on the Habs for now but I’m still planning to make it down to NYC in the aftermath of tomorrow’s tilt, provided the Habs win

Instead I thought we’d do a little history of the Indian Subcontinent, including the three countries carved from it in 1947 – India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh. My reason for having a look at the history of that part of Asia is the recent election in India, the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1,5 billion souls (cf. 33 million in Canada, 350 million in the United States and about 1.7 billion people in the PRC).

The Indian Congress Party was founded by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Other Congress Party or Congress Party (Indira) leaders who have acceded to the country’s Prime Ministerial Office include Lal Badhur Shastri, Nehru’s successor, Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv, both of whom met the same fate: dead at the hands of assassins.

However, the recent elections in India indicated the occurrence of a seismic shift in the political landscape of a rapidly expanding Indian population, one which should surpass that of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC, aka Communist China) within the next hundred years or so which will be an incredible feat considering the relatively short period of time it will have taken India to catch up. It is incredible that a one-child policy has been able to reduce the population growth of the world’s largest country, PRC for the moment that is, until India gets over on the Chinese at least as far as population size is concerned.

Communist China has reduced the application of its one-child policy which has been able to decrease the rates of real population growth but which has had serious social costs just now becoming evident, not to mention criminal activity such as infanticide and selective abortion if testing revealed that the fetus being borne by the woman was female.

There was a war fought between Communist China and India in 1962 which led to a humiliating defeat for Indian armies at the hands of Chinese troops in border skirmishes in the NEFA (North-East Frontier Area) and in the territory of Ladakh, a disputed region between the two neighbours – Communist China and India – to India’s North-West.

As a result of the defeat, Nehru significantly increased Indian defence and military spending instead of continuing to rely on applying broad political-philosophical principles like those associated with neutralism and non-alignment. In the wake of its defeat at the hands of better-equipped and better-trained Chinese forces, India began applying the principles underlying the ideology of Realpolitik rather than taking refuge in meaningless manifestos and mostly empty platitudes which had been its wont prior to its having been taken out to the proverbial woodshed by Chairman Mao of the PRC and Mao’s side-kick, Premier Chou En-lai, in 1962, in a military conflict composed of relatively brief and mostly minor (unless you were actually involved in the fighting that is) border skirmishes.

In line with this complete change in India’s foreign policy orientation in the wake of that crushing defeat, Nehru tripled Indian military expenditures; later, under Mrs. Gandhi, I believe, India joined the world’s nuclear club. Communist China had already exploded it’s first nuclear weapon in the 1950’s, before India successfully tested it’s own nuclear bomb.

Our featured video gives a very brief account of Mrs. Gandhi’s story. Today’s JuicyLesson, in addition, includes another clip of about three minutes in length highlighting the funeral of another and previously-assassinated Gandhi, Mahatma (Great Soul) Mohandas Gandhi, known affectionately as Babu, the leader of India’s successful struggle for independence from the shackles of the British Empire, and Indira’s father-in-law. (Indira Gandhi was the product of the union between Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter and the Mahatma’s son.)

Peace. Out.

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