Why Prime Minister Nehru's 1958 Bhutan visit would have been just as iconic on donkeyback

Why Prime Minister Nehru's 1958 Bhutan visit would have been just as iconic on donkeyback Tue, 05 Sep 2017

Why Prime Minister Nehru'€™s 1958 Bhutan visit would have been just as iconic on donkeyback

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We, at Congress Social Media, seemed to have stepped on a troll hive on Sunday with our #KnowYourLegacy question, '€˜What animal did Prime Minister Nehru arrive in Bhutan on in 1958? (A) Horse; (B) Elephant; (C) Yak; or (D) Donkey.'€™ The BJP'€™s bot brigade'€™s simple minds were titillated by the prospect of the first Prime Minister on the back of the humble beast of burden. While Nehru ji travelled via all means available to him on the long, arduous journey, motor car and mule, he arrived in Bhutan on yak-back. Boy, are we glad we put out this quiz. It serves as a reminder that our adversaries have a lot of growing up to do.

Our polls are designed to remind Indians about their proud history. Despite what the cynics are saying, our courage went a long way in educating millennials about the principled beginnings of India'€™s foreign policy under Prime Minister Nehru.

Every Bhutanese child has been told the story of how our humble hero Chacha Nehru rode to Bhutan in 1958 on yak-back to persuade a country of less than one million people to come out of self-imposed isolation. The little Land of the Thunder Dragon had managed to punch above its weight and steer clear of two world wars and never be colonised or occupied by both the British Raj and Mao'€™s China. It was Panditji'€™s journey on yak-back that endeared him to them and forged a lifelong friendship between India and Bhutan, which has saved us billions of dollars in defence spending.

Convinced that independent India was a principled power which would not buckle under the expansionist pressure in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of states, Bhutan agreed to allowing our Border Roads Organisation to build its first motorable roads, having our army protect its frontier in partnership with theirs and building dams that now fully finance their budget, augmenting India'€™s conventional and energy security.

A down to earth journey on yak back enabled Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Third King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to co-author the beginnings of a symbiotic relationship that would be an example to the rest of the world in which International Relations is otherwise a dismal science. It was thanks to the nurturing of Nehru Ji that India proved herself to be a law-abiding power.

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In sharp contrast to Prime Minister Nehru, Prime Minister Modi has presided over worsening relations with Nepal, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. Yet even placing Nehru ji, the originator of the Non Aligned Movement, in the same sentence with the likes of Narendra Modi is like comparing '€˜Hyperion to a satyr.'€™ Nevertheless, we at the Indian National Congress express our deep gratitude to the BJP for increasing our tribe by juxtaposing our messages with their vile and vulgar vitriol. 
Trolls are the favoured tool of the moral minority. They take up cudgels for men who are so out of touch, that despite being products of an agricultural society, their infantile minds view donkeys with derision, ignorant of the fact they were our ancestors'€™ most versatile mode of transportation and support. And to those who are still giggling at the thought of a freedom fighter of the stature of our first Prime Minister on the back of a donkey and photoshopping pictures of leaders, consider this: Not to miss out on schooling Hindutva on true Hinduism: Hindu mythology too is replete with gods and goddesses that chose donkeys as their vahanas, including Indra and Agni in the Atharva Veda! 

Saint Eknath defied the hypocrisy of other religious men by offering Ganga jal destined for Lord Shiva'€™s altar to a dying donkey because he saw Lord Shiva in it. The good saint believed that given the Divine is omnipresent, the offering would sooner make it to God if used to keep one of His creatures from dying, for therein lay true piety. Jesus Christ himself rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. He too was trolled for his humility, but it was on the back of a lowly ass that the saviour made prophecy history.

Reminded of the Aesop fable of the old man, boy and their donkey, everybody has a perspective, so be it. Not everyone who makes headlines for getting trolled can take it on the chin, which is why it is important not to make it a celebration. Journalists should be mindful not to incentivise the worst aspects of human nature that are on display thanks to online anonymity as it gives trolls and their handlers ammunition to cyberbully. We, at Congress Social Media, have the wherewithal to face BJP'€™s trolls and will not succumb to cyber bullying. We will continue to question and disrupt the conditioned.

PS: Donkeys, as sentient creatures, are worthy of respect. To end the widespread ill-treatment of this hardworking animal you may donate to either of these organisations, The Asswin Project here or to The Donkey Sanctuary here.

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