Last week, after
about how lies and conspiracy theories were masquerading as “unknown truths about Jawaharlal Nehru”, the Congress leader and author Shashi Tharoor tweeted the piece describing it as “The truth about ‘the truth about Nehru’”.
In the light of the recent attempts to edit Nehru’s Wikipedia page, I wrote about how unverified and slanderous information about the former prime minister did the rounds on the internet – for instance, it was being said that Nehru was born in a red-light area of Allahabad and his grandfather, Gangadhar Nehru, was a Muslim.
Soon after, Anuj Dhar, author of India’s Biggest Cover-up – a book on the mystery surrounding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s apparent death in a plane crash in 1945 – wrote an article , rebutting certain arguments I had made in my piece.
Dhar, a journalist-activist known for his extensive research on Netaji’s life, was recently in the news for his pivotal role in bringing declassified documents on the freedom fighter to public light. I had spoken to Dhar once while researching for an analysis piece on the controversy surrounding the alleged snooping on Netaji’s family, and his confidence in his research and for the cause had impressed me.
Dhar’s main disagreement with my piece stems from what Mridula Mukherjee, professor of history at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, had told me.
"All serious biographies of Nehru have referred to his relationship with Edwina Mountbatten and Padmaja Naidu. Most books have called the relationships platonic, but even if such relationships were not platonic, then what? They were consenting adults. Was he cheating on his long-dead wife? No. Did it affect governance? No," Mukherjee had said.
(The views expressed by the writer are personal. He tweets as @saha_abhi1990 )