Dalai Lama apologises for saying Nehru opposed Gandhi’s wish to make Jinnah PM

Jawaharlal Nehru (L) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (R) with Louis Mountbatten (2nd R), the last Viceroy of India, in 1946.

Jawaharlal Nehru (L) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (R) with Louis Mountbatten (2nd R), the last Viceroy of India, in 1946. Getty Images/Photographer unknown

By Nagarjun Dwarakanath | India Today

ON THE WEB, 10 August 2018

This week, the Dalai Lama said Mahatma Gandhi was willing to give Muhammad Ali Jinnah the Indian prime minister’s post, but that Jawaharlal Nehru refused. Now, he says he’s sorry if that remark was incorrect.

“I apologise if my statements were wrong on Nehru and Jinnah,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile in Dharamshala. He was in Bengaluru today to attend an event at Hotel Taj West End on Race Course Road.

On Wednesday, while speaking about Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah, the Dalai Lama said he thought it was “a little bit self-centred attitude of Pandit Nehru that he should be the prime minister … Mahatma Gandhiji’s thinking, if it had materialised, then India [and] Pakistan would have been united”.

“So Pandit Nehru, I know very well, [was a] very experienced person — very wise — but sometimes mistake[s] also happen.”

Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “With great respect his Holiness Dalai Lama is wrong that Nehru was self-centred, and therefore opposed Gandhi’s suggestion of making Jinnah Prime Minister of India.

[Tewari] tweeted a link to a document which says:

… the record shows that … According to the Viceroy’s personal account in the Mountbatten papers, Nehru did not in fact react angrily or with ‘shock’ to the suggestion as for example, Stanley Wolpert writes in ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’. He merely expressed doubt that Gandhi’s suggestion would be accepted by Jinnah. Both Nehru and VP Menon separately pointed out to Viceroy Mountbatten that Gandhi had made the offer of Prime Ministership to Jinnah on earlier occasions as well, and that Jinnah had not accepted it on those earlier occasions for his own reasons … Not only Nehru but many members of the Congress Working Committee also did not endorse Gandhi’s suggestion, finally.”

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