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Jawaharlal Nehru Files – The Truths, Lies and Chronicles Of The Wiki Edits

by Giz TimesJuly 2, 2015

On the morning of 26th June 2015, another storm highlighting the strained relationships of Congress and BJP, came to fore. Some provocative changes were made to the Wikipedia profiles of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, his father and grandfather. The edit was made from an IP address belonging to National Informatics Centre, the software solution provider of the Government of India.

The attempted edit questioned the lineage of Nehru by stating that he was of Muslim lineage rather than Kaul from Jammu and Kashmir. To establish credibility, changes were made in the profile of Gangadhar Nehru, the prime minister’s grandfather. These said that Gangadhar was born as Muslim, Ghiyasuddn Ghazi and changed to Hindu Ganga Dhar only to escape the British.

Other changes published on the website were that Pt. Nehru was born in a red light area of Allahabad, further belittling the icon’s reputation. There have been rumors suggesting the presence of a brothel in Nehru’s birthplace even before he was born and that his father sold a part of the house to a sex worker, but these have only remained attempts at soiling the family name.

Similar rumors keep surfacing from time to time, perhaps from disgruntled opposition’s members. Another one took form as one more change was made to the Wikipedia pages, which alleges the existence of a relationship between Nehru and Edwina Mounbatten, wife of India’s first governor general Lord Mountbatten. It is speculated that the affair led to the partition of India since she blackmailed him.

These changes made during 9:12 a.m. to 10:02 a.m. were however detected within minutes and undone by the Wikipedia editors. Nevertheless this case has become extremely serious since the edit was made from an internet protocol (IP) address that comes under the regulation of the central government. This in turn has made the members of congress call the attack a “cheap, undemocratic and gutter level tactic”. The congress has demanded a full inquiry and an apology from the Prime Minister and IT minister along with corrective measures. AICC party spokesperson Abhishek Singhi was recorded as saying that it might be another attempt of polarization by the party in power.

Quite infrequently other scandalous stories arise that not only defame the Nehru family but also put to shame the world’s largest democracy that can’t even wholeheartedly support a man responsible for bringing about its freedom.

One such story that brought the family flak was the speculation that there was a salacious affair between Nehru and Teji Bachchan, Indira Gandhi’s close friend and later wife of Harivansh Rai Bachchan. This story and the facts pertaining to it made it probable that Amitabh Bachchan was in fact Jawaharlal Nehru’s son and that to cover up the illicit birth of a child; he forced Teji Bachchan into wedlock with his friend Harivansh Rai Bachchan who was also a widower at that time. But since no authentication to the story was provided, it was declared a falsity.

Nehru has also been accused of conspiring with Mahatma Gandhi against Subhash Chandra Bose, leading to his death. It is said that the two were threatened by his tactics and growing popularity and thus decided on his elimination. Also said to be a part of the conspiracy was the suspicious plane crash in which Bose died. The reports that his family was spied on, from the year 1948 to 1968 added fuels to theories, also making it possible that Bose had not died at all.

These controversies have never been proven true and therefore only come out as efforts to badmouth the famous personalities, as in the present case too. Since the changes made in the Wikipedia pages were anonymously made, it is difficult to pinpoint one person. But the fact remains that they were made by someone in the opposition since it is not easy to hack into the government systems and spoofing the IP address also takes a high skills set. These revelations were made by the Policy Director at Centre for Internet and Society, Pranesh Prakash.

This incident has risen various questions regarding the people in power since its uncertain who is behind such heinous acts. Whether the IT minister and the Prime Minister will be justly able to conduct an enquiry and employ corrective measures or not, remains a matter of conjecture. In the meantime, it can only be hoped that such shameful attempts to disgrace the people of stature would cease.

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