Foreign Policy
(With friends in Bangalore, 1956)

Q : Is not the policy of 'non-alignment' and 'dynamic neutrality' the only right one so far as our country is concerned?
A : So long as we remain weak, all such enchanting phrases would remain only in the air. Ours would only be, as it is now, the 'dynamic neutrality' of a football which is 'impartial' and 'neutral' by itself but is also 'dynamic' being kicked about from one side to the other!
Q : Our remaining in the Commonwealth is only a symbol of sentimental attachment with absolutely no shackles of practical commitments in it. Why should there be any objection to it?
A : You are right! A donkey also has the same 'sentimental attachment' to its master! It is also free for all practical purposes of feeding itself and roaming about - except when it has to carry the load of its master. In the same way do we not see how we are allowing ourselves to be fooled and cleverly exploited by Britain to its advantage, believing all the while that it is only 'sentimental attachment' and that actually we are free?
Q : The Foreign Ministry appears to have become the monopoly of the Nehru family with practically all appointments filled by the near relatives or personal friends of Pt. Nehru. Can it be that it has been done with a view to keep known persons in places of high responsibility?
A : That can be said about the personal affairs of persons like you and me, but not about the affairs of a highly responsible government department. For that, whole machinery has to go into action. For example, in England there is a regular course of training to be undergone by each and every one who has to go to foreign countries on diplomatic missions. They will have to learn that tongue and study in detail beforehand the customs, manners and all the specialities of national life of the country to which they are assigned. Every student who passes out from that course will be under close observation by the Government to gauge his capacities for that particular job. It is thus that an expert opinion will be available for every appointment to a foreign land.
Here in our country, we have totally ignored all such essential procedures. We even depend upon foreign interpreters when our leaders go to foreign lands. You may know that Chou En-lai had brought his own interpreter when he was here. To rely on the interpreters of foreign countries is nothing short of bankruptcy of our sense of diplomacy.
I often remember in this connection a funny episode which occurred in the student days of one of our professors at Nagpur. It appears that many of the students of the college hostel, who were messing in a hotel, had not paid the bill for quite a few months, and the poor proprietor who was a new man to the city was in a fix as to what should be done. The students had, while registering themselves as boarders, given the names of very eminent dignitaries of Nagpur as their guardians!
Finally, the proprietor decided to take the complaint to the warden. The warden, who could not understand the language of the hotel owner, asked one of the students to be the interpreter. Then the drama began. To the complaints that the students were not paying the bills, the interpreter told the exact opposite. His pleading to the warden to intervene personally was interpreted as his gratitude for having allowed the students to mess in his hotel. Finally, exasperated, the hotel owner began to name one after another the guardians and asked the warden to request them to pay off the bills. The interpreter told that all those eminent persons were patronizing the hotel. The warden congratulated the man on his good luck and disposed him of!