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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Tuesday 20 September 2011

He Had Nothing to Flaunt, Except Genius

        V K Krishna Menon was an extraordinary person. Aggressive and over- bearing, contemptuous of fools and pseudo-intellectuals, he went on making enemies, caring little for his name or image. The West hated him for his stinging retorts and biting sarcasm, and gave him such choicest epithets as the 'Devil's incarnate', 'Snake charmer' and 'Mephistopheles in a Saville row suit.' Yet, the world listened with rapt attention when he spoke, because of his sound reasoning, quick repartees and power-packed eloquence. 
          Today, as India, devoid of imagination or determination, goes about strutting and stumbling in its international engagements, 'Menon and Menonism' keep returning. Read, how he summarily put in place some of the bullying brow-beaters who strode the diplomatic scene in those days. 

A British parliamentarian once boasted, 'Remember. The Sun never sets on the British Empire.'
Menon: 'That’s because not even God trusts the British in the dark!'
John Foster Dulles, the US secretary of state once justified that arms given to Pakistan was only to defend itself against a Soviet invasion.
Menon: 'The world has yet to see an American gun shoot in one direction!'
When India annexed Goa in 1961, Dulles severely castigated the country's action.
Menon: 'Did you expect us to send a postcard to the Pentagon seeking your approval?'
After a heated debate in the UN, the British delegate told, 'No hard feelings, Krishna. We have a very thick skin.'
Menon: 'I know, sir. That’s why you Britons make the best boots in the world!'
An Englishwoman once expressed surprise at his excellent command over English.
Menon: 'My English is better than yours, madam. because you inherited it by an accident of birth. I spent years learning it.'
Kennedy, the US President sent an aide with a get-well message to Menon convalescing after a brain surgery in 1961.
Menon: 'Your boss thinks I am a lunatic. You can now tell him on good authority that you've indeed seen me, and I am a man with a hole in the head!'
To an African delegate who once extolled Britain's international policies, Menon said: 'There's no use asking which one you could choose - British imperialism or Nazism. It's like asking a fish, if it wants to be fried in margarine or butter!'
Menon did not spare his detractors at home also. J B Kripalani was one who was at the receiving end of Menon's sarcasm several times. Once when he criticised Menon for not sharing with the Parliament, information about a defence deal, Menon retorted:
'I can give the respected member all the information he wants. But I am sorry I can't give him the intelligence to understand it.'
          His image as an intolerant and impatient man, obscured many facets of his unique personality, as well as his immeasurable contributions to building a modern India. The fact that Menon was never too enthusiastic to talk about himself or his achievements added to this mystery. What is visible is unfortunately a distorted portrait, his die-hard foes have drawn with a vengeance beyond common sense or decency.
          Click below to read further....

History is not a record of what really happens,
but what is narrated later by some in their own words


  1. Except the first one relating to God not trusting Brish in the dark, I have never heard of the other comments from Krishna Menon. Good compilation. I like Menonism.

  2. if i were to confess, i wouldn't hesitate to tell that i hated him for our defeat in the war against the chinese. but after reading your two posts, i confess once again that i am beginning to admire him. maybe as you said, scribes and historians suddenly became 'courageous' in the post-menon era.

  3. rema.singh9:20 am

    My God. His retorts were indeed stinging. And when he delivered these in chaste English, naturally it hurt the British and Americans more. Sad that India could not produce another Menon.

  4. Thanks to you I know a lot about him now! :-)

  5. we must be proud of Mr.Menon who with all determination and power made the world understand that INDIA is far more greater and more to be respected than the westerners.

    1. True, Vinod. Thanks for reading this post