Biography of V K Krishna Menon – A great Leader and a legend of India from Kerala
V K Krishna Menon:Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's (the 1st Prime Minister of India) following comments will give a vivid picture of Menon's personality. "Krishna Menon is by far the ablest and most outstanding figure in the United Nations. In carrying out India's policy, he comes into conflict with some policies of other countries and, because of his great ability; he creates an impression in the United Nations. There are some people in this country, and some people in other countries too, whose job in life appears to be to run down Mr. Krishna Menon, because he is cleverer than these people, and because his record of service for Indian freedom is far longer than theirs, and because he has worn himself out in the service of India." This quote of Nehru epitomizes Krishna Menon.
Krishna Menon's Education:Krishna Menon was Scholar having taken several degrees in several branches of knowledge. He did his Schooling in Tellicherry and Calicut. After that he did BA in Madras and took up study for Law at Madras but did not complete. He went to London for further studies. He has completed B. A., B. Sc., M. A., M. Sc., Bar at Law. He completed his PhD from Glasgow. He has taken several other diplomas and degrees from London.
Menon as Freedom Fighter:During his studies at Madras he was an active participant of Home Rule Movement, and 'Brothers of Service 'Movement' and Theosophical Society of Dr Annie Besant. These movements were the forerunners of the independent agitations of the Indian National Congress. Later he stopped his studies and got involved in the Social Service League movement in the then Malabar.
Ind London while doing his studies (1924-47), he joined the Labour Party, one of the 2 major political parties in England and became close to the Chairman of the party at that time, Mr Harold J. Laski. He utilized this position to persuade the major political party, the Labour Party to reconcile to the position of India's independence. He could even arrange to send to India a parliamentary fact finding delegation consisting of Monica Whately MP, Ellen Wilkinson MP, Leonard W. Matters MP, and V. K. Krishna Menon, India League. He used to address street corner meetings of public explaining the independence movement of India to elicit the public sympathy for India's independence agitation. He formed the India League, London to co-ordinate the Indian people there. This platform he used to propagate the independence movement of India in London. During this time he came in contact with Nehru and from that time they became close friends.
Krishna Menon as a Diplomat:Immediately on independence, he was appointed as the High Commissioner (1947 to 1952) of India to England based at London. He was coordinating the affairs connected with the transfer of power from the British Government to Indian Government on independence. Since he was having close contact with many top personalities of the Government, the transition was easier and smooth.
In 1952 he was sent as deputy leader of the delegation to the United Nations, New York [Leader: Vijayalakshmi Pandit] and in 1953 he became Leader of the Delegation to the United Nations, New York. At that time the major issue for India was the Kashmir Issue with Pakistan. Menon presented India's case most effectively in UN by making the longest speech (8 hours) ever made in UN by anybody till today. During this period Menon was working on behalf of Nehru who was also the Foreign Affairs minister, and was functioning virtually as the foreign affairs minister. He worked for the close co-operation of Afro-Asian nations on the principle of non-alignment. That is, not to align with the then existing 2 camps led by USA and USSR respectively. The non alignment principle became so effective that most of the nations of Africa and Asia became members and many European countries supported it. This policy was effective in not getting involved in the cold war going on between the 2 camps and keeps a neutral policy with supporting the right cause, irrespective of the camp. As a prelude to this movement the Bandung Conference from 18th to 24th of April 1955 in Indonesia was held with the participation of India with Indonesia, Ceylon, Pakistan and Burma consisting nearly 25% of the earth's total surface. The main architects of non alignment were Nehru and Menon of India. Menon's work during this time for the cause of the Afro Latin American nations was commendable and appreciated by those nations very much. Our China was becoming a major 3rd force in addition to the American and Russian Camps. As a neighboring country, India was developing close relations with China. Towards fostering the close relation with China the Panchasheel principle was followed between India and China. This was the time of the slogan “India China – Bhai –Bhai.
V K Krishna Menon as Minister:In 1957 Nehru inducted Menon into his Cabinet as a Minister without portfolio. After his election from North Bombay, he was appointed Defence Minister. V K K initiated several measures to restructure the defence services. Till now there was one person the head of Army who was controlling the entire defence force. Mr Menon separated the power of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Further he devised the regional concepts and the 3 heads with the regional heads became the policy decision makers of the defence system thereby making it impossible for a military coup as was happening in the neighboring countries.
Side by side Krishna Menon took steps to make the Indian Defence Force Self Reliant. He established the Sainik Schools to train the defence personnel. He established the Armed forces medical college to train Doctors to take care of the needs of the defence personnel. He established the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the defence equipments. He established the Public Sector defence factories like the Ordnance factory, Heavy Vehicles factory of Avadi, Bharat electronics, HAL at Bangalore and Kanpur etc,
Things were not smooth for Menon both in the country and outside. He was very close to Nehru. Nehru had his enemies within the Congress party and outside. Since Menon was close to Nehru and these people were trying to create hurdles for Menon in his discharge of duties as they had no courage to openly fight against Nehru. Besides these people can stand nowhere near to Menon on the level of intellect, logic and factually, so they used to hate him. Menon was also treating with scorn which further alienated them from him.
He was the main person behind the Goa annexation in 1961.
In 1962 the China waged war against India on the Northern Border. Because of the unpreparedness due to the close relation with China, India lost the war. His Enemies in the country got a chance to bait him. He resigned from the Government owning the moral responsibility. That is the end of brilliant career of V K Krishna Menon.
Menon's Election Experiences:His first contest was for the Borough Councilor, of Ward 4, St. Pancras of London Municipality in 1934 and won the election. Next was to the Rajya Sabha Member post from Madras State in 1953. Contested to the Lok Sabha from North Bombay in 1957 and won. Again in 1962 he contested from the same constituency against the Acharya Kripalani and won with a margin of 1,45,000. The Siva Sena was founded around this time in Bombay mainly to oppose Menon with the hidden support of S K Patil boss of Bombay Congress. The Bombay Congress Committee denied ticket to him for the reason that he was not Maharashtrian. Menon's enemies became more powerful due to the defeat in China war. He contested from the same constituency 2 more times as independent and lost with margin of around 14,000 votes. !969 he won from Midnapore of West Bengal with the support of Left front and finally in 1971 from Thiruvananthapuram with LDF support.
Recognitions to Menon's Services:
Freeman of the Borough – 1955 awarded by British Government.
A statue of Krishna Menon was erected twice in London. Both the times the same were stolen.
Road by name Krishna Menon marg in Delhi.
Establishment of Krishna Menon foundation award for best diplomat of India.
Padma Vibhushan by Government of India.