Many brilliant and brave young men and women came under the spell of Gandhi. Even when they saw his futility and adopted Marxism, they remained in thrall to his example.
Men like Lohia and J.P Narayan- the latter a great friend of Arthur Koestler- lacked nothing to develop as effective leaders except their infatuation with Gandhian style rural backwardness and hypocrisy masquerading as some higher morality or evidence of superior harmony.
Distrust of machines, a belief that science and technology atomizes society, hatred of commerce, suspicion of Weberian bureaucracy or indeed any non charismatic organisation, conflation of caste with economic class- these are the reasons Gandhi's socialist successors contributed to stagnation and set the scene for the malaise of the Hindi belt in more recent decades.
If Lohia castigated the British bullet (goli) and language (boli) as the tools of Ind's enslavement, he and his ilk contributed to the multiplication of 'peasant and workers' parties which delivered nothing- except ensure that if a peasant wanted to get ahead by work rather than crime/politics- he had to immigrate to some other State. In Hindi there is an expression "jis ka lathi uska bhains ka bhi koi no koi party to hoga hi. Yadi, bahdha abh lathi ko bhains ke gand mein dal raha hai to kya hua? Jab bahins ka party jeet jayega tho bhains bhi yuun hi karega. Aakhir, bhains lathi aur gaand hamesha rahenge. This is meaning of multi- party democracy." ( Who owns the truncheon owns the bullock which, no doubt, is championed by some political party. If today, the guy is prodding the bullock in the anus with his truncheon, so what? Sooner or later the bullock's political party will win, in which case the bullock will do the same. In the end, the bullock, the anus, and the truncheon will always exist. This is the meaning of multi-party democracy.)
People like Lohia and JP knew the villages. They felt at home there. Why did they achieve so little in terms of raising productivity, improving transport & other linkages, and so on? Was it not because they were foreign returned wind-bags easily deluded by the cunning hypocrisy of rural wind-bags who were simply better at the art of talking sanctimonious shite while stealing everything they could lay their hands on?
No. That is too harsh a judgement.
There were certain intractable features of agricultural India- at least, in the Hindi belt- arising from the cost and incapacity for honesty of both the administrative as well as the political class, which constrained all action other than the purely gestural.
Still, the fact remains, the great contribution of these great men and women was purely negative.