Legacy Of Nehru

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Nov 2018 11:51:21


It needs to be remembered that Nehru campaigned hard for his party in polls but his speeches were more like lectures in development and history. He was proud of projects like dams, roads, but also created infrastructure for rural development.


IRRESPECTIVE of efforts by present Central Government and BJP leaders, the legacy of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India after Independence will continue to stand tall and unique as a person who laid the foundation of democracy and modern India. It was Nehru who chose to be a democrat when he could have been a dictator as was the case with most of the leaders whose countries became free around the same time.

Opposition members in Indian Parliament at that time were few, but Prime Minister Nehru gave them all respect and attended Parliament regularly. He was equally respectful to institutions like committees of Parliament and set up institutions to strengthen the system. He even allowed members of the Congress party to ask questions and point out any irregularities committed by Ministers or bureaucrats, and took action. It needs to be remembered that he campaigned hard for his party in polls but his speeches were more like lectures in development and history. He was proud of projects like dams, roads, but also created infrastructure for rural development. His work in setting up institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology, Medical institutes and institutes which led to scientific research which made India a leader in nuclear and space technology in underdeveloped countries.

Agreed, he made mistakes like his inability to read the designs of Chinese leaders who, instead of joining hands with India, chose to attack to resolve border dispute. Some have also found fault with Nehru on Kashmir issue by going to United Nations and agreeing to ceasefire agreement with Pakistan. In this context, it should be kept in mind that India was divided between Hindu and Muslim majority areas. By that logic, Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan. Kashmiri people chose to become part of India because of their faith in Nehru and secular India.

The first Prime Minister of India who ruled for 15 years laid sound foundation for development under democratic system a role model which was unique in Asia and Africa. India has since become self-sufficient in food, a country which produces steel, aeroplanes, nuclear energy, space research and is leader in IT. This is result of 75 years of progress in which record number of people have been lifted over and above the poverty line.

This actually provides the basis on which more progress and at faster pace can be achieved. One thing has to be kept in mind that challenges faced at any time are never the same and solutions are also different. BJP will not lose anything by honouring the contribution of first Prime Minister of India. Nehru was the choice of Mahatma Gandhi and BJP can not honour Gandhi and reject his choice to lead the country after Independence.

The need of the hour is to consolidate the country and not to divide it. Progress can be made by honouring those who led India in difficult times. Nehru was Prime Minister and Sardar Patel was Deputy Prime Minister and both functioned as a team to lay the foundations of free and democratic India. India lost much because of early death of Sardar Patel and nothing will be gained by finding imaginary differences between the two.  The problem with BJP leadership is that they have no icons to build not being part of the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Subhash Chandra Bose.

All being tall leaders and free thinkers, may have had differences, but were certainly not close to groups like Hindu Sabha which were close to British rulers. This position changed after freedom when Nehru formed his first Cabinet in which he tried to include leaders of all groups including those who did not agree with Congress. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee found a lot of common ground between him and leaders of freedom movement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi need not feel any handicap having emerged in free India nor feel any hesitation in honouring freedom fighters or builders of free India. Vajpayee felt proud in praising Indira Gandhi when she led war against Pakistan to make Bangladesh a free country. All political parties should take pride in achievements of free India instead of trying to demean a leader like Nehru whose birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day in the country.