Remembering Nehru

On the death anniversary of Nehru ,while his legacy might have been removed from textbooks , if it’s believed that his work shall be wiped away it is but a complete folly of the doers .

To all those who keep asking what was accomplished in 60 years – my sincere request is to read “India after Gandhi” by Ramachandra Guha. The size of the book maybe intimidating but please do not let that put you off – it is quite an easy read.

Here is an excerpt :

“In the first week of November 1949, the RSS chief, M.S. Golwalkar, addressed a crowd of 100,000 in Bombay’s Shivaji Park. The speech waxed hot on the virtues of Hindu culture. As the reporter put it: He had a cure-all for the ills of the nation: Make Golwalkar the Fuhrer of All India.

A week later Jawaharlal Nehru came to speak in Bombay. The same venue – Shivaji Park. A record crowd of over 600,000 stampeded the grounds to hear him speak. His message was emphatically different, for he spoke of the need to maintain social peace within India as well as peace between warring nations abroad.

A hundred thousand people had come to hear Golwalkar espouse the idea of a Hindu theocratic state for India. But in this Maharashtrian stronghold, six times as many came to cheer the Prime Minister’s defense of democracy against absolutism, and secularism against chauvinism”

And to think that this happened when the wounds of Partition were still raw. Plus Nehru faced the major handicap of being a moderate – and the middle ground is generally not conducive to the stirring rhetoric that compels men to act nor does it draw strength from fanaticism. Nevertheless, Nehru had the statesmanship and nobility of spirit to stand for what is right and take the nation along with him.

What would we have been otherwise? If we had had a leader who took advantage of the various fault lines that divided the newly formed country for his own political gains?

Some would say India may have been better off. But I would have to disrespectfully disagree.

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