Nehru - The Tainted Architect of India

September 17, 2015

At the stroke of the midnight on that day of August 15, 1947, a nation was born, a new dream had begun and a leader was crowned. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is a name that in these days has remained submerged in high school history books, securing least limelight in the noisy media. Gandhi is portrayed in our currency notes, sometimes his look-likes appear in movies and more often his name is synonymous with any depiction of morality.

But that’s not the case with Nehru; he is often rejected and ignored, may be for his liberal lifestyle that was traditionally and morally incorrect or for his distaste of India’s sacred norms ingrained in the normal Indian mindset. Much of his greatness has been shadowed by slang’s flung by undeserving nationalists, fake traditionalists and political opportunists who notoriously preferred to take a dig on India’s past that didn’t go so well. These termites scored political tons blasting Nehru’s date with Stalinism-Maoism, his role in partition and absurd foreign policies. Only a handful of modern authors have laid a significance to Nehru’s legacy, representing him as one of the ‘Architects of modern India’, a phrase that would make Jawaharlal Nehru profoundly glad more than anything else, if he ever were to listen.

A nation is largely defined by its founding principles, its constitution and the folks who lead them. This is so true if in case we peep through few provinces in and around. Theocracy, Autocracy and monarchy rule the lands; coercively demanding poor subjects to submit, or in other words surrender themselves to their barbaric laws and will of the Autocratic state they dwell in with immediate consequence of physical torture and mental suffocation.

Dating back to the end of eighteenth century, while the United States was barelya independent country, President Thomas Jefferson decided to pass the First Amendment bill in which he scrutinized the constitution by making three exemplary moves through the separation of church and state, granting the birth right of every individual i.e. freedom of speech & expression and promoting complete freedom for the whole American press. These revolutionary changes blossomed to define the character of American thought. Anyways, it shouldn’t be considered an overrated comparison, if it is said; Nehru is for India what Jefferson was for the United States.

Jawaharlal Nehru was born at Allahabad on November 14, 1889, the son of Pandit Motilal Nehru and Swarup Rani. Jawaharlal was brought up in pomp and luxury, had European governesses and tutors, and was provided with a private swimming pool and tennis Courts (thankfully he didn’t end up neither as a professional swimmer nor as a tennis player). He was educated at Harrow and Cambridge, later he read Natural Science and received Tripos from Trinity College. He earned the qualification for the Bar from the Inner Temple. While on 40, was elected to preside over the Lahore session of the Congress in 1929. It was from here, that Nehru’s role in the Indian freedom movement took a new dimension, as he sensed a moral persuasion to fight for his nation. He went all the way to be sworn as independent India’s first prime minister, there upon his political and personal stature became a symbolic gesture to the newly freed nation from the jaws of British imperialism. During his reign, Nehru was duly praised for his economic policies notably the five year plans, national unity and poverty relief measures. He gallantly won the love and admiration of the Indian people, which enabled him to remain untouched from his supreme position for almost seventeen long years, until his death in May 27, 1964.

A statesman who could easily mend his political ambition with social welfare, a moderate democratic socialist by definition and a free-thinker who wouldn’t accept unsupportable claims or believe without reasoning (makes it hard to find a politician in our days!); Nehru spent most of his early days in the west, where he grew witnessing the political veil of Marxist ideology. It is atmost reflective in his writings that he did continue to have an attachment towards the left. However, he never seemed to conceal anything without enquiry. He once penned “Although, he emphasized and observed larger portion of Karl Marx’s magnum opus “Das Capital” and its tenets of equality, social welfare and state-control, it shouldn’t be the case where every text, ideology and philosophy be immune to criticism, or else it may be considered as a ‘Dogma’ ”.

Obliviously, critiques severely drubbed him to be a half baked secularists, a hypocritical eastern attirist with western thoughts, a malicious cultureless prophet of nationalism and a special agent of the Soviet Union. These allegations worsened following the historic peace talks with an Totalitarian Chinese communist regime that shamelessly signed the ‘panchasheela’ (Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence) agreement over the land of Tibet.

One of the rare qualities where Nehru is widely lauded is in his extraordinary command over English language. A voracious reader and an evergreen student of learning, Nehru spent most of his spare time in books that defined his caliber. His thirst for knowledge, method of reasoning and intellectual thoughts were put forth in self-written ‘An Autobiography’, later with ‘Glimpses of World History’ which was a collection of letters penned to his little daughter Indira, during his time in prison and lastly with ‘Discovery of India’. In all the works, creeps out a thinker and a philosopher in him. His writings contain splendid pace, narration, wit, range and passion that collectively offers stiff grip to the essays.

In most accounts, Nehru was an original thinker, even though he couldn’t refrain from showcasing glimpses of socialistic angles in his interpretations of history. Nehru’s literary brilliance and taste for English language were categorically screened in these remarkable works. Apart from his writing skills, Nehru was articulately able to deliver those literary pieces in terms of immortal public speeches. They predominantly came into prominence during India’s toughest times, mostly in thirties, were our nation had to strike two demons at one shot (the onslaught of the British police force and the disturbing communal insurgence). It was during these dark hours that Nehru’s dignified approach and leadership qualities graciously rose to the occasion.

It has been half a century since the demise of India’s First Prime Minister. And all that is left in his death bed is more than his meticulous letters to various ministers and diplomats or the three celebrated works of masterpiece, but what is indeed left over is a invisible hand that guides us at this day, that makes each Indian regardless of his state, gender, language, caste, status, position and faith equal before the law. Unarguably, Nehru’s salient vision towards India’s future, his belief in human integration, relevance to science and technology, priority to education where he established IIT’s and IIM’s in different towns and referred them as ‘Temples of Modern India’, his ill-tempered rampage on anti-social political mobs polarizing the nation, his marvelous efforts to raise the level of lower caste sects and his bold and audacious approach towards the security of ethnic and religious minorities in his time, all of this and more lest be forgotten.


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By Chris Emmanuel D'Souza
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Comment on this article

  • Kiran, Bangalore

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    Any person who only criticizes Nehru without acknowledging the sacrifices he made as a Freedom fighter and the contributions he made in building modern india is Biased or ill informed.
    Every Indian has the right to critique not to criticize this great man. Most of the people who now criticize him were not Born when Nehru was alive. All they know is thru folklore. Hence they do not have enough first hand knowledge to criticize him

  • Rathnakara A, Shirva

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    Nehru the most selfish person India ever seen! For the sake of becoming PM, devided India, Denied PM post to Sardar Patel and conspired against Netaji. India got freedom because of Netaji and many more, but this fellow took all the benefits. Just One example is enough to prove that he was selfish, who will award Bharath Ratna for himself?

  • Agnello DSouza, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    Nehru was undoubtedly the architect of modern, multicultural and diverse India.He took over the administration India from British, especially during great turmoil of partition which I can say was one of the most daunting jobs of administrations ever.His five year plans may be criticized now but in those times when only govt could raise the capital it was our only source for industrialization and irrigation.His socialistic but democratic thinking at least gave us some sense of morality that we are still raising issues for the weaker sections of the society. The freedom of expression which he propagated has given us the free media which we should be so grateful for.He upheld the constitution drafted by Dr.Ambedkar and governed on the basis of it even though he would have personally wanted amendments to parts of it especially on reservations.
    Yes he has made mistakes(like the foreign policy, war with china, reorganization of states) and they need to be critiqued but the way it is done now is disproportionate. India would have been a divided and poor nation if not for Nehru's leadership during the fledgling years of free India

  • vincent rodrigues, katapadi/b'lore

    Sat, Sep 19 2015

    I fully agree with A.S.Mathew of U.S.A.Nehru was a great leader of India who fought to get freedom and the brilliant Prime Minister in action after independence. .Commenting against him now is politically motivated and not of good taste.

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Thu, Sep 17 2015

    We were greatly blessed to have him as the Prime Minister of India.

    When reading the biographies of people like Andrei Gromyko who worked under Stalin to Gorbachev,
    as Ambassador-Foreign Minister and finally as the VP of the USSR, Pundit Nehru has been elated as an highly brilliant leader.

    While reading the book "leaders" written by Richard Nixon, even though he never had any love for India, however, he has put Pundit Nehru as a brilliant person with insight.

    The Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Kenneth Galbraith who was the economic advisor as well as the speech writer for President John F. Kennedy, also known as a great Economist of the 20th century
    has mentioned Pundit Nehru as a great and bright visionary. (both of them were graduated from the Cambridge University, so they had very close friendship)

    If India had another PM other than Pundit Nehru, the Christians would have been in deeper trouble.

    " Unchecked capitalism will make the poor poorer and the rich richer" Pundit Nehru.

    "I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses satisfied to live in hunger, filth and ignorance" Pundit Nehru. See, how religion is playing that dirty game.

    Pundit Nehru had greatly appreciated the humanitarian work of the Christian community in India. Dr. Billy Graham read his face exactly in 1956, when he paid the visit. Also, Mother Teresa can tell the details of his appreciation for the charity work of the Christian community.

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