Random Thoughts

A Toast to Nehru

... putting India center stage as the largest democracy in the world

It’s neither May nor November, suddenly Jawarharlal Nehru is being recalled. Perhaps memories triggered by the calumny being poured over him and his descendants.

Why forget the Other PMs of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri – the short man with a long shadow, Gulzarilal Nanda, I K Gujral, Morarji Desai – first Gujju PM, Charan Singh, V P Singh, Chandrashekhar – once reputed to be in the kitchen cabinet now on the other side of the fence, Deve Gowda – first PM aghast at Davos, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narasimha Rao—who actually began solid economics reforms and Manmohan Singh? The only names with recall are Indira, Rajiv, and Namo & Co.

Nehru was very much a man of his times, when socialism was on its way up. His successors veered towards License Raj, chucked out in phases by Narasimha Rao …. now seeking a new Nom d’Plume.

Democratic enough to listen, plead, cajole, bully, bargain to maintain the unity of democratic India, earned Nehru kudos as a leading globally respected leader of his times – without resort to gimmickry of first names and jaddo ki jhappies.

Perhaps his achievement was possible with his acknowledgement of the talents of colleagues to best effect; Ambedkar’s steering of the Constitution, Sardar’s uniting of the Princes, Nehru’s pushing forward, building consensuses, and free democratic elections that wielded India into a modern democratic India, that would not have been possible on Gandhian policies alone.


More by :  Kusum Choppra

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