Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Laid the Foundation of India to Become World Guru

  • Dr. Anil Dutta Mishra

Independent India derived legacy from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who gave up everything for freeing India from the yoke of British Imperialism where ‘Sun never sets’. During freedom struggle, Nehru wrote three classics ‘Discovery of India’, ‘Glimpses of World History’ and ‘An Autobiography’. No Prime Minister in known history of world wrote like Nehru till today. Being an Indian, we feel proud of him and his work. He has a deep understanding of History and Indian Civilization. Nehru with his iconic personality inspired masses and masses inspired Nehru. Through his selfless work, dedication, integrity, honesty, pristine purity, vision, leadership with missionary zeal to serve the people and nation, he became undisputed leader of pre and post Independent India and became the first Prime Minister and architect of Modern India. He gave leadership to India with his farsightedness and what was needed to build a democratic, new India, vibrant India, secular India and gave multiculturalism a foundational base. Nehru’s appreciation of the virtues of parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism, coupled with his concerns for the poor masses, women and underprivileged, are recognised to have guided him in formulating public policies that influence India of this day.

Jawaharlal Nehru was the tallest among the leaders of the world that the 20th century ever produced. He spent 3262 days in various jails and is remembered all over the world for his love of peace, frankness, compassion and his success in using these instruments to bring together the entire population and helping the country to attain independence from the colonial power and show the new way to the world. Nehru changed the course of history and created history. He was a man of principles and great conviction. He left an everlasting impact on the world at large because he always spoke and understood the language of the masses, socially deprived and downtrodden and laid the solid foundation of democracy in India. Even after his death, Nehru continues to attract the attention of scholars, social activists, media, policy makers and dreamers not only in India but the whole world. History fascinated him. It gave him an insightful command over the past, a keen and immediate sense of the present and a rare foresight to think and plan for the future of all. Himself a great historian of repute, Nehru used sense of history in building new democratic India based on scientific temper and scientific approach to problems would liberate India from economic misery and social injustice. Amazing indeed was his intellectual blend- science and history, idealism and realism, literature and politics, Vedanta of Swami Vivekananda, the revolution of Marx and the non-violence of Gandhi-were all integrated in unique personality of Nehru. As Norman Cousins observed-Nehru ‘was not one man but a procession of men’.

Nehru found the picture of his free India in its essentials and what emerged was a picture of the India of his dreams. The objective of the governance in India was set by him in his soul-stirring speech in the midnight of August 14-15, 1947. It was ‘ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity’. To achieve this, Nehru built institutions brick-by-brick and formulated policies accordingly and the result is before us. Nehru’s futuristic vision and leadership is unique and unparalleled in Indian politics. It is for us and for the future generations to build on these foundations or else be ready to face the problems. Nehru was conscious when he said: ‘Leaders and individual go; they may get tired and slacken off; they may compromise and betray; but the exploited and suffering masses carry on the struggle, for their drill sergeant is hunger individuals may come.’ Rahul Gandhi during ‘Bharat Joro Yatra’ visualised it and echoing what Nehru warned ‘integrate or perish’, is integrating India and Indians. Through his work and dedication for the cause of masses, he is doing yeoman service to Mother India.

What Nehru was trying to do was to carry out in India the transformation of a society from feudal to modern and bringing about an industrial revolution in a short span of time and carrying it through without causing excessive human sufferings. He was trying to bring about the total process of social, economic and political transformation of India in a severe constraints situation. The credit goes to Nehru and now India is well-placed in every field because he laid the solid foundation.

Nehru makes Indian democracy universal and vibrant by setting an example by himself. He strikes a balance between the town and the village and stimulated economic growth and development in spite of the extreme paucity of resources. Nehru gave science and technology his personal attention and the result is that in India, today there is a vast accumulation of engineering talent and human resource. Within a short span of time, we have established competence in the field of designing, erecting and commissioning complex industrial plants and machinery in some sophisticated fields. All this constitutes a tremendous national asset and every Indian feels proud of it. With the focus on increasing the business and income tax, Nehru envisaged a mixed economy in which the government would manage strategic industries particularly mining, electricity and heavy industries, serving public interest and a check to private enterprise. He pursued land redistribution and started programmes to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production so that India becomes self-reliant in grain production. He gave importance to cottage industries to increase efficiency in rural India. Nehru called the large dams as the ‘New Temples of India’. He also launched India’s programme to harness nuclear energy and space programme. Even in the field of Art and Culture, Nehru made a distinctive personal contribution and encouraged dance, drama and literature. He warned the government not to interfere with the creativities of writers and artists in India. His policy to keep India a non-aligned country and to promote and protect India’s interest, continues to be of great relevance even today and the guiding principle of our foreign policy.

Nehru advocated education for India’s Youth and children, believing it to be essential for India’s future progress and requirements. Under his leadership, many institutions of higher learning, including AIIMS, IITs, IIMs, National Institute of Technology, BARC, ISRO and DRDO etc were established and these are premier institutes and contributing a lot in the development of India. He also established core industrial complexes and heavy industries in different parts of India keeping the aspirations of the people. The result is before us. Now we are nuclear power, sending our satellites to Moon and other planets. In space, we are next to only USA and Russia. In healthcare and medical science, we are global power. All these are possible because of Nehru’s farsightedness and dynamic leadership. What India has achieved today, the strong foundation of this was laid by none-other than the first Prime Minister of India – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. How aptly Nehru once said ‘Who dies if India lives? Who lives if India dies?’

I shall like to conclude that with the passage of time, Nehru will be of greater relevance not merely to India, but to the world at large. In fact, his ideas and approach to political, economic and social issues are more relevant today than during his life time. The policy makers, politicians, intellectuals and scientists must remember in thought and action the vision of Nehru to develop India and Indians. In the end, I will request every Indian to read ‘Discovery of India’, ‘Glimpses of World History’ and ‘An Autobiography’ to know Nehru’s vision, mission, intellect, sacrifice, dedication, scientific temper and humane approach to masses. Nehru’s spoken words, writings and selfless work done by him will resonate for centuries to come and India will become ‘World Guru’.

Dr. Anil Dutta Mishra is a renowned Gandhian scholar and author of ‘Reading Gandhi’