An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Nehru's legacy – 43 years later!

Today is Pandit Nehru’s Death Anniversary. He died on May 27, 1964.

He represented a lot of things in Free India. He represented secularism to many (although I believe he was a radical pseudo-secular) and a romantic vision (again misguided at most times though) for the future. His rule – which was FORCED on India – despite the nomination of Sardar Patel by 11 Congress State Units, Gandhi forced Patel to step down in favor of Nehru! In that instance, he came out as a brat who would spoil the party if his tantrums were not listened to.

His Government also was one which tried to virtually wipe out the Hindu parties from Indian polity most often through devious means including false and malicious propoganda, knowing fully well that they were the ONLY real threat to his power. So, he basically used the pretext of fear of Religion to create an autocracy of his family!! He sidelined many able people in his Government and brought up many who were useless.. Krishna Menon was one example. He was one of the worst Defense Minister ever! In wake of the Chinese aggression he finally resigned in ignominy! Many other of his ministers like TT Krishnamachari and KD Malviya also resigned for corruption.

Also read:  Dr. Singh signs the Invite for the next Pakistani Terror Attack

His legacy is one of the most crippling to the nation in the Modern History.. and worst is that we, the new generation have been fed falsehood after falsehood about him and those of his generation….. who inadvertantly stumbled on greatness and made the coming generations slaves to their images and icons!!

read more below of his legacy:

Nehru and his colleagues had been released as the British Cabinet Mission arrived to propose plans for transfer of power. The Congress held a presidential election in the knowledge that its chosen leader would become India’s head of government. 11 Congress state units nominated Vallabhbhai Patel, while only the Working Committee suggested Nehru. Sensing that Nehru would not accept second place to Patel, Gandhi supported Nehru and asked Patel to withdraw, which he immediately did. Nehru’s election surprised many Congressmen and continues to be a source of controversy in modern times. Nehru headed an interim government, which was impaired by outbreaks of communal violence and political disorder, and the opposition of the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were demanding a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. After failed bids to form coalitions, Nehru reluctantly supported the partition of India as per a plan released by the British on June 3, 1947. He would take office as the Prime Minister of India on August 15, and delivered his inaugural address titled “A Tryst With Destiny:”

However, this period was marked with intense communal violence that swept across the Punjab region, Delhi, Bengal and other parts of India. Nehru conducted joint tours [citation needed] with Pakistani leaders to encourage peace and calm angry and disillusioned refugees. Nehru would work with Maulana Azad and other Muslim leaders to safeguard and encourage Muslims to remain in India. The violence of the time deeply affected Nehru, who called for a ceasefire [citation needed] and UN intervention to stop the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Fearing communal reprisals, Nehru also hesitated in supporting the annexation of Hyderabad State, and clashed with Patel on the Kashmir dispute and relations with Pakistan. Nehru asserted his own control over Kashmir policy while Patel objected to Nehru sidelining his Home Ministry’s officials.[2] Nehru felt offended by Patel’s decision-making regarding the states’ integration without consulting either him or the Cabinet. Patel asked Gandhi to relieve him of his obligation to serve. He knew that he lacked Nehru’s youth and popularity, and believed that an open political battle would hurt India. After much personal deliberation and contrary to Patel’s prediction, Gandhi on January 30, 1948 told Patel not to leave the Government, and to stay by Nehru’s side in joint leadership. A free India, according to Gandhi, desperately needed both Patel and Nehru’s joint leadership.[3]

Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. At Gandhi’s wake, Nehru and Patel embraced each other and addressed the nation together. Criticism soon arose from the media and other politicians that Patel’s home ministry had failed to protect Gandhi. Emotionally exhausted, Patel tendered a letter of resignation, offering to leave the Government – despite his word to Gandhi – desiring not to embarrass Nehru’s administration. Nehru sent Patel a letter dismissing any question of personal differences and his desire for Patel’s ouster. He reminded Patel of their thirty-year partnership in the freedom struggle, and that after Gandhi’s death, it was especially wrong for them to quarrel. Moved, Patel personally and publicly endorsed Nehru’s leadership and refuted any suggestion of discord. Despite working together, the two leaders would clash on various issues. Nehru declined Patel’s counsel on sending assistance to Tibet after its 1950 invasion by the People’s Republic of China and ejecting the Portuguese from Goa by military force.

When Nehru pressured Dr. Rajendra Prasad to decline a nomination to become the first President of India in 1950 in favour of Rajagopalachari, he thus angered the party, which felt Nehru was attempting to impose his will. Nehru sought Patel’s help in winning the party over, but Patel declined, and Prasad was duly elected. When Nehru opposed the 1950 Congress presidential candidacy of Purushottam Das Tandon, a conservative Hindu leader, he endorsed Jivatram Kripalani and threatened to resign if Tandon was elected. Patel rejected Nehru’s views and endorsed Tandon in Gujarat, where Kripalani received not one vote despite hailing from that state himself.[5] Patel believed Nehru had to understand that his will was not law with the Congress, but he personally discouraged Nehru from resigning after the latter felt that the party had no confidence in him.

Economic policies

Nehru implemented his socialist vision by introducing a diluted version of state planning and control over the economy. Creating the Planning commission of India, Nehru drew up the first Five-Year Plan in 1951, which charted the government’s investments in industries and agriculture. Increasing business and income taxes, Nehru envisaged a mixed economy in which the government would manage strategic industries such as mining, electricity and heavy industries, serving public interest and a check to private enterprise. Nehru pursued land redistribution and launched programmes to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production. He also pioneered a series of community development programs aimed at spreading diverse cottage industries and increasing efficiency into rural India. While encouraging the construction of large dams, irrigation works and the generation of hydroelectricity, Nehru also launched India’s programme to harness nuclear energy.

For most of Nehru’s term as prime minister, India would continue to face serious food shortages despite progress and increases in agricultural production. The nation would rely on food imports and economic development aid from the World Bank, IMF, the United States and European nations. Nehru’s industrial policies encouraged the growth of diverse manufacturing and heavy industries, yet state planning, controls and regulations impaired productivity, quality and profitability. Although the Indian economy enjoyed a steady rate of growth, chronic unemployment amidst entrenched poverty continued to plague the population. Nehru’s popularity remained unaffected, and his government succeeded in extending water and electricity supply, health care, roads and infrastructure to a large degree for India’s vast rural population.

A few of Nehru’s ministers had to resign on allegation of corruption .His minister of Mines and Oil K D Malviya had to resign for accepting money from a private party in return for certain concessions. The sitting judge of the Supreme Court, S.K. Das reviewed all the evidence, including the account books of the businessman in which mention had been made of a payment to Malviya, and found two of the six charges against the Minister to be valid. Malviya resigned as a result. [1]

Another minister T. T. Krishnamachari had to resign when one man Justice Chagla Commission found him guilty of corruption .

Nehru had led the Congress to a major victory in the 1957 elections, but his government was facing rising problems and criticism. Disillusioned by intra-party corruption and bickering, Nehru contemplated resigning but continued to serve. However, Nehru’s reputation suffered owing to corruption scandals of party MPs and ministers, as well as by public dissatisfaction with a stagnating economy and government inefficiency. The election of his daughter Indira as Congress President in 1959 aroused criticism for alleged nepotism. Although the Pancha Sila (Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence) was the basis of the 1954 Sino-Indian treaty over Tibet, in later years, Nehru’s foreign policy suffered through increasing Chinese antagonism over border disputes and Nehru’s decision to grant asylum to the Dalai Lama. After years of failed negotiations, Nehru authorized the Indian Army to annex Goa from Portugal in 1961. While increasing his popularity, Nehru received criticism for opting for military action.

In the 1962 elections, Nehru led the Congress to victory yet with a diminished majority. Opposition parties ranging from the right-wing Bharatiya Jana Sangh and Swatantra Party, socialists and the Communist Party of India performed well. In a matter of months, a Chinese invasion of northeastern India exposed the weaknesses of India’s military as Chinese forces came as far as Assam. Widely criticised for neglecting India’s defence needs, Nehru was forced to sack the defence minister Krishna Menon and accept U.S. military aid. Nehru’s health began declining steadily, and he was forced to spend months recuperating in Kashmir through 1963. Upon his return from Kashmir in May 1964, Nehru suffered a stroke and later a heart attack. He died in the early hours of May 27, 1964.

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2 Comments
  1. shadows says

    Nehru – If he had made just one mistake, I would still consider him a great leader. But alas, it was not to be so.

  2. shadows says

    Nehru – If he had made just one mistake, I would still consider him a great leader. But alas, it was not to be so.

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