Remembering Pandit Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru, circa 1927

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By Vishwa Nath Tripathi

New Delhi, Nov 12, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, has left an indelible impression on different aspects of our lives. He was an apostle of humanity, peace and architect of modern India.

Unity

Pandit Nehru’s vision on unity had been formed during the hard and tumultuous years of the freedom struggle. In the Discovery of India, he wrote, “some kind of a dream of unity has occupied the mind of India since the dawn of civilization. That unity was not conceived as something imposed from outside, a standardization of externals or even of belief. It was something deeper and, within its fold, the widest tolerance of belief and custom was practiced and every variety acknowledged and even encouraged”.  After Independence, he toured throughout the length and breadth of the country carrying the message of love, communal harmony and unity of India.

Communal Harmony

Pandit Nehru felt sad by the communal conflicts which marred the society’s harmony. He strove his utmost to remove the fanaticism which led to communal strife. He cautioned the people that “We must be on our guard against the disruptive tendencies in the country which raise their heads wherever an occasion offers itself. Among these disruptive tendencies are some which come under the name of communalism”. He further said, “Communalism is the badge of a backward nation, not of the modern age”.

In a broadcast to the Nation on 26th March, 1964, Panditji said, “Ever since the distant past, it has been the proud privilege of the people of India to live in harmony with one another. That has been the basis of India’s culture. Long ago, the Buddha taught us this lesson. From the days of Ashoka, 2300 years ago, this aspect of our thought has been repeatedly declared and practiced. In our own day, Mahatma Gandhi laid great stress on it and indeed lost his life because he laid stress on communal goodwill and harmony. We have, therefore, a precious heritage to keep up, and we cannot allow ourselves to act contrary to it”.

Speaking about Nationalism Pandit Nehru observed, “ Nationalism does not mean Hindu nationalism, Muslim nationalism or Sikh nationalism. As soon as you speak of Hindu, Sikh or Muslim you do not speak for India. Each person has to ask himself the question. What do I want to make of India, one country, one nation…a fragmented and divided nation without any strength or endurance, ready to break to pieces at the slightest shock. Each person has to answer this question. Separateness has always been the weakness of India. Fissiparous tendencies, whether they belong to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or others, are very dangerous and wrong tendencies. They belong to petty and backward minds. No one who understands the spirit of the times can think in terms of communalism”.

Lesson of History

Pandit Nehru had studied history deeply. He had analysed the causes of the rise and fall of civilization. Speaking at Trichur in December, 1955, he pointed out that “We have before us lessons of history. We have seen how, repeatedly in spite of our many virtues and our great abilities, we have fallen in the race of the nations, and because of this lack of unity amongst us the entire community of India has been separated into castes and creeds which do not pull together. Therefore, I lay stress everywhere on the unity of India and on our need to fight communalism, provincialism, separatism, stateism and casteism”.

Remembering Pandit Nehru is to remember his message of national unity and integration. Panditji said “the main thing we have to keep in mind is the emotional integration of India. We must guard against being swept away by momentary passion, whether it is religion misapplied to politics or communalism or provincialism or casteism. We have to build up this great country into a mighty nation, mighty not in the ordinary sense of the word, that is having great armies and all that, but mighty in thought, mighty in action, mighty in culture, and mighty in its peaceful service of humanity”. (PIB Features)

Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington Bangla Radio® or the PIB of India.


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