Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nehru: Legacy or Dynasty

14th November marks birthday of India’s first Prime Minister and a prominent freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru became the Prime Minister of India at the most turbulent time in the subcontinent. Creation of a new state, transition of power, partition, communal violence, Kashmir war, mass migration of Hindus from Pakistan and integration of princely states were some of the key issues that Nehru had to immediately address.

Nehru put a strong foundation of free India with five year planning process, pragmatic economic policies (mixed economy) and foreign policy of non alignment. I think his biggest achievement was maintaining the democracy in the most diverse country of the world during its years of inception while successfully integrating the country and leading the way out of the most volatile period.

His achievements are endless but someone could argue that controls and regulation delayed the economic progress of India and humiliating defeat in 1962 Indo- China war exposed his misjudgment and weakness of India’s defense. A historian could say that current corruption in India has its roots in Nehru’s government with the election of Indira Gandhi as president of the Congress and start of a dynastic era that continues till today with Sonia Gandhi/ Rahul Gandhi controlling the government.

What are your thoughts?


Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

Well I wud not say anything, cause you know my feelings on congress, All i will say is that NEHRU was not how he turned out later .. he was a angry young man but our dear Gandhi used hi gile and politics to put him in a situation which actually nehru did not want..

I read nehru's letters and books that he wrote prior to being made the leader of congress just before the first congress rally in karachi after the hanging of bhagat singh..

Nehru did make a lot of mistakes, and I am sorry he was NOT a good leader, a good politcian yes but not a good leader.. thats my view
but then who gives a damn what i think :)

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Your blog makes me feel that I should really brush up on my history...

jemina said...

He's a legacy!!!


Bhargavi said...

Like you say i think his biggest contribution was managing the show when things were really shaky during the initial years..he wasnt a great administrator,my grandpa used to tell me. Just very erudite and polished.

RiĆ  said...

Yes i know a lot of ppl wud blame things on him...but i dont think u wud like to do that. I quite agree with bedazzled above.

kiran sawhney said...

Great post. The last paragraph makes lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

i know very little about nehru [shamefully] so i will not talk much today

Renu said...

I cant think of him as a great leader, I always feel that we would have been a totally different nation if Patel was made primeminister, we needed an iron man, not an aristocrat to run the country...qith him started this dynasty which is ruining the country and now it has spread to all parties and politicians.

Anonymous said...

Legacy.... of course.. They are all turning out to be legends in their own way..

Oh come on, who else other than Indira was there after Nehru to lead India.

Kavita Saharia said...

I think after Bapu he was the most influential and loved leader of his time .He was committed to the cause of freedom and to the service of people of India.

SG said...

Mr. Nehru was a freedon fighter and a leader. But his economic policy (democractic socialism) and his foreign policy (non-alignment) are the root cause of India's problems.

@Stranger, in a country of billion people, we cannot find a single person to lead other than Nehru's daughter? If that is true, that says something about the whole country and all the people living there.

dr.antony said...

"India never really got its freedom and what happened on August 15th was merely the passing of the Baton from the brits to the Nehru family. The way the congress thinks it owns India while itself being ruled by the Nehru family clearly shows that India is struggling to get itself out of the monarchy minset"
L K Adwani's website.
But having said that,do we have anyone better?They sacrificed lives,and know their lives are in danger,still go around with the business of India.Isnt it commendable in itself?

rohini said...

what else but the Children's Day reminds us of Jawaharlal Nehru....?

no debate on who should have become the Pm then...
and no question that the he brought the war...each leader makes some mistake and has some accomplishments....
it would be better that we think about now..and the present leader worse i suppose...

SM said...

very well written
sorry i do not think he was a great leader or a great politician.
want to add Mountabatan taught him to how to run government.
first corruption happened in 1948 and is known as Jeep Corruption happened in UK.

Geeta said...

Mute point, its a dynasty. Your last paragraph summarizes what I think of him than the former. He is not one of my favorite leaders.

Anonymous said...

Nehru had his flaws... And did start the dynasty thing in our political system. But I think politicians at that time had two things that seem missing today..passion and good education..

Who is stopping anyone worthwhile from entering politics today?

Amrit said...


Of course your opinion is important. It is not very clear to me what exactly he did. In Indian schools they teach, Nehru was great but why? Just because he was the first PM does not make him great.


Don't worry about it. It is Indian history. I studied a bit but only at school. I am learning history now. Canadian schools don't have any reason to teach Indian history. In any case, I am looking at the opinion, Indian history appears be very convoluted.


A lot of people believe that.


You are probably right. But question :- Is he great enough to name every other street and stadium on him?


Thanks. Same answer as Bedazzaled.


A lot of educated people agree on the last paragraph rather than his achievements. May be because they analyze history from a different perspective.


As a matter of fact (shamefully), I also don't know much about Nehru. We always studied in school, Nehru was great. I am trying to figure out now …why? They never taught that or maybe I did not pay attention.


Agreed. I think he could have set an example by not including Indra in the cabinet.


There are many other leaders and many others who would like to be part of political system. Most educated people stay away from politics because they think it is corrupt and you know it is. Congress is also corrupt. People have hard time picking up the candidates because they are all corrupt. There is a lot of talent in India but system needs to be cleaned up a bit.


I think Gandhi gave him a lot of support too. I personally think because of Gandhi’s support he became PM.


I am not sure about his freedom fighter role. It seems like; he was the shadow of Gandhi and followed his footsteps and used Gandhi name (brand) to gain public support. As the first PM, I do give him more credit. But then setting up a dynasty could have been avoided. I agree with you with more than 1 billion people in the country, we see only Nehru/Gandhi family. That is not right.

@Dr Antony,

Besides Nehru family, many many many more people sacrificed for freedom. Bhagat Singh, Tilak and Subhash Bose and common men did more to get the freedom than Nehru family. They live in danger because it is created by them. If they are clean, they should not be scared. It is the prize they are paying for corrupt policies to win the elections – in my opinion.


I am trying to understand that part. What else besides Children’s day? Why do we name every other road, monument, stadium after Nehru? I just don't get it. It is so confusing also.


Okay. Got your point. May be you need to write a blog with more details on first corruption.


Okay. A lot of people seem to believe that.


Yes. Most leaders have flaws and achievements. I presented both sides of the coin. Question is which ones have/had far reaching effects? Dirty politics, corruption, lack of law and order is stopping sensible and educated people to stay away from politics.

Amrit said...

Dear all,

Another view point form me.

Mostly Indians are divided on Nehru's achivements vs. his misjudgement/articratics style/dynasty setup. Personally I think Nehru could have set an example by no including Indra in cabinet and limiting the term of PM. Prior to Roosevelt, no one served more than 2 terms as the President of the USA. First US president Washington set an exmaple by stepping down after two terms to avoid monarchy like democracy. After Roosvelt, in 1948 the US ratified the constitution to limit president's term to two. Nerhu as the first PM could have set a similar precendent...not to include immidiate family member in the government, not to be PM for third term. Gandhi did not include any of his son in government or made them party president.

Anonymous said...

I personally would never criticize Nehruji, though I might say that the achievements that you counted were may be not all his. Like creation of new states from small independent states like Hyderabad or many more , and making India one united into one was by far the most work of Sardar Patel. I admire Sardar Patel more, I say that because while Nehruji was an idealist Patel was a realist. For me some of Nehruji's policy had some practical problems, like it was his idea that Kashmir problem should be resolved by UN. Or thinking that China could be our friend country. But for me all these problems were there because he thought he was doing the right thing. He excelled our country's farming and economy. He was shocked when China attacked India, and his men died in war. He believed he was doing the right thing by not spending on defense but on economic growth.
So you see I believe he was a great human being and an Idealist leader. Although we can say that yes he was not very politically correct, but don't we lack those kind of idealist leaders today in our corrupt politics. I do!!

As far as his legacy is concerned, I think Mrs. Indira Gandhi was always a part of freedom movement and she also proved to be a great leader. Though she came after Shastriji and he was the leader, whom we forget sometimes, but it was he who just in three years got India's defense to a level where we took Pakistan to its home in 1965. For me he is one the greatest Indian leaders who has the combination of Idealism, politics, humbleness and everything that you could think of in a leader.

For legacy after indira gandhi , I think the only people to blame are us, the masses of India our lack of education and lack of knowledge and the apathy of educated class towards voting , has given us this legacy and given us ministers like Lalu Yadav, Kalmadi, and so many more that your page will be filled with those names.



shuchita said...

I like Nehru thats all I will say

Bikram said...

THe reason is that through out congress has ruled and they made sure the congress was shown in the good light all the time, hence we were taught Nehru chacha and Gandhi father of nation..

But you got to read the actual manuscripts and books that were written at that time .. for example the Minutes written during the First congress rally in karachi SAYS A lot .. no where its mentioned that people greeted every leader with black flag and especially gandhi..

they were actually afraid someone might kill him, there was so much anger in the public at that time .. But our history books dont tell us that ...

Nehru i understand had problems so high when he became the pm, so i am not going to say anything on that ... as it was tough conditions , pakistan was mad there was chaos, then china was breathing down our necks so on..

He WAS a good person but he made gandhi and others dictate him that was his problem

Amrit said...

@Anonymous (Sanji),

Honestly, you are comment is an an excellent primer on history. We tend to forget Patel and Shashtriji's achievement. I agree masses of India are responsible for continued dynasty.




That is interesting to read manuscripts. Thanks for sharing it here. It seems like you agree with me Nehru became PM at a difficult time.

Insignia said...

Phew! Comments were interesting once again :-)

Devie said...

I (embarrassingly)need to read more about chacha Nehru. The comments have been enlightening though.

BK Chowla, said...

If he had allowed Sardar Patel free hand, we would have been in a different situation.
I cant see even one SINGLE positive that Nehru did for the country, except leaving behind dynastic politics and a bunch of corrupt babudom.

Bikram said...

:) yes and as Chowla sir says there is nothing good he has done, It is jsut normal humand tendency we see in our lives that if we let others dictate us , we usually end up in a pickle and so it happened to nehru .. he let others esepcially gandhi dictate him
if Nehru when he wrote all those letters to Bhagat singh or what he wrote in his biography etc , IF nehru had stuck to his ideals We difinitely have seen a different India..

But he was weak and a leader cant be weak and gandhi just used him as a pwn when he made him the president of congress and i guess at that time a bit of greed also came to be the first pm of a nation...

raji said...

Nice thoughts "A" We just mugged up history!Its like 1962 indochina war happened bla n so won..nehru chaca baccho ka favorite ,children' day ..n stuff like tht.Just reding ur post and the comments i was wondering ..I was so blind .And so much of discussion going on here bw u and bikram..!keep going..

Anonymous said...

I seriously need to read up a lot to qualify even to comment here. True about the start of Dynasty and corruption though. But is there anything called "FAIR" in this world. When we have a country with so many different ideas and viewpoints, its amazing how we are still a democracy! said...

more then your blog the comments and discussions are very wrote very well but I am more interested to see peoples views...Bikram has written lot of stuff ...Chawla sir..has said same...I am giving my views on comments made here...personally I have nothing against Congress or any other party...Actually it depends on every individual not the party alone and then the situation...I respect all freedom fighters and their views..

Tanvi said...

I think I have two views on him - I like his personality and persona and how he was as a 'human being' ... but I am not sure I am on board with his politics and policies!

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