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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 48, November 22, 2014

Remembering Nehru Today

Saturday 22 November 2014, by Nikhil Chakravartty


The inherent strength of a nation lies in its ability to remain calm and act with coolness and courage when faced with a critical situation. That today India is able to do so when external danger and internal difficulties threaten to disrupt her security, sovereignty and stability, is because Jawaharlal Nehru was the architect of the basic essentials and inspires of the spirit which go to make such a nation.

Remembering Nehru today on his eighty-second birth anniversary, what must also come to mind is that after languishing for a period, that spirit of the Nehru era is reviving and its essential elements are back again.

Jawaharlal Nehru had all along stood for the sovereign rights of Parliament. After Nehru, the vested interestes and their lackeys had contrived to negate this essential part of Indian democracy by making use of certain legal quibblings and constitutional lacunae. It is appropriate that only last week the President gave his consent to the Twentyfourth Constitution Amendment Act restoring the sovereignity of Parliament.

The same forces which had sought to neutralise Parliament’s rights, are now planning to sabotage the proposed Twentyfifth Consti-tution Amendment Bill which, for the first time, seeks to recognise the superior position of the Directive Principles of State Policy embodied in our Constitution and which had so far suffered neglect owning to a wrongful juxtaposition against the Fundamental Rights.

Nehru was the intiatior and architect of the country’s independent foreign policy, free of pressures from power blocs and considerations of adverse military combinations. A reassertion of that policy is visible today in the forthright stand that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has taken during her recent tour abroad. Her talks with the heads of governments in world capitals reveal a more clear-cut and forceful exposition of India’s stand on issues of international concern, than any Indian Government leader had so far placed before the Western countries. It was not the posture of a supplicant begging for aid, but a firm declaration of India’s conscience, not an attempt to seek assistance for retaliatory pur-poses but an effort to rouse world opinion on the burning issues of influx of refugees jeopar-dising our development programme, the freedom struggle of the Bangladesh people and the war threats from Pakistan.

Despite the bellicosity of the Islamabad military junta, India stands firm on her policy of friendship with the people of Pakistan, a policy which Nehru had upheld all along. It is the same policy which has made India declare her solidarity with democratic forces all over the world and in Pakistan, and which formed the basis of her expression of solidarity and support to the freedom-loving people of Bangladesh.

Enjoined by Nehru as an essential part of our external relations, today India has continued to develop her friendship and cooperation with the Socialist world, cemented more solidly with the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation. Towards China, this country has extended its hand of friendship, rejoicing at the success of its two-decades-old efforts for the restoration of her legitimate seat in the UN, even as there has been no concession to barter away national self-respect.

The path shown by Nehru and followed today constitute the basis of this country’s advance, and cannot bear any deflection. This is all that Nehru had taught this nation while he was building the superstructure of new India brick by brick. It is the logic of Nehru’s legacy that is unfolding today.

(Mainstream, November 13, 1971)

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