Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The father of distorted history of India

[It would not have been possible for India to stand where it is today had it not been for Jawaharlal Nehru who recognised decades ago that the future would belong to nations committed to industrialization...In the early years Nehru was seen as the great moderniser who relentlessly pushed India towards becoming an industrialised nation...
He also stood firm that the English language, which is now the bedrock of the multi-billion dollar outsourcing industry, be given as much importance as Indian languages despite fervent cries to abolish what was seen as a colonial hangover...But there is much more to Nehru’s role as the architect of modern India than merely laying the foundation for providing a playbook that future rulers of the country could dip into.
If one were to go beyond the first few lines of his famous ‘Tryst With Destiny’ speech, then it is evident that he was a man who realised 60 years ago that India and Asia would both have a significant role to play in the times to come. Here was a man who realised that growth with a human face is imperative if the nation was to achieve true greatness.
Most importantly, if India today remains a strong and vibrant democracy then it owes thanks in no small measure to Nehru, whose commitment to democracy was absolute. It’s a pity that more Indians have heard of rather than read Discovery of India, in which he expounds at length on the making of a nation state — the ideas and issues referred to in the book resonate even more strongly today than when Nehru first penned them.
All of which means that it is time to unfreeze Nehru from the sterile descriptions of our history textbooks, lifeless portraits in government offices and role as a convenient name for government schemes and airports. It is time to bring him back into the popular imagination. And that will happen only when someone reinterprets the man in a contemporary fashion the way Gandhi was brought to life for a whole new generation by Lage Raho Munnabhai. -- The rediscovery of Nehru, Harihar Narayanswamy, economictimes 13 Nov, 2007]
All said and done, the very fact that Nehru could not perceive appropriately the significance of Sri Aurobindo's vision is a serious lacuna in his otherwise commendable career. His connivance in creating a distorted version of history is simply unpardonable. [TNM]

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