Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has alleged that the Nehruvian legacy was being “undermined” by those presently in power.
Speaking at an event to relaunch Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s book ‘Nehru: The Invention of India’, the former Congress president said Jawaharlal Nehru, as India’s first prime minister, “consolidated democracy and entrenched the basic values of India’s polity — values to which we are still proud to lay claim.”
She went on to say that those in power had “contempt” for the country’s first prime minister for all that he did to build an India and that they wanted to change for the “worse”.
But, that vision remains at the core of “our time-tested beliefs”, Gandhi said.
She further said, “Today we must honour him by fighting with determination to safeguard our democracy against those who are undermining it.”
Tharoor, in his remarks at the event, lauded Nehru for strengthening democratic institutions and always encouraging “constructive criticism”.
Narrating an anecdote, Tharoor said Nehru was asked by an American editor as to what he wanted his legacy to be, to which the first Indian prime minister said: “330 million people capable of governing themselves.”
“So if today, we have a chaiwala as prime minister, it is because Nehru ji made it possible to create the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to and rise to the highest office in the land,” the MP from Thiruvanathapuram said.
Talking in detail about the four Nehruvian pillars, Sonia Gandhi said democracy could not have been taken for granted in 1947 that a country beset by acute poverty and torn apart by partition would become or remain democratic.
It was Nehru who instilled a democratic culture in our country by his regard for democracy, she said.
In both policy and personal practice, Nehru stood for an idea of India that embraced every religion, caste ethnicity and language, she asserted.
Talking about Nehru’s idea of socialism, she said: “It is fashionable today to decry Nehruvian socialism as a system that tied India to many years of modest growth. This does not take into account the circumstances of the early years of independence when massive infrastructure was needed to be built up.”
Sonia Gandhi also highlighted that over the years Congress governments have taken Nehru’s idea forward and cited the examples of Panchayati Raj and the Right to Information Act.
News credit : Indiatoday