Myth 4: Nehru was “autocratic”.


Mahatma Gandhi & Pope John

Mahatma Gandhi & Pope John (Photo credit: MusMs)

Gandhi with Nehru in 1929.

Gandhi with Nehru in 1929. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jawaharlal Nehru University

Jawaharlal Nehru University (Photo credit: Saire Elizabeth)

Jawaharlal Nehru at Harrow, where he was also ...

Jawaharlal Nehru at Harrow, where he was also known as Joe Nehru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance (Photo credit: varunshiv)

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance (Photo credit: varunshiv)

हिन्दी: ताजमहल English: Taj Mahal, Agra, India...

हिन्दी: ताजमहल English: Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Deutsch: Taj Mahal im indischen Agra. Español: Vista del Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Français : Le Taj Mahal, à Âgrâ, en Inde. Русский: Мавзолей Тадж-Махал, Агра, Индия. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A.K.Sen with Nehru

A.K.Sen with Nehru (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, Porbandar, India.

Birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, Porbandar, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), polit...

Deutsch: Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), politischer und spiritueller Führer von Indien. Ort unbekannt English: Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and spiritual leader of India. Location unknown. Français : Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), Guide politique et spirituel de l'Inde. Lieu inconnu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Station Entrance (Photo credit: varunshiv)

This myth is given credence by Nehru‘s not having close friends, and by his failure to name a successor.

It is true that Nehru could appear superior, not least to his colleagues in party and government. They did not share his cosmopolitan outlook, nor his interest in art, music, literature, or science. But no one did more than Nehru to nurture the values and institutions of democracy in India. It was he who first advocated adult suffrage, he who welcomed a constructive Opposition, he who scrupulously maintained the independence of the bureaucracy and the judiciary. Vincent Sheean once pointed to “one overwhelming difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Nehru: the Mahatma would rather retire, fast, pray, take care of lepers and educate children, than go along with a majority opinion in which he could not concur”. Nehru, on the other hand, had in many instances “yielded to the majority of his party and of the country… “. Thus Congress Chief Ministers were always elected by the legislators of the concerned state, regardless of Nehru’s opinion in the matter. And once he saw that both party and country wanted it, Nehru yielded to the formation of linguistic states — a policy he was personally opposed to.

Nehru chose not to nominate a successor because he felt that was the prerogative of the people and their representatives. After his death, an otherwise bitter critic, D. F. Karaka, saluted this determination “not to indicate any preference with regard to his successor. This, (Nehru) maintained, was the privilege of those who were left behind. He himself was not concerned with that issue” — thus, incidentally, giving the lie to the idea that he ever wanted his daughter to succeed him.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Indian officer said: “Sir, we don’t have enough experience to lead a nation, too, so shouldn’t we appoint a British person as the first Prime Minister of India too?”

    Don’t have experience to lead, appoint a British?
    http://right-waystan.blogspot.com/2012/03/dont-have-experience-to-lead-appoint.html

    Reply

  2. excnt…

    ntiiiqzsk vtspr rqynqmk bftb rtdclaxivsfimwt…

    Reply

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