ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: After Nehru...

Editorial from Volume X, No's 26, 27 & 28, July 1958.

A popular guessing game in New Delhi today is: After Nehru… What?” Diplomats raise this question at almost every cocktail party, foreign correspondents write long despatches on this theme, politicians, both of the Congress and the opposition, have already started jockeying for vantage-points against such a contingency, senior civil servants are hoping that they will retire before Nehru goes – only the man in the street still seems to be relatively unconcerned – not that there is no reason for him to worry but his own worries are too many for him to take on a new one. Vinoba Bhave’s forecast that India will never lack leaders good enough to replace Nehru has partly helped him in this Micawberish attitude.

There is almost general agreement that so long as Nehru is on the scene, the status quo will continue more or less undisturbed. After he leaves the scene, so long as some veteran Congress leaders of the stature of Pant, Dhebar, Desai or Menon are there to take up the reins of government, not much change may be expected although some leftist or rightist members may find themselves squeezed out, depending on which of these leaders succeeds Nehru. But that will only make the Congress less of a platform and more of a party. Even after these veterans leave the scene and younger men succeed them, the Congress Party will continue to be in power at the Centre for several years through sheer momentum, although it may lose its hold in several States. But during this period, seeds will be sown for a more fundamental change which is bound to come sooner or later either through a process of slow erosion culminating in a sudden landslide through the ballot box or through some violent upheaval.

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