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

Jawaharlal NehruSubscribe to Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru and the Question of National Identity

Nehru makes a conscious effort to fuse India's cultural past and modern democracy. The loosely imagined idea of India's heterogeneous past is also the basis of Nehru's idea of a national identity. Nehru's self-representation as part outsider and part insider makes him the other within Indian society. Also, crucially for Nehru, historical experiences form the only ground through which a national identity can be understood and defi ned.

An Asian Clash of Civilisations? Revisiting the Sino-Indian Conflict of 1962

Nearly 50 years ago, India and China met in a brief, bloody border clash. This essay analyses that conflict in terms of its impact on the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru. It explains the roots of Nehru's interest in China, his hopes for relations between the two new nations, the origins of the border dispute, and its escalation into a full-fledged war. Nehru's policies are assessed from the viewpoint of his critics and admirers. The deeper structural reasons for the conflict between India and China are analysed. Finally, the essay also speaks to the shadow cast by the war of 1962 on the geopolitics of the present day.

Nehru's Faith

When religion is being held up as a unique source of faith, we need to remind ourselves that there are other firm foundations upon which we can build moral and ethical projects, in both private and public life. If secularism, as we have recently been told, has multiple meanings, so too does faith. In our own recent history, there is perhaps no better practical instance of the effort to find a non-religious bedrock for morality than that of Nehru himself. Today, as we survey the shattered nationalisms of the Balkans, as we feel collapsing about us the ruins of Arab nationalism, as we see the precipice on which nations like Indonesia balance, it is more important than ever to see the force of what Nehru understood. It is exactly religion's persistence, its fulsome presence as we stumble into the new century that, far from undermining or disproving the force of Nehru's views on the subject, exactly underline their relevance and resonance for us today. On this particular point, he just was right.

Geopolitics and Regional Identity: South Asia's North-West Frontiers

Kashmir and Sindh – NationBuilding, Ethnicity and Regional Politics in South Asia by Suranjan Das; Department of History Monograph, University of Calcutta and K P Bagchi and Co, Kolkata, 2001; Rs 380. War and Diplomacy in Kashmir, 1947-48 by C Dasgupta; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2002; paperback, Rs 250.

Calcutta Diary

As long as the belief persists amongst a sizeable number of political craftsmen that the Nehru-Gandhis are indispensable for the nation, the majority of the electorate will be stubborn enough to travel perversely toward the direction of the BJP, the pull of one irrationality will subdue that of the other.

Nation and Village

Scholars of modern Indian history have often pointed to the continuities in the colonial constructs of Indian society and the nationalist imaginations of India. The village was an important category where such continuity could be easily observed. However, a closer reading of some of the leading ideologues of nationalist movements also points to significant variations in their views on the substantive realities characterising rural India. Focusing primarily on writings of Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar, the paper attempts to show that though the village was a central category in the nationalist imaginations and there was virtual agreement that it represented the core of the traditional social order of India, the attitudes of the three leaders towards village society varied considerably. The paper tries to show that while for Gandhi the village was a site of authenticity, for Nehru it was a site of backwardness and for Ambedkar the village was the site of oppression

India, Myron Weiner and the Political Science of Development

The argument here, in brief, is that the political science of development has itself been implicated in the developmentalist framework of India's elites. Further, despite the rhetoric of socialism that accompanied that framework under Nehru, both the practice in India and the development theory that justified it were fundamentally conservative. The conservative elements in the developmentalist framework comprised an ideology of state-exaltation arising out of a 'fear of disorder' or an orientation towards the elimination of 'the cause of unrest'. So implicated were political scientists in the developmentalist goals of India's elites that they failed to provide an independent basis for critique that has become increasingly necessary as it has become more and more obvious that those goals have failed to transform India into the modern, industrial state of its elite's imaginings, have failed at the same time to provide for the basic minimum needs of its people, have failed to eliminate 'the causes of unrest' and have instead drawn the country into the ugly morass of state terrorism in the north-east, Punjab and Kashmir and have failed to provide a basis for accommodation between the Hindu and Muslim populations of the country.

The First War with Pakistan

War and Diplomacy in Kashmir 1947-48 by C Dasgupta; Sage Publications, Delhi, 2002; pp 239, Rs 250.

Calcutta Diary

Let us be honest, the Gujarat citizens are being honest to the Gandhi legacy, just as the BJP and its 'parivar' have drawn conclusions which are to their own advantage from the examples set by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Who can deny that it is 'karma' at work? We will be a divided nation and the polity will head towards total collapse because our founding fathers, and the political party which claims monopoly rights of the nation's freedom struggle, wrote a Hindu script for the nation.

The Successor

By the end of next week Nehru's ashes, scattered from the air, would have mingled with the dust and soil of India, as he had wanted them to, and Lal Bahadur Shastri, unanimously chosen as his successor, would be sworn in as the Prime Minister and the composition of his Cabinet annonnced.

Nehru and After

After freedom—nonalignment, planning and secular democracy. These were the gifts in the giving of which Jawaharlal Nehru enriched the nation and himself. It was because of these that the charisma came, the embodiment of an epoch. It was by these standards that he was judged and when he faltered or deviated the people were hurt and angry. The symbol of radical democracy in an age of radicalism—that was Nehru.

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