25 February, 2021

Footprints Shrunk Over Sands Of Time

Nehru erred gravely in all departments. Yet we may still be grateful.

Footprints Shrunk Over Sands Of Time

Very few national heroes have resonance beyond their national boundary and that too for long. The intense scrutiny of history reduces them to mere statues that millions of their countrymen walk past every day. In a country with a pathological penchant for hero worship, it is surprising that the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, has to struggle to remain relevant. Ironically, the resolve of the Narendra Modi government to observe the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru with fanfare has compelled the Congress to dust him out of their history shelf.

K.M. Munshi, in his book The Ruin That Britain Wrought (published in 1946), summarises Britain’s India policy thus: “...to impose on an ancient and highly complex culture and society which the Britishers considered inferior, the outward semblances of a crude European culture and second, to concentrate all political power in the hands of the governing corporation, the civil service”.

Nehru’s own generation saw him as a deviationist and a visionary at the same time, for...

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