31 July, 2021

Hands That Modelled The Clay

Nehru laid the foundation for democracy, a self-reliant economy and secularism. Let his legacy not be squandered.

Hands That Modelled The Clay

The fight for freedom led by Mahatma Gandhi was India’s first countrywide movement, linking regions, religions and languages, cutting across caste, class and gender. It forged a political and emotional unity and a pride revolving around Indian nationhood perhaps for the first time in history. The India that emerged into independence drew its inspiration and rationale from this inclusiveness, equality and secularism, and these became the foundation of Nehru’s governments.

Translated into policy, universal suffrage in the first general election gave every adult Indian the right to vote. It was the first time in world history that democracy had been given priority over development, giving rich and poor, men and women the right, at the very start of nationhood, to decide their government. The strength of democracy was dramatically reconfirmed in 1977, when Indians dislodged Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian rule. The fact that a man of humble origins has been elected prime minister in 2014 is another sign of the continuing health and vigour of the democratic...

More from Nayantara Sahgal

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section