19 April, 2021

Liberals, This Is The Time To Keep The Faith

It will take far more than a regime change to erase Nehru’s legacy

Illustration by Saahil
Liberals, This Is The Time To Keep The Faith

Liberals have of late been nursing a sense of unease that the new political dispensation in Delhi will succeed in obliterating the republican ideas and values associated with Jawaharlal Nehru. This is explicable: for there’s no doubt the new ruling crowd draws power from unenlightened political demagoguery; and crowding around the government are the antediluvian commissars of Nagpur. But let it be understood that a bit of change in the geography and language of political symbolism is inevitable after a change of government; new faces have become visible, new voices are being heard and new—in fact, old—vested interests have predictably asserted themselves. A regime change creates its own vibrations. New songs are invariably written in praise of new kings. At the same time, let us be quite clear about one thing: Nehru’s ideas and his impact on India are enduring; his legacy of liberal impulses and sentiments will not be so easily eroded.

What is the reason for this certitude? Nehru understood India better than any other leader of his generation. His...

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