Since 1991, there have been many attempts by our rulers to do away with Nehru's economic policies, but politics and the force of history has stayed their hands
Sanjay Kapoor Delhi
At the time when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister of India 1947, the world was in a deep flux. New nations were coming up after shaking off the yoke of colonialism and figuring out which system of government would best suit them. This process was hastened by the shift in centre of power from England and Europe to the United States of America and Soviet Union. The world was being reconfigured and it was in these turbulent times that Nehru and other nationalist leaders had to choose a system of government that did not compromise the ideals of this country's long freedom struggle against British imperialists. His ideology was fashioned in the crucible of anti-colonialism and anti-fascism struggles of Europe. Being a democrat, he abhorred authoritarian regimes that disregarded individual freedom. He wanted to create a system that was unique to India's genius. A system of governance that had its ideological origin in Buddha's philosophy of Madhyamarg - the third way that eschewed extremism of any kind.
The Nehruvian paradigm that combines democracy with a socialistic pattern of society is not contextual to time and values of society as science historian Thomas Kuhn had theorised in his seminal book, Structure of Scientific Revolution. Recent happenings in the world's financial system have once again proved the enduring nature of the Nehruvian paradigm whereby the government and the private sector work together to build a society ravaged by a dysfunctional world order. Since 1991, there have been many attempts by our rulers to do away with Nehru's economic policies, but politics and the force of history has stayed their hands.
This issue celebrates the wisdom of Nehru and how his chosen path has helped to maintain the nation's economic freedom despite the endeavors of many to hitch the country to some bloc or the other. Escott Reid, author of Envoy to Nehru, said that Nehru would be remembered along with two of India's great rulers, Ashoka and Akbar. "Whatever happens, he will go down in history as one of the great men of the world..."