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Nehruvian legacy being 'undermined' by those currently in power: Sonia Gandhi

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Aniruddha Dhar | Updated on: 14 Nov 2018, 08:35:07 AM
Nehruvian legacy being 'undermined' by those presently in power: Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi:

Without naming anyone, senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said those currently in power are undermining the legacy of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and called upon people to fight to safeguard country’s democracy.

Speaking at an event to relaunch Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's book 'Nehru: The Invention of India', the former Congress president said Jawaharlal Nehru, as India's first prime minister, "consolidated democracy and entrenched the basic values of India's polity -- values to which we are still proud to lay claim."

"What are these values. Shashi Tharoor summarises them as the core pillars of Nehruvianism -- democratic institutional building, staunch pan-Indian secularism, socialist economics and foreign policy of non-alignment. These values were integral to a vision of Indianness that is fundamentally being challenged today," she said on the eve of Nehru's birth anniversary. But, that vision remains at the core of "our time-tested beliefs", Gandhi said.

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"We all know, as Shashi Tharoor has just said, that this precious legacy is being undermined daily by those who rule us today. They express disdain and contempt for Nehru for all that he did to build the India they are bent upon changing for the worse," Gandhi said.

She added: "Today, we must honour him by fighting with determination to safeguard our democracy against those who are undermining it."

Talking in detail about the four Nehruvian pillars, Gandhi said it was Nehru who instilled a “democratic culture in our country” by his regard for democracy.

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“Nehru's regard for Parliament, his regard for the independence of the judiciary, his curtesy to those of different political convictions, his commitment to free elections, his faith in a free press and his deference to institutions over individuals -- have all left a precious legacy of freedom,” Gandhi said.

On Nehru's commitment to secularism, Gandhi said he strived to prevent partition, but when it occurred, he never accepted that since Pakistan had been ostensibly created for Indian Muslims, what remained was a state for Hindus.

Shashi Tharoor on Nehru

At the event, Tharoor lauded Nehru for strengthening democratic institutions and always encouraging "constructive criticism".

# Tharoor said Nehru was asked by an American editor as to what he wanted his legacy to be, to which the first Indian prime minister said: "330 million people capable of governing themselves."

# "A number of post-colonial heroes in other ex-colonies had gone the opposite way. They started off as democratically popular heroes and headed in an authoritarian direction...Nehru ji never fell into that trap.

# "So if today, we have a chaiwala as prime minister, it is because Nehru ji made it possible to create the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to and rise to the highest office in the land," the MP from  Thiruvanathapuram said.

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published : 13 Nov 2018, 11:27:17 PM

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