Nehru lives because he embodied the essential ethos of India’s long struggle against colonialism, including its shortcomings. He was criticized from both the Left and the Right during his own lifetime, and is now blamed by all those who believe that neo- liberalism is the answer to the problems that his statist model could not solve. Those that criticize him on these grounds forget that his perspective was rooted in an essentially economic critique of colonialism, whose early propounders were Dadabhai Naoroji and RC Dutt.
The Indian National Congress’s critique of British rule was rooted in a very economic understanding, and hence a justified suspicion, of colonialism and imperialism. This is something that the early nationalists arrived at independently of Marxism.
The funny thing is that all those who criticize Nehru today also display the same belief that he and many of his generation did- that economic development will do away with caste and class antagonism, though they overlook his more holistic views regarding the role of the state.
In their exuberance, the current propounders of globalization and neo- liberalism display the same economic determinism that a generation of Marxists once did. Part of the reason perhaps is that some of them are former Marxists or Nehruvians.
In that, and many other surreptitious ways, Nehru lives!
(Jawaharlal Nehru‘s birth day falls on 14th November)