Nehru Lives

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)

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4 Replies to “Nehru Lives”

  1. Indeed – well said Bhupinder
    What a lovely photo – however, the wilful trashing of his ethos by the newage liberals and conservatives alike also show the state of denial about the pressing issues of today: inequality and growing fundamentalism[s] of all kinds..

  2. who said nehru had died? or he was a bad guy? i think you need to take a ‘holistic view’ of what some of nehru’s critics are trying to say.

    ‘his perspective was rooted in an essentially economic critique of colonialism, whose early propounders were Dadabhai Naoroji and RC Dutt.’

    i find it very appropriate that you rank nehru alongside two other luminaries who can only be described as very upper class and very unindian. one lived most of his life in england and the other, like nehru, was formed mostly in england. and your belief that an ‘indian’ state is less colonial than a ‘foreign’ state is disingenuous.

    ‘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.’

    have you really tried to understand what many from the dalits and the lower castes are really trying to say?

  3. >who can only be described as very upper class and very unindian
    What is wrong in that? Reminds me of Gletkin, in Darkness at noon implying to Rubhashov his own proletarian origins and the latter’s roots in the “old” class, thus justifying the elimination of the Rubhashovs in the new dispensation. The subaltern left to himself may not always articulate the interests of his own class, and may even have the attitudes of the ruling class in a reversal of roles, not as an emancipator of both the classes.

    >your belief that an ‘indian’ state is less colonial than a ‘foreign’
    Within the world capitalist system, it relatively has been so, and in many ways continues to be so.

    >have you really tried to understand what many from the dalits and the lower castes are really trying to say?

    Your question seems to imply (or is it conclude?) that I haven’t. You may be right, but perhaps not entirely. There are just too “many” claiming to speak for the dalits nowadays.

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