Letters for a Nation : From Jawaharlal Nehru to His Chief by Jawaharlal Nehru, Madhav Khosla (Ed.)

By Jawaharlal Nehru, Madhav Khosla (Ed.)

In October 1947, months after he grew to become self sustaining India’s first best minister, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the 1st of his fortnightly letters to the heads of the country’s provincial governments-a culture that he saved until eventually his final letter in December 1963, just a couple of months earlier than his demise. rigorously chosen from between approximately four hundred such letters, this assortment covers various subject matters and topics, together with citizenship, conflict and peace, legislation and order, nationwide making plans and improvement, governance and corruption, and India’s position on the planet. The letters additionally conceal momentous global occasions and the numerous crises and conflicts the rustic confronted throughout the first 16 years after Independence. Visionary, clever and reflective, those letters usually are not only a testimony to Nehru’s statesmanship and his deep engagement with each point of India’s democratic trip, yet also are of serious modern relevance for the suggestions they supply for our present difficulties and predicaments.

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Even in 1959, while spotting growing strains in the relationship, he did not believe that ‘we should get alarmed in the present or fear any serious consequences’. Much ink has now been spilt on identifying the reasons for the war and India’s defeat. 14 In the letters themselves, Nehru recognized India’s military failings but did not reduce the event to defence capabilities. Instead, he understood China’s actions as motivated by its larger global ambitions and the wider currents of international politics: ‘The removal of India as a power which has become an obstacle in the way of China becoming a great power, became the primary objective of Chinese policy, and the elimination of non-alignment became particularly important from China’s viewpoint.

Something definitely achieved is of greater help in the next steps than a spread out effort which does not yield results. Rehabilitation on a large scale offers an excellent opportunity for economic planning. Economic issues are, of course, always before us and recently they have become very pressing. We must deal with them as a whole and lay down definite policies. From a letter dated 17 January 1948 Since I last wrote to you, everything that has happened has been completely overshadowed by Gandhiji’s fast.

Nehru had woven each of these lives into a larger narrative of modern India, and in each lay signs of its varying challenges and possibilities. Varying as those challenges and possibilities were, they remain as much of our time as they were of Nehru’s. From the particularistic challenges of citizenship to the demands of effective state machinery to the absence of probity in public life, the letters navigate webs that mirror our current predicaments and offer us a historical record that speaks to the present.

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