Nehru’s Commitment to Healthy and Fair Criticism

On the 13th of March, 2011 I had gone to deliver a keynote address at the UGC sponsored national seminar on Nehru and Socialism organized by the DAV [PG] College for Women [affiliated to Kurukshetra University, Haryana]. As excepted several professors and scholars attended. Most of them examined the theme of the seminar critically, while some of them discussed the subject in the current perspectives. Thus, to a large extent, they catered towards fulfilling the genuine purpose of organizing the event.

However, it was rather surprising and also quite painful that two of the professors, by criticizing Nehru personally, attempted to nullify the objectives of the seminar. They neither took the theme of the seminar seriously nor did they maintain the dignity of their profession. Moreover, their attitude appeared somewhat prejudiced.

For the process of fair analysis, critical observation of views is a must. Without critical examination no justice can be done to the facts. Therefore, only after realizing inevitability and the necessity of critical observation, we should move forth to analyze any particular view or idea. This should be taken up with a healthy spirit and sans any prejudice. Only then any analysis can achieve its real meaning and purpose. In his own life Jawaharlal Nehru himself preferred and adopted a healthy and fair critical attitude. This is an established fact.

As far as the question of importance and significance of views or ideas is concerned, I am of the firm opinion that each and every view or idea, in one way or the other and directly or indirectly, remains important. Not only this, I am also of the opinion that any idea, despite being ancient or old, can be made significant through its application in the prevailing circumstances. Moreover, refining it as per the demand of time and space, it is directed towards the welfare of humanity at large.

A spirit of socio-economic equality, freedom, justice and prosperity of each and everyone in the society was underlying ideas of Jawaharlal Nehru, particularly in his views related to democratic socialism. Furthermore, his ideas call for a fundamental change while staying within the ambit of human values. Now, this is important and worth giving a thought. Therefore, while attempting a critical analysis of any of his

ideas, one should realize this before making any such attempt.