Principal Ideas of Jawaharlal Nehru

Principal Ideas of Jawaharlal Nehru


Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the most influential people of modern India. Nehru deeply influenced India’s socio-economic and political thought process and programs. ‘Intensive nationalism’ was an integral part of Nehru’s ideological outlook that arose from the churning of the national movement.

Despite being a strong internationalist, Nehru believed that the streams of nationalism and internationalism were mutually harmonious. On the page of this recognition of Nehru, there was also a catalysis of the wishes of the people participating in the freedom struggle.

According to Nehru, “Nationalism has a unique place in every nation and it should get spread but it should not be allowed to become aggressive and a hindrance to international development.” The spirit of nationalism is indispensable for national progress because it gives rise to unity, enthusiasm and cooperative instinct among the citizens, but nationalism must have some limits.

Religious and staunch nationalism was rejected by Nehru. According to Nehru, narrow nationalism is a curse. He strongly criticized aggressive nationalism, as it is subversive and creates fear and doubt in the minds of neighboring countries. Nehru disapproved of nationalism that encouraged expansionism. According to him, the nature of nationalism should be liberal, limited and balanced.

In his autobiography, while expressing his views on Indian nationalism, Nehru wrote that “nationalism is a paradox that nurtures and fosters hatred and anger against other national groups.” During 1921, this hatred and anger in India was prevalent against the British, but it was exceptionally rare towards other nations. ” Nehru interpreted Indian nationalism as completely separate from the fascist nationalism of Europe. According to him “Indian nationalism was born as a historic wave for the attainment of independence while fascism was the last resort of reaction”.

According to Nehru, Indian nationalism was present in the universal beliefs of a broad ‘rationalism’ from its inception.

Communalism and Secularism

Jawaharlal Nehru was the child of the Indian Renaissance. He was opposed to orthodoxism, communalism and fundamentalism due to his nature, studies and beliefs. His ideas about communalism were innovative and educative, especially in the current perspective when nationalism is being threatened by narrow religious views, indiscriminate paradigms and fragmentary tendencies. Nehru was the first leader of India who properly understood the social, economic and political dimensions of communalism, its nature, symptoms and causes.

Nehru was opposed to the sect since the early years of his political life, but at that time this opposition was no more than a general criticism of communal riots, religious intolerance and fundamentalism. At that time, the diagnosis of communalism by Nehru was also considered limited in the nationalist approach of the traditional ‘Hindu-Muslim Bhai Bhai’ and the appeal of Hindu-Muslim unity for the attainment of self-rule.

Communalism was the main target of Nehru’s political visits during 1928 and speeches made at various youth and student conferences. In the ‘Swatantra Bharat League’ established by Nehru and other nationalists, it was prohibited to grant membership to any sectarian or communal organization.

Like Mahatma Gandhi, the moral imperative of religion was accepted by Nehru as a practical necessity. Nehru’s understanding and historical knowledge about India introduced him to the distinctive features of Indian civilization that gave India a distinct identity and strength.

According to Nehru, the distinguishing features of Indian civilization include the presence of fundamental unity in diversity and the ability to absorb, assimilate and synthesize various influences. Nehru thought that India would gain its power in the future only through these characteristics and which would also help in reducing the tendencies of conservativeism and chauvinism.

In Nehru’s view, democracy, socialism and secularism were intimately interlinked and would jointly lay the foundation of a strong India based on the importance of human and the overall development of its personality and in which the standard of living of the poor and Dalits See improvements in

Nehru derived the political paradigms of contemporary secularism from the tradition of tolerance and synthesis. It was these traditions, due to which Indian civilization was successful in maintaining its existence in spite of many ups and downs (military, economic, social) for thousands of years. Nehru wrote that “we talk about a secular India, does it mean a state that gives equal opportunity and respect to all kinds of opinions, which as a state can be seen as any religion or belief Does not belong, thus it becomes a state religion….

There has been a long history of religious tolerance in India. This is only one aspect of the secular state. In a multi-religious country like India, it is difficult to build genuine nationalism in the absence of secularism. Any narrow thinking inevitably divides the population and in that case nationalism also comes out in its limited sense. ”

Nehru’s outlook was western and modern. They also understood the complexities of Indian conditions. He was an agnostic who accepted religion only as a cultural inspiration and heritage. He was opposed to organized religion. According to him “Any organized religion invariably becomes an inherent selfishness, which inevitably turns into a reactionary force of progress and change.” Nehru despised the politicization of religion.

Nehru considered the influence of communalism to be the largest group of people who had no vested interests nor had any dealings with British imperialism. Nehru believed that communalism is a middle class platoon and as long as middle class elements have an influence on politics, no person can move away from total communalism.

Nehru recognized the economic background of communalism but believed that the reason was more political. He clarified that very little role has been played in the spread of communalism through religious enmity or protest. The current communal question is not religious, although sometimes it does exploit religious sentiments, which is dangerous. According to Nehru, a secular state does not mean that people should renounce their religions, but it means that the state protects all religions but does not favor any religion at the cost of others, nor does any religion state religion Accept as Giving importance to this sentiment, the Constitution of India provided constitutional protection to all religions.

Committed to the end of communalism in independent India, Nehru passed a resolution in Parliament through Ananthashenam Iyengar. Nehru considered communalism more dangerous than any external attack. One can fight against external aggression with full commitment, but other aggression (communalism) is worse because it takes our brain gradually into its grip, keeping us ignorant of its full importance and danger. Nehru laid emphasis on the propagation of science and technology so that intellectual and secular collaborations could be strengthened. He called dams like Bhakra Nangal a modern temple, tomb or university. He put secularism as an ideal and worked seriously for its propagation in the society.

The last phase of his life saw a series of communal riots by Nehru which spread to cities and towns in northern India and north-eastern India between 1961 and 1964. The riots in Jabalpur in 1962 shook Nehru completely and he formed the National Integration Council. Nehru expected the majority to behave generously towards the minorities.

He had a clear understanding of the close relationship between the origin and development of communalism and the British policy of ‘divide and rule’ but did not accept the prevailing and simplistic view that communalism is basically a product of British policies. According to him, the reason for the rise of communalism was inherent in certain circumstances present in Indian society. Communalism was encouraged in various ways by colonial rule simply because it met many of the requirements of its colonial domination. Communalism did not benefit even the religious communities whose interests claimed to harm or enhance it.

Nehru identified communalism as the most dangerous trend of his time with which to fight on all fronts. Extensive public and private campaigns against communalism were conducted by Nehru through public speeches, radio broadcasts, parliamentary personalities, private letters and letters sent to the Chief Ministers.

Nehru’s commitment to secularism was complete, comprehensive and unconditional. In the most uncomfortable circumstances after independence, the creation of a secular constitution and the foundation of a secular nation and society were possible only by Nehru’s efforts.


Even before independence, socialist ideology had an influence on Nehru. The Russian Revolution of 1917 deeply affected Nehru. Nehru’s goal was to achieve political and social freedom along with political freedom for the people of India. In 1936, Nehru wrote that “I am convinced that the ultimate solution to the problems of the world and of India lies in communalism and I use the term in an economic and scientific sense rather than as a vague humanitarian measure.” Socialism is not only an economic theory but also a biography and inspires me in this very form. ” According to him, only after the expansion of socialism at the world level, real world peace and order can be established.

A different kind of ‘democratic socialism’ was accepted by Nehru. Democratic socialism is a logical and scientific approach to democracy that emphasizes equal distribution of income through planned programs. Due to the deep roots of capitalism in the then India, radical changes were considered by Nehru to be difficult and harmful. Nehru thought that it would be more beneficial for the country to compromise between capitalism and state ownership.

His economic ideology was based on the fact that the continuous growth of the Indian economy is possible only by dividing it into two sectors – public and private. These regions will work together for permanent and sustainable growth. According to Nehru, socialism was the control of capital in the national interest and not the authority imposed on private enterprises.

All kinds of privileges and facilities were despised by Nehru, who believed in social control rather than dictatorship. He came down from authoritarianism and stressed personal freedom. Nehru’s scientific and practical socialism, which could be attained by providing individuals with the requisite freedom and discipline, was different from the theoretical and idealistic type of autocratic socialism. It was the concept of an ideal society that is emotionally Indian, visually secular and functionally democratic.

According to Nehru, production is the only asset which can be attained in abundance by the vast labor force, but for this the importance of labor should be encouraged in every way. He stressed on the expansion of education for management skills and technical training so that the pace of industrial development can be accelerated.

Planning approach

It was during the freedom struggle that Nehru created a consciousness of economic planning that inspired the Congress to take the direction of radical reformism. In the last years of the 1930s he came to the conclusion that it is neither possible nor necessary to completely eliminate the capitalist system in India. Nehru wanted that by adopting some core principles of socialism in the capitalist system, gradual socialism could complete the process of accommodating both.

Long before independence, Nehru had realized that economic restructuring is a pre-requisite for an advanced modern life, which can only be accomplished by organized planning. The urge for planning for social and economic reconstruction had become a fundamental element of Nehru’s ideas. They were highly influenced by the economic progress of the former Soviet Union through planning.

After the election under the Act of 1935, the Congress took over the administration in several states, giving a new dimension to Nehru’s idea of ​​economic planning. In 1938, Nehru became the chairman of the National Planning Committee set up by the Congress. In fulfilling this responsibility with utmost sincerity and enthusiasm, a broad-based committee constituted by Nehru also listed the services of scientists. But due to the Second World War, and Nehru went to jail, this work remained incomplete.

For Nehru, planning was a compulsory mix of socialist economy in the democratic structure. He did not want to intimidate any section of the society with excessive emphasis on socialist aspect. For this reason, there was some ambiguity and uncertainty when deciding the goal of planning. According to him “The motto of Congress is to establish an independent and democratic state in India.

Such an independent democratic state includes a self-sufficient society, in which all members have equal opportunities for self-expression and self-satisfaction. In such a society, all people are guaranteed adequate minimum decent living standards so that they can make the achievements of equal opportunities real. This should be the background or cornerstone of our plan. ”

Nehru’s concept of planning was not based on any bias or theoretical consideration. They were guided by the desire for quick results rather than any ideological understanding. His only wish was to bring people on the path of sustainable economic and social progress. According to him, ‘I do not care which’ ism ‘will help in taking people on that path. If one thing fails, we will try another. ” It was this practical and flexible thinking that led Nehru to the conviction that according to which the mixed economy was considered most suitable for India.

Under Nehru’s concept of planning, joint participation of private and public sector was considered essential for development activities. Important sectors of the economy were to be placed under full control of the state while other sectors were in private hands. But the private sector had to work under the state so that they did not deviate from the objectives of the national plan. According to Nehru, “The expansion of control over the private sector will not be limited to its dividends and profits, but it will extend to the strategic points of the country’s economy.”

Under the vast framework of the National Plan, private enterprises were to be given adequate incentives to carry out their operations in various fields. Nehru’s view was that state control over the private sector was gradually increased over time so that the mixed economy could muster sufficient capacity to adapt itself to changing circumstances.

Nehru believed that it was not wise for India to follow the economic pattern of any other country. India should develop a system that is suited to its nature and needs. Hence, the idea of ​​mixed economy was considered to be the best. Nehru confidently declared that “change must be directed towards democratically planned collectivism”.

Under democratic collectivism, instead of the abolition of private property, public ownership will be preferred over basic and major industries. Large industries, especially in India, will need to be kept in such ownership. Whereas small and rural industries will be kept in cooperative ownership. Such democratic collectivism will require vigilant and continuous planning and adjustment with the changing needs of the people. ”

But despite planning and economic development in the present circumstances of India, the problem of poverty has not been eradicated. Even after the best efforts of planning, a large section of the society is unable to achieve the assured minimum standard of living. Rapid growth of private capital and huge wastage of national resources as a result of inappropriate national priorities of planning have continuously widened the gap between the poor and the rich.

However, it is not the retention of planning that has proved to be unsuccessful but in most cases the poor implementation of failure that has led to unbalanced growth and unilateral growth.


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