Shashi Tharoor Talks about - Nehru :The Invention of India on 18th March 2004

Shashi Tharoor Talks about - Nehru :The Invention of India on 18th March 2004

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 1887

Number of words: 12909

Number of symbols: 59134

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:01
in the 1940s Nehru led the movement for India's independence from British rule and ushered his newly independent country into the modern world next un under-secretary-general Shashi Tharoor discusses his new biography of India's first prime minister this is an hour 15 minutes it's a great pleasure to welcome back to Houston the distinguished writer and diplomat Shashi Tharoor and a co-sponsor his visit with the Asia Society Texas because c-span is filming tonight's event and the question
00:33
and answer period that follows a reading would you please wait until a microphone gets to you before you ask your question and to find out when you're going to be on TV you can go to c-span's website Shashi Tharoor will be introduced tonight by Nancy Hall's executive director of the Asia Society Texas born in Pennsylvania Nancy moved abroad with her family and attended High School in Singapore in Hawaii she received a BA from Smith College and an MS and education and administration from Bank Street College since then she's
01:05
frequently lived abroad mostly in Asia and then when in America in Princeton in New York City in 1988 Nancy moved to Houston to become the third executive director of the Texas center of the Asia Society in 2003 she was awarded the YWCA outstanding women of achievement award nancy halls Thank You Carl it's always a pleasure to work with Carl and with Brazos bookstore and I congratulate them
01:37
on 30 years as you must have known you know they're a very important part of our community I know one thing Kyle forgot to save so I will say it because of c-span but also just generally please turn off your cell phones or anything that beeps are making snow his place I have to do a little housekeeping we have some program announcements up here next week our our gourmet guru is sitting right here is going to do a book promotion on her new cookbook with a
02:07
small tasting of some of her her samples so please pick that one up on Wednesday the 31st we have a program on Pakistan a bridge between the past in the future with fakir Syed hi Josue Dean should be very interesting he's a very good speaker we have political developments in Hong Kong in China with Ronnie Chan on the 1st of April and on the 27th of April we're going to have the US ambassador to Korea so we're covering all the hot spots right now as
02:37
Carl mentioned xiaochi tour is both a diplomat and a an author and scholar and I always like to say a Renaissance man none of us can quite figure out how he does it tonight he's the author tomorrow morning if you want to hear him again he's the diplomat and he'll be speaking for us and I can give you that information and he's going to be talking about his newest work neighbor the invention of India Shashi was born in London educated in Bombay Calcutta and New Delhi received his BA from st.
03:10
Stephen's College then went to the US where I got a PhD from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at age 22 in June of 2002 he was named the undersecretary general for communications and public information of the United Nations and has led the department of public information since January 2001 he's worked for the UN since 1978 where he served on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and Singapore he's been a senior official at the UN since 1989 where until 1996 he was
03:42
responsible for peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia for 1997 to 98 he served as an executive assistant to un secretary-general Kofi Annan but he's an also and the reason he's here tonight an accomplished and much and demand author of articles short stories and commentaries among his works in addition tonight's tonight's book India from midnight to millennium reasons of state riot a novel showbusiness a novel the great Indian novel and five-dollar smile
04:12
and other stories his work as an author has brought him many awards including the Commonwealth writers prize and excelsior Award for Excellence in literature in 1998 the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland named mr. Torah the global leader of tomorrow and I suspect they would call him the global leader of today we're really honored to have him also because he's a very good friend of ours he's been coming and taking time from his extremely busy schedule to come down and speak to all
04:43
of us so I'd like to welcome Shashi tor thank you so much Nancy and really it's a pleasure to be introduced by a good friend who has also been recognized as a woman of exceptional distinction and and it's good to see you all here in Houston small independent bookstores they say are a threatened species and so it's all the more important that we come out here and show our support for browsers on their 30th yeah I'm going to talk to this evening about my book narrow the invention of India and I I suppose the
05:21
first thing I ought to say I ought to cover as it were is why book on on narrow and why now partly it's because narrow in some ways seems in danger of being repudiated in his own country in India and of being forgotten everywhere else even Indians are no longer conscious of the extent to which narrow was a giant of his age an iconic figure of 20th century nationalism who particularly for the 16 years that he was Prime Minister of
05:52
India after mark maganda his death he was seen around the world as the embodiment of India as I said once Gandhi had left the scene it was narrow who in the global imagination personified his country in fact his stature was so great that Adlai Stevenson who you all know as a distinguished presidential candidate in two elections in the 1950s but when he was governor of Illinois in 1949 introducing narrow to a Chicago audience
06:24
said the following you know Rita too said we live in an age swept by tides of history so powerful they shatter human understanding and this was nice 49 so you can imagine only a tiny handful of men have influenced the implacable forces of our time to this small company of the truly great bundle Java halal narrow belongs he belongs to the even smaller company of historic figures who wore a halo in their own lifetimes now you might say that's just you know Adlai Stevenson being generous
06:55
maybe he belongs to the Nancy whole school of introductions and he was just being being nice to his guests as you've already heard today but actually you can find a dozen other references of that level of admiration for Joe al Naru that was 1949 that he would have heard similar even grander terms being ascribed to him in the decade that followed in many ways India seemed inconceivable without him the great American journalist Welles angam who died in Vietnam later wrote a
07:25
book in 1963 called after Nehru who but the unspoken query behind that of course was after narrow water and now four decades after Nero's death we have something of an answer to that latter question it's fair to say that little of Jawaharlal Nehru's legacy remains intact in India or in the rest of the developing world for which he once spoke the transformation is still taking place in India that has altered in many ways the basic nerubian assumptions of post-colonial nationhood which in his
07:57
terms would have been secular socialist democratic and non-aligned nation heard and yet the stamp that he placed on India was so extraordinary that so much of what it means to be an Indian has emerged from his own evocation of Indian nationalism that I thought that here are the beginning of the 21st century to look back on this 20th century life and study its legacy would be a worthwhile endeavor so this is the book that tells you the story of the life whole but ends
08:29
with a concluding chapter that summarizes the legacy and and tries to place narrows life in context for readers after day it's not a scholarly book there's practically not a footnote in it like my other nonfiction and India from midnight of the millennium is one that's been mentioned this evening I'd like to engage my readers in the sort of extended intelligent living room conversation as it were about the kinds of issues that emerge in this case from an extraordinary life but as you know man as you've been told I am a novelist
09:00
so though the notice on the door says I'm going to be reading from the book and really with the biography it's better that I talk about and then read from it I will read one small portion just to help set the tone for the evening and that is from the beginning of the book because as a novelist I couldn't resist the beginning with a story and and I think that's what I'll read to you before I talk about Niro and his life this is our chapter one begins in January 1889 or so the story goes motilal nehru a 27 year old lawyer from
09:32
the north indian city of Allahabad travelled to Rishikesh a town holy to Hindus up in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the sacred river Ganga the Ganges motilal was weighed down but personal tragedy mattered as a teenager in keeping with custom he had soon been widowed losing both his wife and his firstborn son in childbirth in due course he'd married again an exquisitely beautiful woman named Farouk Rani Cole she soon blessed
10:03
him with another son but this boy too died in infancy multi LANs own brother NAND Lal Nehru then died at the age of 42 leaving two Motilal the care of his widow and seven children the burden was one he was prepared to bear but he desperately sought the compensate free joy of a son of his own this it seemed was not to be Mouton Allen his two companions young Brahmans of his acquaintance visited a famous yogi renowned for the austerities he
10:34
practiced while living in a tree in the bitter cold of winter the yogi undertook various penances which it was said gave him great powers one of the travellers pundit mother Mohan Malviya informed the yogi that mater'als greatest desire in life was to have a son the you he asked moti Lal to step forward looked at him long and hard and shook his head sadly you he declared will not have a sum it is not in your destiny as a despairing
11:06
moti Lal stood crestfallen before him the other man the learnin pundits din Dayal Shastri argued respectfully with the yogi the ancient Hindu Shastras he said made it clear there was nothing irreversible about such a fate a great karma yogi like him could simply grant the unfortunate man a boon and thus challenged the yogi looked to the young men before him and finally side he reached into his brass pitcher and sprinkled water from it three times upon
11:36
the would-be father Multi lad began to express his gratitude but the yogi caught him short by doing this the yogi breathed I have sacrificed all the benefits of all the austerities I have conducted over many generations the next day as legend has it the yogi passed away ten months later at 11:30 p.m. on November 14th 1889 multi-linear his wife svarupa Rani gave birth to a healthy
12:06
baby boy he was named Jawaharlal precious jewel and he would grow up to be one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century of course I put that story in the slightly mischievous spirit because it's almost certainly an apocryphal story that is that there are no real contemporary accounts for it except from one of the men accompanying Mithila and I might say that for everything we know Motilal who was a fierce rationalist and agnostic it's rather unlikely that he would have gone off to a yogi and sort of boon much less
12:38
that he would have believed in the results of it but it was a great story and I told it for two reasons first of all of course because it reflects in many ways the ways in which we Indians like to ascribe the magical mystical larger-than-life beginnings to our great heroes but also because it does underscore something that was true and that was that Motilal saw in his son from a very early age a child of destiny and he did so despite the fact that there was not very much evidence in the
13:09
young joella's behavior for this extraordinary faith he was given a very spoiled a little lord fauntleroy sort of upbringing and by the way the illusion is not far-fetched because there's a photograph that survived of Jalan Nehru age about five dressed up in Victorian costume which could really fit the frontispiece of an edition of little Lord Fauntleroy but you see motilal was an extremely successful and prosperous lawyer he was so successful he was on the first Indians perhaps the very first Indian to buy a house in the British part of town
13:40
the British Civil Lines area he was certainly the first civilian of any sort to bring a motorcar into a lab are the important of Ford in 1904 and so he was able to indulge his son tutor him at home spoil him completely and the boy of course lapped up the spoiling as indeed the only son and he remained the only son three other sons died in childbirth including one by the way who died on on joale row 16 who was born and died on Giovanna Nehru 16th birthday
14:12
two sisters whoever did survive it and they had two siblings one of them in particular went on to become famous in her own right but he actually pundit who was the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly in the early 1950s but but but hvala remained the only son and he was backed off at the age of 15 to the British public school which Americans would call a private school Harrow the very school which 15 years earlier had produced a
14:42
certain Winston Spencer Churchill and then after Harrow he went on to Cambridge University a combination of school and college he would often proudly remark that he shared with Lord Byron now as I said Joanna Nehru did not have a remarkable childhood or youth but what I found fascinating about the spirit and I've talked about this in the book was the flowering of the father-son relationship during his time in England and in some ways you know it's striking how much we've lost I think in these
15:12
days of of inexpensive phone calls and emails of course in terms of the kind of correspondence that even in my own generation when I came to this country to study or indeed when I went away to a different Indian City parents were to study the ways in which we maintained relationships by letters and looking at the correspondence between father and son is absolutely fascinating motilal who is a man who was a man of incandescent tempers monumental self for sure and somebody didn't suffer fools gladly was known to thrash
15:44
somebody who crossed his path including his young son who once misappropriated a pen and got thrashed for his pains this Motilal comes across in the letters as tender gentle loving almost sentimental in his regard for and his faith in his son and and and and of course the way in which the correspondence educates the son politically as well as in terms of values gives him news instructs him and of course keeps on assuring him of his father's love and loyalty is really
16:14
absolutely fascinating to read and to follow and of course as I said characterized throughout by multi knowledge extraordinary faith in his son which he kept keeps instilling in him and his correspondence in fact one postcard has survived of great 19th century Indian heroes and below the picture of one of them a man called remission the death RC death who was one of the first Indians to break into the British Indian Civil Service who was a an economist to distinction illiterate er a translator of the Mahabharata the
16:45
first translator of the great epic into English and novelist and president of the Indian National Congress so a man of towering distinction beneath his picture Motilal writes future Jawaharlal Nehru he set the bar high expected a son to match it and it's it's it's fascinating seeing all of this now Jalal Niro as I said showed very little sign of being worthy of those extremely high aspirations that has found the held up and for example he he didn't do well enough on his studies to qualify to sit
17:17
the Indian civil service examinations let alone to pass and join as his father had hoped he would he says in a sort of a graffiti oh I loved that is that he really enjoyed the soft life and the lavish spending that his father's wealth made possible and he was very good at wheedling money out of his father you should see some of the letters you know asking for money after Cambridge he went on to London to be admitted to the bar that is due to become a lawyer barrister and while he was they altered two courses at the London School of Economics and that's
17:46
where it's assumed he first imbibed his his convictions of socialism which of course was all the rage with the Fabian Society and the webs and others teaching at the LSE but in fact I could find no evidence of his actually having studied socialism even taken the course on the subject in any serious way in fact the only socialistic tendency that comes across is that he once danced with a waitress to find out what the lower classes would talk to him about Sarah this was this was the life that's then that Nehru led but he came out of out of
18:20
all of this with a second class degree but not really a first class education the reading he did the extent of reading the conversations the engagement and the correspondence with his father produced I think a sense very much of a very strong sense I think of the rights of Englishmen to use an American phrase and he would of course once he'd come back to India realize that he wasn't English enough to enjoy those rights in his own country and that would be an important transformation now he came back initially to a life of rather mediocre
18:50
lowering and party but he was transformed by the second great father-son relationship in this book and that is the relationship with my Gandhi he fell under the spell of Gandhi Gandhi who as many of you know had actually been in South Africa for 20 years developing his own philosophies his own practice of first of all resistance to oppression and to injustice fighting racial discrimination but also a reflection inquiry it set up is his art from the Phoenix farm correspondent
19:21
would talks to and Ruskin thought about the moral purposes of life and how ends and means if to go together and Gandhi came back to India a few years after Allah knew in 1916 and essentially began to transform the Indian nationalist movement from a movement that it essentially involved if you like the politics of the drawing-room of an unelected British educated or English educated elite are conducting petition politics demanding things from the English Mahatma Gandhi transformed that
19:52
to a mass movement mobilizing the peasantry the voiceless disenfranchised masses of India getting them out into the streets getting them to challenge unjust British laws in the name as he put it of a higher law the law of conscience and halal Nehru was enormously attracted by this even in his correspondence with his father from England he had described his father as a moderately moderate so he was attracted by the the radical challenge to Authority and he was in fact determined to go into the streets and Victor Law himself a multi-level of course was horrified because he said I am a lawyer
20:23
you're a lawyer if the law is unjust challenge it in the courts you can't break the law like this but of course another marvelous insight into the father-son relationship there while Motilal was arguing with his son and trying to talk you out of breaking the law he was secretly practicing sleeping on the floor in his own bedroom because he knew that if his son broke the law and went to jail he Morton and the father would follow and he was preparing himself for the rigors and privations in jail by sleeping on the floor extraordinary relationship but anyway
20:53
Mattila had one more you know trick up his sleeve he decided to end the debate by inviting Mahatma Gandhi to come and stay with him and Allahabad and moti Lal was a man of sufficient standing in in in India that madnes Gandhi accepted that invitation and came and stayed and and Gandhi very quickly realized that the Indian nationalist movement would need both narrows it would need the assurance the authority the rationalism and the material means as well as the legal expertise of the father and it would need the radicalism the impatience
21:24
and the evident charisma of the son so Gandhi did the wisest thing possible he talked JoEllen arrow out of joining him he said you know you all your duty to your father listen to him follow his advice because he knew Gandhi perfectly well that both would be in his camp before too long and he was right general all started off making speeches and and and writing op-ed pieces against the British but before too long he was in the streets and so was motilal nehru and and the two narrows became pillars of the nationalist movement under Mahatma
21:56
Gandhi giving up the-- the lavish western lifestyle in Motilal was able to to afford and transforming themselves into the first family as it were of Indian nationalism briefly about the the Gandhi narrow relationship in many ways the two had a curious sort of symbiosis on the one hand Joella Nehru was very much math maganda sportage a Gandhi picked him early as somebody he wanted to steer the rice off
22:28
in the nationalist movement and and and frequently in fact he promoted narrow to positions of authority that Niro would not have won on his own merit or indeed in terms of the judgment of his peers most famously on one occasion when he engineered Jalal Arras ascent to the presidency of the Indian National Congress thereby making that famous postcard come true when he was barely 40 at a time when a man 15 years his senior lullaby Patil was almost unanimous favorite of the All India Congress Committee who was supposed to elect them
22:58
at once Gandhi said this is who I want the Congress committee gave in an arrow found office and authority earlier than he might otherwise have but at the same time and though Niro was very conscious how much he owed his rise in his standing to mothma Gandhi at the same time there was lots of disagreement amongst them Nehru was impatient with Gandhi's what he saw frequently as Gandhi's vacillation as a-standin see to compromise as a tendency his tendency for example to call off seemingly successful civilizations movements on moral grounds like when there was an act
23:30
of violence on one occasion interrupted a movement that was actually beginning to capture the imagination of Indian people and narrow in his private correspondence and his Diaries was actually quite quite scathing about all of this and he was also very impatient with Mahatma Gandhi spirituality narrow himself was an avowed agnostic had no patience with religion in any shape or form any religion he found all religion to be essentially pernicious and he had no patience with Gandhi's religiosity which was again an ecumenical religiosity Gandhi's prayer meetings involved
24:01
readings from the texts of all faiths but but Nehru thought this is all mumbo-jumbo and we really have to to focus on contemporary reality and they frequently clashed in fact at one point they almost came to a break when narrow with his typical impatience steer a resolution through the Congress declaring that the British had to get out and grant independence immediately mothma Gandhi was absent on that occasion but wrote a very sharp editorial in his newspaper criticizing the Congress for having descended as he
24:32
put it to the level of a schoolboys debating society he said if we keep passing resolutions we have new hope of implementing we're making an exhibition of our own impotence you can imagine how that sounded to a UN official writing this book but anyway the fact is that that the fact is that that happened that happened out there and and and Nehru was so angry with Gandhi that he wrote a very sharp rejoinder that so wounded the old man that Martha Gandhi destroyed the letter a second letter however has
25:02
survived and in it nary was so sharply critical of Gandhi's view that India had to wait for its independence that the Indian people weren't ready yet and that it would take time and he was so impatient in his assertions of the need for this immediately the Gandhi replied saying all right you know clearly we don't agree and you you don't agree with what I stand for what I believe in we will simply have to brick our relations and I will make our correspondence public and of course what striking is Joe Allen arrow immediately caved and he
25:34
wrote this wonderful letter of apology to mama Gandhi beginning my dear Bapuji Bapuji being a term of filial devotion to a father figure and he went on to say am I not your child in politics if sometimes an errant and truant child and with these words of course the Mahatma was instantly disarmed and and and the two resumed the very close father-son relationship as I say that that replaced the father-son relationship of jihad and moti Lal III tell the story of these two relationships just to give you a favor
26:05
of the life there's no point in this talk giving a whole chronological account of the independent struggle and so on you'll find it in the book I I've really touched on only the main events leading up to the partition of India and the independence of the country but what I thought I would focus the rest of this talk on was Gerald's legacy as Prime Minister because there are various ways in which you can parse that legacy I tend to see it in terms of or pillars four pillars being democratic
26:37
institution building socialism the socialist economics non-alignment and foreign policy and secularism and the four of course coming under the overall rubric of the subtitle of my book the invention of India but which I should stress early on that I'm not trying to say that Nehru invented India he would have rejected such a force himself in fact I'm often reminded when I when I when I explained my title of of Italy of
27:08
an Italian example and not that Italian example some of you may be thinking about but the example of what happened when Italy was created in late nineteenth century out of a mosaic of principalities and statelets and an Italian nationalists and writer Matsumoto Pirelli desi Leo said very famously we have now created Italy now all we have to do is to create Italians now I say that because no Indian nationalist least of all Niro would ever have expressed a similar thought Narron didn't believe that he or the Indian nationals for movement was creating
27:38
Indians they believed that India and Indians had existed for millennia and that all they were doing was to give contemporary political expression to the longing for freedom and self-determination of the Indian people so it's not in that sense that I mean my subtitle but rather in the sense of how these particular pillars have contributed to a notion of India of Indian Asst that in many ways left a a long lasting stamp on India that is only now as I said earlier being transformed
28:09
so let me take each of these in turn because these are I think the most interesting parts of the legacy democracy first of all and I think what's extraordinary about the fact that that Neru achieved so much in building the institutions of democracy in India is that he could so easily have gone the other way so many nationalist heroes in so many developing countries post-colonial countries have written to power as the heroes of the people and then converted themselves into autocrats tyrants dictators usually saying that of
28:39
course the challenges before them and required a firm hand and narrow had every excuse available to him he had not only the horrors of partition the birth of India in blood and flame when a million people were killed in 30 million displaced in the partition of the country from India into India and Pakistan but he also had the enormous challenges of poverty of the challenges of development the enormous differences within the country of language and religion of region of caste of Crete and
29:11
all of any could have picked and any one of these excuses let alone the whole lot of them to say no I need to be a dictator he never would have done so he did not even think of that temptation because of his own profound personal convictions he was such a a convinced Democrat that at the crest of his rise in the 1930s when he just led the Congress party to victory in the first semi-free elections the British organized in 1937 he authored an anonymous attack upon himself he published an article in an intellectual
29:40
journal the modern review saying we have to be wary of giving dictatorial temptations to Jo Allah Nehru he enjoys the adulation of the masses too much India needs no Caesars and was only years later that people discovered that the anonymous author of this article it wasn't jawaharlal nehru himself and that was partially because you want to place a public check upon himself and partially because he wanted to demonstrate over and over again that institutions were more important than individuals and he did that throughout his prime ministership showing respect
30:12
for the institutions created by India's Constitution working through conciliation and compromised showing as I said a great deal of deference for example to the ceremonial president of India as a model on the British monarch who had the title but no real power and even to the ceremonial vice-president who really has nothing to do but chair meetings and cut ribbons but but but Niro would go out of his way to show that these people in protocol terms and in terms of their standing was supposed to be more important than the Prime Minister he would he would make himself
30:44
accountable to Parliament where the numerically small opposition was able to exercise an influence out of proportion to its numbers because he made himself accountable to them and made sure that his ministers and his civil servants were also there to be accountable this is a man who after Mothma Gandhi's death and then two years later the death of Sardar Patel his Deputy Prime Minister was the only other figure in the nationalist movement when anyway could have been seen as a plausible alternative in the Congress party to narrow after those two had died he truly was
31:14
unchallengeable within the party and he was known as the uncrowned king of india oh by the way that adjective uncrowned was remedied when a middle-aged woman stepped forth from the crowd in the Congress party gathering and plunked a golden crown on Nehru's balding pate and then turned to the audience and and announced that that he was the reincarnation of Krishna which sort of confused the symbols of monarchy with those of mythology but nanos reaction was really he immediately took the crown off gave it to the Congress party president said auction this off for party funds he said even though that
31:46
adjective uncrowned was as I said briefly remedied he had no patience for crowns he saw himself as deriving his authority from the people and that was the way in which he consistently conducted himself when when asked by Norman Cousins that marvelous American editor what he hoped his most important legacy would be he said 400 million Indians capable of governing themselves and of course the 400 million is kind of out of date but the fact that Indians are able to govern themselves are able to vote out their governments replace
32:17
them with others to their liking is a direct legacy of the fact that Nehru spent those vulnerable years of India's first years of freedom entrenching institutions that otherwise could have been fragile or could have been overturned I know so before any of you asked it let me address it right away that he is unfairly criticized as a man who started the dynasty let me assure you that was far from his his wish Indira Gandhi his daughter was his official hostess because narrow of course was a widower bathtub he gave her
32:48
no political authority there was one year when she held political office when the Congress party elected her its president he did not suggest it there is no indication that even encourage it he didn't want to stand in her way but he did not encourage re-election and she stepped down after a term as Congress party president he did not appoint her to his cabinet and the ultimate vindication of this is when he died he was replaced by a utter integrity competence and dedication from his cap recently from his cabinet loud bahadur shastri who of course was no relative of the Nehru
33:20
family now he could not be blamed for failing to foresee that Shastri would die prematurely two years later and that the party bosses of the Congress party looking for a what they hoped would be a pliable figure with great name recognition would pick Indira Gandhi and boy were they wrong about her pliability but that's another story in fact he was asked I think it was also her Norman Cousins about these charges of well he was grooming his daughter and he said I mean that would be a betrayal and everything I stood for and believed in all my life he said I'm not capable
33:50
of ruling from beyond the grave I would never do anything of that nature let me be a little briefer on the other pillars of the legacy because I've talked a lot I do want to get your questions and comments in socialism now that is is of course where the legacy starts becoming mixed because socialism was emphatically a disaster as who has you know I've said at some length in my in my previous book India from midnight to the Millennium but again you need to understand where this comes from in America capitalism is
34:22
instinctively associated with freedom in India and in many other colonial societies capitalism was instinctively associated with slavery the British East India Company had come to trade and stayed on to rule so nationalists immediately associated foreign capital with political slavery and they thought that in fighting for their political independence they also had to fight for economic independence that to be independent of international capital to control India's economy was the essential corollary of being politically free that is what lay behind Nehru's
34:54
socialism that many other leaders in developing countries but the result was that when there came to power he threw up the protectionist barriers kept foreign capital ouch and and and put bureaucrats rather than businessman on the commanding heights to use his phrase of the indian economy there by condemning india for the next four decades to regulating stagnation subsidizing unproductivity and trying to distribute poverty now I will say that though I've been scathing about that in the book that there is one good thing that came out of Narrows
35:26
and there is a through this faith in the government trying to trying to build up the economy he did lay the platform for the infrastructure of excellence in science and technology for which India is now famous because of one of the unintended consequences of nalu's statism is to be found in Silicon Valley and no doubt in some examples in this room of the the excellent well-trained engineers and software specialist from India has produced out of establishments at Nehru created and and and and left
35:56
behind the third pillar the foreign policy of non-alignment and again Nehru was unchallenged as the foreign policy expert of the nationalist movement he was somebody who when he was a young man of course and studied abroad his family wealth meant he could afford to travel abroad he had a great deal of expertise and assumption if we did an interest in the subject and I must say very sharp minor and I came across something he wrote in 1927 and which he predicted that they the world would see the emergence of a serious anglo-american
36:27
alliance and this is in 1927 when the British Empire was at its peak and America was isolationist behind fortress America but Neru saw this as a trend that's coming and that sort of insight was quite fascinating but he saw World Affairs entirely its terms in terms of issues of principle and he's a man of great principle I'll give you a couple of examples in fact his wife Kamla Nehru died young of tuberculosis and when she was dying here to be sent off to sanatorium in Europe for treatment and the best sanatorium has happened to be
36:57
in Germany Nazi Germany so when Niro went to visit her in this tiny little mountain village anyway he made it a point to shop only at shops owned by Jewish shopkeepers to signal his private rejection his personal rejection of the regime death that rule the country had no choice but to be and because his wife was dying there or to give you another example you know that in those days you had no long-distance flights planes had to stop for refueling he was coming back from Europe once and his plane had to
37:30
stop in Rome and Mussolini sent an envoy to say come in and meet me I'll be glad to receive you this great sort of nationalist hero from India and a petty a man might have thought what a great 22 you know stick a thumb in the noses of the British now go and do that not narrow he said unequivocally that the fascist dictator of Italy stands for nothing that I value in my political principles I will not shake his hand and though it's plain stopped he didn't leave the airport he didn't go and meet Mussolini in Rome and that's the way in which narrow approached world affairs and so he saw India coming to
38:03
independence in a position to articulate a principled and moral view in this very cynical world that he had grown up in of two world wars the Holocaust Hiroshima genocide everything that you had seen in the in the process of his adulthood he wanted to reject and stand for something different now the result was mixed again on the one hand it contributed a great deal to India stature on the world stage particularly in the 1950s in fact it's amusing to realizes now but when India first became independent for example and the Soviet Union didn't really believe
38:34
that independence was genuine they thought it was another British trick you know perfidious Albion sort of doing a sham independence it was narrows independent positions and stands that convinced the Soviet Union that in there was genuinely independent and across the world his positions and a whole number of world crises gave India a standing in world affairs out of proportion to its military strength or lack thereof and its economic power or lack thereof because as I said he spoke for this larger vision of humanity rather than for simple naked self-interest but the
39:06
flipside of this was precisely that on the one hand he offended many states the u.s. in particular that I'm going to digress briefly and tell you one amusing story that you will find in the book you know when when John Foster Dulles Eisenhower Secretary of State a man famous or notorious in Indiana for having said once that about non-alignment that neutralism between good and evil is itself evil not a sentiment you can imagine being much appreciated in Delhi well the story is and it may well be apocryphal again that
39:38
Dulles said too narrow in in words that perhaps some of you have heard in a more recent context and slightly different terms are you with us or against us narrow replied yes because of course that was the whole point for him was that he wanted the independence the freedom to be with the US or against the US depending on the merits of the case as he saw fit now that is a digression but the point of said America said whereas he therefore was able to assert this kind of moral standing on the world
40:09
stage it is also true that reducing foreign policy to pronouncement and principal meant that it was disconnected from the actual needs of Indian people in terms of national security interests and the economic well-being of the Indian people and the limitations that policy became of course completely apparent and the humiliating defeat that India suffered in the war with China in 1962 for which narrow had had indeed left the country grossly unprepared and the final pillar is the pillar of secularism and that again again came out
40:42
in there whose personal convictions and principles he was consistently secular throughout his career somebody who in his personal life and relations refused to judge people in any way by their religion I told you earlier that he himself had no religious faith inand there's no record of his ever having stepped into a Hindu temple in his entire life his daughter married a non Hindu his his only child he his most important influences in his childhood
41:12
was his father's Muslim personal secretary moonshee mubarak early his closest friend with whom they maintained a marvelous personal correspondence till his death a young Indian whom he met in Cambridge was a Muslim side Mahmood so you had this this this this personal life that was completely free of bigotry and therefore the one strand of political opinion he couldn't stand was people taking political positions on the basis of religious faith and so he was determined to promote a vision of India
41:43
as a secular state as you know he he fought alongside mothma Gandhi against the partition of the country on the grounds of religion but once partition had occurred and Pakistan was created as a state for India's Muslims there was some Indian leaders who were prepared to mirror that logic by saying all right what remains State for India's Hindus not narrow he fought against that sort of thinking by insisting that the India that he and Gandhi had fought to free was a country for everybody for everybody who had contributed to the creation of Indian
42:16
civilization and he had the civilizational sense of Indian pluralism and India's diversity that's marvelous I quote something in the book about his evocation of India as a palimpsest on which each successive wave of people had written on top of what others had written but without raising what had been written before and so this image of India with all these different forces and influences is part of narrows extraordinarily I should have said in fact in quoting him that you know Neru when he started breaking the law and going to jail actually didn't know he
42:47
was going to end up spending 10 years in British jails but he didn't waste his time in jail there was some periods particularly the beginning of tough periods of imprisonment when the British wouldn't let him read alright but the rest of his time he read widely was allowed to keep the books but he had a mind that synthesized what he read and he wrote marvelously he wrote he wrote for example a book of world history glimpses of world history without a single reference book in front of him in the form of letters to his daughter which which is an extraordinary
43:17
statement of his vision of the forces that shaped the world he wrote a remarkable autobiography that was there a best-seller in the in the United States in nineteen the early 1940s and in England until in the late nineteen thirties and he wrote her a work of Indian nationalism the discovery of India part biography part evocation of the history of India and the forces that had shaped Indian society that to this day remains to me a giant work I mean this is a man who through his writings and his speeches articulated a
43:47
vision of India through the production of some of the finest political writing in English in the 20th century and I don't just mean by an Indian some of the finest political writing in the English language in the twentieth century came from Jalal Nehru and it often was written in jail and even in other circumstances his his speech at the moment of India's independence bares a parallel with the Gettysburg Address because like the Gettysburg Address it was written in moments of great crisis and and tragedy the partition violence the horrors of the he liked the Gettysburg Address has no
44:18
time to write a full script he scroll is notes in the back of an envelope and then he stood up and made that extraordinary speech but long years ago we made a tryst with destiny and now the time has come that we must redeem our pledge it's it's it's an extraordinary speech and it's one as I said pretty much ad-libbed at the midnight hour when the world sleeps India awakes to light and freedom now this man therefore through these various pillars through that occasion of these ideas invented the India that has been the legacy that
44:48
I'm trying to analyze in this book I should say that that's obviously the legacy is mixed the democratic institution building has been absolutely vital and though there have been many flaws in Indian democracy and there has been criminalization of it in parts of the country a great deal of corruption it is also empowered the lowest of India is low through the ballot box and through affirmative action policies it's help to undo through democracy millennia of discrimination against some of
45:18
India's most suffering people whom it was really effectively empowered socialism as I said disastrous foreign policy mix but in the end once that stage was passed largely irrelevant and then secularism which in some ways all the more vital for a plural society that in some way seriously under threat in in recent years but the idea of India that emerges from the life and legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru is what I've tried to
45:49
portray through his life and in this book and it's an idea that I believe is worth looking back upon and cherishing I'll end since as I said you were expecting a reading I'll end with two short bursts of reading one was from his short thing about his will which I quote extensively in the book is an extraordinary extraordinary document in its own right but you know he he said at the end of his will that he wanted and
46:21
read the words the major portion of my ashes should be counted high up into the air in an airplane and scattered from that height over the fields where the peasants of India toil so that they might mingle with the dust and soil and become an indistinguishable part of India and then I go on to say having quoted s during his years as Prime Minister many at home and abroad could not distinguish Jawahar Lal Nehru from the country he so unchallengeable ed that task would now become literally impossible in death as in life
46:52
Joe Allah would become India but having left you with that image of Joe are lots of mingling with the dust and soil of India let me read you the last few lines of the book which sort of leave you if you like with a slightly bittersweet sense of the legacy on his desk Joe ll there who kept two totems a gold statue a term Atma Gandhi and a bronze cast of the hand of Abraham Lincoln which he would occasionally touch for comfort the two objects perfected the
47:23
range of his sources of inspiration he often spoke of his wish to confront problems with the heart of the Mahatma and the hand of Lincoln narrows time may indeed have passed but it says something about the narrowing of the country's intellectual heritage that both objects ended up in a museum and his heirs just kept the disk thank you very much that's right a microphone will be coming around to take your questions I think the gentleman there please wait for the
48:07
mic to come and and you might want to notice who's the next person with a hand up so that you can move the microwave I'm answering it saying there were so many reviews about this book but there is one review I want to bring it you it and I want to ask your comment about it came from India broad although the book is pompously title Nehru the Inman invention of India it can be easily be
48:37
described as general for the beginners and it is targeted mainly for high school students outside India what about the pomposity of the title I think I've spent enough time explaining it so I I I shouldn't I shouldn't repeat that I think and I hope anyway that the book of will turn out to be of interest to anybody who wants a short and accessible biography of the surface great figure I often joke that the principal merits of the book might be its brevity because
49:08
all the good biographies are narrow and indeed some of the not so good ones are sort of 600 pages of small print and Counting the best biographies probably go past three-volume biography there isn't a short book that tells their life and analyzes the legacy in this form at this time so while certainly be glad if high school students find it interesting I certainly hope that college students graduates professionals and people in retirement will also delve into the book
49:37
yes you said that is in danger of being repudiated in his own country do you mean his political ideals the economic philosophy or some say the way he conducted politics in the country would you elaborate on that I think all of them I mean I think did you all hear the question about that his question was I'd mentioned that India was in danger repudiating narrow and he went on to us what do they mean by that his political philosophy is economic ideals of the way he ruled what what what is it that would be repeated and I
50:11
would say to some degree all all of them you know as late as the as the late 80s you could go to Delhi and talk to senior civil servants politicians even of non Congress parties and before too long you would have people saying if they if they were able to articulate their thoughts in that fashion that we are still Marion's that was very much the the the dominant ethos of India's political class you wouldn't find that today he would find very much less of it even in the Congress party that has in so many ways
50:43
been transformed by his heirs and certainly not in the ruling coalition and in much of what passes for intelligent political criticism in the Indian press you will find that Nehruvian ISM is almost seen as a bad word it's associated with many of the things that did go wrong the corruption the inefficiency the statism they you know the sanctimonious politicians hypocritically clad and in kadhi but you know carrying their cell phones and amassing ill government riches all of these these images that the Indian educated middle class has a what was
51:15
wrong with Indian politics are saddled if you like around the the neck of narrow and to that degree that and the economic failures are all blamed upon him retrospectively and I as I said in my talk unfairly the dynasty is also blamed on him even though I don't believe that's and that charge can stick given his own attitude and so all of these things mean that in very many ways his standing has taken a pretty severe drumming except for a few die-hard
51:47
acolytes so I thought it was time to take those criticisms in stride look at them fair look at them fairly reflect them and I they are reflected in the book as you know from my talk today but at the same time take the larger picture of what in a positive sense as well as in a not so positive sense has been left behind by the narrow years where did you spend about six pages replying juice Stanley Wolpert the American mag refer about this Negros private life when he was eighteen why do
52:27
you spend about six pages in the book somebody's pages and on that I found that that as I say in the book that there was some insinuation some speculation about near his private life which are not supported by the evidence provided by that particular author and I passed my own judgment that there was no support for this speculation in the materials that I've consulted I felt that since readers might be curious
52:59
about some of the newer things that have been said about Nero's life that it was entirely appropriate for me to address that so that's that's why I did what I did yes thank you for your time do you think that the Indian political system where a party just has to get thirty percent of the votes first-past-the-post and get elected has no incentive to change this constitution or reflect what the other 70% of the people worn they just cater
53:38
to their thirty percent of the audience and that's it and that leads to a lot of problems it's an interesting question in fact it's one that I've addressed in my book India from midnight to the Millenium for those who didn't hear the question it was about the fact that in the Indian parliamentary system a party with thirty percent of the vote thirty is a bit of an exaggeration they tend to a little more than that can end up coming to power in fact most of India's governments with one exception came to power with over forty percent of the votes but of course now we're in an era of
54:08
coalition politics the current government of India has 24 parties in coalition and so cumulatively they do have I think over 40% of the votes behind them but I agree with the implicit premise behind your question that the parliamentary system is a peculiar system because we're the first-past-the-post way of doing it you can indeed add up enough seats where you have one with a pro-rata plurality rather than a majority of the vote in a constituency a district as you would say in America with six or seven different
54:40
parties running you can indeed win with 30% and if you get enough of seats in parliament one that way you could indeed come to power with a rather small percentage of the country's population or indeed its voters behind you and in my book India from a night of millennium I advocated the case for a presidential system of a directly elected chief executive at the centre and directly elected chief executives in the States however I think one has to be realistic and say that that idea has absolutely no
55:11
future in the Indian context today each time it has been briefly floated once by mrs. Gandhi and once by mr. Varney of the BJP the current Deputy Prime Minister it's rapidly sunk without risk for lack of support in the political class and one can understand of course that people are familiar with the that they are used to used to running and that they would tend to want to do that so I think we're gonna have to live with the system as we have it and it does mean that it looks like we are in
55:43
for a rather lengthy period of coalition governments but the indian water has often shown a capacity for surprising the learner analysts so that's we can see what the next election produces in terms of results yes that you chose to write about Nehru partly because you felt his life and the birthing of India had a was a model or it had something to say to the world today and when you said
56:13
that I thought yeah that's right but then I'm thinking how is that right I'm not sure what we're seeing in the world today that is hopeful like that or could you talk to that a little bit more and point out you from your your diplomatic experience where is the hope in the world today and where is the nursing's happening today again for those who didn't hear the question it's about the extent to which what Nair who stood for and how he lived speaks to to today's
56:44
world and if it does I think a couple of things actually I'm always hesitant to draw facile parallels because people are very much products of their own times and some things that loomed very large in the period of Nehru's life are in some ways less relevant today for example one episode which I do not in fact reflect in the book so I can mention it now that often reminded me of of how how fundamentally in a sense the context has changed was of the visit of
57:17
the Prince of Wales to India in the 1920s when Nehru had began his nationalist career who this is the Prince of Wales later became ever the AIF briefly and abdicated became the Duke of Windsor when he came he was taken one sort of grand project to another having seen several of these he turned to the Indian official accompanying him and said isn't this marvelous what more can you Indians possibly want and the Indian official sort of coughed discreetly and said Sara Specter and you know it's impossible to
57:47
recapture that mindset that these this was a generation fighting for the self-respect that have been denied them by alien rulers I suppose it does remind us that no people likes to be ruled by foreigners and that therefore it's important to remember that whatever we do in world affairs we have to be very conscious of the self-respect of the people we're working with beyond that I would I would stress the the lesson of democracy to me as I said
58:17
earlier the fact is that India would have been a classic example of a country where every excuse was available to go in an undemocratic direction when I hear of countries in the world that I allegedly not fit for democracy or not ready for democracy I immediately think of India in 1947 and see if there was any place in the world that you know it was less ready if you like or that was more excusable for going in the other direction it would have been India and yet with the right leadership the right
58:48
convictions the right principles it is possible to build a democracy and to entrench the institutions of democracy in India at the global level I do want to stress of course that democracy is rather like love it has to come from within who can trust it down anybody's throat but at the same time in the UN the international community is trying to promote democracy we can help the process of love we can provide the romantic music and the soft candlelight elata and the atmosphere to encourage people to find their own Democratic
59:20
traditions and their own ways of expressing their need for their own self-respect perhaps that's that's that's one lesson and we can apply even in today's world yes well would you address Nehru's attitudes and relationships with the young United Nations he would have lived for about 20 years you know from the formation so I just wondered what you knew about that right well never was it was a great supporter of the United
59:51
Nations and in fact as I say in the book on at least one issue that of Kashmir when he brought the the disputes to the United Nations many of his critics accused him of having snatched a diplomatic stalemate out of the jaws of imminent military victory by his regard because of his regard for the United Nations but he was a firm believer in the principles of world affairs being principles that the entire world could sign on - and that is why indeed Niro
01:00:21
went ahead and showed sort of support for the organization that he did and and throughout his life he gave a great importance to the organization as I mentioned his own sister was president of the General Assembly the first woman still one of the very few women presidents of general assembly and indeed the only Indian president of the General Assembly and he personally came and addressed the United Nations every year because he felt it was an extraordinarily important platform where the world came together and promoted it
01:00:52
at the same time he used it as a platform to advocate his principles of fairness and equity in the world and for example he was a very strong an early supporter of the case for Beijing or Peking as it was called in those days to take the Chinese seats in the United Nations and the Security Council a seat which was held for 24 years when rather scant credibility by by Taiwan narrow and despite the growing rivalry and the later of the military
01:01:23
conflict which China never wavered in his belief that on principle they were the ones who should all that seat that was an example of the way in which he brought principle to bear in his approach to the UN I was like man you're closer well I am wondering and have wondered for a long time how India and you and other Indians feel about England today is there a rancor a continuing
01:01:55
resentment and do you think that England's contribution has been more disadvantageous or advantageous something about England something about English but I in fact I I've been since somebody was quoting a review I've been taken to task by one anger file reviewer for my disparaging remarks about Winston Churchill's attitude of Indian nationalism so you will see that certainly there's enough
01:02:27
reason if you like to feel rancor both because of the ways in which the various sometimes conducted themselves and because of some of the attitudes I mean Churchill for example of the height of the the great Bengal famine when when millions died as a direct result of governmental policy rather than a conscious neglect at the height of that when when Churchill got a report from the British government in India about people dying in the famine all he could rape as a peevish note asking why Gandhi
01:02:59
hadn't died yet I mean that was the sort of attitude that that was brought to bear by many British rulers towards India and yet there was also its opposite there was also a great deal of affection a great deal of interchange and I have to say they did leave behind Shakespeare PG woodhouse and the game of cricket so all of all of which are still cherished in India they gave us I have
01:03:30
to say the English language which in many ways we repaid them by making English the language of Indian nationalism when hvala Nehru wrote the discovery of India he discovered India in English and English remains today a language that knits together Indians of various parts of the country at least educated Indians and often urban Indians who otherwise would not necessarily be able to understand each other's mother tongues so that too is important in India from midnight the millennium I have tried to sort of draw up a balance
01:04:02
sheet and it tends to be a little more negative but I suppose the only one gets a more mellow one can feel and certainly there's been enough depth there so we can blame the British for including of course many Indians feel that the manner of their leaving and did not become and the British in terms of their claims of what they'd hoped to accomplish through their own of India they left Sunderland bloodied and and undamaged by
01:04:34
the the horrendous process of partition which the British midwifed but having said all of that there's also things we can be positive about and of course Gandhi as Neru is quoted as saying in the book towards us not to hate thank you for telling our history and such a wonderful story but my question was you talk a lot about the legacy of niro being about democracy building and institution building but it seems like
01:05:05
his record was for a greater and personal principle than and perhaps the success of democracy in the state in India so what I'm wondering is in today's world as today's politics to what it seems like those who stand by their principles are the suckers who can't win unless you play the rules of the game you're not gonna get anywhere to what extent can someone succeed in the national or international arena as a leader by standing truly by their principles and not playing the game okay well there's two comments I should make
01:05:36
and the question was there was a man of principle and not so much of structure and bureaucracy and to what extent in today's world can somebody succeed just by principle first of all obviously I believe both the national affairs and international affairs of principle is extremely important and that people should be judged by the principles they espoused and should be held to account for the principles they betrayed but I will say that never wasn't quite as head in the clouds as as your question implies and as I must say as I depicted a character based on him in my novel a
01:06:07
satirical novel the great Indian novel my I took the blind king of the Mahabharata and and made him this sort of blind visionary first prime minister of independent India who could sort of you know had this vision at the far distance what was unable to see the real world around him and that is a charge that is made of narrow and as I said I have implicitly made it in my fiction I think it's not entirely fair I think for example when you mentioned the bureaucracy and the state structures in fact Nero did agreed you to build on what had been created essentially by Sardar
01:06:37
Vallabhbhai Patel who's as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister took the institutions of the British Raj in denies them creating the Indian Administrative Service the police service the Central Services and so on the steel frame our British rule and made of it an effective administrative mechanism fin de niro did use that and build upon it and and though one can accuse him certainly of some kinds of neglect and one can accuse him also trying to micromanage the things he was interested in not paying enough attention to things that needed to be improved I would say that he did set
01:07:09
high standards and that he did expect the people working for the Government of India to reach those high standards and there was a level of excellence in Indian governance under Nehru that I think it's fair to say is no longer attained today but I do believe that of course we could all learn from the example of principle and that's both in India and any other country and in the world at large we must indeed expect principles to be upheld otherwise what light would we
01:07:42
live by I think one last question perhaps are your two last questions and the two hands up and then we should wrap it up yeah thank you so very much for reviving the spirit of Niro at this time my question is just a comment I grew up in the 50s in India and at the time secularism was so important to me my father inspired it in all of us as you said intelligent dining what livingroom conversation secularism was pretty palpable when I go back now with all of
01:08:13
the world events that are going on I don't see that as much and I'm feeling it's being a little bit eroded what do you what is your comment on that well it is indeed a sad commentary on our times that there in these living room conversations eluded that today in India people feel free to say things that would not have been uh turrible and polite company in the India that I was that I grew up in and so there has been a change in some ways a course inning of
01:08:43
public discourse it's partly as a result of the growth of identity politics as I said Neru very much rejected the notion of defining your political affiliation by your religious identity or any other basis of identity and seriously tried to promote their for a secular attitude to political life but there are others in India who've argued you know all our neighbors have taken refuge in the assertions of their own religious identity why shouldn't we it's
01:09:14
a curious thing because of course in so doing they're repudiating the very principle of Indian nationalism for which Gandhi and narrow in the Communist Party had fought which was that in there was a country for everybody with a net civilization but that airing of that view has indeed occurred has done damaged not just to political discourse but sadly to human lives we know of the of the riots and the violence that have occurred in which people have been attacked and killed on on issues of
01:09:44
faithful issues related to the practice of their faith and some of you who know my novel riots which looked at chat in the Muslim in the Muslim violence in recent years but I will say that at the same time I'm not pessimistic first of all because I think the pluralism of India is integral to what it is it emerges from our history is a shaping force of our civilization and is sustained by our political democracy to the point where even those who have articulated a vision of identity politics find themselves in the process
01:10:15
of coalition governments realizing that they have to reach out to people who are not like us quote unquote and that therefore there is a great deal of of reaching out to people of other identities other backgrounds within India even in the context of today's today's political ethos and therefore I think India civilization of pluralism and the logic of the electoral marketplace will keep in the pluralist I prefer the word pluralist by the way to the word secular because secularism as you know in western dictionaries anyway
01:10:46
implies an absence of religion and that certainly was narrows view of it whereas in India secularism really means a profusion of religions because everybody in India is religious in fact our country is it su is so conscious of faith that the Communist Party in Calcutta for example during the annual Durga Puja to the goddess Durga compete with each other to put out the most lavish puja bundles to the goddess Durga and that's that's communism in India so but but what happened was in the same Calcutta when I was a high school student you could literally hear
01:11:17
the wail of the Moo as in courting the Muslim faithful to prayer practically blending with the tinkle of the bells of the and the shiverman that down the street and not far away they got loudspeakers outside the sea Gurudwara that were reciting verses from the guru granth side and around the corner we had Saint Paul's Cathedral in Calcutta this is one neighborhood that I lived in and that's India it's this whole profusion of religious faith and I think that is so inescapable a part of Indian reality there would be no escaping from it last question my question actually went
01:11:49
in line with what the previous question was about but if narrow were alive today what do you think would be his general observations about India and especially with the increasing popularity of identity politics what would he identify as the cause of this trend these questions about if somebody were alive today as I said in response to an earlier question Begley the the issue of context that is the people are shipped by the times they live in by the forces
01:12:19
around them and their reactions to them and as I said I'm not sure that it's appropriate to transpose entirely or simply the values and convictions of a particular era to a later time I would say that narrow would be gratified to see for example a woman from the untouchable community the Dalit community having been chief minister of India's largest state not once but twice that would have would have would have impressed him as a bit of impress Gandhi he'd certainly be glad to see the democracy had survived that parties have
01:12:49
been turfed out by the electorate in the states and at the federal level he would probably have been deeply disappointed by the quality of the Indian political class his cabinet had something like 70% of phd's his Parliament was full of highly educated people the first Parliament of India it's a different breed of politician that's running the country today and I suspect that might have somewhat disappointed I think he would have he would have been impressed by many aspects of the
01:13:21
transformation of the country he no doubts would have felt that his socialistic convictions have been betrayed but I think they were wrong at the time and they're wrong today he perhaps would have would have been puzzled by India's new international postures because they would reflect an age that he that he didn't didn't know but I would say the one important legacy that he would be proud of was to use his own words in that answer that I gave you that he gave to Norman Cousins Millions now a billion Indians capable of governing themselves that I think would
01:13:53
be what he'd be proudest of and that was his greatest legacy on sheathe Aurora is under secretary-general for communications and public information of the United Nations Nehru the invention of India is published by arcade on the web at arcade pub com [Music]

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: