The Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on the August 14, 1947 celebrating India’s freedom has to be one of the grandest speeches of all time. He had put in inspriring words the aspirations of all Indians. He probably set impossible goals but they were universally approved.

It is easy to trash Nehru now. But it is hard to underestimate his achievments. India did adopt a constitution, did hold elections on time, did let the federal structure take hold. It was only one of the newly independent countries that did not end up wit a strong man rule.

He nurtured the constitutional institutions, especially the parliament. He not only talked in lofty terms about the temples of new India but helped build them. IHis emphasis on Sceinctific temper begot us IITs, IIMs, Research labs, TIFR, AEC, ISRO, and various other institutes of higher learning.

In retrospect his economic policies turn out to not so great. Five year plans were misguided. Adoption of socialism turned a nation of natural entrepreneurs into a beaurocratic morras. His foreign policy, of talikg loudly while carrying a small stick also turned out to be not so great.

But on a whole, he laid the foundations of a strong cohesive nation with reasonably strong institutions. India did congeal into a cohesive nation under him.

I guess only time will tell what the current disposition will achieve but I am glad it was Nehru at the time of independence who took the helm.





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