I took to the crowd and the crowd took to me and yet I never lost myself in it; always I felt apart from it. From my separate mental perch I looked at it critically, and I never ceased to wonder how I, who was so different in every way from those thousands who surrounded me, different in habits, in desires, in mental and spiritual outlook, how I managed to gain goodwill and a measure of confidence from these people. Was it because they took me for something other than I was? Would they bear with me if they knew me better? Was I gaining their goodwill under false pretences?
I tried to be frank and straightforward to them; I even spoke harshly to them sometimes and criticized many of their pet beliefs and customs, but still they put up with me. And yet I could not get rid of the idea that their affection was meant not for me as I was, but for some fanciful image of me that they had formed. How long could that false image endure? And why should it be allowed to endure? And when it fell down and they saw the reality, what then?
- Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography
This was in 1940. Not a 'false modesty' piece written later. I see an honest befuddlement. And that he laid bare to the reading public with almost no consideration to his political 'future' is the kind naïveté that I find moving. Yes this is the kind of thing that moves me. Read the 'delusions of grandeur' line again.