Nehru on non-violence

Nehru on non-violence by dagalti

Comments

  1. Yay! Podcasts are back again! I am so used to hearing you speak in Tamil that I can hear the "Tamil" in your excellent English diction :)

    Interesting podcast. It is curious that Nehru feels that non violence is merely the fast track to independence and not an essential part of indian culture. In the movie "Gandhi", there are a few scenes which bring out th frustration that Nehru must have felt with Gandhi.

    I also liked how he talked about the movement becoming dogmatic. The recent anti-corruption movement comes to mind - Anyone not for Hazare was branded a national traitor and a "dog of the congress".

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  2. "It is a relatively 'straight' piece." Indeed! Bring out the violins, I say. :) I have yet to read Nehru's writings but I used to enjoy watching Roshan Seth play him on Discovery of India (Sundays, on DD).

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  3. Vijay, trust me not. I was doing selective quotation :-)

    Overall, he was of the firm opinion that non-violence was indeed the way to go for the time, age and problem. But he never lost sight of the fact that it was a tool and should not become a creed. His foresight is just astounding.

    Lexi, the man is a treasure trove. He talks how he is so bored with public meetings that he has to control himself from making 'funny faces' :D

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  4. Vijay's first line should've been my first line:

    //Yay! Podcasts are back again! I am so used to hearing you speak in Tamil that I can hear the "Tamil" in your excellent English diction :)//

    I didn't realize that was what was rankling (if only a little bit; "ennamo odhaikaradhu aana enna nu thaan solla theriyala"-type feeling), till I read his comment.

    LOL@ Nehru wanting to make funny faces at public meetings. Saar kooda nambla maadhiri dhaan pola.

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  5. How much of this wisdom is due to Nehru being a follower (and follower's being people who usually suffer from 20-20 hindsight) ? He might have been a sympathetic, willing follower, but is there any evidence that he had better alternatives, with which he tried to persuade Mr.Kandhee ? (wok, wok, I know he too believed in non-violence.) The passage you quoted talks about the sanctimonious preachy stuff that accompanied "non-violence". But was Nehru any less preachy about his own religion - Socialism (or the desi version of it) & his agenda for India pos-independence ? Did he do anything to encourage the rise of alternate leaders in the party or freely express dissent ? Why was the culture in his own party (from 1948-1964) so weak that they had to elect his daughter within 3 yrs of his death (afte shastri's death) ? Now I know this is tangential, but ...

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  6. //is there any evidence that he had better alternatives// No. In fact he advocated it as the best course of action. He even advises a young, hunted Chandrashekar Azad who secretly meets him.

    //But was Nehru any less preachy about his own religion - Socialism (or the desi version of it) & his agenda for India pos-independence ?//
    Was he preachy about it and not amenable to reason? Who were the strong counter-proponents?
    Rajaji wasn't a force to reckon with.

    Of course he believed strongly in socialism and public ownership of resources. In fact this very chapter is calling Gandhi's dreamy mission to encourage land-owners to act as trustees of public wealth. Nehru - rightfully IMO - scoffs at the dreaminess of the idea.

    "If coercion is needed to bring about the social change, so be it" - is where he is headed. Hence the annoyance with making non-violence a creed. He felt is a tool, an honorable one at that. But it is servicing a cause, which ought to be principal moral argument, and one shouldn't lose sight of that.

    I am ambivalent about the alleged success capitalism would've had if not for Nehru's bull-headedness. The nation building changes of the first three plans, upping systems and infrastructure aren't quite things the market would have taken care of.

    I don't think MMS being merely polite in speaking highly of the Nehruvian economics as 'what was needed then'.

    //Did he do anything to encourage the rise of alternate leaders in the party or freely express dissent ?//
    He most famously wrote against the rising dictatorial powers that Nehru was gaining.

    Who were the other leaders who had the national charisma that Nehru did. Anna - quite cleverly - makes this point in the anti-Hindi debates in RS. That it was the personality of the PM than the law that wins people over.

    His people blindspots - VKK Menon, Kairon were infamous. His dismissal of EMS's government indefensible.

    But was he infamous for dissent-suppressing in the party?

    //Why was the culture in his own party (from 1948-1964) so weak that they had to elect his daughter within 3 yrs of his death (afte shastri's death) ?//
    Nehru wasn't much of an organization-builder anyway. He repeatedly confesses to being out-of-depth and out-of-place in representing public opinion.

    And the Congress was a bits and pieces organization always. Gandhi was the only one who was universally acceptable.

    Look outside the Congress even today. Any leader from any party who is likely to win support all over India. Andhra, Gujarat, Meghalaya - the way the family would. The plain answer is NO.

    And that is today. Even after the terrible track record. Back then, with a demi-God like Nehru passing, wasn't the rise of Indira as a popular leader inevitable.

    Cong(S)'s underestimation of the popular appeal
    is surpassed only by MK's miscalculation wrt MGR.

    Shakespeare anRE sonnAr: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves :-)

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