Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Nehruvian Penalty

People born in my generation (70s) have only read about Nehru in their (our) textbooks. Few of us know that he was single-handedly responsible for the Kashmir mess, our slow rate of growth, and for not getting a UN Security Council permanent seat.

Rajeev Srinivasan, my favorite columnist, has documented this in good measure in his fact, the title of this post is a term coined by him.

Now while we are doing somersaults to get a UNSC seat, many people are not aware that the "Pandit" actually refused a permanent seat when the US, Russia and other countries offered it to India. Here is what he actually said:

"From the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Series II, Volume 29, Minutes of meeting with Soviet Leaders, Moscow, 22 June 1955, page 231, here are the minutes of the conversation between Jawaharlal Nehru and Soviet Premier Marshal Bulganin, as quoted in Claude Arpi's Born in Sin: The Panchsheel Agreement (Mittal Publications, Delhi, 2004, ISBN 81-7099-974-X):
'Bulganin: While we are discussing the general international situation and reducing tension, we propose suggesting at a later stage India's inclusion as the sixth member of the Security Council.

Nehru: Perhaps Bulganin knows that some people in the USA have suggested that India should replace China in the Security Council. This is to create trouble between us and China. We are, of course, wholly opposed to it. Further, we are opposed to pushing ourselves forward to occupy certain positions because that may itself create difficulties and India might itself become a subject of controversy. If India is to be admitted to the Security Council it raises the question of the revision of the Charter of the UN. We feel that this should not be done till the question of China's admission and possibly of others is first solved. I feel that we should first concentrate on getting China admitted.'"

Thanks Rajeev Srinivasan and Rediff for this one. Pandit...yeah, right!


H said...

Not directly related to your article, but more on Nehru:-

There is a book by Shashi Tharoor on Nehru called Nehru, The Invention of India. In this book the author talks about Nehru, his upbringing, and some of the reasons for India's policies till 1991.
The author argued that ,Indian leaders had a great distrust for the West and they spent most of their time in prison which may have put them out of touch with the reality of the situation.

Nehru always wanted to tread the middle path. Probably Nehru's personality(a romantic idealist) became India's personality.A weak opposition party made matters worse. Almost everything we did during those days was taking the middle path (Non Alignment, Economic policy) etc...

This book (mostly historical) gives context for most of the policies of Independent India .

Gops said...

Yes, exactly - It is Nehru that made us a country of wuss'es.

I should read this book - is it any good?

H said...

Not worth buying it, see if you can get it from a local library.

kattricker said...

Although Nehruvian socialism has been the cause of great economic mess, its a pride how India's institutional strength is still holding the fort. He should be given good share of credit for establishing key institutions such as the IITs and IIMs. Read Swaminomics ( - Second coming of Jawaharlal Nehru (under ET Articles by date).