Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

He was born on November 14, 1889 at Allahabad. He is widely regarded as Visionary and idealist, scholar and statesman of international stature.

Science – It has steadily advanced its frontiers and increased the corpus of human knowledge that is empirically verifiable. It has come to stay and has largely replaced the superstitions connected with religion. However, science cannot reveal the whole truth and its method of observation cannot always be applicable to all varieties of experiences. But limitations of science should not deter a person from holding on to them because it is better to understand a part of truth and than to understand nothing at all.

Religion – Some describe him as an atheist, while others call him agnostic. According to Nehru, Religions have helped greatly in the development of humanity by laying down values, standards and principles for the guidance of human life. But with all the good they have done, they have also tried to imprison truth in set forms and dogmas, and encouraged ceremonials and inhumane practices. Instead of encouraging curiosity and thought, they have preached a philosophy of submission to nature, to established churches and to the prevailing social order.

Communalism and Secularism – Communalism is the enemy of the unity and integrity of India. The alliance of religion and politics in the shape of communalism is a most dangerous alliance. Secularism is the only answer to this problem. In fact, secularism can save religion by preventing religious ideas from getting mixed up with ordinary life and government. Securalism is essential not only for the safe governance of the country, but for the growth of these religions themselves because no religion can grow in an atmosphere of tension and conflict.

PHILOSOPHY – Philosophy, according to Nehru, has avoided many of the pitfalls of religion and encouraged thought and inquiry. But it has usually lived in its ivory tower concentrating on ultimate purposes and failed to link philosophical speculations with the life and practical problems of human. It is guided by logic and reason which are too much the product of mind and unconcerned with facts of life.

Democratic Socialism – Nehru stood for socialism leading to the creation of a classless society with equal opportunities for all. However, he was not an uncritical admirer of the type of socialism which prevailed in the West and wanted to modify its principles to suit the Indian conditions. He was against that type of socialism which regulated the lives of the individuals to the extent of losing their rightful autonomy and freedom. His democratic socialism aimed at adopting the means consistent with the principles of democracy.

Humanism – Corliss Lamont defines humanism as ‘a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and advocating the methods of reason, science and democracy.’ Nehru was much closer to the liberal humanism. Despite being influenced by Marxian ideas, the Gandhian influence was so deep and pervasive that Nehru could not subscribe to the violence implicit in the Marxist view of conflict resolution.

Constitution of India – Nehru was of the firm opinion that nothing was permanent in the Constitution of India. He believed that the coming generation could change the basic features of the Constitution or could write a new Constitution. During one of the debates in the Constituent Assembly of India, Nehru said: “When the spirit of a nation breaks its bonds, it functions in peculiar ways. It may be that the Constitution this House may frame may not satisfy free India; this House cannot bind down the next generation or the people who will succeed us in this task.”

Foreign Policy – It was based on the considerations of long-term interests of India. He was a crusader of peace and believed that the security of South-East Asia depended on a policy of nonalignment. Its salient objectives are as follows:

    • To develop contacts with other nations and co-operate with them in furtherance of world peace and freedom.
    • As far as possible to keep away from power politics of groups, aligned against one another, which led to two World Wars in the past and may again lead to a disaster on a vaster scale.
    • To work for the emancipation of the colonial people and the welfare and progress of dependent people towards self-government.
    • To utterly repudiate the Nazi doctrine of racialism.
    • To work for one world based on co-operation of free people in which various groups shall not exploit each other.
    • To have friendly and co-operative relations with England and other countries of the British Common Wealth.