India’s Jewel : Nehru

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‘हिन्द के जवाहर’ This was the line used in the advertisements commemorating The Visionary, The First Prime Minister of India : Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru on his 125th Birth Anniversary.

Can there ever be any better line to remember the great son of India who dedicated his entire life to the cause and idea of India! From fighting the Britishers to gain independence or to prove the naysayers wrong by building the Independent India from scratch and shaping its character, from fighting and taking the opposition both within and outside the government together on the path of Nation Building he did it all in his life time.

While some of the countries in our region were mired with instability and military rule but it was his unwavering commitment to the great idea of Democracy that we continue to uphold the principals come what may. Some of us may continue to romanticize the idea of military or an authoritarian rule cannot even begin to fathom the results of such a false notion.

img197Following the teaching of the Father of the Nation and keeping in view the Directive Principles as laid down by Article 40 of the our Constitution, Pandit ji laid the foundation of democratic decentralization in the form of Panchayati Raj on Gandhi Jayanti at Nagaur in the year 1959. Rajasthan became the pioneer state in India to implement the Panchayati Raj at that time my Grand Father Lat Shri ML Sukhadia ji was the Chief Minister of the state. The fruits of this decentralization that transferred the decision making to the lowest denominator of governance can still be enjoyed by the millions of Indians.

His commitment to Democracy and Free Thinking was not only restricted at the National Level but surpassed our boundaries. At that time where the world was divided between the two super powers i.e. Soviet Russia and America he stuck to his stand and formed the Non Aligned Movement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Aligned_Movement. The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by Pandit ji, Indonesia’s Sukarno; Egypt’s  Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah; and Yugoslavia’s, Josip Broz Tito. The principles that formed the basis of this movement were to respect mutual territory, sovereignty, to work towards equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence to name a few.

Immediately after independence he went about setting up Capital Intensive Industry in the Public Sector, for he knew Indian Entrepreneur then lacked the necessary capital and moreover it was in the hands of few without the benefit of public at large. IIT, IIM were established to ignite the minds of young students and provide them knowledge that was at par with the best in the world.

Irrespective of the way the current dispensation may try to live down the legacy of Nehru ji the guiding principle have now been etched in the hearts of Indians that cannot be tampered with, for history has judged him kindly and will continue to do so no matter the falsehood and the propaganda their organizations spread. The greatness of Pandit ji cannot be transcribed in a few words and nor can it be tarnished by canards of few.

To Quote from his famous The Discovery of India “India has known the innocence and insouciance of childhood, the passion and abandon of youth, and the ripe wisdom of maturity that comes from long experience of pain and pleasure; and over and over again she has renewed her childhood and youth and age.

Fine buildings, fine pictures and books and everything that is beautiful are certainly signs of civilization. But an even better sign is a fine man who is unselfish and works with others for the good of all. To work together is better than to work singly, and to work together for the common good is best of all.”

Age is just a number

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These days the buzz word doing the rounds is the power of the youth be it in the world of business, to politics to whatever else comes to your mind. Stretching it to a limit where in the people in their 60’s are made to feel ancient and past their sell by date!!

Isn’t this a fallacious thinking?? I totally agree that youth has brings in new thought processes , new ideas that we can do with but at the cost of negating the experience of decades is just not justified. With the advancement of medical sciences and better lifestyle the 60’s isn’t what it was used to be. We see examples of people all around us whose mental and physical agility can give loads of youngsters a run for their money. Someone famous recently suggested that people beyond 60 should take up retirement really??? Its asking a man in his prime to sit at home and wither away is knowledge, experience acquired over the years.

Who decides what is young and what is old? The age, experience or your physical prowess!! When does someone seizes to be a youth? I became a father in my thirties where as my father first became a Maternal Grand Dad when we was in his thirties. So by virtue of me being just a dad makes me any younger than my father who was a granddad at around the same age ?? The indefatigable Dev Anand once famously said that age is just a number.

Late Jawahar Lal Nehru was 58 when he became the Prime Minister of India, a tenure that lasted for a full 17 years till 1964, till he passed away at the age of 75. He was visionary an architect of Modern India the fruits of his labor continue to ignite young minds even after so many years the case in point being the establishment of IIT’s and IIM’s . He built modern factories and worked on the much needed industrialization post independence. His secular credentials were unmatched and beyond question. Inspite of all the possible opposition from both inside and the outside the government he bought the Hindu Code Bill.

And look at some of the examples in front of us: Hardik Patel, 22 yrs old is talking about caste politics and the young Aditya Thackeray who I thought would bring in a modern outlook to the otherwise traditional Shiv Sena continues to dwell in the politics of the 60’s. Seldom do we see the youth coming out in numbers to vote during any given elections. If the youth don’t take vote what change can they possibly ask for ??

The noted Patrick French had in a study discovered that every Member of Parliament under the age of 30 had inherited a seat. That 65 per cent between the ages of 31 and 40, and 36.8 per cent between the ages of 41 and 50 were from political families. This reflects the preference of the voters to elect experience acquired either through age or through their lineage.

The new business ideas that the youth have come up for a long term sustainability is few and far in between. Recently the Ex- Infosys Director Mohan Das Pai said that only 10% of Start-Ups will be very successful, 25 % will stay afloat and a whopping 65% will fail.  That says a lot about their business models. Where is our own Mark Zukerberg someone who has risen through his own grit and determination and not someone backed by old money or on family back-ups.

I in no way advocate to completely write-off the power of the youth to bring about the change and to shake up the system out of its slumber but again it has to be bought around with the experience of a generation preceding theirs !!

For Sixties is the new Forties …

Like the Poet Firaq said in this couplet

रात भी, नींद भी, कहानी भी,

है क्या चीज़ है जवानी भी !!