Is Nehru's vision of India relevant today? What are the key building blocks of our nation? Have the institutions and infrastructure set up as part of that vision stood the test of time?.
The speeches selected and introduced by Mushirul Hasan in this important collection help to answer these questions in Nehru's own words. We see through them the development of Nehru's vision for free India and the actual process ofTransforming the blueprint into reality. His ideas for India's internal development were inextricably linked to its role and position in the world. So we are also privy to the panning out of India's foreign relations (especially those with Pakistan) and its emergence as a respected voice in the international arena-much like its position in today's world.
The challenges facing newly independent India-both social and economic-reflected in Nehru's speeches, also echo many current debates on the space for minorities, communal harmony or issues of poverty, entrenched interest, inflation, and productivity.
These speeches from Nehru's Prime Ministerial year' are an early articulation of government policies and position vis-à-vis infrastructural development, the roles of government and business, the differing requirements of communities and language, and the inseparability of science and ethics. They often also reflect the opposition and struggle Nehru faced in the implementation of these policies.
While most selections in the collection focus on the building of Nehru's India, a few have been included to reflect the person behind the politician and administrator. These profiles and reflections showcase an intellectual and philosopher with a remarkable range of interests and erudition who was also a warm colleague and comrade.
Intellectually stimulating, engagingly written and amazingly relevant in today's India, these speeches, along with the delightful introduction that cleverly knits them together, will interest every Indian and all those engaging with India.
Mushirul Hasan is Vice Chancellor and Professor of Modern Indian History, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
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