A tribute to Nehru

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
A tribute to Nehru
Physical Description:
a|20 p.|b port|c .21 cm
Language:
English
Creator:
Williams, Eric Eustace

Notes

General Note:
Full text of the address delivered by Eric Williams at a function held in Port-of-Spain on Saturday, November 14, 1964 to mark the 75th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru.
General Note:
Subject-P.Name: Nehru, Jawaharlal,1889-1964.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
UF Latin American Collections
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 30545787
oclc - 21245978
System ID:
AA00012800:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text





















x
95c4.04
W 7tAt-






Tribute


To


Nehru


Dr. The Rt. Hon. Eric Williams


P'ime Ainitex


of Vainidad & Vobago


A


Full Text of the Address delivered by
Dr. ERIC WILLIAMS at a Function
held in Port-of-Spain on Saturday,
November 14, 1964 to mark the 75th
Birth Anniversary of
JAWAHARLAL NEHR U.









































JAWAHARLAL NEHRU
(November 14, 1889 May, 27, 1964)

j3M MEM EM









I







04-


~1~'~







MUST thank His Excellency the High Commissioner for India
for this privilege of paying tribute to one of the great-
est figures of our time, the late Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru.
Twenty-nine years ago I met Mr. Nehru for the first time. He
was lecturing to Oxford undergraduates in an Oxford tearoom. I
had just graduated with my bachelor's degree; I had specialised in
colonial history and was then contemplating a switch to research in
West Indian history, and this was an opportunity to meet in the flesh
the then foremost champion of colonial independence.
It was not until July 1961 that I met Mr. Nehru again, in New
Delhi, as Prime Minister, though I had been in communication with him
on the Chaguaramas issue in 1958. His special attraction for me at that
time was his personal interest in national economic planning and his ex-
tensive historical writings which I had been reading. We met again in
1962 at the time of the Prime Ministers' Conference on the European
Common Market when I was able to discuss the question of British
Guiana with him.
Thus, Mr. High Commissioner, I welcome this opportunity of
paying a personal homage to one whom I have had the honour of
knowing and one with whose work I can claim to be more
than ordinarily familiar.
I want to present Mr. Nehru to you tonight, Ladies and Gen-
tlemen, as a great historian, whose historical writings, in their quan-
tity, their scope, their quality, make him one of the greatest examples
for all time of the statesman as a man of culture.

BRITISH IMPERIALISM
As a historian, Mr. Nehru stands out, in the first place, for his
analysis of British imperialism in India. Let me summarise this
analysis for you.
Britain's Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century was
financed through the plunder of India; Nehru points out that the
Hindustani word "loot" has become part of the English language.
We need to supplement Nehru's basic analysis: the plunder of India
was preceded by the' rape of Africa. It was the profits from the tri-
angular trade the slave trade, slavery and sugar production -
that gave the first stimulus to British capitalism which the plunder
of India took to the commanding heights of the mid-nineteenth cen-
tury when Britain dominated the world through her industrial
supremacy.

India provided, what a few thousand slaves in the West Indies
could not provide, a vast market for the British manufacturing in-







dustry developed by the plunder of India. This was done by the
deliberate suppression of that Indian industry Textiles which
had been famous for its quality. The British closed their market to
Indian products, opened the Indian market to British manufacturers
(for example purchases for the railways), banned the importation
of machinery into India, and even as late as World War II, notwith-
standing American pressures, lifted only with the greatest reluctance
that imperialist prohibition on colonial industrialisation which Adam
Smith had condemned in 1776 and which had led straight to the War
of American Independence.
The liquidation of the Indian artisans led to colossal unemploy-
ment. They died by the tens of millions. As the British Governor
General reported in 1834, the year after the emancipation of the
slaves in the West Indies, the bones of the cotton weavers were
bleaching the plains of India. In Nehru's words, "India did not
come into a world market but became a colonial and agricultural
appendage of the British structure. ... She became a passive agent
of modem industrial capitalism".
Industrialisation in its familiar forms has led to a drift of labour
from the country-side to the towns. British policy reversed this drift
in India. The drift from towns to countryside was enormously
aggravated by Britain's policy to Indian agriculture. The British en-
couraged community ownership not so much of the land as of the
produce of the land. The British, like the Spaniards in the West
Indies before them, introduced the new system of private property.
They brought in the landlord. They imposed in other words on India
the same type of feudal structure and the same feudal attitudes to
which they were accustomed in England.
MASS POVERTY
British policy to industry and agriculture not only led to the
progressive ruralisation of the Indian population, it led also to their
progressive pauperisation. It was this poverty that sent millions of
Indians overseas to Burma, to Malaya, to Ceylon, to Kenya and
Tanganyika, to South Africa, to British Guiana and Trinidad; and
the descendants of these victims of imperialism are now being made
to pay the still further price of repatriation in Burma, Ceylon and
more recently Kenya.
The result of all this was the total destruction of Indian com-
munity life and community values. The traditional village industries
and crafts could not withstand the competition of British mass-
produced goods.
The political arrangements worked out by the British were de-
signed to perpetuate this economic structure for all time. At the







heart of the British political system was the Viceroy: as Nehru put
it, "the Viceroy speaks-in a manner such as no Prime Minister of
England or President of the United States can adopt. The only pos-
sible parallel would be that of Hitler" The British distorted or
destroyed the Indian system of village self-government, in which vari-
ous writers have detected procedures similar to the Speaker, the Party
Whip, the motion and the three readings of the parliamentary system,
the majority vote and the ballot.
PRINCELY STATES
The British changed also the entire character and status of the
princely states, over 600 in number. Some were creations of the
British; the very existence of others was, to use Nehru's word, bogus;
some were saved from extinction only by British intervention. Pup-
pets in British hands, they served as buffers between the British and
the people. Nehru saw the danger from the start. Here is his
analysis:
"Even in the nineteenth century, these states, as constituted, be-
came anarchronisms. Under modern conditions it is impossible to
conceive of India being split up into scores of separate independent
entities. Not only would there be perpetual conflict but all planned
economic and cultural progress would become impossible .... They
would become hostile enclaves all over India, and if they relied on
some external power for protection, this in itself would be a con-
tinuous and serious menace to a free India .... the face of India was
set and petrified by external pressure imposed upon it and not allowed
to change. It seems absurd to hold up some treaty drawn up 140
years ago, usually on the field of battle or immediately afterwards,
between two rival commanders or their chiefs, and to say that this
temporary settlement must last for ever".
Above all the British built up the Indian army, that is to say
Indian troops officered entirely by Englishmen; the troops were segre-
gated from the Indian population, kept away from newspapers, and
divorced from the most effective weapons which were reserved for
the British troops in India.
TWO WORLDS
This British policy to the army was only a part of the deliberate
policy of creating divisions among the Indian people, and of empha-
sising racial distinctions not so much between English and Indian as
between European and Asian. Nehru has thus described the British
rule in his "Discovery of India" :-
"The new rulers were entirely different, with their base else-
where, and between them and the average Indian there was a vast and
unbridgeable gulf a difference in tradition, in outlook, in income,







and ways of living. There were two worlds; the world of British offi-
cials and the world of India's millions, and there was nothing in
common between them except a common dislike for each other....
The fear of the people runs through all their thoughts and policy....
and (they) were destined to remain an isolated foreign ruling group,
surrounded by an entirely different and hostile humanity".
It was the apotheosis of racialism. To quote Nehru again:
"We in India have known racialism in all its forms ever since
the commencement of British rule .The whole ideology of this rule
was that of the 'herrenvolk' and the master race, and the structure of
government was based upon it; indeed the idea df a master race is
inherent in imperialism. There was no subterfuge about it; it was
proclaimed in unambiguous language by those in authority. More
powerful than words was the practice that accompanied them and,
generation after generation and year after year, India as a nation and
Indians as individuals were subjected to insult, humiliation, and con-
temptuous treatment."
The worst feature of the Indian caste system was the rigid and
exclusive British caste, especially in the Indian Civil Service, which
was neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service. Nehru thus describes the
civil service and the police service in their relation with the Congress
provincial governments:
"These services, bred in a different and authoritarian tradition,
disliked the new atmosphere, the assertive attitude of the public, the
lessening of their own importance, and their subordination to persons
whom they had been in the habit of arresting and imprisoning. ... It
was extraordinary how unfitted they were for the new tasks that faced
them".
Everything was done to stop the introduction of education, and,
when it had to be encouraged for the production of officers for minor
administrative grades, it was carefully controlled. Britain lived in
dread of the printing press and its diffusion in India.
BLACK HOLE
Thus did India arrive at the threshold of World War I, after a
century and a half of British rule, its social state exemplified by the
six families comprising thirty members in one room fifteen feet by
twelve which must have been the Black Hole of Calcutta, and by the
sweat, hunger and despair of millions of Indians.
Nehru concludes thus in "The Discovery of India" his analysis
of British imperialism:
"This then is the real, the fundamental, cause of the appalling
poverty of the Indian people, and it is of comparatively recent origin







A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India
which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today.
Indeed some kind of chart might be drawn up to indicate the close
connection between length of British rule and progressive growth of
poverty .... Long subjection of a people and the denial of freedom
bring many evils, and perhaps the greatest of these lies in the spiritual
sphere demoralization and sapping of the spirit of the people. It
is hard to measure the economic decay of a nation, and as we look
back on British economic policy in India, it seems that the present
poverty of the Indian people is the ineluctable consequence of it.
There is no mystery about this poverty; we can see the causes and
follow the processes which have led to the present condition .... All
the unending talk of constitutional reform and Indianization of the
services was a mockery and an insult when the manhood of our country
was being crushed and the inexorable and continuous process of ex-
ploitation was deepening our poverty and sapping our vitality. We
had become a derelict nation".

A FARCE
For Nehru the only way out was independence. Collaboration
with the imperialist power was out of the question. The much-talked
of Government of India Act of 1935 was, from Nehru's point of
view, nothing but a farce. The federal structure contemplated made
any real political advance impossible, and the British retained con-
trol of finance, military and foreign affairs. The Act was bitterly
opposed by all sections of Indian public opinion, on the ground that
the proposed federation petrified British rule and vested interests in
India. As Nehru concluded:
"Between Indian nationalism and an alien imperialism there could
be no final peace, though temporary compromises and adjustments
were sometimes inevitable. Only a free India could co-operate with
England on equal terms".
Nehru was not only a nationalist historian analysing the colo-
nialism from which his country had suffered. He was much, much
more than this. He was the historian of the colonial peoples, pro-
testing against the glitter of Europe, and claiming a place in the sun
of civilisation for all the subject peoples. He was the colonial his-
torian protesting against the arrogant assumption that civilization is
the monopoly of Western Europe.
This was his role in that remarkable volume of nearly 1,000
ages comprising 196 letters to his daughter beginning on her thirteenth
birthday in 1930 and ending in 1933. These have been published
under the title "Glimpses of World History". Much additional
knowledge, archaeological and documentary, has become available to







us since Nehru wrote. What is known of Africa today, for example,
was not known thirty years ago, when Nehru confessed his ignorance
of Africa, except Egypt. He also knew relatively little of pre-
Columbus America, but his chapter on the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas
would do credit to a greater scholar. The most astonishing feature
of this volume is that Nehru was by occupation a lawyer, but he
detested law and later marvelled at the stupidity of members of his
profession. His forte was really history, but where history is nor-
mally studied at a university, Nehru studied it in jail.
A CLASSIC
"Glimpses of World History" is a classic in the literature of
intellectual decolonisation. It sets out to do two things. The first
aim is to place Asian culture and history in its world context and
therefore to place in its true perspective the dominant European his-
tory, written of Europe by Europe and for Europe, to impress colo-
nials in particular. Thus side by side with the story of the Greeks
and Romans and ancient Egypt he sets China and India and Japan
and Korea and above all history of Islam. He shows us China under
the Tangs, compares the heroism of Thermopylae with India's heroes,
"our own people, our own forbears, men and women of Hindustan,
who right through our long history have smiled and mocked at death,
who have preferred death to dishonour or slavery, and who have
preferred to break rather than bow down to tyranny". He compares
the religious toleration of Asia with Christian intolerance and the
inquisition which crucified Moslems in Spain for practising
religious toleration. He puts Hinduism and Buddhism side by
side with Christianity, the Defender of the Faith side by side with the
Commander of the Faithful, and a confirmed secularist, lumps together
all religions, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Zorastrianism as each
developing "its own methods of making money out of the faith of the
faithful".
His chapters on Islam, on the conflict between Cross and Cres-
cent, on the glories of Baghdad, the progress of Damascus, the intel-
lectual life of Cordoba, on how the Muslims came within an ace of
overrunning all Europe until they were stopped at Tours by Charles
Martel, are the high watermark of his effort to give Asia and the East
their rightful place in world history. He compares European feudal-
ism, the Japanese Shogunate, the Indian caste system as means of
putting people in their place and keeping them there. Two quota-
tions will indicate the temper and purpose of the book. One is when
he describes the fall of Rome and the crowning of Theodoric the
Goth as King of Rome. Nehru writes: "Is it not strange that
Imperial Rome and her Empire should have collapsed so quickly and
so easily before almost every tribe that chose to attack it? One would
think that Rome had gone to pieces, or that it was just a hollow
shell".







It reads almost exactly, this dismissal of the great Roman Empire
so lauded by Gibbon whom Nehru severely castigates for his absurd
statement that the 84 years after the death of Domitian were the
period in the history of the world when the human race was most
happy and prosperous as the passage in which he describes how
the Atzec empire "came down with a crash before a handful of foreign
bandits and adventurers! It is extraordinarily difficult to explain this
sudden disappearance of an ancient people and an ancient civilisation,
which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years as soon as they came in con-
tact with the new people from Europe."
Another illustration of the temper of Nehru the historian is in his
fifty-second letter, which begins thus: "Shall we pay a visit to Europe
now, my dear? When we were there last it was in a bad way."

TRUE PERSPECTIVE
The second purpose of Nehru's analysis of world history is to
place the history of India in true perspective. The ancient wonders
of Mohen-jo Daro, proving that India must be included with Persia,
Mesopotamia and Egypt as the cradle of civilization, make him almost
lyrical. He finds the concept of Kingship in ancient India (and in
China also) vastly superior to its European counterparts. He writes
lovingly of the reign of Ashoka, whose memory as H. G. Wells puts
it, is cherished by more people today than ever heard of Constantine
or Charlemagne. He writes of Hindu imperialism under the Guptas,
contemporary with the foundation of Constantinople, and of its re-
naissance of art and culture. He speaks with pride of that assimila-
tion which had taken place in India, which resulted in those magnifi-
cent frescoes with their draperies that constitute a happy combination
of Hindu suppleness, Hellenic eloquence and Chinese charm.
Nehru's proudest chapters are those dealing with the Dravidian
civilization of southern India, with its highlight, the intellectual
phenomenon of Shankara, who set about reviving Hinduism or a
special variety of it. This is what Nehru says of this episode: "It is
an unusual thing for a man to become a great leader chiefly because
of his powerful intellect, and for such a person to impress himself on
millions of people and on history .... Shankara's appeal was to the
mind and intellect and to reason .... Whether his argument was right
or wrong is immaterial for the moment. What is interesting is his
intellectual approach to religious problems, and even more so the
success he gained in spite of this method of approach. This gives
us a glimpse into the mind of the ruling classes in those days."
This Dravidian civilisation produced one of the finest expressions
of Indian history in its expansion overseas to Malaya, to Java and
Sumatra, to Cambodia and Borneo, to the Philippines and Formosa,







taking Indian place names such as Singapore in much the same way
as English colonists took their place names to America. Perhaps
the greatest glory of this period of Further India was the Cambodian
Empire which produced the city that became known as Angkor the
Magnificent. The Hindu state in Sumatra included Malaya, Borneo,
Philippines, Celebes, half of Java, half of Formosa, Ceylon, and even
a port in South China; it was eventually overthrown by another Hindu
state in East Java which it had been unable to incorporate.

CULTURAL UNITY
All this was taking place during what is called the Dark Ages in
Europe. It was not in any chauvinistic spirit that Nehru narrated all
this. India had its good and its bad side, as he was careful to point
out. The best in it all was the cultural unity of India. This is how
he puts it: "Right from the beginning, culturally she has been one,
because she had the same background, the same traditions, the same
religions, the same heroes and heroines, the same old mythology, the
same language (Sanskrit), the same places of worship spread out all
over the country, the same village 'panchayats' and the same ideology
and polity."
And the worst were the caste system which to Nehru was "the
enemy of every kind of progress", and the seclusion of women, brought
in with Islam. Nehru attacks the latter savagely: "It amazes me to
think that some people put up with this barbarity still. Whenever I
think of the women in 'purdah', cut off from the outside world, I
invariably think of a prison or a zoo! How can a nation go ahead if
half of its population is kept hidden away in a kind of prison?"
And, above all, Nehru was concerned with inspiring his country-
men to even greater heights. Civilisations rise and fall, mature and
decay. One thousand years after the birth of Christ the advantage was
with Asia; Europe seemed comparatively backward and semi-barbar-
ous. But look below the surface, Nehru warns. This is what you
find: "Everywhere in Asia the old cultured races seem to be shrink-
ing. In China and India there is a slow fading off, till the old civi-
lisation becomes like a painted picture, beautiful to look at from a
distance, but lifeless; and if you come near it, you see that the white
ants have been at it. ... Instead of creating new ideas and things,
the people of India busied themrseles with repetition and imitation of
what had been done.... Originality was absent and so was bold and
noble design .... All these are the signs of the evening of a civi-
lisation .... Islam brought a new impulse for human pro-
gress to India. To some extent it served as a tonic. It shook up
India. But it did less good than it might have done because of two
reasons. It came in the wrong way, and it came rather late."
10







This was the world 1,000 years after the birth of Christ -
behind Europe's disorder and uncouthness lay energy at least and
life; Europe was struggling up, while Asia was on the downgrade.
FINEST PASSAGES
Nine hundred years later, what was the situation in Nehru's day,
in 1932? This is one of his finest passages the historian inspiring
his people to be re-born, to live again.
"Today Europe is dominant and Asia struggling painfully for
freedom. Yet look below the surface again. You will find a new
energy in Asia, a new creative spirit, and a new life. And Europe, or
rather Western Europe, in spite of her greatness, shows some signs of
decay. There are no barbarians who are strong enough to destroy
European civilisation. But sometimes civilised people themselves act
barbarously, and if this happens, civilisation may destroy itself."
Thus India's renaissance was not enough for the world. Inter-
nationalist because he was nationalist, just as he was the champion
of all colonial peoples because he was an Indian colonial, Nehru,
with the universal vision of a Walt Whitman or a Victor Hugo, ended
his comparison between East and West, Asia and Europe as follows:
"So while we struggle for the freedom of India, we must remem-
ber that the great aim in human freedom, which includes the freedom
of our people as well as other peoples."
This, then, Ladies and Gentlemen, was the intellectual equipment,
this the philosophical attitude with which Nehru the historian ap-
proached Indian politics and Indian independence. Nehru has told
us this explicitly, in his "DISCOVERY OF INDIA" where past his-
tory moves into present politics, past achievements move into future
aspirations. Nehru writes in a long and decisive passage:
"I felt they had vast stores of suppressed energy and ability and
I wanted to release these and make them feel young and vital again.
India, constituted as she is, cannot play a secondary part in the world.
She will either count for a great deal or not count at all. No middle
position attracted me.. Nor did I think any intermediate position
feasible. Because of this governing motive, frequently we acted as
no politician, moving in the narrow sphere of politics only, would
have done, and foreign and Indian critics expressed surprise at the
folly and intransigence of our ways. Whether we were foolish or
not, the historians of the future will judge. We aimed high and
looked far. Probably we were often foolish, from the point of view
of opportunist politics, but at no time did we forget that our main
purpose was to raise the whole level of the Indian people, psycholo-
gically and spiritually and also{, of course, politically and economi-







cally. It was the building up of that inner strength of the people
that we were after,, knowing that the rest would inevitably follow
We had to wipe out some generatoins of shameful subservience and
timid submission to an arrogant alien authority."
"GANDHI CAME"
And then, as Nehru put it, "Gandhi came.... He did not des-
cend from the top; he seemed to emerge from the millions of
India." Nehru's first and greatest quality ass a man of politics was
his immediate and abiding appreciation of Gandhi and respect for
his qualities as leader.
Nehru often differed from Gandhi, nowhere more so than in
the latter's concern with religion, and many was the time when Nehru
found it difficult to accept Gandhi's proposals or actions. But he
never swerved in his loyalty. In his own words: "Even some of
Gandhiji's phrases sometimes jarred upon me. ... He had an amazing
knack of reaching the heart of the people. But we felt that we
know him quite well enough to realise that he was a great and unique
man and a glorious leader, and having put our faith in him we gave
him an almost blank cheque, for the time being at least .... He was
the author of the movement, and it was felt that he must be given
freedom as to the details."
Nehru developed an enormous admiration for Gandhi, as he put
it: "I have watched the amazing energy and inner power of Gandhiji,
coming out of some inexhaustible spiritual reservoir. He was ob-
viously not of the world's ordinary coinage; he was minted of a different
and rare variety, and often the unknown stared at us through his
eyes."
The politician or cociologist in a developed country is always
quick to talk disparagingly about the tendency in developing countries
to respect the national leader, as if they had never heard of F. D.
Roosevelt or Churchill or de Gaulle. This talk is echoed by discon-
tended intellectuals and social climbers in the developing countries with
the usual gripes of people in opposition. The two talk of the charis-
matic leader.
Nehru's analysis of Gandhi, the leader and the man, is far superior
to these latter day absurdities. Here is Nehru's portrait of
Gandhi: "It is clear that this little man of poor physique had some-
thing of steel in him, something rock-like which did not yield to
physical powers, however great they might be. And in spite of his
unimpressive features, -his toin-cloth and bare body, there wca a
royalty and a kingliness in him which compelled a willing obei-'
sance from othres. Consciously and deliberately meek and hum-
ble, yet he was full of power nd authority, and he knew it, and at







times he was imperious enough, issuing commands which had to be
obeyed.... It was the utter sincerity of the man and his personality
that gripped; he gave the impression of tremendous inner reserves of
power... .In his single-track and yet many-sided nature the dominat-
ing impression that one gathered was his identification with the
masses, a community of spirit with them, an amazing sense of unity
with the dispossessed and poverty stricken not only of India, but of
the world....But always he was the symbol of India's independence
and militant nationalism.... And we marvelled at the amazing knack
of the man to impress the multitude and make it act in an organised
way."
SENSE OF HISTORY
It is a portrait vastly different from that drawn by Winston
Churchill. But Nehru's portrait, not Churchill's, will stand the test
of time. Gandhi was frequently attacked for his economic ideas, for
going back to the eighteenth century, for his so-called reactionary
outlook. One can always find so-called socialists or Communist;
ready to attack every nationalist movement, as if a nationalist move-
ment is born, nurtured and carried to victory to put into effect not
the ideas which it presented to the people in the heat of battle but
the ideas of armchair theoreticians, many of them far away whilst
the battle was on. So was Gandhi attacked. Nehru rushed to his
defence : But the little fact remains that this 'reactionary' knows
India, understands India, almost is peasant India, and has shaken
up India as no so-called revolutionary has done.... Reactionary or
revolutionary, he has changed the face of India, given pride and
character to a cringing and demoralised people, built up strength and
consciousness in the masses, and made the Indian problem a world
problem."
Both Nehru's sense of history and his association with Gandhi
enabled him to see, to understand and to appreciate the people of
India. Few historians have written so sympathetically of them.
few politicians have developed such affection for them. Gandhi
sent us to the villages, says Nehru in his "Discovery of India": and.
he continues: "we saw, for the first time as it were. the villager in
the intimacy of his mud, and with the stark shadow of hunger always
pursuing him. We learnt our Indian economics more from these
visits than from bodks and learned discourses."
Meeting the people had a tremendous impact on the young Nehru
in his early thirties. He has confessed in his 'Autobiography'
that it was the peasants who took away the shyness from him and
taught him to speak in public. Gandhi's personality was one thing,
its effect on the masses was something else. Nehru writes: "There
was a tremendous feeling of release there, a throwing-off of a great







burden, a new sense of freedom. The fear that had crushed them
retired into the background, and they straightened their backs and
raised their heads."

ELECTION CROWDS
In his "Discovery of India" Nehru has left us a picture of the
election crowds in India and his own personal approach to them.
He himself was a confirmed democrat, all in favour of universal
suffrage rather than a limited franchise based on property qualifica-
tion or educational test. Here is Nehru, the politician, in action:

"My appeal was an ideological one and I hardly referred to the
candidates, except as standard bearers of our cause I asked for
votes for the Congress, for the independence of India, and for the
struggle for independence. I made no promises, except to promise
unceasing struggle till freedom was attained We wanted no false
votes, no votes for particular persons because they liked them
Individuals did not count it was the cause that counted, the
organisation that represented it, and the nation to whose freedom we
were pledged For thus he (the candidate) and his election were
lifted up to a higher and more elemental level of a great nation's
fight for freedom, and millions of poverty-stricken people striving to
put an end to their ancient curse of poverty. .1I was getting into
touch with something bigger; the people of India in their millions;
and such message as I had was meant for them all, whether they were
voters or not; for every Indian, man, woman, and child ... Whether
they understood all I said or not. I could not say, but there was a
light of a deeper understanding in their eyes. which seemed to go
beyond spoken words."
The historian had written of the people; the politician was
speaking to the people. The historian's sympathy became the poli-
tician's dedication. The people responded with an affection for
Nehru second only to that they felt for and demonstrated to Gandhi.
Nehru, a little more remote and detached than Gandhi, did not beax
his glory so easily. He tells the story in his 'Autobiography' of the
pilgrims streaming into Allahabad who made his house a port of
call.

"It was impossible to work or talk or feed or, indeed, do any-
thing. This was not only embarrassing, it was annoying and irritat-
ing. Yet there they were, these people looking up with shining eyes
full of affection, with generations of poverty and suffering behind them,
and still pouring out their gratitude and love and asking for little in
return, except fellow-feeling and sympathy. It was impossible not to
feel humbled and awed by this abundance of affection and devotion."







BRITAIN POWERLESS
Against this mass movement against the Gandhian techniques of
non-violence, non-cooperation, civil disobedience, attack on the salt
tax, boycott of foreign cloth and liquor shops, and against the over-
whelming response of the Congress and the people, whether free
railway travel by the peasants or the rush to be imprisoned by Con-
gress members, the British Goernment was powerless and the oppo-
nents of the Congress pitifully inadequate. Nehru has described with
majestic scorn this flotsam and jetsam of Indian nationalist politics,
the Indian collaborators, always ready to get some sort of office, these
people, as Nehru defined them, with their "sterile Liberal creed".
But the greatest danger to India came neither from the British
nor the Liberals. The greatest danger was communalism.
Nehru as historian was fully familiar with wars of religion, reli-
gious intolerance, exploitation of the people in the interests of a
particular religious cause. It was easier, however, to deal with past
history than with present politics. There was always, as Nehru saw
it, "a basic difficulty the presence and policy of the British Govern-
ment". He protested against the British policy of separate elector-
ates: "It poisoned municipal and local self-government and ultimately
i't led to fantastic divisions.... India became a mosaic of these
separate compartments."
Nehru dealt with the problem in the most objective manner
possible. He saw the problem as principally one of economic com-
petition, a problem of landlords and tenants differing in religious affi-
liations, a problem of one religious group enjoying a superior econo-
mic status to another. The fault, in Nehru's eyes, was not one-sided;
many a Congressman, he has written, was a communalist under his
national cloak. The want of clear ideals and objectives in the struggle
for freedom, Nehru added, helped the spread of communalism.
A TRAGEDY
The resultant tragedy which ended in the assassination of Gandhi
could perhaps not have been prevented. Nehru blamed both sides.
He wrote in his "Autobiography:"
"Muslim communal leaders said the most amazing things and
seemed to care not at all for Indian nationalism or Indian freedom;
Hindu communal leaders, though always speaking apparently in the
name of nationalism, had little to do with it in practice and, incapable
of any real action, sought to humble themselves before the Govern-
ment, and did that too in vain. Both agreed in condemning social-
istic and such-like 'subversive' movements; there was a touching
unanimity in regard to any proposal affecting vested interests.
Muslim communal leaders said and did many things harmful to poli-
tical and economic freedom, but as a group and individually they







conducted themselves before the Government and the public with
some dignity. That could hardly be said of the Hindu communal
leaders."
But as India headed for fratricide, the world was heading for
suicide. World War II was being prepared. Nehru watched the
impotence of the League of Nations and the betrayal of Haile Selassie.
He watched the emergence of Hitler and the slow spread of Fascism.
He watched the defeat of the Spanish Republic and the rise of France.
He watched the spread of Japanese imperialism in the Far East and
the decline of China. He watched the appeasement policy of Bri-
tain and France. And he and the Congress were determined that they
would take no part in any war declared by the British Government
without consulting India.

A WARNING
Nehru warned the British people about this in a letter to the
"Manchester Guardian" on September 8, 1938. The two conclud-
ing paragraphs read as follows :
"We in India want no Fascism or imperialism, and we are more
convinced than ever that both are closely akin and dangers to world
peace and freedom. India resents British foreign policy and will be
no party to it, and we shall endeavour with all our strength to sever
the bond that unites us to this pillar of reaction. The British Gov-
ernment has given us an additional and unanswerable argument for
complete independence. All our sympathies are with Czecho-
Slovakia. If war comes, the British people, in spite of their pro-
Fascist Government, will inevitably be dragged into it. But, even
then, how will that Government, with its patent sympathies for the
Fascist and Nazi States, advance the cause of democracy and free-
dom? So long as this Government endures, Fascism will always
be at the doorstep. The people of India have no intention of sub-
mitting to any foreign decision on war. They alone can decide and
certainly they will not accept the dictation of the British Government,
which they distrust utterly. India would willingly throw her entire
weight on the side of democracy and freedom, but we heard these
words often twenty years ago and more. Only free and democratic
countries can help freedom and democracy elsewhere. If Britain is
on the side of democracy, then its first task is to eliminate empire
from India. That is the sequence of events in Indian eyes, and to
that sequence the people of India will adhere."

The Congress had announced, as far back in 1927. that it would
be no party to an imperialist war. It had gradually over the years
developed a foreign policy which was based on the elimination of
political and economic imperialism everywhere and the co-operation







of .free nations. It had..made it. clear that the Dominion Status of the
thirties was "an absurd limitation and. a hindrance to full growth."
Thus we come to World War II and Nehru's last term of impri-
sonment. When he came out the War was over, the Labour Gov-
ernment was in power in Britain, and British rule in India was
about to be abandoned. The historian of world civilisation, the
discoverer of Indian history, the experienced secretary of the Congress
party, the principal lieutenant of Gandhi designated by him as his
successor, was ready to assume the responsibility of India's first
Prime Minister.
PROBLEM OF PLANNING
The short period of Congress Government before World War II
had introduced Nehru to the problem of planning. Not all of his
admiration for the communist system will stand careful scrutiny to-
day, but Nehru was not doctrinaire in his attitude. He made this
clear in his "Discovery of India".
"And so while I accepted the fundamentals of the socialist
theory, I did not trouble myself about its numerous inner contro-
versies. I had little patience with leftist groups in India, spending
much of their energy in mutual conflict and recrimination over fine
points: of doctrine which did not interest me at all. Life is too com-
plicated and, as far as we can understand it in our present state of
knowledge, too illogical, for it to be confined within the four corners
of a fixed doctrine."
Nehru's three chapters on planning and industrialisation in the
"Discovery of India" were an excellent preparation for India's adop-
tion of socialism in the period of independence. Nehru had learned
that, whilst industrialisation was the highest priority, agriculture
could not possibly be ignored, that the per capital national income
must be raised, that planning was impossible in the absence of ade-
quate statistics, that public utilities must be publicly owned, that
cottage industries must be promoted in the rural areas. Gandhi's
philosophy was endorsed and expounded by Nehru thus in the
"Discovery of India."
"It was out of that personal experience that he evolved his pro-
gramme of the spinning-wheel and village industry. If immediate
relief was to be given to the vast numbers of the unemployed and
partially employed, if the rot that was spreading throughout India
and paralysing the masses was to be stopped, if the villagers stand-
ards were to be raised, however little, en masse, if they were to be
taught self-reliance instead of waiting helplessly like derelicts for relief
from others, if all this was to be done, without much capital, then
there seemed no other way. Apart from the evils inherent in foreign







rule and exploitation, and the lack of freedom to initiate' and carry
through big schemes of reform, the problem of India was one of
scarcity of capital and abundance of labour how to utilize that
wasted labour, that manpower that was producing nothing. Foolish
comparisons are made between manpower and machine-power; of
course a big machine can do the work of a thousand or ten thousand
persons. But if those ten thousand, sit idly by or starve the intro-
duction of the machine is not a social gain, except in long perspective
which envisages a change in social conditions. When the big machine
is not there at all, then no question of comparison arises; it is a net
gain from the individual and the national point of view to utilise
manpower for production. There is no necessary conflict between
this and the introduction of machinery on the largest scale, provided
that machinery is used primarily for absorbing labour and not for
creating fresh unemployment."
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
It was a straight road from the historian's analysis of India's
villages to the Prime Minister's village programme of community
development, launched on the anniversary of Gandhi's birthday,
October 2, 1952. The programme was initiated with 55 develop-
ment projects covering 25,000 villages with a total population of 16
million; I was able to see one of these village projects during my visit
to India in 1961. It was, in Nehru's words, "a sustained effort to
eradicate poverty." The programme was designed as a people's
programme with Government participation, the inspiration and ini-
tiative in the initial stages coming from the Government. The pro-
gramme covered road building, schools, hospitals, education, literacy,
public health and sanitation, a drive against malaria. To those who
regard and regarded India as an area of darkness, the Prime Minister
promptly and decisively replied in his inauguration of the programme:
"All over India there are now centres of human activity that are
like lamps spreading their light more and more in the surrounding
darkness. This light must grow and grow until it covers the land."
There are always people in all countries who are always ready
to sneer at such initiatives, forgetting that the requests come from
the people themselves, and forgetting that what is really involved is
correction of the neglect from which the villagers have suffered.
Nehru developed this point emphatically in a speech in May 1952
at the Community Projects Conference :
"Really what we are committed to is not a few community centres
but to working for the biggest community of all and that is the com-
munity of the people of India, more especially those whoare down
and out, those who are backward. There are far too many backward
people in thiis country. Besides the Scheduled Castes and the







Scheduled Tribe -organisations, there is an organisation called the
Backward Classes 'League. As a matter of fact, you can safely say
that 96 per cent. of the people of India are economically very back-
ward. Indeed apart from a handful of men, most of the people are
backward. Anyhow, we have to think of those who are more back-
ward because we must aim at progressively producing a measure of
equality in opportunity and other things. In the modern world
today, you cannot go on for long having big gaps between those who
are at the top and those who are at the bottom. You cannot make
all men equal, of course. But we must at least give them equality
of opportunity."

AUTHOR OF NON-ALIGNMENT
It is easy for the critic in the former imperialist countries, easier
still for the critic in the former colonial countries, to find fault with
nationalist movements and nationalist Governments. Nehru, the father
of non-alignment, found himself at the Belgrade Conference in 1961
regarded as 'vieux jeu' by some of the younger African countries.
India's socialism is buttressed by substantial foreign aid. If the
absurdity of an independent Hyderabad based on an appeal to the
United Nations was forestalled, experience in respect of Kashmir has
not been happy. Bandung was not altogether a success for Nehru's
diplomacy. China has not conformed to the ideals of that country
propounded by Nehru, and the Five Principles of 1954 with their
non-aggression, non-interference and peaceful co-existence, appear
a little pathetic ten years later. Nehru's foreign detractors, thinking
only of who is in what camp, have had a field day.
But, as Nehru himself has recognized as far back as December
1948, the generation which achieved Independence for India was "a
generation sentenced to hard labour". No one worked harder than
the Prime Minister himself.

SPIRITUAL KINSHIP
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, we pay tribute to Nehru on the
75th anniversary of his birth. If I have selected some aspects of his
career more than others for special mention that is not only my
privilege as a lecturer. It is the result of a feeling of spiritual kinship
with a man who was at one and the same time a national symbol, a
philosopher of anti-colonialism and a student of world history. It is
the result also of a personal temperament and outlook which, rightly
or wrongly, is more at ease with those who seek to expand freedom
than with those who seek to restrict it, with a man of peace rather
than with a man of war, with F. D. Roosevelt rather than with
Theodore Roosevelt, with Lincoln rather than with Palmerston, with
Nehru rather than with Churchill.







India roday would not Be wnat i- y a KM not achieved
independence arid if Nehru hid 'hot been there fd forty year to6
learn arid to teach, to guide arid be guided, to inspire and be inspired,
to aspire and to achieve. Ife stands out as one of the great figures
of our country and one of the greatest champions of freedom of all
time.
His best epitaph remains the epitaph he composed for Gandhi
-hen, as Prime Minister, he addressed the nation after the assassina-
ti6 :.'
"The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrt6ig. For the
light that shone in this country was, no ordinary light. The light that
has illumined this country for these many, many years will illumine
this country for many more years, and a thousand years later,, that
light will still be seen in this country and the world will see it- and, it
will give solace to innumerable hearts'. For that light represented
something more than the immediate present, it represented the living,
the eterfial truths, reminding us of the right path, drawing us from
error, taking this ancient country to freedom."


SEP 7 .5





i) INSERT CARD

IN DATA COLLECTOR


2) RETURN CARD

. TO BOOK POCKET
IIL












LwAMERic
AMERICA





1) INSERT CARD

IN DATA COLLECTOR


2) RETURN CARD

. TO *BOOK POCKET
roll lir


m m


ZL vW 228m a





m m


-
-

















-
-
-



-

-



--








- --


m m
Wm


m m


m m


















































High Commission of India, Port-of Spain.


Printed by Vedic Enterprises Ltd. San Juan.







UNIVERSITY 1262OF FLORIDA


3 12b2 0438blb0 7




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EOLXK4RLQ_UBDKEJ INGEST_TIME 2013-02-07T18:47:39Z PACKAGE AA00012800_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID E4CZ9VBP6_5B7WFD INGEST_TIME 2013-05-18T01:49:16Z PACKAGE AA00012800_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES

















































High Commission of India, Port-of Spain.


Printed by Vedic Enterprises Ltd. San Juan.







... A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India
which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today.
Indeed some kind of chart might be drawn up to indicate the close
connection between length of British rule and progressive growth of
poverty.... Long subjection of a people and the denial of freedom
bring many evils, and perhaps the greatest of these lies in the spiritual
sphere demoralization and sapping of the spirit of the people. It
is hard to measure the economic decay of a nation, and as we look
back on British economic policy in India, it seems that the present
poverty of the Indian people is the ineluctable consequence of it.
There is no mystery about this poverty; we can see the causes and
follow the processes which have led to the present condition .... All
the unending talk of constitutional reform and Indianization of the
services was a mockery and an insult when the manhood of our country
was being crushed and the inexorable and continuous process of ex-
ploitation was deepening our poverty and sapping our vitality. We
had become a derelict nation".

A FARCE
For Nehru the only way out was independence. Collaboration
with the imperialist power was out of the question. The much-talked
of Government of India Act of 1935 was, from Nehru's point of
view, nothing but a farce. The federal structure contemplated made
any real political advance impossible, and the British retained con-
trol of finance, military and foreign affairs. The Act was bitterly
opposed by all sections of Indian public opinion, on the ground that
the proposed federation petrified British rule and vested interests in
India. As Nehru concluded:
"Between Indian nationalism and an alien imperialism there could
he no final peace, though temporary compromises and adjustments
were sometimes inevitable. Only a free India could co-operate with
England on equal terms".
Nehru was not only a nationalist historian analysing the colo-
nialism from which his country had suffered. He was much, much
more than this. He was the historian of the colonial peoples, pro-
testing against the glitter of Europe, and claiming a place in the sun
of civilisation for all the subject peoples. He was the colonial his-
torian protesting against the arrogant assumption that civilization is
the monopoly of Western Europe.
This was his role in that remarkable volume of nearly 1,000
ages comprising 196 letters to his daughter beginning on her thirteenth
birthday in 1930 and ending in 1933. These have been published
under the title "Glimpses of World History". Much additional
knowledge, archaeological and documentary, has become available to







and ways of living. There were two worlds; the world of British offi-
cials and the world of India's millions, and there was nothing in
common between them except a common dislike for each other....
The fear of the people runs through all their thoughts and policy....
and (they) were destined to remain an isolated foreign ruling group,
surrounded by an entirely different and hostile humanity".
It was the apotheosis of racialism. To quote Nehru again:
"We in India have known racialism in all its forms ever since
the commencement of British rule .. The whole ideology of this rule
was that of the 'herrenvolk' and the master race, and the structure of
government was based upon it; indeed the idea df a master race is
inherent in imperialism. There was no subterfuge about it; it was
proclaimed in unambiguous language by those in authority. More
powerful than words was the practice that accompanied them and,
generation after generation and year after year, India as a nation and
Indians as individuals were subjected to insult, humiliation, and coin-
temptuous treatment."
The worst feature of the Indian caste system was the rigid and
exclusive British caste, especially in the Indian Civil Service, which
was neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service. Nehru thus describes the
civil service and the police service in their relation with the Congress
provincial governments:
"These services, bred in a different and authoritarian tradition,
disliked the new atmosphere, the assertive attitude of the public, the
lessening of their own importance, and their subordination to persons
whom they had been in the habit of arresting and imprisoning .... It
was extraordinary how unfitted they were for the new tasks that faced
them".
Everything was done to stop the introduction of education, and,
when it had to be encouraged for the production of officers for minor
administrative grades, it was carefully controlled. Britain lived in
dread of the printing press and its diffusion in India.
BLACK HOLE
Thus did India arrive at the threshold of World War I, after a
century and a half of British rule, its social state exemplified by the
six families comprising thirty members in one room fifteen feet by
twelve which must have been the Black Hole of Calcutta, and by the
sweat, hunger and despair of millions of Indians.
Nehru concludes thus in "The Discovery of India" his analysis
of British imperialism:
"This then i4 the real, the fundamental, cause of the appalling
poverty of the Indian people, and it is of comparatively recent origin