Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogan being misused to construct militant, emotional idea of India: Manmohan Singh

ANI | Updated: Feb 22, 2020 20:51 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 22 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday made veiled attacks on the BJP-led government, saying that Jawaharlal Nehru was being portrayed in a false light by people who do not have the patience to read history.
He said nationalism and the slogan of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' were being misused to construct a militant and purely emotional idea of India that excludes millions of residents and citizens.
Speaking at an event here in which he released the Kannada translation of the book "Who is Bharat Mata," Singh said the book makes a refreshing break at a time "when emotions are deliberately get provoked and the gullible are misled by false propaganda, misusing communication technology."
He said that an understanding of Nehru's political and intellectual journey is a pre-condition for India's survival as a democratic polity as a humane, compassionate society.
Describing Nehru as a great visionary, he said India's first prime minister laid the foundation for shaping India as a modern nation-state.
"But for Nehru's leadership, independent India would not have become what it is today," he said.
Noting that the book makes an effort to revisit Pandit Nehru, Singh said the former prime minister had led the country in its volatile, formative days when the country adopted a democratic way of life, accommodating divergent social and political views.
"Pandit Nehru, who was very proud of Indian heritage, assimilated it, and harmonised them into the needs of a new modern India," he said.
Complimenting Purushottam Agrawal and Radha Krishna for their "ideology-driven work," Singh said the book contains selections from Nehru's classic books, his speeches, essays, letters and some of his most revealing interviews.
The former Prime Minister recalled that Nehru raised the question 'who is this Bharat Mata?' at a public meeting in 1936 and declared unequivocally that Bharat Mata or Mother India was essentially millions of its people and victory to her was a victory of these people.
" 'Who is this Bharat Mata?, whose victory you wish?' asked Jawaharlal Nehru, a leading light of India's freedom movement who would become the country's first Prime Minister-at a public gathering in 1936. And then he declared: 'The mountains and rivers, forests and fields are of course dear to everyone, but what counted ultimately is the people of India..... spread out all over vast land'", Singh said.
"He (Nehru) declared unequivocally that Bharat Mata, Mother India, is essentially these millions of people, and victory to her is the victory of these people," he added.
Singh said the book has selected appropriate pieces from Nehru's works and justifies its title.
"This book contains a timely collection of writings by and on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru- the leader, who shaped India and the Icon whose legacy is the subject of intense and often angry reaction today," he said.
The Congress leader said Nehru was not only a statesman of high international standing but a great historian and literary figure too.
"If India is recognized in the comity of nations as a vibrant democracy and, if it is considered as one of the important world powers, it was Pandit Nehru, who should be recognised as its main architect. With an inimitable style and a multi-linguist, Nehru laid the foundation of the universities, academies and cultural institutions of modern India. But for Nehru's leadership, independent India would not have become what it is today," he said.
"But unfortunately, a section of people who either do not have the patience to read history or would like to be deliberately guided by their prejudices, try their best to picture Nehru in a false light. But I am sure, history has a capacity to reject fake and false insinuations and put everything in proper perspective. This book is such an attempt to set the narrative in the right direction," he added.
Singh recalled that Nehru made a very significant and time-relevant remark on the dangers of leaderships falling into a trap and getting removed far away from the common people whom they are supposed to serve.
"This collection of writings and speeches shows us the mind and ideology born out of the experience, observation and deep study-behind this democratic and genuinely inclusive idea of India. It is a book of particular relevance at a time when nationalism and the slogan of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' are being misused to construct a militant and purely emotional idea of India that excludes millions of residents and citizens," he said.
The former Prime Minister said in the pages of the anthology, Nehru emerges as a remarkable man of ideas and action who had an instinctive understanding of India's civilizational spirit and as a visionary with a clear commitment to the promotion of scientific temper.
He said Nehru also emerges a leader who, despite the compulsion of politics, remained a true democrat.
"His legacy continues to be of immense significance-perhaps more today than at any other time in our history. An understanding of Nehru's political and intellectual journey is a pre-condition for India's survival as a democratic polity as a humane, compassionate society," Singh said.
"The purpose of this book is to show to the entire world and more particularly to India, how Pandit Nehru and his idea of India, built on Gandhian principles, harmonising the past and the present free from communal discords, is the only way to promote the inevitable plurality of our country," he said. (ANI)

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