‘Nehru: A Troubled Legacy’: Book Release
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A book, Nehru: A Troubled Legacy, authored by Shri R.N.P. Singh, Senior Fellow, VIF, was formally released by Hon’ble Shri Vijai Kapoor, former Lieutenant Governor Delhi, at a simple ceremony held in the auditorium of Vivekananda International Foundation on 18 August 2015. Following the release, a discussion was held on Nehru and his political legacy. Underlining the fact that a critical appraisal of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, was long overdue, General (retd) NC Vij, Director, VIF, remarked that most of the books written about Nehru have tended to be overly one sided so far. While the foreign writers have written superficially about him, the Indian writers, by and large, have hero-worshipped him, overlooking aspects of Nehru that need a critical appraisal. He pointed out that Nehru, swayed by a pacifist world view, made monumental blunders in defence and security affairs of India. Nehru’s benign neglect of India’s defence and lack of strategic foresight formed a special part of the discussion, craftily brought out by Lt Gen (retd) R.K. Sawhney, Dean, Centre for Defence Studies, VIF.

Introducing the book, Shri R.N.P. Singh, the author, shed significant light on what spurred him to write a book on one of India’s most adulated, yet probably the most discussed political figures since independence. He gave a detailed account of what each of the eight chapters of the book entails – Gandhi’s protégé, unchallenged supremacy, seeds of dynastic politics, President-Prime Minister relationship, and betrayal of democratic values,
among others. The author felt sore that Nehru wittingly or unwittingly hoisted a dynastic tradition in Indian politics, a malice which continues to permeate across the entire political spectrum even today. He stressed that some of the political ills the contemporary India faces could be traced back to the Nehruvian era. The twenty eight letters reproduced by the author in support of his arguments are quite revealing in themselves. These are correspondences between the political heavyweights of that era – Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jayaprakash Narayan, and India's first Attorney General MC Setalvad, among several others.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Shri Vijai Kapoor said history warrants that a proper dispassionate evaluation of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru is undertaken especially in light of the fact that the country has traversed a lot since Nehru’s death. He further said evaluations are generally harsh. The book presently under discussion is one such evaluation. The Presidential address by Shri Vijai Kapoor touched on a number of key policy decisions taken by Nehru which had far reaching consequences for the nation – the dismissal of CPM-led government in Kerala in 1959, taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations at a time when the Indian military was still gaining momentum in Kashmir, the loss of India’s Tibetan cause resulting from an insensitive attitude, and India’s China war debacle, among others.

The Vote of Thanks was proposed by Shri Shobhit Arya publisher Wisdom Tree and passed by the House with a thunderous applause.

Event Date 
August 18, 2015
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