Nehru was an extraordinary giant of our freedom struggle – Mani Shanker Aiyer
Moodbidri: ‘It is because of Nehru’s consistent efforts that India established itself as a secular state with equal rights for all regardless of their religious affiliation’, said former diplomat Mani Shanker Aiyer.
He was speaking to the audience of Alva’s Education Foundation’s speakers’ club “Rostrum”, driving the central theme of ‘the Nehruvian legacy and its discontents’, at AIET Seminar Hall, on Tuesday, November 14 at Mijar, Moodbidri.
He said, ‘Nehru was an extraordinary giant of our freedom struggle, a prominent maker of modern India, a great believer of pluralism, the chief architect of our democracy, socialism and secular ethos’. According to Nehru, the one who lives in India, is considered as Indian, irrespective of his/her religion, caste, food, dress habit differences etc.
‘It is because of his contribution to democracy, insistence to secularism, economic policies and non-alignment principle makes him distinguished with others in the history of Indian politics’, Aiyer said.
The congressman said, ‘Agriculture had been virtually stagnant for half a century and the average rate of economic growth was less than one percent. Against this dismal backdrop, Nehru made it possible to accelerate the first fifteen years estimated GDP growth at 4 percent and nearly 2 percent per capita as opposed to 0.1 percent in the years 1900-47’.
Focusing his policy of non-alignment, he said, ‘Nehru’s non-alignment did not mean equidistance or isolationism. It meant independence of judgment and action. It was not a passive but a pro-active and dynamic policy in which India was strongly committed to the goals of the United Nations and would do its best for peace in the world’.
‘Skepticism was introduced in the Indian minds and it forced them to become an enquiry mind. He added and said there is no final answer, but it provides a series of provisional answers. That is what makes Hinduism as the world’s oldest as well as the youngest religion’, he said.
Answering a query ‘why democracy is the profuse value of Congress but not in congressmen’, he said Congress party believes in the collective decision of party members and people’s choice in the elections.
When an audience asked why Rahul Gandhi should become prime minister of this country, he said ‘if Indians want to win and secular state to be formed, it is only with Rahul Gandhi one can expect’.
In the afternoon session, he addressed the journalism students of Alva’s college about ‘how to be an effective spokesperson for an organization’.
Alva’s Education Foundation Trustee Vivek Alva, Alva’s college Principal Dr Kurian, Head, Alva’s PG studies Journalism Dr Mouly Jeevanram, Rostrum Club Student coordinator Rohan D’Souza were present among others.