Manmohan Singh: Translation Of Book On Nehru Comes At Appropriate Time

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Manmohan: Translation Of Book On Nehru Comes At Ap
Speaking at the book launch of Prof. K.E. Radhakrishna at Delhi's India Habitat Centre on Saturday, Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh says the book "Who Is Bharat Mata?" translated in Kannada has come at an opportune time given the political climate in the country. He said the book is an attempt to set the narrative in the right direction.

Here's the full text of his speech:

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"It is very timely and appropriate that this book on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is first brought out in English and now finds its Kannada translation."
 
I am extremely happy that this book makes an effort to revisit Pandit Nehru.
 
Nehru had led this country in its volatile, formative days when we adopted 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.
 
A great visionary Nehruji laid the foundation for shaping India as a Modern Nation State.
 
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. Pandit Nehru was not only a statesman of high international standing, but a great historian and literary figure too. 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.
 

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 “WHO IS BHARAT MATA” is such an attempt to set the narrative in the right direction. Prof. Purushottam Agrawal and Prof. Radha Krishna have to be complimented for their ideology driven work.

The book ‘WHO IS BHARAT MATA?’ contains selections from Nehru’s classic books Autobiography, Glimpses of World History and the Discovery of India; his speeches, essays and letters from pre-and post-independence years; and some of his most revealing interviews.
 
Selecting appropriate pieces from Nehruji’s works, the book justifies its title “WHO IS BHARAT MATA?” As 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.
 
The book also comprises reminiscences and assessments of Nehru by some of his contemporaries and near contemporaries-among them, including great souls Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Aruna Asaf Ali, Sheikh Abdullah, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Ali Sardar Jafri, Baldev Singh, Martin Luther King Jr, Richard Attenborough, Lee Kuan Yew and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“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'.
 
He declared unequivocally that Bharat Mata, Mother India, is essentially these millions of people, and victory to her is victory of these people'.
 
This collection of writings and speeches shows us the mind and ideology born out of 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.
 
In the pages of this carefully complied anthology - which also carries illuminating introductions by Prof Agrawal and Prof. Radha Krishna, Pandit 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 clear commitment to the promotion of scientific temper; and as a leader who, despite the compulsion’s 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.
 
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.
 
Nehru makes 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.
 
“Conceit, like fat on the human body, grows imperceptibly, layer upon layer and the person whom it affects is unconscious of the daily accretion. Fortunately, the hard knocks of a mad world tone it down or even squash it completely, and there has been no lack of these hard knocks for us in India. The school of life has been difficult one, and suffering is a hard task master.”  
 
In an atmosphere, when emotions are deliberately get provoked and the gullible are misled by false propaganda, misusing communication technology, this book makes a refreshing break through.
 
I hope that this book will find different versions in different language of our country. In that context, my compliments are due to Prof. Radha Krishna, an English professor for bringing the book in Kannada to help the larger public and enlarging its scope of readership.
 
I wish him success and expect that he continues to do such a job and will bring out many more books on Nehruji and Mahatma Gandhi."