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, the former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said on Saturday.
Addressing a gathering at the launch of a book on Jawaharlal Nehru's works and speeches, Dr. Singh said that if India is recognised in the comity of nations as a vibrant democracy and, if it is considered as one of the important world powers, it was the first prime minister, who should be recognised as its main architect.
Nehru had led the country in its volatile and formative days when it adopted a democratic way of life, accommodating divergent social and political views, Dr. Singh said.
India's first prime minister, who was proud of Indian heritage, assimilated it, and harmonised them into the needs of a new modern India, he said
'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,' Dr. Singh 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,' he said.
The book 'Who is Bharat Mata' by Mr. Purushottam Agrawal and Mr. Radha Krishna, contains selections from Nehru's classic works like the 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. It was first brought out in English and now its Kannada translation has been released.
The book also comprises reminiscences and assessments of Nehru by some of his contemporaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Aruna Asaf Ali, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, among others.
'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.
Dr. Singh also extensively quoted Nehru, 'Who is this Bharat Mata?, whose victory you wish? 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,' Dr. Singh quoted Nehru as saying.