THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vice-President M Hamid Ansari said the firm anchoring of secularism as a core character of Indian polity was one of the significant contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru.
After releasing ‘Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian Polity in Perspective’ edited by former DGP P J Alexander, here on Tuesday, he said Nehru believed that no nationalism could be built in India that has diverse faiths and castes, but on basis of secularity. Any narrower approach ‘must exclude a section of the population and then nationalism itself will have a restricted meaning than it should possess.’
But it did not mean absence of religion, but putting religion on a different plane from that of normal political and social life. It was firmly rooted in affirmation of social and political equality.
His concept of secularism was to serve as an instrument of national integration and promoting social and political change to eliminate inequality. He said Pandit Nehru spent nine-and-a-half-years in British prisons, a period longer than Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Rajaji or Jayaprakash Narayan. Nehru was a visionary and a maker of modern India.“The dust of time may have blurred the picture for those who are coming of age now, but Jawaharlal Nehru had enjoyed a connect with the masses of India, a popularity that any political leader today would be envious of. Nehru loved India, and the people of India loved him in return,” he said.
He said the Indian Constitution owes much of its liberal and progressive characters to the foresight and vision of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru. The eight-point resolution regarding aims and objects, moved by Nehru in the Constituent Assembly on December 13, 1946 set the tone for the Constitution drafting process and cast the basic features of the Constitution.
Nehru played a major role in establishing a modern scientific and technological infrastructure and had striven to promote a scientific temper. “For Nehru, development of science and technology was not a means to military power. For him science was essential for building a modern India. It was to be a tool to eradicate poverty and want, an instrument of eliminating inequality and building a just society,” he said.
Ansari said a discussion on Nehru’s contributions was required, “particularly against the backdrop of the dangers from religious superstition, obscurantism and fundamentalism at the present moment.”“To examine the Nehruvian legacy is to renew our fight against religious deformations in thought and practice, which disorient the consciousness of the people, which impede the realisation of the secular ideal, which thwart the pursuit of national self-reliance and of a just society,” he said. Governor P Sathasivam presided over the function. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, T M Varghese Foundation president Rev Joseph Marthoma, B Vivekanandan, former professor Jawaharlal Nehru University, P K Titus, vice president, Varghese Foundation and P J Alexander spoke.
nehru’s role in modern science vital
Nehru played a major role in establishing a modern scientific and technological infrastructure and had striven to promote a scientific temper. “For Nehru, development of science and technology was not a means to military power. For him science was essential for building a modern India. It was to be a tool to eradicate poverty and want, an instrument of eliminating inequality and building a just society,” the Vice-President said.