Nationalism misused to construct militant idea of India: Former PM Manmohan Singh

Former PM Manmohan Singh (file image)

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that 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.

Addressing a gathering at the launch of a book titled ‘Who is Bharat Mata’ authored by Professor K E Radhakrishna, on Jawaharlal Nehru’s works and speeches, he said there were constant efforts to picture Jawaharlal Nehru in a “false light”,` but history had the capacity to “put everything in perspective”.

Praising Nehru, Singh also said: “Jawaharlal Nehru was not the only statesman of high international standing but historian and literary figure too. But people who don’t have the patience to read history or would like to be deliberately guided by their prejudices are trying their best to picture him in a false light.”

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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.

He also said that Nehru had led this country in its volatile and formative days when it adopted a democratic way of life, accommodating divergent social and political views.

Singh also extensively quoted Nehru, saying he had asked, “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,” Singh quoted Nehru as saying.

The book is a collection of writings by Nehru — his speeches, essays and letters from pre-and post-independence years. It also consists of some of his most revealing interviews, among other things.

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