BY Harsimran Kaur ON Nov 22 , 2021 IN BOOK REVIEWS, NEHRU—THE DEBATES THAT DEFINED INDIA/TRIPURDAMAN SINGH AND ADEEL HUSSAIN/NON-FICTION
Jawaharlal Nehru, a doyenne in the history of India, is known for his fastidiousness and political acumen. His precocity to substantiate the condition of the impoverished and the disparities that strangled as a noose around the indissoluble sections of India made him work relentlessly for their betterment. An atheist and being on a qui vive of the religious dogmas that people in India revered with aplomb, Nehru pictured his country to rail through a liberalized sanction of beliefs and motives.
For his radical prevalence of thoughts, he was somewhat of an edgy opponent for the non-believers—whether it was harsh polemics from the egomaniacal Jinnah or a friendly banter with Sardar Patel. Surrounded by these recriminations, his ideologies never deviated from the sole purpose to keep the country united under the sheltering carapace of secularism.
The cornucopia of Nehru’s work has been expiated by prominent writers and has managed to garner equal share of appreciation and denigration. But, what makes this book different is that it extensively brings forth the epistolary opinions exchanged between Nehru and other profound and popular leaders—a classic tale of hope and begrudges.
The authors, Tripurdaman Singh and Adeel Hussain, through a cauldron of debates conspicuously unravel the peripatetic ideas of Nehru to create an India free of religious bigotries, to put a unanimous effort to work for the destitute, to create a socialistic firmament of equitable distribution and set free the country from political chicaneries. The book reads through different minds and their interpretation of free India, which leads to contradictions and reprisals providing an imperceptible nod to the democratic pin-ups that have shaped our country today.
The time before partition was not a flowery walk and time after it came with its own issues and debates. One of the issues that still make India go weak in its spine is the handling of minorities. Muslim issue is concomitant to India’s secularism and still bears the thorns of the past. Philosophers like Muhammad Iqbal denounced the Hindu majority rule and so did Jinnah. The altercations between these learned men and Nehru eventually created an incendiary issue of religious pursuance, which Nehru despised. The authors also transport its readers to the stentorian cries of Sardar Patel for a cohesive foreign policy with China and United States—a point of view Nehru imperturbably avoided because of his own insecurities.Dr. S.P. Mookerjee’s thoughtful exchange of words with Nehru surrounds the efficacies of the constitution to provide clarity and compatibility.
Debates intransigently try to conquer the opponent’s territory for ideas to be acknowledged and accepted. But sometimes between these paradoxes, we fall short of identifying the real issue; our self-assertiveness to bargain for our ideologies takes precedence. What is then lost is a vision, although cherished by all, but is receded at the backdrop because of personal infringes. Nehru’s epistolary descriptions of various issues with four prominent personalities are a conclusive epitaph of our shining secularism.