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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Professor Kanta Murali

Lec 3 – Nehru’s India 12-11-30 12:34 PM -a new interview with Salman Rushdie following the publication of his latest book (memoir on his life during the fatwa years) • claims that India is more intolerant today – attacks on artists • India is no longer Nehru’s india -Nehru the longest serving PM of india • central to the founding ideas of India (democracy, secularism etc) • weak commitment to socialism (stronger in rhetoric than practice) -competing elite visions for India at the time of independence • Nehru’s idea of India was what won out Challenges in 1947 -British left hastily -june 3, 1947 – the decision to partition India taken • the transfer of power would happen on the 14 August, (Pakistan) 15 of August (India) • partition violence had already begun and was made worse by the June 3 announcement • final borders decided only two days after independence (17 August) -huge refugee crisis as a result of partition (between 12 – 20 million people) -first india-pakistan war over Kashmir (October 1947) -poor rural economy, low levels of agricultural productivity • Bengal still dealing with the results of a famine in 1943 -how to deal with the principalities (at the time of independence) Transfer of power -very little hostility towards the departing British • last viceroy of India stayed on to be the country’s governor’s general • Nehru very close to the Mountbattens (esp the wife, Edwina) • A proximity to the British elite – so despite all the problems, no outward hostility towards the British -Nehru’s speech, “Tryst with Destiny” – given at the moment of independence (August 15, 1947) • “the service of india means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity” • Congress and National movement intended to undertake a dual transformation of India (economic and social ) • Nehru believed that the state could transform society (both socially and an economically Nehru’s background -born into a wealthy family – father was a lawyer and was a former President of congress • father was western-educated as well (one of the original Indian elites to have been done so) • father very westernized…sent Nehru to England to get an education -Nehru educated in Britain, and became a laywer • came back to India before the war (1912) • attracted to Indian politics (Around the time Gandhi comes back to india as well, and Nehru becomes attracted to Gandhi’s ideals) • Nehru and Gandhi – an attraction of opposites o Against views of father (although father changes his mind later on) • Nehru jailed for 13 yrs wrote a lot of political works during this period -1930s era of Gandhi -1940s onwards its all about Nehru -Gandhi bestowed Nehru as his successor to leadership • source of Nehru’s legitimacy (in addition to his own personal charisma) Nehru and Gandhi -differences with Gandhi • modernity o Nehru very westernized o Gandhi’s idea of India was one that was distinct from a westernized conception of modernity and technology o Nehru - “I was perhaps more of an Englishman than an Indian” • industrialization o Nehru strong believer in the rationality of science and technological progress o Gandhi’s view much more small-scale view – cottage-industry and small-scale industrialization and decentralization • political arrangements o both democratic o but Gandhi’s idea more decentralized (village councils etc) o Nehru influenced by westminister style parliamentary democracy -socialist leanings and the “third way” • Nehru’s attraction to Fabian socialism o Admired Soviet Union’s economic planning • The third way – neither U.S style capitalism nor Soviet style Stalinism -the fundamental similarities • both extraordinarily committed to a view of inclusive nationalism and a unified India • committed democrats • committed to nonviolence Competing Elite visions -elite differences at the time of independence • prior to independence, these differences subsumed within the larger struggle for independence • once its clear the british are gonna leave, these differences are much more apparent -range of ideologies in the Congress • excluding the extreme right and left • Guha reading Constituent Assembly -set up when its clear that the british are gonna leave • tasked with writing Independence India’s first constitution o took 3 years to draft -constitution comes into effect in 1950 -most members came from the Congress itself • some degree of representation of both hindus and muslims and some lower class individuals (but not entirely representative) • disproportionate # of members were lawyers B.R. Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution -Ambedkar the chief architect of India’s constitution • first law minister of independent India, chairman of drafting committee of the constitution -poor background from a scheduled caste (one of the “untouchable” castes) • one of the first Dalits to obtain an education (got degrees from the LSE and Columbia) • took on many lower caste causes (gaining access to public goods) • represent lower caste demands to the British o clashes significantly with Gandhi on the issue of the caste system (thought Gandhi wasn’t radical enough and too apologetic) -demands separate electorates from the British for the lower castes • Gandhi goes on a fast to protest this idea • Pune pact – a compromise between the two o Ambedkar gave up on the idea but an agreement that certain seats would be reserved for members of the lower castes (but everyone allowed to vote for them) -responsible for minority safeguards (Affirmative action policies for members of lower castes) -keen on the idea of individual civil liberties -had a falling out with the Congress and left the government • started his own lower caste movement Constituent Ass
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