Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India, he ruled from the time that India gained its independence until his death. He was a supporter of Ghandi and embraced peace as the most important attribute his country could have. Due to the fact that Nehru found peace to be of utmost importance, he decided that India should follow Marxism in order to maintain the most likely course to peace. Nehru believed that following Marxism was the best path to take because violence was only used in order to gain peace in the long run. He also believed with the help of Marxism and government planning, much like the five year plans of Russia, could allow the new country of India to catch up in the world. India also took a very isolationist approach to world politics, Nehru believed that being involved in other affairs would only lead to violence with other countries, a result which he was most adverse to.

Jawaharlal Nehru

In order to progress India’s society, Jawaharlal Nehru analyzed the different forms of government around the world, specifically Marxism and Capitalism. Nehru admits that violence is present in both forms of government, but Marxism appealed more to Nehru because of the lesser amount of violence. Due to this appeal, India ended up adopting a Marxist form of government and adopting five year plans similar to that of Russia. Nehru believed that because India was such an underdeveloped nation, Marxism was the only way it could progress and succeed in the world because of the careful amounts of planning put into this kind of government. Interesting to note is the fact that after completing their first five year plan, India decided to stay neutral and stay out of foreign countries affairs. They chose this path because they believe the less countries interact and interfere with each other, the more likely it is that a peaceful outcome will occur.

Summary of Marxism, Capitalism, and non-Alignment

Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s first Prime Minister after India had gained its independence in 1947 ((Nehru. Marxism, Capitalism, and non-Aligment. Modern History Sourcebook)). When he was writing, India was trying to find a from of government that would help them develop quickly. Nehru saw the violence in both Marxism and Capitalism but saw Marxism being much less violent and how it was only violent to gain peace for the people. In the end, India took a form of Marxism as their from of government and used Five Year Plans to develop. It was not the only one with success with the Five Year Plan. Many countries in Asia took on plans similar to that of India and were experience great economic growth just like India. After seeing Egypt and Hungary have a fall though, India decided it would stay out of other countries affairs not only to help themselves but the world. Nehru though that letting a country figure out its own problem would help Asian countries understand each other. India would be friendly to all countries, and this would bring about world peace.

Nehru: Marxism, Capitalism, and Non-Alignment

Author: Jawaharlal Nehru joined the Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi’s independence movement in 1919. After the British withdrew, Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India. In 1928, he became the president of the Indian National Congress. [1]

Context: This period in Indian history was a time of repression by the British government and increasing nationalist activity. Nehru joined the Indian National Congress, one of India’s major two political parties. Mahatma Gandhi was the party leader, and he advocated for change and independence from the British. Nehru went to prison several times where he studied Marxism.

Language: Nehru’s language is fairly simple, making it easy to understand. He describes his journey to his acceptance of socialism and communism.

Audience: This came from his autobiography, so his audience was the general public. Anyone who wanted to and had access to it could read it. He probably thought that those interested in Indian politics, Marxism, and capitalism would read it.

Intent: His intention was to describe how he came to be involved in Marxism, capitalism, and the politics of India. He wants people to understand the differences in violence between Soviet Russia and the rest of the world. Russia had progressed following Lenin. He also describes how the Central Asia had made great steps backward while Russia had made great strides.

Message: He wanted to convey the results of Lenin and Soviet Russia. He also wanted to describe the progress happening for India and the great economic development. He was happy that India was progressing because previously, India had faced much turmoil.

How do you think current Indian politicians would react to Nehru’s praise of socialism and communism?

Nehru on Marxism, Capitalism, and Non-alignment

3 Points

Nehru believed that the violence present in communist nations was inherent and deep-rooted, while the violence of Communist nations was leading Russia to peace, cooperation, and freedom of its people.

He emphasizes Russia’s fortitude and resilience, while the rest of the world was regressing and deteriorating. “With all her blunders, Soviet Russia had triumphed over enormous difficulties and taken great strides toward this new order while the rest of the world was in the grip of the depression and going back in some ways […]”

Nehru expresses the need for India to attribute to the task of achieving economic development. He urges the production of strategic planning, implementation, and enthusiasm and cooperation of India’s people.

 2 Questions

What was Nehru’s reasoning for believing that his approach would help to preserve peace in India, as well as internationally.

What does Nehru mean when he says ‘nonalignment’?

1 Interesting Point

I found it interesting that this was basically the first text we’ve read where there was no intention of interference with another country. Nehru makes it clear that India will successfully move forward with the approach of nonaggression and noninterference.

ACLAIM: Dadabhai Naoroji, British Rule

Author: Dadabhai Naoroji was the first member of the British Parliament from Asia.  He was born in Bombay before British colonization.  Along with being a MP he was a social and political leader and a cotton trader.  Arguably his most important impact on Indian society was that he was one of the founding members of the Indian National Congress.

Context: The piece was written in 1871, well into the British occupation of India.  The beginnings of a new middle class and the Indian National congress was developing.

Language  The language of this piece is fairly easy to read and Naoroji is writing about aspects of life that apply to every person.

Audience: This piece was meant for the Indian people to show both the positive and negative sides of the British occupation.

Intent: The intent of this piece was to give both sides of the argument for the Indian people.  He provided all of the positives that the British have done but he does concede that not everything has been good.  He provided reasons to have and not have the British occupy India for the Indian people to see.

Message: The message of Naoroji’s writing was that the British rule has had both positives and negatives however the British know what is right.  He wrote “The genius and spirit of the British people is fair play and justice.”  and that the Indian people need to figure out what they want.

The Justice of Dharma: A comparison between two seminal concepts of the West and the East

Final Paper Proposal

My final paper will compare the idea of justice as defined in Republic, written by Classical Greek philosopher Plato, to the Hindu concept of dharma. Justice is defined in Republic as balance in society on both the individual and State level, where the desires, emotions, and reasoning of each individual’s mind are balanced and each individual uses his/her natural talents to play his/her role in bettering society. Dharma, a concept originating in Vedic India, can be defined as achieving harmony within the individual and society. These two concepts both deal with justice on the individual and social level; given that they originated on the opposite sides of the world, the Eastern and Western spheres of humanity, why are these ideas so similar? I will attempt to answer this question and more by researching historical contexts, tracing theorized roots, and attempting to make connections between the two ideas as well as the cultures in which they originated.