Select Speeches and Writings of Nehru



Sensitive people today cannot easily put up with the vast gap between human beings, the distance between them, the difference between them, the lack of opportunities on the one side and the waste on the other. It seems so vulgar, and vulgarity is the worst thing for a country or individual to support. It was not, if I may say so, so vulgar 50 or 100 years ago. Although the profit motive was at work very strongly and although there was probably greater suffering then, nevertheless, the approach was different. Perhaps, the sense of social Values was different. But, in the context of the world today, such a motive is becoming increasingly not only wrong from the economic point of view, but a vulgar thing from any Sensitive point of view. So changes are bound to come.

How then are you going to bring about these changes? AS I said, I would much rather bring them about without deliberate destruction and obstruction, because destruction and obstruction, whatever the future may bring after them, must undoubtedly lead to a stoppage of growth at present. They stop production. They stop the production of wealth. One has the satisfaction of being able to do something afterwards more rapidly, no doubt, but it is not certain that afterwards you will be able to do it so rapidly. One has, there- fore, to compromise. Although I hate the word compromise in this context or in any context, one cannot avoid it.

That brings us to transitional stage of economy. Call it what you like - mixed economy or something else. It brings us to doing things in such a way as continually to add to the wealth of the country, as well as to lead to a more equitable distribution of that wealth in the country. Gradually we arrive at a stage when the centre of gravity of the whole economy has shifted. Now, I rather doubt whether it is possible without a conflict or without repeated conflicts to bring about these changes, because people who are used to possessing certain interests or certain ideas do not easily accept new ideas. Nobody likes to give up what he has; at least no groups like it; individuals sometimes do. These conflicts are continually arising, but the point is that even those Conflicts are rather foolish conflicts, if I may say so, because they cannot reverse the trend of events. They may delay the process, and the result will be that those who hold on to the vested interests will probably get a Worse bargain in the end.

Speech in the Constituent Assembly (Legislative), New Delhi, during the debate on the Industrial Policy Resolution moved by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Minister for Industry and Supply, April 7, 1948