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Quotations of Nehru

  • Democracy
    The people have every right to change laws and even to change governments and they can exercise that right in a peaceful and democratic manner. But those who choose the path of violence have no faith in democracy. If their way were to prevail, there would be complete chaos in the country and the conditions of the people would deteriorate even more.
    You may define democracy in a hundred ways but surely one of its definitions is self-discipline of the community. The less the imposed discipline and the more the self-discipline, the higher is the development of democracy.

    I am greatly conscious of the delay that the democratic processes involve, but still I am convinced that for my country this system of parliamentary democracy is the best.
    Democracy means tolerance, tolerance not only of those who agree with us, but of those who do not agree with us.
    With all my admiration and love for democracy, I am not prepared to accept the statement that the largest number of people are always right.
    Democracy, if it means anything, means equality; not merely the equality of possessing a vote, but economic and social equality.
    The only objective that you can set before you in the modern world is a widespread raising of the people's standard of living. It is not only objective but others are subject to it. No government can afford to ignore the urges of the common people. After all, democracy has its basis on those very urges and if any government flouts them, it is pushed aside and other governments take over.
    Democracy means tolerance, tolerance not only of those who agree with us, but of those who do not agree with us.
  • Freedom
    Freedom is not a mere matter of political decision or new constitutions, not even a matter of what is more important, that is economic policy. It is of the mind and heart and if the mind narrows itself and is befogged and the heart is full of bitterness and hatred, then freedom is absent.
    Message on First Anniversary of Independence, 15th August 1948
    Where freedom is menaced or justice threatened or where aggression takes place, we cannot be and shall not be neutral.
    Speech, Washington, D.C., 13th October 1949
    Do not think that freedom once won has come to stay. A little negligence or carelessness can imperil our freedom. It has happened many times in our history.
    Speech, New Delhi, 26th October 1962
  • Empowerment
    Democracy and socialism are means to an end, not the end itself. We talk of the good of society. Is this something apart from, and transcending, the good of the individuals composing it? If the individual is ignored and sacrificed for what is considered the good of the society, is that the right objective to have?

    It was agreed that the individual should not be sacrificed and indeed that real social progress will come only when opportunity is given to the individual to develop, provided "the individual" is not a selected group but comprises the whole community. The touchstone, therefore, should be how far any political or social theory enables the individual to rise above his petty self and thus think in terms of the good of all. The law of life should not be competition or acquisitiveness but cooperation, the good of each contributing to the good of all.
    As quoted in World Marxist Review : Problems of Peace and Socialism (1958), p. 40
    The ambition of the greatest men of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but so long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart.
    We have achieved political freedom but our revolution is not yet complete and is still in progress, for political freedom without the assurance of the right to live and to pursue happiness, which economic progress alone can bring, can never satisfy a people. Therefore, our immediate task is to raise the living standards of our people, to remove all that comes in the way of the economic growth of the nation. We have tackled the major problem of India, as it is today the major problem of Asia, the agrarian problem. Much that was feudal in our system of land tenure is being changed so that the fruits of cultivation should go to the tiller of the soil and that he may be secure in the possession of the land he cultivates. In a country of which agriculture is still the principal industry, this reform is essential not only for the well-being and contentment of the individual but also for the stability of society…

    India is industrially more developed than many less fortunate countries and is reckoned as the seventh or eighth among the world's industrial nations. But this arithmetical distinction cannot conceal the poverty of the great majority of our people. To remove this poverty by greater production, more equitable distribution, better education and better health, is the paramount need and the most pressing task before us and we are determined to accomplish this task.
    Speech to the US Congress (13 October 1949)
    I want the narrow conflicts of today in the name of religion or caste, language or province, to cease, and a classless and casteless society to be built up where every individual has full potential to grow according to this worth and ability.
    India – Today and Tomorrow, 1959
    The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but so long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams.
  • Panchayati Raj and Co-operatives
    After we became independent we established the rule of the people. Every citizen of India was given the right of vote. The people enjoyed the right to elect their representatives to the State legislatures and to Lok Sabha. It was a step in the right direction, but real democracy did not come into being with it. India will make progress only when the people living in the villages become politically conscious. The progress of our country is bound up with the progress in our villages. If our villages make progress, India will become a strong nation and nobody will be able to stop its onward march.

    Some people take the responsibility in their own hands. Some people thought that if the responsibility was handed over to the people, they would probably not be able to shoulder it. But it is only by providing opportunity to the people that they can be trained to shoulder responsibilities. It became imperative that a bold step be taken whereby more and more responsibility could be transferred to the people. The people were not merely to be consulted but effective power was to be entrusted to them.

    Therefore, we decided that in every village there should be a village panchayat with more powers, as also a co-operative society which will help its economic effort.

    The panchayat is to help in the day-to-day administration of the village and the co-operative is to manage its economic affairs. The responsibilities of administration should not be only in the hands of big officials but should be divided among our 400 million people. We should bring the people together to act in co-operation and in consultation with each other.
    From speech in Hindi at Nagaur in Rajasthan on the occasion of the inauguration of Panchayati Raj in the State, 2 October 1959
  • Unity
    In India, the first essential is the maintenance of the unity of the country, not merely a political unity but a unity of the mind and the heart, which precludes the narrow urges that make for disunity and which breaks down the barriers raised in the name of religion or those between State and State or, for that matter, any other barrier. Our economy and social structure have outlived their day and it has become a matter of urgent necessity for us to refashion them so that they may promote the happiness of all our people in things material and spiritual. We have to aim deliberately at a social philosophy which seeks a fundamental transformation of this structure, at a society which is not dominated by the urge for private profit and by individual greed and in which there is fair distribution of political and economic power. We must aim at a classless society, based on co-operative effort, with opportunities for all. To realize this we have to pursue peaceful methods in a democratic way.
    Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, Delhi, 31 December 1952
    As civilization advances and society becomes more and more complex, the element of co-operative endeavor becomes more important. If that element of co-operation is lacking, then all the training that we have is useless because it is frittered away in some measure of conflict.
    The only alternative to coexistence is co-destruction.
    Fine buildings, fine pictures and books and everything that is beautiful are certainly signs of civilization. But an even better sign is a fine man who is unselfish and works with others for the good of all. To work together is better than to work singly, and to work together for the common good is best of all.
    We are passing through a period of economic difficulty and it is necessary that all of us, whatever our station or degree, should share according to our capacity the burden of the day…The very knowledge that we are doing our bit along with innumerable others brings with it a community of feeling and a sense of satisfaction. It produces a bond among a people in a common endeavour and produces that strength in a nation before which all obstacles fade away.
  • Secularism
    We talk about a secular state in India. It is perhaps not very easy even to find a good word in Hindi for "secular". Some people think it means something opposed to religion. That obviously is not correct. What it means is that it is state which honours all faiths equally and gives them equal opportunities; that, as a state, it does not allow itself to be attached to one faith or religion, which then becomes the state religion.
    Statement of 1961, as quoted in Locked Minds, Modern Myths (1997) by T. N. Madan
    We have always to remember India as a composite country, composite in many ways, in religion, in custom, in languages, in ways of life, etc. An attempt by the majority group to impose itself on others can only lead to inner conflicts, which are as bad as outer conflicts. The basic problem for us today in India is to build up a united India in the real and inner sense of the word, that is, a psychological integration of our people…
  • Nationalism
    …when a country is under foreign domination, nationalism is a strengthening and unifying force. But, a stage arrives when it might well have narrowing influence. Sometimes, as in Europe, it becomes aggressive and chauvinistic and wants to impose itself on other countries and other people. Every people suffer from the strange delusion that they are the elect and better than all others…. they overreach themselves, stumble and fall. That has been the fate of intense nationalism of Germany and Japan. But a more insidious form of nationalism is the narrowness of mind that it develops within a country, when a majority thinks itself as the entire nation and in its attempt to absorb the minority actually separates them even more. We, India, have to be particularly careful of this because of our tradition of caste and separatism. We have tendency to fall into separate groups and to forget the larger unity.
    If any people think of me, choose to think of me, I should like them to say that this man with all his mind and heart loved India and the Indian people, and they were indulgent to him and gave him all their love most abundantly and extravagantly.
    Speech, Madras, 9th October 1952
  • Religion
    The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.
    I wish to declare with all earnestness that I do not want any religious ceremonies performed for me after my death. I do not believe in such ceremonies, and to submit to them, even as a matter of form, would be hypocrisy and an attempt to delude ourselves and others.
    I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses satisfied to live in hunger, filth, and ignorance. I want nothing to do with any order, religious or otherwise, which does not teach people that they are capable of becoming happier and more civilized on this earth, capable of becoming.
    What then is religion (to use the word in spite of its obvious disadvantages)? Probably it consists of the Inner development of the individual, the evolution of his consciousness in a certain direction which is considered good. What that direction is will again be a matter for debate. But, as far as I understand it, religion lays stress on this inner change and considers outward change as but the projection of this inner development. There can be no doubt that this inner development powerfully influences the outer environment. But it is equally obvious that the outer environment powerfully influences the inner development. Bot act and interact for each other.
    Even if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him, so Voltaire, said ... perhaps that is true, and indeed the mind of man has always been trying to fashion some such mental image or conception which grew with the mind's growth. But there is something also in the reverse proposition: even if God exist, it may be desirable not to look up to Him or to rely upon Him. Too much dependence on supernatural forces may lead, and has often led, to loss of self-reliance in man, and to a blunting of his capacity and creative ability. And yet some faith seems necessary in things of the spirit which are beyond the scope of our physical world, some reliance on moral, spiritual, and idealistic conceptions, or else we have no anchorage, no objectives or purpose in life. Whether we believe in God or not, it is impossible not to believe in something, whether we call it a creative life-giving force, or vital energy inherent in matter which gives it its capacity for self-movement and change and growth, or by some other name, something that is as real, though elusive, as life is real when contrasted with death.
    If any person raises his hand to strike down another on the ground of religion, I shall fight him till the last breath of my life.
    Speech, New Delhi, 2nd October 1951
  • Communalism
    We have seen as a matter of fact how far communalism in politics has led us; all of us remember the grave dangers through which we have passed and the terrible consequences we have seen. In any event now there is no alternative; and we must have it clearly in our minds and in the mind of the country that the alliance of religion and politics in the shape of communalism is a most dangerous alliance, and it yields the most abnormal kind of illegitimate brood.

    We have talked a great deal about politics being allied to ethics; that is something which, I hope, we shall always stand for. During the last quarter of a century or more Mahatma Gandhi taught us to place politics on an ethical level. How far we succeeded is for the world to judge and for future generations to decide. But it was something at least that we placed that great ideal before us and tried in our own weak and halting way to give effect to it. But the combination of politics and of religion in the narrowest sense of the word, resulting in communal politics, is – there can be no doubt – a most dangerous combination and must be put an end to.
    Speech in the Constituent Assembly (Legislative), New Delhi, 3 April, 1948 The speech was made during debate on the following Resolution moved by Mr. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, member of the constituent Assembly :
    The strength of India will increase in the measure we can march together. Communalism is the badge of a backward nation, not of the modern age. People have their religion and they have a right to hold firmly to it, but to import religion into politics and to break up the country is something which was done in Europe 300 or 400 years back. We in India have to get rid of it.

    We have declared that we will fight communal organizations in every way, whether they are Muslim organizations or Hindu organizations or Sikh or any other. Nationalism cannot exist together with communalism. Nationalism does not mean Hindu nationalism, Muslim nationalism or Sikh nationalism. As soon as you speak of Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, you do not speak for India. Each person has to ask himself the question : What do I want to make of India, one country, one nation or 10, 20 or 25 nations, a fragmented and divided nation without any strength or endurance, ready to break to pieces at the slightest shock? Each person has to answer this question. Separateness has always been the weakness of India. Fissiparous tendencies, whether they belong to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or others, are very dangerous and wrong tendencies. They belong to petty and backward minds. No one who understands the spirit of the times can think in terms of communalism.
    From speech in Hindi at Srinagar, 19 July 1961
    Communal organizations are the clearest examples of extreme narrowness of outlook, strutting about in the guise of nationalism. In the name of unity, they separate and destroy.
    From a letter dated 20 September 1953, LCM, Volume 2, pp.375-80
  • Peace
    If we desire peace, we must develop the temper of peace and try to win even those who may be suspicious of us or who think they are against us. We have to try to understand others just as we expect them to understand us. We cannot seek peace in the language of war or of threats. You will all remember the magnificent example of which both England and India have reason to be proud. Both of us, in spite of long continued conflict, approached our problems with this basic temper of peace and we not only resolved them but produced, at the same time, abiding understanding and friendship. That is a great example which we might well bear in mind whenever any other crisis in the relations of nations confronts us. This is the only civilized approach to problems and leaves no ill will or bitterness behind.

    I am not a pacifist. Unhappily, the world of today finds that it cannot do without force. We have to protect ourselves and to prepare ourselves for every contingency. We have to meet aggression and evils of other kind. To surrender to evil is always bad. But in resisting evil, we must not allow ourselves to be swept away by our own passions and fears and act in a manner which is itself evil. Even in resisting evil and aggression, we have always to maintain the temper of peace and hold out the hand of friendship of those who, through fear or for other reasons, may be opposed to us. That is the lesson that our great leader Mahatma Gandhi taught us and, imperfect as we are, we draw inspiration from that great teaching.
    Speech initiating debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, 6 December 1950
    Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
    Without peace, all other dreams vanish and are reduced to ashes.
    A nation's work never ends. Men may come and go, generations may pass but the life of a nation goes on. We must remember the basic fact that we can achieve little unless there is peace in the country, no matter what policy we pursue.
    Peace has been said to be indivisible, so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also a disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.
    The danger of war is not past, and the future may hold fresh trials and tribulations for humanity. Yet the forces of peace are strong and the mind of humanity is awake. I believe that peace will triumph.
    The world of today has achieved much, but for all its declared love for humanity, it has based itself far more on hatred and violence than on the virtues that make one human. War is the negation of truth and humanity. War may be unavoidable sometimes, but its progeny are terrible to contemplate. Not mere killing, for man must die, but the deliberate and persistent propagation of hatred and falsehood, which gradually become the normal habits of the people. It is dangerous and harmful to be guided in our life's course by hatreds and aversions, for they are wasteful of energy and limit and twist the mind and prevent it from perceiving truth.
  • World Order
    We are living in a revolutionary age of transition. On the one hand, we see a divided and disintegrating world, a multitude of conflicts and an ever-present fear of world war. On the other hand, we see creative and co-operative impulses seeking a new integration and new unity.
    All over the world to-day, behind the political and economic conflicts, there is a spiritual crises, a questioning of old values and beliefs, and a search for away out of the tangle.
    The world is full of strife today, and disaster looms on the horizon. In men’s hearts there is hatred and fear and suspicion which cloud their vision.
    The first thing to realize, I think in this world is that there are different ways of thinking different ways of living and different approaches to life in different parts of the world. Most of our troubles arise from one country imposing its will and its way of living on other countries.
  • Science & Technology
    ...Science is the spirit of the age and the dominating factor of the modern world. Even more than the present, the future belongs to science and to those who make friends with science and seek its help for the advancement of humanity.

    Though I have long been a slave driven in the chariot of Indian politics, with little leisure for other thoughts, my mind has often wandered to the days when as a student I haunted the laboratories of that home of science, Cambridge. And though circumstances made me part company with science, my thoughts turned to it with longing in later years, through devious processes, I arrived again at science, when I realized that science was not only a pleasant diversion and abstraction, but was of the very texture of life, without which our modern world would vanish away. Politics led me to economics and this led me inevitably to science and the scientific approach to all our problems and to life itself. lt was science alone that could solve these problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening custom and tradition, of vast resources , running to waste, of a rich country inhabited by starving people.
    Message sent on the occasion of Silver Jubilee Session of the Indian Science Congress held at Calcutta, 3 lanuary 1938, Jawaharlal Nehru on Science, edited by Baldev Singh, P. 12
    My own main interest in science arises naturally from the social consequences of science than science itself. We have to face major political, economic and in the main social problems of a growing country and of raising the level of hundreds of million of our people. It is clear that we cannot solve these problems without taking recourse to science and its application. So, inevitably we are driven to the men of science to find out how we can tackle these major problems. Science has advanced to a stage where it has brought promise of enormous good to humanity and also a fear of disaster.
    Inaugural Address at the 47th session of the Indian Science Congress held at Bombay, 3 January 1960, Jawaharlal Nehru on Science, edited by Baldev Singh, p. 73
    It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening of custom and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, or a rich country inhabited by starving poor... Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid... The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.
  • Atomic Energy
    It is perfectly clear that atomic energy can be used for peaceful purposes, to the immense advantage of humanity. It may take some years before it can be used more or less economically... the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes is far more important for a country like India whose power resources are limited, than for a country like France, an industrially advanced country. Take the United States of America, which already has vast power resources of other kinds. To have an additional source of power like atomic energy does not mean very much for them. No doubt they can use it; but it is not so indispensable for them as for a power-starved or power-hungry country like India or like most of the other countries in Asia and Africa. I say that because it may be to the advantage of countries which have adequate power resources to restrain and restrict the use of atomic energy because they do not need that power. It would be to the disadvantage of a country like India if that is restricted or stopped.
    Speech in the House of the People (Lok Sabha), 10 May 1954
  • India
    My generation is a passing one and soon we shall hand over the bright torch of India, which embodies her great and eternal spirit, to younger hands and stronger arms. May they hold it aloft, undimmed and untarnished, so that its light reaches every home and brings faith and courage and well-being to our masses.
    Tomorrow’s India will be what we make it by today’s labours. I have no doubt that India will progress industrially and otherwise, that she will advance in science and technology, that our people’s standards will rise, that education will spread and that health conditions will be better and that art and culture will enrich people’s lives. We have started on this pilgrimage with strong purpose and good heart, and we shall reach the end of the journey, however long that might be.
    We belong to a great country, a country that is not only great physically but in things far more important. If we are to be worthy of our country, we must have big minds and big hearts, for small men cannot face big issues.
    India has known the innocence and insouciance of childhood, the passion and abandon of youth, and the ripe wisdom of maturity that comes from long experience of pain and pleasure; and over and over a gain she has renewed her childhood and youth and age.
    India will be a land, as in the past, of many faiths, equally honored and respected, but of one national outlook, not a narrow nationalism living in its own shell, but rather the tolerant creative nationalism which, believing in itself and the genius of its people takes full part in the establishment of an international order.
    Speech at the Aligarh Muslim University, 24 January 1948
    We have always to remember India as a composite country, composite in many ways, in religion, in custom, in languages, in ways of life, etc. An attempt by the majority group to impose itself on others can only lead to inner conflicts, which are as bad as outer conflicts. The basic problem for us today in India is to build up a united India in the real and inner sense of the word, that is, a psychological integration of our people.
  • Past and Future
    The past brings us many gifts : indeed, all that we have to-day of culture, civilization, science, or knowledge of some aspects of the truth, is a gift of the distant or recent past to us. It is right that we acknowledge our obligation to the past. But the past does not exhaust our duty or obligation, we owe a duty to the future also, and perhaps that obligation is even greater than the one we owe to the past.

    For the past is past and done with, we cannot change it, the future is yet to come, and perhaps we may be able to shape it a little. If the past has given us some part of the truth, the future also hides many aspects of the truth, and invites us to search for them.
    The ideals and objectives of yesterday are still ideals of today, but they lost some of their lustre and even, as one seemed to go towards them, they lost the shining beauty which had warmed the heart and vitalized the body. Evil triumphed often enough, but what was far worse was the coarsening and distortion of what seemed so right. Was human nature so essentially bad that it would take ages of training, through suffering and misfortune, before it could behave reasonably and raise man above the creature of lust and violence and deceit that he now was? And, meanwhile, was every effort to change radically in the present or the near future doomed to failure.
    Without that passion and urge, there is a gradual oozing out of hope and vitality, a settling down on lower levels of existence, a slow merging into non-existence. We become prisoners of the past and some part of its immobility sticks to us.
    We have all become wayfarers and travellers marching on and on ....Yet, for those who can adapt themselves to this continuous journeying, there is no regret and they would not have it otherwise. A return to the dull uneventful past is unthinkable.
  • Socialism
    I am convinced that the only key to the solution of the world’s problems and of lndia’s problems lies in socialism, and when I use this word I do so not in a vague humanitarian way but in the scientific economic sense. Socialism is, however, something even more Ethan an economic doctrine. It is a philosophy of life land as such also it appeals to me. I see no way off ending the poverty, the vast unemployment, the degradation and the subjection of the Indian people f except through socialism. This involves vast and revolutionary changes in our political and social structure, the ending of vested interests in land and industry, as well as the feudal and autocratic Indian states system. That means the ending of private property, except in a restricted sense, and the replacement of the present profit system by a higher ideal of cooperative services. It means ultimately a change in our instincts and habits and desires. In short, it means a new civilization, radically different from the present capitalist order. Socialism is thus for me not merely an economic doctrine which I favour, it is a vital creed which I hold with all my head and heart. I work for Indian independence because the nationalist in me cannot tolerate alien domination, I work for it even more because for me it is the inevitable step to social and economic change. I should like the Congress to become a socialist organisation and to join hands with the other forces in the world which are working for the new civilization.
    Presidential address, Lucknow Congress session, 12 April 1936, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vol. VII, PP. 180-181
    The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
  • Constitution & Government
    A constitution which is unchanging and static – it does not matter how good it is, how perfect it is – is a constitution that has outlived its use. It is in its old age already and gradually approaching its death. A constitution to be living must be growing, must be adaptable, must be flexible, must be changeable. And if there is one thing which the history of political developments has pointed out, it is this.
    No Government is worth its name or function if it is a flabby mass without clear ideas. On the other hand, a Government which is rigid in its outlook and which thinks that it has found the truth – the entire truth – and does not require to learn from others or to understand as to what things really are, that also fails or should fail because life is a complicated process and an ever changing process.
    We have laid down in our constitution that India is a secular State. That does not mean irreligion. It means equal respect for all faiths and equal opportunities for those who profess ant faith.
    Speech, New Delhi, 10 July 1961
  • The Role of Opposition
    The hon. Members who form the Opposition represent a great variety of opinion – I say so with all respect – and if colours were to represent it, there would be scarlet, all hues of red, pink, yellow and deep blue. If I describe the representation in the normal language of the West, we have in the Opposition every shade of opinion from extreme left to extreme right. These various opinions hold together under the stress of circumstances, often there are marriages of convenience, followed by rapid divorces. On the whole these strange bed-fellows consort together because they share the spirit of opposition to the majority group.
    It amazes me how some hon. Members of the Opposition with all their eloquence and their fine qualities have lost all ability to understand the changed position. They are like religious fundamentalists who refuse to look right or left and go only in one direction. The whole world may change but their mental habits do not. Whether it is morning, noon or night matters little to them. The continue to repeat the same slogan, no matter what happens.
    It is open to Opposition to go against the Government but it is dangerous, evil and cowardly to hit the very people whom you seek to serve in order simply to shake and weaken a Government.
  • Language
    A language is something infinitely greater than grammar and philology. It is the poetic testament of the genius of a race and a culture, and the living embodiment of the thoughts and fancies that have moulded them.
    The makers of our Constitution were wise in laying down that all the 13 or 14- languages were to be national languages. There is no question of any one language being more a national language than the other. Bengali or Tamil or any other regional languages is as much an Indian national language as Hindi.

    I am all for English being used for higher scientific and technological studies. Even so, if we are to spread the knowledge of science in our schools, we should teach it widely through the national languages. Otherwise, we will inevitably limit the people's understanding and appreciation of it. It will not spread.

    Let us not look at it from the point of view of Hindi versus English or English versus Hindi. That is a wrong point of view. We have to use each in its proper sphere. In the sphere of national languages, only national languages have a place. We cannot speak of English in that connection. We can speak of English in many other connections.
    From speech in Lok Sabha during dabate on the Official Language Bill, 24 April 1963
  • Youth
    You have been the leaders of the youth movement in India and you have built up a strong and living organism. But remember that organisations and institutions are passive instruments of man. They become living and vital only when they are pushed onward by the strength of great ideas. Have great ideals before you and do not lower them by ignorable compromise. Look deep down to where the millions toil in field and factory and look across the frontiers of India to where others like you are facing problems similar to yours. Be national, the sons and daughters of your ancient motherland working for her liberation; and be international, members of the Republic of Young, which knows no boundaries or frontiers or nationalities and works for the liberation of the world from all thraldom and injustice.
    Presidential address at the Bombay Presidency Youth Conference, Poona, 12 December 1928, Important Speeches of Jawaharlal Nehru, 1922-46, edited by J.S. Bright, pp. 60-6l
    I want you to have joy in life. But I want you at the same time to give your mind and heart to this business of building India and to forget any smaller things when compared to that. You live in a province which is rich in history, which has taken a very great part in the freedom struggle, in the freedom of India.

    Remember always what is your inheritance and my inheritance. It is not the village you come from or the city you dwell in. Your inheritance is right up from the snowy Himalayas to Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in the far South. All this country is your inheritance.

    Who is going to deprive me, tell me, from my inheritance in Allahabad or somewhere else I come from? So, remember that your inheritance is India and the inheritance of all of us is India, India of the past, India of the present and India of the future that we shall build up...We have the culture, maturity of five - thousand or ten thousand years behind. We must not behave, therefore, as if we had no discipline or culture in us. The hallmark of the individual, matured individual, of a matured nation is the capacity for restraint. Restraint does not mean crushing yourself or submitting to being crushed. It means self-discipline, self-restraint. Through that you may harness the great energy that you have, and use it for the great task.
    Speech delivered at the youth conference at Calcutta on 11 November 1956, A.I.R. Speeches, (N.M.M.I), Vol IV, pp. 1994-2001
  • Tribal People
    When we talk about tribal people, I wonder whether we all have the same idea in mind. So far as I am concerned, we are all tribals, whether we live in Delhi or Madras or Bombay or Calcutta or in the hills or in the plains. To call some people primitive and to think of ourselves as highly civilized is basically wrong. There are differences, of course. There are marked differences, for example, between the people of the Punjab and the people of Madras. There are differences between people living in the hills and people living in the plains. Geography and climate account for differences of food and clothing and living conditions. That is inevitable. We are very different for example, from the Chinese or the Japanese, and yet, perhaps, there is something more in common between us and the Chinese and the Japanese than there might be between us and some people in Europe. On the other hand, there is something more in common between us and Europe in language. All this proves that differences are of several kinds. But I am sure that to think of the tribals and non-tribals as people qualitatively different is wrong. Take the description in our Constitution of the Scheduled Castes. As you know, it is rather arbitrary. Government, after consideration, decides whether a particular caste is a Scheduled Caste or not. It is not possible to draw a hard and fast line. That is why we aim ultimately at removal of all these appellations, descriptions and names which ideologically and physically separate the people as the Depressed Classes, the Harijans, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and so on.
    Inaugural address at the Tribal Affairs Conference, New Delhi, 4 December 1954
  • Village Industry / Khadi
    However much we might develop our big industries, there is still considerable scope for the expansion of village industries in a country like India. The question is one of co-ordinating the small industries in the over-all economy of the country. We are all anxious to develop khadi and other small industries, not for the sake of a 'show' or for any exhibitionist reasons but because we want to achieve concrete results. No modern nation, however, can retain its freedom without the help of large-scale industries which should be State-owned and State-controlled.

    We sincerely believe that small industries can help considerably in the economic advancement of the nation. As you know, unemployment presents our most difficult problem today and the development of village industries could certainly play a prominent role in solving it. Indeed, the Welfare State has no meaning unless every individual is employed and takes part in nation-building activities. I do not think there will be any conflict between big industry and village industry, provided there is proper co-operation.
    Translated from Speech in Hindi at the inauguration of the Khadi Village Industries Board, New Delhi, 2 February 1953
  • Service to the people
    They call me the Prime minister of India, but it would be more appropriate if I were called the first servant of India. In this age, it is not the titles and position that matter but service.
    Broadcast, 1st December 1947