March 31, 2020
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Ravinder Kumar

The Teen Murti director on how relevant Gandhi and Nehru are today

Ravinder Kumar
Do you think Nehru is still relevant?
There are three areas in which Nehru took special initiative—the principles of national unity; the economic transformation of India; and foreign policy.

What about Gandhi?
Gandhi's sense of social power is a valuable contribution. In our society, humanism is shaped by bhakti and devotional theism.

How far have we moved away from Nehruvian ideals?
The most important departure has been in the economic domain. When a policy becomes successful, the ground has to change. Gender reform has succeeded only partially.

Should we be celebrating 50 years of Independence?
There has been an epic and dramatic transformation since 1947, but the development process rarely matches people's expectations.

Is there an attempt on to run down Nehru and Gandhi?
No. Gandhi remains and will remain the tallest Indian. He remains the foundation pillar. Nehru remains the second tallest Indian.

Have the last 50 years shown that the two-nation theory has not worked?
Both formally and informally, India does not believe in the two-nation theory. Even Pakistan in the '70s realised that religion alone can't be the basis of a nation state.

What went wrong?
When east Pakistan was part of India, links of language, community, religion and culture bound citizens. These ties are naturally reinforcing.

Is Teen Murti planning any commemorative celebrations?
We are doing an exhibition of photographs which show the mood of the nation on August 15. We also have a couple of conferences.

What do you think of the level of politics being practised today?
Politics that is propagated is part of the political heritage. With the passage of time, new challenges have come to the fore. The transformation has been for the better.

How do you see India's future?
We have a difficult decade ahead of us. But after a decade-and-half, our institutions will mature sufficiently.

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