Jawaharlal Nehru was our hero. When he became the first prime minister of Independent India, we thought our savior had arrived. He was our blue eyed boy and our night in the shining armor. He could do no wrong. I heard him speak twice. Once when I was in school and next time in this city of Bangalore. Both times it was with unbiased admiration. He had charm, charisma and mass appeal. People were eating out of his hands. He could have done anything he wanted. As later events proved, he was a very poor administrator and intolerant of criticism and also very naïve. He liked people who agreed with him and persons with more knowledge and experience in managing the country like Rajagopalachari had to part company. When told that he should get citizens to limit their family by no less a person than J.R.D.Tata, he had replied that the nation’s strength is in its numbers. Indians, then, would have agreed to anything this man said. He could have made us adopt the small family norm which even now we are unable to. The strength in numbers belief has made this country so over populated, that it is virtually swallowing up all the resources and we are going to be the laborers for the rest of the world and not leaders.
But the man did something the nation will not forget. He had not a shred of communalism in him and he was personally non corrupt. If we are confident today that we can never be a theocracy, the credit should go to Jawaharlal. On the flip side he was also directly responsible for the license permit raj type of governance which has made this country one of the most corrupt in the world. All this is in hind sight, but when I was growing, he could do no wrong.