Nehru’s Vision of a Developed, Socialist Society
Nehru was not only the architect of modern India but was also responsible for
framing policies and programs for the phased development of the country.
Jawaharlal Nehru’s economic philosophy is indent from the speech he gave at
the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in 1936. He said, “I am
convinced that the only key to the solution of world’s problems and India’s
problems lies in socialism ... In short it means a new civilisation ... If the
future is full of hope it is largely because of Soviet Russia and what it has
done and I am convinced that if some world catastrophe does not intervene,
this new civilisation will spread to other lands and put an end to the wars and
conflicts which capitalism feeds.”
    The elements of the Nehru model are: Planning, dominant public sector,
full utilisation of all productive forces, full utilisation of science and
technology as instruments of change and growth, radical land reforms,
modernisation of agriculture and reduction of disparities. His contribution in
making India a secular democratic republic is of paramount significance.
    The common perception among most Indians today is that the only blind
spot in Nehru’s thinking lay in what has been referred to as ‘the socialistic
pattern of society’, proudly proclaimed at the Avadi session of the Indian
National Congress in 1955. The policy decisions taken at this session were
land reforms and planned economic development, with a rapid expansion of
the public sector into key industries and services, mineral resources, railways
and other means of public transport and, much later, then banks.
    But, while agreeing that socialism was Nehru’s blind spot, Bipin Chandra
argues persuasively, in his recently published India After Independence, that
while maintaining a functioning democracy, Nehru provided the economic
base and the physical and human infrastructure from which the country could
take off into rapid independent industrialisation. Unlike other post-colonial
countries, India did not get pushed into a neo-colonial situation with its
economy continuing to be dominated by foreign interests.
    Nehru recognised the need for State planning and State participation in
the production process, through the public sector. Along with the emphasis
on heavy industry, Nehru also promoted labourintensive small and cottage