2018: The Year India Vilified Jawaharlal Nehru


2018: The Year India Vilified Jawaharlal Nehru

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


arlier this year, I came across a beautiful tribute to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. That in itself was surprising enough, but the fact that it was a tribute penned by a titan of the BJP made me pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. After all, we live in times when Nehru’s contribution to modern Indian society is often questioned, if not derided outright.

The BJP leader in question was the recently deceased Atal Bihari Vajpayee – in the wake of his passing, newspapers republished the speech he delivered in 1964, on the occasion of Nehru being laid to rest. The grace with which Vajpayee broaches his ideological opponent’s legacy, and the respect he affords Nehru is a display of class that seems beyond the ability of today’s crop of BJP leaders to emulate.