Describing Jawaharlal Nehru as the prime architect of modern India, the Congress leadership paid rich tributes to India’s first prime minister on his 134th birth anniversary.
Among the party leaders who visited Nehru’s memorial at Shanti Van in New Delhi and paid homage to him were Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Sonia Gandhi, AICC treasurer Ajay Maken and general secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal.
Later on, the leaders attended a small function in the Central Hall of Parliament, where they offered floral tributes before Nehru’s portrait. Apart from Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Venugopal, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was also present in Parliament.
In a post on X, Kharge said, “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime architect of modern India. In his understanding, only a Democratic structure which gave space to various cultural, political, and socio-economic trends to express themselves could hold India together.” He said further, “Today, as we gather in Shanti Van, to pay our revered tributes to him, we must preserve, protect and defend India’s Constitution and our long-cherished Democratic institutions and principles – his enduring legacy.”
Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress president also shared a video of Nehru in a post on X and said in Hindi, “Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru is a thought of freedom, progress, justice. Mother India today needs these values of the ‘Jawahar of Hind’, like an ideology in every heart.”
Many other leaders also remembered Nehru on his birth anniversary and paid tributes to him. Among them was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remembered Nehru in a post on X.
“Nehruji resonated with the countrymen because he was an expression of their way of thinking,” said the Congress as it put out videos of Nehru on its official X handle.
“Pandit Nehru, our first PM, was a visionary who instituted the coveted welfare state and a self-reliant, industrialised nation founded on agricultural growth and advances in science & technology. Today, we cherish the rich, unparalleled legacy of the Architect of Modern India’,” the party said further.
AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh recalled “the ‘gentle colossus’ who shaped 20th century India so very decisively”.
“His legacy lives on and he continues to resonate in numerous ways, even as the self-styled Vishwaguru and his drum-beaters do their worst to deny his monumental contributions and distort, damage, denigrate, demean and defame him,” he said.
He noted, “Today, as the nation awaits India’s victory in the cricket World Cup final five days hence, let us recall Nehru the cricketer. On September 12th and 13th, 1953, the Prime Minister’s XI played a two-day match against the Vice President’s XI in New Delhi to raise funds for flood relief in different states.”
He bowled, fielded and batted; he was on the field throughout.
“Nehru found time to speak on the radio for a few minutes while the game was on. Later, he served as the auctioneer selling off cricket bats and score books presented to him in November 1948 by the West Indies and Indian cricket teams that had just played a test match in Delhi then, and also by the Commonwealth and Indian cricket teams that had played a test match in February 1951 in Kanpur,” Ramesh said.
Ramesh recalled citing a news report of the time, “”Fortunately, what he said on both occasions in Hindi was captured for posterity. They make for wonderful reading even today.”
Meanwhile, Venugopal also said that Jawaharlal Nehru is the architect of modern India. “When he took over the reigns of India’s destiny, not a pin was manufactured in India. But instead of blaming the past, cursing his predecessors and making excuses, he rolled up his sleeves and built our modern republic,” Venugopal noted.
The Congress leader alleged, “Not only do we owe much of our developmental strides to him – be it through PSUs, the Green Revolution or modern educational institutions – but also the success of India as a democratic, inclusive and progressive country.”
He said further, “Today, as India is in a difficult place with a fascist regime in power in New Delhi, it is Nehru’s path that we must always walk on. He trusted the innate pluralistic instinct of Indian society and showed that a vast, continent-sized country could become an example for the entire world if it looked towards a brighter future.”