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#WhyNehruMatters: Remembering the first Prime Ministers with his words

The first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was born on November 14, 1889 in Allahabad. He is remembered for being a frontline freedom fighter in India’s struggle for Independence, and a central figure in Indian politics after independence. Along with this, Jawaharlal Nehru leaves behind a legacy of being one of India’s most prolific writers.

In his biography of Nehru, Shashi Tharoor describes him as an ‘aristocrat, socialist, anti-imperialist, foremost disciple of Gandhi, diehard secularist and India’s first prime minister, who sought to educate the Indian masses in democracy by his own personal example’.  These are amongst the many reasons why Nehru matters to India and the world even today.

Today on his 130th birth anniversary, we remember him with words and thoughts from his various books:

‘For only they can sense life who stand often on the verge of it, only they whose lives are not governed by the fear of death.’

― Jawaharlal Nehru, Discovery of India

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‘Nothing in the world that is alive remains unchanging. All Nature changes from day to day and minute to minute, only the dead stop growing and are quiescent.’

―Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History

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‘Experience of public life showed me that popularity was often the handmaiden of undesirable persons; it was certainly not an invariable sign of virtue or intelligence.’

―Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography

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‘There is no permanent stability or security or changelessness; if there were life itself would cease…Life is a principle of growth, not of standing still, a continuous becoming, which does not permit static conditions.’

― Jawaharlal Nehru, Discovery of India

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“Real failure was a desertion of principle, a denial of our right, and an ignoble submission to wrong. Self-made wounds always took longer to heal than those caused by an adversary.”

―Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography

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“Ignorance is always afraid of change. It fears the unknown and sticks to its rut, however miserable it may be there. In its blindness it stumbles on anyhow. But with right reading comes a measure of knowledge, and the eyes are partly opened.”

―Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History

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‘External events and their consequences affect us powerfully, and yet the greatest shocks come to our minds through inner fears and conflicts. While we advance on the external plane, as we must if we are to survive, we have also to win peace with ourselves.’

― Jawaharlal Nehru, Discovery of India

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‘Remember always that there is not so very much difference between various people as we seem to imagine. Maps and atlases show us countries in different colours. Undoubtedly people do differ from one another, but they resemble each other also a great deal, and it is well to keep this in mind and not be misled by the colours on the map or by national boundaries.’

―Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History

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“I have always thought that the best way to find out what is right and what is not right, what should be done and what should not be done, is not by giving a sermon, but by talking and discussing, and out of discussion sometimes a little bit of the truth comes out.”

―Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History

Read more of Nehru’s work here

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