A PROFILE

 

Vemaraju Narsimha Rao

 

            In bravery he is not to be surpassed. Who can excel him in the love of the country? He is pure as crystal; he is truthful beyond suspicion. He is a knight Sans peur, sans reproche. The nation is safe in his hands.

Mahatma Gandhi (1929)

 

            Jawaharlal is the Rituraj representing the season of youth and triumphant joy, of an invincible spirit of fight and uncompromising loyalty to the cause of freedom.

            Rabindranath Tagore (1936)

 

            I have said for some years and say now that Jawaharlal will be my successor. He says he does not understand my language and that he speaks a language foreign to me. But language is no bar to a union of hearts. And I know this that when I am gone, he will speak my language.

            Mahatma Gandhi (1942)

           

            A great friend, a great man and a distinguished statesman

President Tito, Yugoslavia

 

            More than any other leader, Jawaharlal Nehru has given expression to man’s yearning for peace. In his pursuit of a world free from war he has served all humanity.

President Lyndon B. Johnson (USA)

 

IN HIS OWN WORDS

           

            Behind this flag lies the concentrated history of a short span of a nation’s existence. The wheel is a symbol of India’s ancient culture. It will bring a message of freedom and of comradeship, a message that India wants to be friends with every country in the world and that India wants to help any people who seek freedom

 

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            The problem of the tribal areas is to make the people feel that they have perfect freedom to live their own lives and to develop not only a protecting force but a liberating one. Any conception that India is ruling them and that they are being ruled or that customs of habit with which they are unfamiliar are going to be imposed on them, will alienate them

 

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            Our opposition was to the old concept of the British Commonwealth, but it did not mean a breaking off with the British. We are free people and there is a relation of understanding.

 

            What is my inheritance? All that humanity has achieved, all that it has thought and felt and suffered and taken pleasure in that astonishing adventure of man.

 

*          *          *

 

            I feel that the Five Year Plans will certainly solve the problem of unemployment. Unless modern techniques are adopted, it would not be possible to feed, clothe or supply the basic necessities to the growing population of our country or the world.

 

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            The service of India means the service of millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. And we have to work hard to give reality to our dreams.

 

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            The ages roll by and Buddha seems not far away after all; his voice whispers in our ears and tells us not to run away from the struggle but, calm-eyed, to face it, and to see in life even greater opportunities for growth und advancement.

 

*          *          *

 

            We want to be friends with the West and friends with the East and friends with everybody. It is not to think in terms of isolation in this modern world. We are determined in this new phase of Asia and Africa and to make good. We are determined not to be dominated in anyway by any other country or continent. We are determined to bring happiness and prosperity to our people and to discard the age-old shackles that have tied us not only politically but economically, the shackles of colonisation and other shackles of our making.

 

*          *          *

 

            People who work for peace must create an atmosphere for peace. We have no enemies in the world; we want to be friends with all. Russia is a great country; and along with greatness goes responsibility. No doubt Russia will use her strength with a sense of responsibility so as to further peace.

 

*          *          *

 

            I am fond of children, and this fondness has increased with years.

 

*          *          *

 

            Life would become dull and colourless if we had not these magnificent animals and birds to look at and play with.

 

*          *          *

 

            If I get angry sometimes, I calm down quickly, for my anger is not with individuals but due to some incidents. When the incident passes off, my anger also vanishes.

 

            I feel no game is Indian or foreign. There is no patriotism in insisting on playing a certain game and no other. At the same time there should be no insistence on playing foreign games.

 

*          *          *

 

            The world is faced with a choice between peaceful co-existence and no existence at all. The world should devote a year-somewhat on the lines of International Geophysical Year to furthering co-operative activities in many fields and lessen the current atmosphere of mistrust and conflict.

 

*          *          *

 

            Whenever I have come here, I have been deeply impressed not only by the magnificent achievements of this great country (USA), but if I may say so, even more so by the goodwill and friendship which I meet everywhere.

 

            Perhaps there are not many instances in history where one country – that is India – has gone out of her way to be friendly and co-operative with the Chinese Government and people and to plead their cause in the councils of the world, and then, for the Chinese Government to return evil for good, even to the extent of committing aggression and invading our sacred land.

 

*          *          *

 

            Man’s dearest passion is life and service. It is given to him to live but once, he must so live as not to be scared with the shame of a cowardly and trivial past, so live as not to be tortured for years without purpose, so live that dying he says: “All my life and my strength were given to the first cause of the world, the liberation of mankind”

 

*          *          *

 

            If any people choose to think of me then I should like them to say: “This was the man, who, with all his mind and heart loved India and the Indian people. And they in turn were indulgent to him and gave him of their love most abundantly and extravagantly.

 

*          *          *

 

            When I die, I should like my body to be cremated. If I die in a foreign country, my body should be cremated there and my ashes sent to Allahabad. A small handful of these ashes should be thrown into the Ganga and the major portion of them disposed of in the manner indicated below....

 

            My desire to have a handful of my ashes thrown into the Ganga at Allahabad has no religious significance, so far as I am, concerned. I have no religious sentiment in the matter. I have been attached to the Ganga and the Jamuna rivers in Allahabad ever since my childhood and as I have grown older, this attachment has also grown...The Ganga has been to me a symbol and a memory of the past of India, running into the present, and flowing on to the great ocean of the future.

 

            And though I have discarded much of past tradition and custom, and am anxious that India should rid herself of all shackles that bind and constrain her and divide her people, and suppress vast numbers of them, and prevent the free development of the body and the spirit; though I seek all this, yet I do not wish to cut myself off from the past completely.

 

            I am proud of that great inheritance that has been, and is, ours, and I am conscious, that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back to the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India. That chain I would not break, for I treasure it and seek inspiration from it.

 

            And as witness of this desire of mine and as my last homage to India’s cultural inheritance, I am making this request that a handful of my ashes be thrown into the Ganga at Allahabad to be carried to the great ocean that washes India’s shore.

 

            The major portion of my ashes should, however, be disposed of otherwise. I want these to he carried high up into the air in an aeroplane and scattered from that height over the fields where the peasants of India toil, so that they might mingle with the dust and soil of India and become an indistinguishable part of India,

 

           

            COURTESY: The Times of India & M/s Bennett Coleman Ltd., Bombay Jawaharlal Nehru (1964)

 

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