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Nehru’s ideas in relation to Gandhianism

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Duties of the State.
  3. The Use of Non-Violent Action.
  4. Socialism.
  5. Conclusion.

A critical reading of Sunil Khilnani's arguments in The Idea of India appears to reflect well on the actions taken by Jawaharlal Nehru in his development of the state of India. As described by Khilnani, Nehru had a number of ideas which appear at the outset to be in violation of the principles of Gandhianism that had become essential to the development of Indian society. However, when one looks more closely at the actions taken by Nehru, it becomes evident that this leader was incredibly focused on the tenets of Gandhianism. Unlike Gandhi however, Nehru was able to see the problems with putting theory into practice. As such, the leadership that evolved under the rule of Jawaharlal Nehru, while much more pragmatic than that undertaken Gandhi, still has solid roots in the teachings and philosophies espoused by Gandhi.

[...] The Use of Non-Violent Action In addition to the fact that Nehru followed Gandhi's ideas on the methods that should be used in the development of the state, it is evident that Nehru also followed Gandhi's ideologies on the use of non-violence as a principle means to develop the state. Khilnani in her explication of the methods that Nehru would use to develop the state in the context of international affairs argues that Nehru envisioned India as growing in peace with the other countries in Asia as well as other countries in the international community. [...]

[...] While it is indeed evident that Nehru saw the pragmatism of ideas from the West, it is clear that Nehru did not openly embrace Western ideologies over the basic tenets of Gandhianism that had been rooted in society. Rather, what appears to be quite obvious from the writings of Khilnani is that Nehru was seeking a higher level of social development, predicated partly on the practical ideologies of the West and the philosophical tenets of Gandhianism. While this ideology of synthesizing the two discourses appears to be a salient means to advance the state of India along the pathway developed by Gandhi, in the end it seems as if the philosophies of the West could not be easily reconciled with the philosophies of Gandhianism. [...]

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