Attempts made to negate role of Nehru: Historian Habib

The 84-year-old scholar said this in his keynote address at a national conference ahead of the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 06, 2015, 19:10 PM IST

New Delhi: Eminent historian Irfan Habib Friday took a dig at detractors of Jawaharlal Nehru saying people whose ideological ancestors had no role in the national movement are trying to negate the role and contribution of the first Prime Minister of India.

"Today national movement is not only forgotten, but violently misrepresented... Particularly the legacy of Nehru... By those people whose ideological ancestors go back to persons... Having no role in national movement," the 84-year-old scholar said in his keynote address at a national conference here ahead of the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the two-day meet.

"In fact, they had opposed it... They are trying to find heroes in it... They are particularly trying to negate the role of the Father of the Nation as also Jawaharlal Nehru," Habib said.

According to him, in such a backdrop it is important to underline the contribution of Nehru as an individual to the national movement.

He regretted that the Karachi resolution has been "forgotten by the organisation which gave it".

The resolution, which spelt out the vision of a secular and socialist India, was drafted by Nehru after the suspension of the civil disobedience movement. Mahatma Gandhi added to it an important provision that of scaling down of rural indebtedness.

Habib noted that though Nehru was not a religious man and not interested in afterlife, Gandhi was extremely religious and still he "totally accepted" Nehru as his political successor.

This point has also been made by Sardar Patel, he said.

Habib said that it was because of Nehru that millions of farmers got the ownership of the land that they were tilling and as long as they have got the land, he will "live".

The historian lamented that the corporate sector has been "actually ungrateful" to the role and contribution of Nehru.

He said late industrialist G D Birla had hailed the second Five Year Plan contending that the private sector could manufacture consumer goods as it is working in key areas where private capital is not there.

He also made a strong plea to build up platforms to protect the legacy of Nehru, "even if there cannot be electoral alliances."

Insisting that dominance of the corporate sector was bad for the health of the nation, Habib said India's welfare is not welfare of the corporate sector and these are two distinct things.