New Delhi: Amid Narendra Modi`s attack on Jawaharlal Nehru, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said that criticism of the first prime minister by some forces was based on "innuendo, insinuation and falsehood aimed at character assassination".
"Those who denigrate him (Nehru), reject his vision of India anchored in Parliamentary democracy. Those who malign him reject his vision of an India celebrating its many diversities while strengthening the bonds of its unity.
"Those who castigate him, oblivious of the larger political and historical context of his times, reject his vision of an India in which the state is the catalyst for socio-economic transformation," she said.
She prefaced her remarks by saying that the legacy of every great political leader is often subject to "revisionism of some type or other".
"But what is being attempted on Jawaharal Nehru by some forces in our country is not based on objective scholarship or critical enquiry," Gandhi said while speaking at the function where Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture 2013 was delivered.
It was delivered by Prof Judith M Brown, an authority on Nehru, on "from prison to Teen Murti-- the making of a Prime Minister".
Gandhi also said that even during his halcyon days, Nehru had his critics.
"Given his towering stature, intellectually and politically, we often tend to think he governed unchallenged. Not so," she said.
Senior party leader Karan Singh, speaking at the function, said any attempt to denigrate Nehru is absurd as those who do so, do not realise the challenge under which he took over the reign of the nation when it was "torn apart" by the partition.
The Gujarat chief minister had on several occasions criticised Nehru.
While paying tributes to Sardar Patel at a function in Hyderabad, on August 11, he blamed him for the unresolved Kashmir issue.
"Nehru gave Patel the task of integrating 500 states into India, however, he kept Kashmir issue with himself...," he had said.
While Patel successfully did his job, Nehru failed to sort out the issue, Modi had said.
Gandhi said that much has been written about Nehru and
will continue to be.
"They reveal a truly many-splendoured man who has decisively shaped contemporary India in so many profound ways and, if I may add, continues to do so".
Nehru, she said, was a man of ideas but no ideologue. He was a man of politics but more than a politician. He was a Congressman first and last. Yet he reached across the political spectrum to exchange views and ideas with critics on major issues of the day.
"His period as Prime Minister was a time when there were fierce ideological disputes and passionate policy disagreements, a time when the course he charted for a newly independent country was called into question at every step.
"Jawaharlal Nehru never shied away from engaging with his detractors. But what is remarkable is that even his most bitter antagonists acknowledged that he was free from malice, free from mean-mindedness, free from hate, fear and narrow parochial instincts," she said.