Nehru pp 293-336 | Cite as

The Years of Statesmanship, 1947–51

  • B. N. Pandey


Nehru’s government inherited its ethics and morality from the national movement; its structure, style and appearance of infallibility from the British Raj. The Gandhian legacy of non-violence caused Nehru immediate embarrassment when, compelled by the force of circumstance and much against his will, he was obliged to resort to military action in Kashmir and Hyderabad.1 He was fully aware of an inconsistency between what India preached and the way in which she acted, and he asked his sister Mrs Pandit, then ambassador to the United States, ‘not to talk too much about our high ideals’, as she had been doing during her tour of the West Coast, for ‘our immediate past and present is not in consonance with these high ideals and we may lay ourselves open to a courteous retort’,2 He did, however, consult Gandhi throughout the course of the war with Pakistan over Kashmir, and the Mahatma had conceded that a government might be compelled to take up arms in certain circumstances. Nehru soon realised that idealism and ethics could not be rigorously applied to solving practical problems of government. A certain amount of hypocrisy was inevitable, although he still firmly held that in the great things of life truth was all-important.


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Copyright information

© B. N. Pandey 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. N. Pandey
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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