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Nehru's Third Blunder: Creation of Linguist States and Socialist Economy

Updated on March 29, 2013

Jawaharlal Nehru is like a holy cow in India and criticizing Nehru is akin to Blasphemy. But now after nearly 5 decades of his death there are many objective writers who are researching and the sad fact comes out that Nehru created insurmountable problems for the Indian state that bedevil it in the present age. Apart from his blunders on Kashmir and China Nehru at home also allowed his philosophical mind to dictate state policy, ignoring the harsh reality of power politics.

a) Creation of Linguistic States. Throughout history India had never been carved up as a linguistic entity. Neither was it ever carved up on a religious basis. The entire India sub continent was carved up in states and kingdoms that were geographical entities and language and religion played no part in these divisions.

This state of affairs continued for nearly 4000 years and even during the days of the British Raj, no division of India into states based on religion or language was ever contemplated. Thus India had states like Patiala, Hyderabad, Central provinces, United Provinces, North East frontier Agency and Madras and Bombay states. These were geographical entities and the people in these states spoke many languages. It should not be forgotten that India is home to some 15 major languages and 200 dialects.

When Nehru became Prime Minister, the philosopher took over and he ignored 40000 years of history by setting up a commission to reorganize the Indian state and divide it on linguistic basis. One cannot think as to why Nehru tinkered with something that was sure to catch fire. But his muddled mind thought that a division of India on the basis of language was a good thing.

Thus the States Reorganization Commission went to work and the centuries old Indian administrative regions were broken up into linguistic states with language as the basis of the state.

Nehru died in 1964, but the linguistic states he created led to the unity and integrity of India being questioned. People of one language joined hands and fissiparous tendencies developed with regional outfits like the Shiv Sena coming up, who demanded that people speaking another language be ousted from the state. The linguistic states hit at the very roots of India as a unitary country. The situation is now bad and many states have debarred people from other states from voting and owning property. This is a dangerous game and as brought out by the Chinese institute of Strategic Studies, India may well pay a dear price for the folly of Nehru.

b) Socialist Rhetoric. This was another pet idea of Nehru. He got a constitution framed that laid down that private enterprise would always be second to Public enterprise. In addition he formulated a policy that core industries like Coal, Steel .Aircraft etc would not be handed to private enterprise and would always be state owned. He thought to apply Marxist dogma to India without understanding what Marxism really was. Marx never talked of state ownership, which Nehru implemented.

The result of this socialistic policies had a disastrous effect, India became the laggard on the world scene and just as Nehru died famine stalked the land. It was only with the intervention of the USA with its PL 480 law that millions did not die of hunger, as the USA pumped in millions of tons of food grains.

The Indian state lost 4 precious decades till Indian state finally decided that they had enough of Nehruvian socialistic policies and threw them overboard. But who will bring the 4 decades back when the Indian people suffered untold hardship.

Last word

Nehru is dead and gone, but it is the bane of India that a man who was more the philosopher ruled India. Chanakya that great political strategist has stated that people get the government they deserve. Is it the lot of the Indian people to have had Nehru at the helm of affairs? I do not believe it and its about time that the Indian state woke up and moved forward. I hope the observations of the Chinese Institute of Strategic Studies are negated in total.


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    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

      Dear Promod. facts speak otherwise

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)


      I differ with you.Linguist states was the correct step to keep Indian federation intact. The problem is that Hindi was imposed those who could not read and speak, but later Hindi made India more close kit.

      There are many threads which kept India as a one country.

      Language is never a problem if one who is really a patriotic and cooperative.

      I traveled in many part of India , I was able to communicate in Hindi or English.Parochial or chauvinists, made non issues into issues.

      It was not a blunder but right step to strengthening national integrity

      pramod gokhale

    • athulnair profile image

      athulnair 4 years ago from India

      This hub is really interesting. I never thought about this fact. Indeed it was one of the biggest mistake by creating states based upon language.