RECOLLECTIONS OF A COMMUNICATOR, Remembering Jawaharlal Nehru (Part I)

November 14th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by ANI  

By I. Ramamohan Rao

New Delhi, Nov.14 (ANI): Many of my generation have fond memories of Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Much has been written about his contribution to the freedom struggle, his role as the first Prime Minister of India, and how he propounded non-alignment and emerged as a world leader. But many of us who had the chance to meet him still recall the warmth he effused toward all human beings whom he came across.

The first time I came across him was in Delhi during the autumn of 1955. I was around the Parliament House during my tour of the Capital. I saw a banner in the Parliament that there was a discussion under the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies on the Indian Constitution. As someone who had just then answered a paper in Constitutional Law for LL.B. and Constitutional History for M.A. at Bombay University, I felt that I should hear the discussions. I went into the Parliament House. Those days, there was no need for passes to enter the Parliament building. Passes were necessary only to enter the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.

In one of the rooms, around a hundred people had gathered, most of them elderly and looked like Members of Parliament. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was talking to them and he was elaborating on the Indian Constitution and dwelt on the role of the Parliament and the responsibilities of legislators. After his speech, there was a brief interval and participants came out for tea on the lawns outside the Central Hall.

I was overwhelmed to notice that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came near the table where I just picking up a mug of tea. He saw me in a crowd of elders. I was barely 21-years-old then. He asked me, I guess you are a student, did you find the discussion interesting? I replied, Sir, I have just finished law and M.A. and found the speeches absorbing. What are your views, young man, he asked again. I took the courage to say that the Indian Constitution should have been more unitary in character than federal, and there was a danger to the unity of the country with the demands for reorganization of States gaining momentum He smiled, patted me and told me to keep my interest alive in Parliamentary Democracy.

It was too overwhelming for me to be in the presence of Panditji, a charismatic leader, and be spoken to by him.

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