The memories of great men never fade away more so of legends like Pandit Nehru. Even after 130 years of his birth, his lines, “If any people choose to think of me, then I should like them to say ‘this was a man who, with all mind and heart, loved India and the Indian people’. And they, in turn, were indulgent to him and gave him of their love most abundantly and extravagantly” reverberate in the minds and hearts of the people. He does not need a memorial, for the whole of India is a memorial to him.
Panditji built the edifice of a modern, democratic, tolerant, secular and pluralistic India. He created the institutions of modern India like the prestigious IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, National Physical and Chemical Laboratories, AIIMS (All India Institute for Medical Sciences), Industrial megaprojects of steel and power generation, etc. He called the hydroelectric power project dams as “temples of modern India”. He propounded the concept of inculcating scientific temperament among our children and youth.
Panditji was very fond of children and his love for them was reciprocated by being called Chacha Nehru. For him, children were like the buds in a garden who should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and citizens of tomorrow. He felt critical thinking, reasoning and rationality should be the basis of all learning. But even more important is to teach them the power of empathy, compassion and loyalty. It is our responsibility to give our children a healthy and happy childhood.
In return, we can also learn from children. Panditji always felt that children are much wiser than adults. Children do not think of differences amongst themselves. Bring a group of children together, they play or quarrel, but even their quarrels are playful. They don’t build barriers as adults do. Grown-ups build barriers of clan, caste, religion and customs and live in prisons of their own making. Children negate the barriers. They accept without prejudice, are open and find pleasure in small things. When we educate them we need to be sure that their love for freedom and zest for life is not eclipsed and they don’t forget to be humane, kind and playful. Our humble efforts at PMF to create hi-tech, healthy, happy and harmonious communities is a tribute to the spirit of Pandit Nehru who always stood for freedom, creativity & innovation.
On this day, let us once again renew our commitment to the welfare of building a happy and harmonious nation.