New Delhi: At the times of dissent and protests, Rajkamal Prakashan has come up with a Hindi book – Kaun Hain Bharat Mata? Earlier, it was written in English and published by Speaking Tiger under that name – Who is Bharat Mata?
The book is a compilation of Jawaharlal Nehru's writings, which were edited by a professor and senior author Purushottam Agarwal. The book talks about Nehru's speeches, essays and letters from the pre and post Independence years and also presents some of his most revealing interviews.
Aggarwal has tried to put forth the complete vision about Jawaharlal Nehru's personality, thoughts and policies. Speaking at the launch of the book, renowned poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar said that he agrees with many of the thoughts that Aggarwal has expressed. Yet he will put a counter opinion for every thought given, to obtain a healthy discussion.
Akhtar also reminisced about how he got Nehru's autograph when he was 14-15 years old, during the discussion of the course on how Nehru's intellectual heritage and views shaped the history, culture and the idea of India.
Aggarwal said that he has studied Nehru for 15-16 years and concluded that he was a culturally rooted person and the word 'rooted' doesn't mean stagnated but stable and firm enough to have a strong foundation in order to grow big in life.
During the discussion with Akhtar, Aggarwal expressed his concern that Nehru is falsely targeted for everything wrong in the country and there are a lot of rumours and uninformed thoughts being spread about the first prime minister of India to score political mileage by known and unknown faces.
He shared his concern about the content of the current education system and how history as a subject has been looked down upon. A feeling of disdain was induced among people towards history as a subject to study, which as a result encouraged ignorance and foolishness among people.
Trying to look balanced in his approach, Aggarwal has tried to bring out in open the reality of Nehru's judgement and rumination through his carefully put anthology. When right to dissent is a core principle of democracy, it seems to be burdened by fear, doubt, false information and fake news.