Answer to Question #164880 in Sociology for akansha

Question #164880

Talking about India, Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked:

“She (India) was like some ancient palimpsest* on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.”

Nehru in this statement is asserting how different cultures, practices and traditions have come to define the idea and reality of India. Do you agree with Nehru? Why/Why Not? 

With concrete examples from political, economic, historical, regional and socio-cultural spheres, support your argument.

*Palimpsest: a manuscript on which two or more successive texts have been written, while visible traces of the previous texts still remain. 

1) For references within the text:

When you use exact quotations, put them within double quotes and then in parenthesis write the last name of the author, year of publication and page number. 

For example:- 

"The onus of boundary maintenance falls on women because of their role in biological reproduction" (Dube, 1988, p.1). 

2) At the end of your paper, prepare a list of References in the following format: 

Last Name, First Name. Year of publication. Name of the article. Source.

For example: 

Dube, Leela. 1988. On the Construction of Gender. Economic and Political Weekly. 

Expert's answer

A)I agree with Nerhu's argument with his belief that every state needed a 'national philosophy' to sustain it, give it coherence and to direct it, Nehru devoted attention to the elaboration of a unifying national philosophy. According to John (2017), Nerhu meant that 'modernization' was India's national philosophy and involved seven national goals-national unity, parliamentary democracy, industrialization, socialism, scientific temper, secularism and non-alignment. Similarly a research conducted by Sengupta (2017), showed that how Nerhu embraced this philosophy and explains how he sought to obtain its public acceptance.


i) Political

Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence. His idea of a secular nation-state was seemingly validated when the Congress swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces; on the other hand, the separatist Muslim League fared much poorer. However, these achievements were severely compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British effectively crush the Congress as a political organization (Hemani & Rao, 2020). Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape.

ii) Socio-Culture

Nehru was a passionate advocate of education for India's children and youth, believing it essential for India's future progress. His government oversaw the establishment of many institutions of higher learning, including the all India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and the National Institutes of Technology (Ramanath, 2018). Similarly, Nehru exempted Muslim law from legislation and they remained unreformed, he did pass the Special Marriage Act in 1954. The idea behind this act was to give everyone in India the ability to marry outside the personal law under a civil marriage.

iii) Economic

Nehru implemented policies based on import substitution industrialization and advocated a mixed economy where the government controlled public sector would co-exist with the private sector. According to Mishra (2020), Nerhu believed that the establishment of basic and heavy industry was fundamental to the development and modernization of the Indian economy. The government, therefore, directed investment primarily into key public sector industries like; steel, iron, coal, and power-promoting their development with subsidies and protectionist policies.

iv) Historical

Jawaharlal Nehru; 14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian independence activist and, subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India, as well as a central figure in Indian politics both before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement, serving India as Prime Minister from its establishment in 1947 as an independent nation, until his death in 1964 (Gürel, 2020). He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community, while Indian children knew him better as "Chacha Nehru".


Gürel, B. (2020). Historical roots, current manifestations, and future prospects of fascism in India. Revolutionary Marxism 2020, 103, 147.

Hemani, N., & Rao, A. (2020). Azad Hind: Radical Indian nationalism in Nazi Germany during World War Two.

John, M. (2017). Constitutionalism as instructions for nationhood: A comment on identity in Indian constitutional law.

Mishra, M. (2020). A comparative study of tools and processes of empowerment and inclusion of marginalized communities as under affirmative action and the EU framework. The case of the Roma of Hungary and the Dalits of India (Doctoral dissertation, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem).

Ramanath, S. (2018). Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science: Mahendralal Sircar and His Science, Morality, and Nationalism (Doctoral dissertation).

Sengupta, P. (2017). Language as Identity in Colonial India: Policies and Politics. Springer.

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