"It is because of Nehru's consistent efforts that India established itself as a secular state with equal rights for all," said former diplomat and former union minister Mani Shanker Aiyer.
He was delivering a talk on 'the Nehruvian legacy and its discontents', organised by Alva's Education Foundation's speakers' club 'Rostrum' on Tuesday.
He said, "Nehru was an extraordinary giant of our freedom struggle, a prominent maker of modern India, a great believer of pluralism, the chief architect of our democracy, socialism and secular ethos."
According to Nehru, the one who lives in India is considered as Indian, irrespective of his/ her religion, caste, food, dress.
"It is because of his contribution to democracy, insistence on secularism, economic policies and non-alignment principle, which makes him distinguished with others in the history of Indian politics," Aiyer said.
Aiyer said, "Agriculture had been virtually stagnant for half a century and the average rate of economic growth was less than 1 %. Against this dismal backdrop, Nehru made it possible to accelerate the first fifteen years estimated GDP growth at 4 % and nearly 2 % per capita as opposed to 0.1 % from 1900-47."
Focusing on Nehru's policy of non-alignment, he said, "Nehru's non-alignment did not mean isolationism. It meant independence of judgment and action. It was not a passive but a pro-active and dynamic policy in which India was strongly committed to the goals of the United Nations and would do its best for peace in the world."
To a query on why democracy is a profuse value of Congress but not in Congressmen, he said Congress believes in the collective decision of party members and people's choice in an election.
When an audience member asked, why Rahul Gandhi should become prime minister of this country? he said, "if Indians wants to win and a secular state to be formed; it is only with Rahul Gandhi one can expect this."
In the afternoon session, he addressed journalism students of Alva's college about 'how to be an effective spokesperson for an organization'.
Alva's Education Foundation Trustee Vivek Alva, Alva's college Principal Dr Kurian, Head Alva's PG studies Journalism Dr Mouly Jeevanram, Rostrum Club Student coordinator Rohan D'Souza were present.