'Revisit the constituent debates of the Parliament'

Former chairperson of the Legislative Council B L Shankar has advised youngsters desiring to become leaders to necessarily revisit the constituent debates of the Parliament.

“Such a visit will help youngsters comprehensively realise their legacies and contributions to the evolution of Parliamentary democracy, and thereby help the aspiring leaders to understand a leader or thinker,” explained Shankar.

He was delivering a lecture on the topic ‘Nehru and Parliamentary Democracy’ as a part of a workshop on democratic political leadership organised to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru by the Academic Committee for Nehruvian Thought at Mangalore University here on Sunday.

Shankar laid stress on certain significant traits of Nehru as an architect of the Parliamentary democracy. Quoting from the written records of the debates in the Constituent Assembly, he spoke on how Nehru appealed for a Constitution that provided spaces for flexibility, commensurate with the times and contexts of India.

He also drew attention to how India was one of the few countries to provide universal adult suffrage to all its citizens right from the time when the Constitution was drafted.

Describing Nehru as a complete leader – who realised the importance of a strong Opposition – Shankar threw light on how Nehru, as a dedicated Parliamentarian, would sit through all the sessions of the Parliament and patiently address issues raised in the Assembly too.

Speaking on the relationship between Nehru and Patel, Shankar drew attention to how Patel, even in his last days, praised Nehru on turning 60, which refuted all notions that they were opponents. “Instead, it drew attention to how a real democracy can comprise of warm relations in spite of all differences of opinion,” he explained. In response to a question on what was the toughest time for Nehru in the Parliament, Shankar spoke of the 1960s and the Indo-China War, as his toughest days as a Parliamentarian.

‘Communal polarisation’

Media advisor to the chief minister Dinesh Amin Mattu, who spoke on ‘Social Justice and Nehru’s Influence’, said, “Demolition of the Babri Masjid and the neo-liberal policies of Manmohan Singh were primarily responsible for growing of crony capitalism and communal polarisation of Indian society.”

He said that these incidents and developments were the biggest blows to the Nehruvian legacy of socialism and secularism. “It is against this background that the Nehruvian vision of an egalitarian and secular India have to be examined. Nehru’s words, ‘to remove the inequalities, you have to give up this blind model of development’, show Ambedkar’s influence on Nehru and his idea of social justice,” he said.

In Nehru’s model of development, man is at the centre of the things and this gave a new language of development to this country, added Mattu. In Nehru’s model of development, man was at the centre of the things and this gave a new language of development to this country, he said.

Commenting on the cultural politics of reinforcing the dominant cultural values on the Indian society, he called upon the participants to stand up against the designs of communal elements that have spoiled the social fabric of this society – particularly Dakshina Kannada, which is considered as the cradle of multiculturism and pluralism.

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