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Home » Speeches » Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri

(Broadcast to the nation on June 11, 1964, after being sworn in
as Prime Minister of India)

Friends: The towering personality who was in our midst till but a few days ago is no longer with us to lead and guide us. The last of his mortal remains have gone to join the soil and water of India he loved. Even though Jawaharlalji has passed out of our sight, his work and inspiration live on. And we, his contemporaries and colleagues, to whom was given the privilege of being his countrymen, must now brace ourselves to the new tasks ahead and face the situation the very prospect of which we once used to dread the situation of an India without Jawaharlal. There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the crossroads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us there be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking to right or left. Our way is straight and clear the building up of a socialist democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for all and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with all other nations. To that straight road and to these shining ideals we rededicate ourselves today. Among the major tasks before us none is of greater importance for our strength and stability than the task of building up the unity and solidarity of our people.

Our country has often stood like a solid rock in the face of common danger and there is a deep underlying unity which cannot take national unity and solidarity for granted or afford to be complacent for there have been occasions when unfortunate and disturbing divisions, some of them accompanied by violence, have appeared in our society. I know that these disturbances gave a deep shock and caused great anguish to Jawaharlalji who had all through his life worked untiringly for communal harmony and mutual toleration. Let not people in different parts of the country, however strong their feelings might be on particular issues; ever forget that they are Indians first and that all differences must be resolved within the unalterable framework of one nation and one country. Let us make every endeavour to foster this feeling of oneness and to carry forward the work of national integration which was started with the National Integration Conference in 1961.

Political democracy and the way it has functioned in our country is surely a great achievement. Here again we owe an immeasurable debt to Jawaharlalji for his deep attachment to democracy as a form of government and as a way of life. There is something in our older cultural heritage too. I have particularly in view that enduring strand in Indian life which can best be described as respect for human personality and the spirit of tolerance. I have no doubt in my mind that it is only by methods of persuasion and mutual accommodation and by a constant search for areas of agreement as the basis for action that democracy can work. It is in this spirit that I shall devote myself to the duties and responsibilities of the office I have been called upon to fill. Of all the problems facing us none is more distressing than that of dire poverty in which tens of millions of our countrymen continue to live. It is my great desire to be able to lighten in some measure the burden of poverty on our people. In this I remember particularly the claims of the most backward sections like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who have suffered neglect and have had to endure disabilities for many centuries. It would be my proud privilege to work for the establishment of a more just social order. At the moment we are in the process of building up our defenses. The burden is a heavy one, but recent events have left us with no choice. There can be no letup in these preparations, but we are determined that these should not affect our first and foremost prioritythe development of our economy.

The main question before us is that of executing our plans and policies and finding ways of introducing the vigor and efficiency that they require. This naturally takes me to the problem of efficiency and integrity of the administration. Our public services on the whole responded well, to the numerous calls that have been made upon them since Independence. But there is a widespread feeling, which I share, that extensive reform of the administration is essential if the tasks of economic development and social reconstruction are to be accomplished. Apart from this, it is essential in a democracy that the public services should be sensitive to the feelings and sentiments of individual citizens. They should under all circumstances function not only with formal courtesy but in a spirit of service, sympathy and humanity. The administrative organization and its methods and processes must be modernized if it is to become an effective instrument of economic change. I shall do my best to see that these major problems receive systematic attention and I shall apply myself closely to the problem of administrative reform in its various aspects. I know that our people are full of enthusiasm and that they are prepared to accept many sacrifices in order to keep the nation stable and strong. But sometimes their impatience gets the better of them and then there are unfortunate happenings which cause pain to everyone. Discipline and united action are the real source of strength for the nation. May I also appeal to the members of the various political parties to lend us a helping hand in the task of national reconstruction?

Similarly the Press can play a very useful role, as indeed they have been doing all this time. Theirs is a position of great strength and influence and I have no doubt that their influence will always be exercised for the public good. We are, all of us, different elements working in different ways towards a common goalthe service of the people. I shall respect these differences, but I shall continue to lay emphasis on the oneness of our objective. In the realm of foreign affairs we shall continue to seek friendship and develop our relations with all countries irrespective of their ideology or political systems. Nonalignment will continue to be the fundamental basis of our approach to world problems and our relations with other countries. It will be our special endeavour to further strengthen our relations with neighboring countries. With most of our neighbors we have friendly and cooperative relations. We have problems with some of them which we would like to settle peacefully and amicably on an equitable and honorable basis. India and Pakistan are two great countries linked together by common history and tradition. It is their natural destiny to be friends with each other and to enter into close cooperation in many fields. Goodwill and friendship and mutual cooperation between these countries will not only be of immense benefit to them but will make a great contribution to peace and prosperity in Asia. Far too long have India and Pakistan been at odds with each other. The unfortunate relations between the two countries have somehow had their repercussions on the relations between communities in the two countries, giving rise to tragic human problems.

We must reverse the tide. This will require determination and good sense on the part of the Governments and peoples of both India and Pakistan. President Ayub Khan's recent broadcast showed both wisdom and understanding and it has come just at the appropriate time. However, a great deal of patience will still be necessary. It had always been our desire to establish friendly relations with China. But all our efforts were nullified by the Government of the People's Republic of China. China has wronged us deeply and offended our Government and people by her premeditated aggression against us. Despite our strong feelings about this aggression we have shown our desire for a peaceful settlement by accepting in toto the Colombo Proposals. We adhere to them and it is for China to reconsider her attitude towards these proposals and to give up the antiIndian campaign that has been carried on in China and also amongst our friends in Asia and Africa. For the greater part of this century, the names of Gandhi and Nehru have been symbols of the movement of subject peoples for freedom from colonial domination. We, who have gone through our own struggle for freedom, cannot but look with sympathy at peoples struggling for freedom anywhere...

Our country has, for many years, been a stout champion of the freedom of dependent nations at the United Nations and elsewhere in the councils of nations. Unfortunately there are still some parts of the world where colonialism remains and where large sections of people are denied freedom and fundamental rights. We would consider it our moral duty to lend all support to the ending of colonialism and imperialism so that people everywhere are free to mould their own destiny. Our late Prime Minister was one of the founders of the AfroAsian movement. We conceive of AfroAsian solidarity not as an end in itself but as a means for achieving certain noble objectives. These are: to work for the freedom of the people of Asia and Africa; to build up an area of peace and understanding among all nations; and to promote economic growth and higher living standards among our peoples. We seek no leadership of the AfroAsian group. We are content to be humble collaborators with our sister nations in Africa and Asia in the common cause of world peace and freedom of the peoples. We have always been staunch supporters of the United Nations. As a member of that august body India has undertaken its full measure of responsibility in all aspects of the United Nations' activities. My Government reaffirms its unflinching support for the United Nations. The United Nations is the one hope of the world for bringing peace and freedom to humanity. Towards the achievement of these goals India has played an active role in the past and will continue to do the same in the future.

The problem of problems that faces mankind today is the achievement of peace and disarmament. For countless generations mankind has been yearning for peace. The supreme task facing the United Nations is to ensure not only that war is banished but that war is made impossible. As President Johnson has said, a world without war would be the most fitting memorial to Jawaharlalji. We pledge ourselves, in cooperation with other peaceful nations of the world, to continue to work for the realization of this ideal. Before I conclude, may I repeat that I am only too conscious of the magnitude of the tasks before us and the responsibility placed on my shoulders for the service of the people of my country? I approach these tasks and responsibilities in a spirit of humility and with love arid respect for all my countrymen. I will try to serve them to the limit of my capacity. The memory of our departed leader is still fresh with us. With him has ended the great age which Gandhiji began and Jawaharlalji consolidated. We have now to build on the firm foundations they have left behind. Let us then bend ourselves to the great tasks before usbuilding up an India free, prosperous and strong and a world at peace and without war. These would be the most fitting memorials to Gandhiji and Jawaharlal.

(Speech from the Red Fort on August 15, 1964)

Brothers and Sisters: As I stand here today I recall how we took a vow to plant the national flag on the Red Fort forty years ago when we were volunteers in the national movement. It was our brave leader, Jawaharlalji, who inspired this idea. We can never forget him. He was one of the greatest leaders of the freedom struggle; and after winning Independence he launched the massive task of India's reconstruction. For seventeen years he worked unceasingly, day and night, to consolidate our freedom. We all remember the joy and enthusiasm which surged through the country on August 15, 1947, when we regained our longlost freedom. For seventeen years, you witnessed every year the unforgettable scene of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru standing at this spot and unfurling the national flag. We cannot forget the dignity and courage with which he led the country. He became a part of our life. Now he is no longer with us. His inspiring voice is mute but he has left us an invaluable heritage which we must preserve. We have to surmount the difficulties that face us and work steadfastly for the happiness and prosperity of our country.

The food problem has become very acute during the last month and a half. The States of D.P., Bihar, Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and a part of Rajasthan are facing food scarcity. I can assure you that we are doing our best to meet this situation. We have rushed food grains from surplus States like Punjab, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh and also from imported stocks. Though we are not yet out of the woods, there has been a perceptible improvement. We will have to intensify our efforts during the coming months. We will also have to limit our consumption and help to feed those of our countrymen who are less fortunate than ourselves. We should not store food grains in excess of our requirements. I am confident that we will face this problem with courage and farsightedness. We will have to stop lavish feasts during the coming two or three months. Ministers will not participate in feasts and will not hold any parties. This may not result in much saving of food grains but it will have a psychological effect and set a good example before the people. The basic question to which we have to address ourselves IS that of increasing the production of food grains. I do not want to go into the details of the steps we are going to take. Broadly, we want to assure a fair price to the producers and procure grain without causing hardship. I am sure we will be able to improve our position considerably within a year or two. I do not want to minimize the other problems that face us. The prices of everyday necessities like cloth, oil, sugar and matches have risen. This has naturally affected the farmer also.

During the last 15 years we have invested ` 20,000 crores in our development plans. Unless this huge investment results in a corresponding increase in production, it is bound to lead to inflation and high prices. We will have to devise steps to arrest rising prices. There is no question of going back on our objective of establishing a new revolutionary society but we will have to take firm action to control prices. I am confident that the Government will be able to find a way out of the present economic difficulties. I want to ensure that essential commodities are available at fair prices during the coming years. I am not very much concerned about the prices of luxury goods but I do want the common man to be able to get food, cloth and articles of everyday use at a fair price. Every shop will have to display a pricelist and Government officials will have to enforce it strictly. We want peace at home and abroad. We have to pay particular attention to our relations with our neighbors. The Chinese invaded our country. Their attitude has not changed. Therefore we cannot change our attitude either. In consonance with the principles laid down by Gandhiji and Jawaharlalji we are always prepared to hold talks, consistent with our dignity and selfrespect; but our country is not going to bow down to any threat of force or of an atomic bomb

We are confident of the strength of our people, and are capable of facing every danger. I am happy that President Ayub Khan has expressed friendly sentiments. I welcome his plea for amity between India and Pakistan. We also desire amity. Border incidents are not good, either for Pakistan or for India. It also does not redound to our credit that we are not able to stop the migration of lakhs of people from across the border. I hope that we shall be able to hold talks within the next few months and create an atmosphere of goodwill which may lead to a settlement. We have friendly relations with our neighbors Burma, Ceylon, Nepal and Afghanistan. Some problems do crop up sometimes. I am happy that the Prime Minister of Ceylon has accepted our invitation to come here during October. I am confident that we will be able to find a solution to the problem of the people of Indian origin in Ceylon. Our Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh, is going to Burma, and I hope he will be able to resolve the present difficulties with that country. Jawaharlalji showed us the path of peace. We will work for world peace with all our strength. We will steer clear of alignment with power blocs and pursue an independent policy. We adhere to the policy of nonalignment, coexistence, disarmament, anticolonialism and antiracialism. We are firmly opposed to colonialism and we want to see the end of Portuguese colonialism. We cannot tolerate racial policies, whether in South Africa or elsewhere. We stand for truth and justice, not in an aggressive manner but with dignity and restraint. We can win respect in the world only if we are strong internally and can banish poverty and unemployment from our country. Above all we need national unity. Communal, provincial and linguistic conflicts weaken the country.

Therefore, we have to forge national unity. I appeal to all to work for national unity and usher in a social revolution to make our country strong. In the ultimate analysis, the strength of the country does not lie in material wealth alone. A country is made strong by people like Gandhi, Jawaharlal and Tagore; by the force of character and moral strength. Therefore, I appeal to our young men to inculcate in themselves discipline and character and work for the unity and advancement of the nation. If our young men and women work in this spirit, I have no doubt that the future of our country will be bright.

(Reply to the debate on the motion of 'No Confidence' in the Lok Sabha
on September 18, 1964)

The Main Point before us today is: How do we deal with the present food situation? There is no doubt that we have to take two steps. Firstly, we have to collect food grains from within the country. How we do it is a separate matter. The second alternative is to import from abroad. At the present moment, howsoever we may dislike the import of food grains; there is no choice for us but to depend upon it. If in the course of the next few months we are able to import a good quantity of wheat and rice, it would be possible for us to tide over the present difficulty. Fair price shops are very important. But what is more important is that these fair price shops should be managed well. There is no point in hiding the fact that from the fair price shops there is a good deal of leakage. I was told that in one of the States, about 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the cereals provided to the fair price shops was smuggled out and sold in the open market. I might also add that especially in the rural areas the fair price shops have not functioned properly and it is important, of course, that the administration should deal with it. It would also be advisable for the Panchayats to take more interest in it and for other nonofficials to keep an eye on the better functioning of the fair price shops. It has also to be rememberedI have not got the exact figures with me just at present that we have during the last three years subsidized food grains at the fair price shops to a very great extent. I think in 1961 it was round about ` 15 to ` 16 crores; it increased to ` 21 crores in 1962; it rose up to ` 36 or ` 37 crores in 1963 and it seems that in the year 1964 the figure might go up to ` 50 crores.

The Government will be prepared to subsidize as much as they can till such time as these fair price shops are essential and necessary. As I said, there are still some difficult areas which are badly affected, and specially Uttar Pradesh. North Bihar is also in a difficult situation and those areas which have been affected by floods are in a bad way. Even Punjab, which is a granary of food for us, for the country, or at least for the northern part of our country, is in serious difficulties, especially in the Rohtak Jhajjar area and, of course, a large area of Delhi is also in an exceedingly bad way. So, these floodaffected areas have to be helped much. There are problems similarly in Gujarat and in the rural areas of Maharashtra. There also much is being done and I would not say, because perhaps Members from Maharashtra might get somewhat angry, they are at the port and as soon as the grain is unloaded, they manage to keep it with themselves. However, we do not mind it because Maharashtra is a deficit State and if they manage to get food grains in some way or the other we should not resent it. Apart from this problem of flood, what is more important is the waterlogging in Punjab and in parts of U.P and some other States. I think that if the problem of waterlogging is solved in Punjab, we may get about two lakh tones or at least about a lakh tone of wheat from that area. It is a very fertile area, but large tracts are unculturable or have become unculturable because of waterlogging. It is not even possible for them to sow their rabi crops.

Formerly, of course, when an area was affected by floods, the kisan was not able to sow the kharif crop or the kharif crop sown was damaged, but they depended upon the rabi crop. But in the flood affected areas, the situation has come to such a pass that there is the danger of their not being able to sow even the rabi crops. In the waterlogged areas the things are still worse. As I said, for years together, they have not been able to produce anything. I am referring to this matter because I feel that very special attention is called for by the different departments concerned. I do not know, but I am merely expressing the view of an expert or a great engineer. He has said that because of the canals which have been constructed during the last few years, and some of the bridges of the railways or the culverts of the railways and also because of some roads which have been built, many areas have been affected, and because of there being no coordination between the different departments, waterlogging persists or it has resulted in continued waterlogging. I am sorry I am critical of the Government or of the administration, but I can with my own experience say that no department is prepared to shoulder the responsibility. If you mention it to the railways, they say, We have nothing to do with it; the bridges or the culverts were built long back. If you go to the Transport Ministry, they will say, Well, the roads are all right and, therefore, there should be no problem. If you refer to the Irrigation Department, of course, they are a law unto themselves. I am accepting it; I have myself said that; I should be held responsible for that. But what I want to emphasize is that the administration has to realize its responsibility in this matter. This kind of working in watertight compartments between one department and another must go. I think the responsibility must be fixed, and we cannot function in the present manner. It is not that I am mentioning it here only. In fact, when I met the Secretaries of all the Ministries, I emphasized this fact and I appealed to them and also advised them that there should be better coordination.

We are a very big and vast Government, and naturally, every Ministry is becoming bigger and bigger. It becomes, therefore, essential that there should be proper coordination. I would like only to add one more sentence, namely, that it is essential that loading, unloading and also quick dispatch to different areas should be expedited and arranged efficiently. Of course, as regards loading and unloading, it will be the ports which are mainly concerned. Then comes the railways. Things have considerably improved during this period. There has been quick loading and unloading. As regards labour, there was some difficulty, but they have responded well and the railways have also carried on their work efficiently and effectively during this period. This is, of course, for the short period, if we are thinking of the shortterm. As I said, I do not want to take a complacent view. I think our responsibility is very great and I see difficult days ahead, at least for these two monthsSeptember and October. Till the new harvest has come, there will be difficulties ahead.

As for the imports which are to come, there has been some delay because of difficulties in the American ports. Yet, several countries have helped us in diverting their ships to India and it would, therefore, be possible for us to get adequate food during the third week of this month. Eventually, what is most important is increased production of foodgrains. Towards this end, I would merely mention two new steps which we propose to take. There is the production side of it and there is the distribution part. In so far as production is concerned, the Food Minister has announced that we want to fix the price of food grains for producers. This is a revolutionary step. It has not been done so far, although we have been thinking about it for some time. Yet I cannot ignore what Dr. Lohia said the other day that if we give higher prices to the producer, it would mean constant increase in or higher price of food grains. It is an aspect of this problem which will have to be carefully considered. It is desirable that this matter should be considered by an objective authority, by an objective body, a body of experts which should consider the question of fixation of price for an ad hoc announcement, because we do not want to delay the matter much. The prices for rabi crops have to be announced soon, because sowing will begin sometime in the month of November, or slightly earlier or later in some places.

Therefore, the announcement for the rabi crops about the price for the producer has to be made soon. We have appointed a committee of some of our experts and officials here at the Centre, with Shri L. K. Jha as its Chairman, and Finance, Food and other Ministries concerned are all represented on it. Their report will be submitted, I think, in the next week in so far as producer's prices are concerned. By the end of this month, I hope, they will also be able to submit their report in regard to the prices to be fixed for wholesalers and retailers. This work has also been referred to them.This is a difficult task, no doubt. But this committee, at least for the next year, will do this task. After that, I hope in the month of January, the Prices Commission will be set up, and it would be a permanent body, and will, of course, continue to do this work in future. Maybe mechanized farming, etc., is good; and we may have Suratgarh farms, not one but others also.We should have them as experimental, demonstration farms. It would also help us in adding to our present food production but, by and large, it is not possible for the cultivator to take to mechanized farming. I fear that if we do that, we will have to import machinery from outside in large quantities and we will have to add to our loans and to our foreign exchange.

And, secondly, if we take to mechanized farming etc. now, difficulties will arise as there is no technical personnel available; some are there, but if we do it in a large measure, unless we have got the personnel, the result would be that this machinery will continue lying unused for months and months together. So, instead of being beneficial to the kisans, it would be definitely harmful. As I said, we may go in for this at a later stage, but just at present what is needed is that the kisan should get water, better seeds, manures and necessary credit facilities. If we can give these things to the kisan, I have absolutely no doubt that he will produce the results. I remember very well what Pandit Jawaharlalji used to say that he did not want big bulldozers, tractors, etc. He only wanted to give the kisan slightly improved ploughs and other improved implements which could be produced in this country. If any repairs, etc., were necessary, he said the kisans themselves could do it, or people should be taught and trained to take to that work. I feel exactly the same way, and, therefore, I would suggest that the Government should concentrate on this. The community development blocks, during the next few years, should concentrate on increased food production and nothing else. They can, of course, do other things, but the main part of their work would be helping the kisans to increase their production. I would go even to the length of suggesting that it should be the responsibility of the community development officers to survey each and every field. There should be a proper survey made as to what has been the production of a particular field, what progress was made during the next six months; or if there was no progress made, what were the obstacles and what were the difficulties of the kisans. Those difficulties and obstacles must be rectified. There should be a regular chart. I do not suggest that we should merely work on paper. I sometimes feel that all the jeeps from the community development blocks should be withdrawn. It may be that I may be making an exaggerated statement, but I feel that unless the workers and the block development officers walk on foot, they will never visit the villages.

Now about distribution. The Food and Agriculture Minister has already spoken about the setting up of an AllIndia Food grains Corporation. It is also a new step we want to take. Of course, we do not want to monopolize or create monopolies in the sense that the Government alone will deal with food grains. It is an experiment and I think we should carefully start with it and try to succeed. It is in a way State Trading and if we succeed in it we can take another step. It is not a question of any ideology. It is an essential thing and it is the responsibility of the Government to give food to the people at reasonable price. It should be seen that there is no scarcity or shortage. This should be our objective. Some Honorable Members have said that we are now going over to State Trading. Perhaps some Honorable Members from the Opposition are critical of us. But may I say in a country like Japan, which mostly believes in private trade, the State procures all the food grains or rice produced. Not only that. Distribution also is done by the Government of Japan. I am told that 36,000 or 40,000 retail shops somebody says 54,000 retail shops are in Japan to distribute them. They do it because, as I said, their objective is to supply food grains at reasonable price to the consumers and also give adequate price to the producer. These are the two objectives before them. It is, therefore, important to understand that as a matter of theoretical policy only we do not do this or that. There are various practical steps to be taken, various practical aspects to be considered and then we have to decide as to what is best for the country as a whole. We will not hesitate to go to the farthest length to help the producer and the consumer in so far as the supply of food grains is concerned. I might add one thing more. There is a feeling in the States that they have to depend upon the Centre. This trend has to be changed and a new psychology has to be created in the States and the States should think in other terms. States which are actually deficit will have some problems, bigger problems than the surplus States; even those States which are more or less selfsufficient, if not surplus, can meet their needs and requirements. Even they depend on the Centre and, therefore, it has its own adverse effect on the administration. They do not put in their best effort to produce more because they know that ultimately the Centre will find food grains. This is not a very happy situation.

Sometimes I feel that, for a few years, if it really becomes necessary, the Centre might take the responsibility of feeding the bigger cities and for the rest of the area the States must find their own cereals and food grains; whether this is wheat or rice or coarse grains. The present position is that coarse grain is not generally being consumed and people ask for more wheat .and more rice. But if we try, as I said, to introduce this kind of a scheme, cities would be the main problem of the deficit areas as well as some of the surplus areas. We will have to examine this matter, but in order to change the present trend, if it is essential, the Centre might for a few years say that we take their responsibility for the bigger cities. I do not confine myself to Calcutta, Bombay, Madras or Delhi; there are other cities also, for example, Kanpur, Lucknow or Allahabad or Patna and other similar cities. I hope that this aspect of the matter will be considered so that the States try to become more selfsufficient. Let me now go over to industry. Whether it is agriculture or industry, they have all to be viewed under the shadow of our Plans. Both agriculture and industry form a vital part of the Plans. In so far as planning is concerned, I need not repeat that it is absolutely essential for our country. If there is no Plan or no Planning Commission there will be chaos. During the last 17 years, the per capita consumption of food grains has gone up from 13.5 ounces to 15.3 ounces; that of cotton cloth from 10.98 meters to 14.63 meters. This has happened between 1951 and 1963. I would also like to quote some figures regarding the increase in per capita consumption of a number of items in respect of which there is every reason to believe that it is not the rich who have stepped up their consumption but the middle and the lower income groups who are now consuming more. Take sugar, for example. Between 195051 and 196364 the consumption per capita has shown an increase of about 63 per cent. In tea there has been an increase of about 27 per cent; vanaspati, 73 per cent; paper, 179 per cent; bicycles, 251 per cent; sewing machines, 244 per cent; and electric fans, 261 per cent.

This will indicate as to what has been done in the field of production. These 17 years have been years of a mighty endeavour by the people of India under the leadership of a great and noble leader, Pandit Jawaharlalji, for uplifting the masses from the abyss of poverty, disease, squalor and ignorance. In that process, certain problems have undoubtedly arisen, but they are necessarily the problems of a developing economy. There is an unavoidable period of travail which a country has to go through in order to attain prosperity. During these 17 years we have adopted for ourselves a democratic Constitution, we have held three general elections which have set firmly the democratic system of government in our country. We are proud of this legacy. Sir, much has been said about corruption. In so far as dealing with this matter is concerned, well, Nandaji has been good enough to pass on the responsibility to me. Well, it is a very difficult and delicate task but I do not want to shirk that responsibility. It is, however, important that there should be certain conventions. The law is really not very effective in these matters. It is exceedingly difficult to prove a case or to prove the charge. Therefore, certain conventions have to be built up. Once the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister tells anyone of his colleagues that he feels there is prima facie case or he feels that there is something which is not correct, the Minister should immediately tender his resignation. Sir, I also want to suggest that our Chief Ministers hold very responsible positions. They run the whole States, very big and important Statesand even smaller States are in no way less important.

Therefore, the Chief Ministers cannot also shirk their responsibility. It is neither wise nor good for the Chief Ministers to pass on all their problems to the Prime Minister. They must deal with their own colleagues first. Of course, if they find it almost impossible to deal with them they can certainly refer the matter to me and I shall try to deal with it as best as I can. I say, Sir, with full sense of responsibility that India is a place where integrity is given the highest consideration and the highest respect. In this country the Prime Minister is, I mean, practically given a secondary place. If there is a good, honest man like Vinoba Bhave I have no importance in the eyes of the people as Prime Minister. Of course, I may leave out Pandit Jawaharlalji; he was a different person altogether. I can say, Sir that by and large this country is an honest country; this country has maintained certain standards. Now I would like to refer to what Shri Hiren Mukherjee said the other day. He suggested that I had deviated from Pandit Nehru's policies. If he will permit me to say so, it should not be difficult for a professor to know the correct position. But since he happens to be a Communist, it is difficult for him to think outside the framework of the Communist idea. May I tell him that in a democracy there is nothing like deviation or deviationist? It does not find a place in the dictionary of a democracy. In a democracy there is every opportunity for rethinking and freedom for the formation of new schemes and policies. I said on the very first day of my election, and on more than one occasion later, that the Government of India will continue to follow the policy of Nehru in international matters and democratic socialism will continue to be our objective in our domestic policy. May I also remind him of what happened during our freedom struggle days? I know it personally at least for the last 40 or 42 years. What happened when Mahatma Gandhi took over the leadership? There was complete overhaul, complete change in philosophy, policy) technique and programmes. Mahatma Gandhi completely deviated from Lokamanya Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose and Lala Lajpat, Rai. Will you condemn Gandhiji for this?

I hope Professor Mukerjee will be good enough at least to excuse Gandhi if not me. And what happened in the case of Shri Jawaharlal Nehru) himself? In a way, Gandhiji was his preceptor, the guru in a sense. But did he entirely agree with Gandhiji? No. And yet could you find a more loyal and devoted person to Gandhi than Jawaharlal? I say, he loved Gandhiji immensely and he gave his fullest loyalty to Gandhiji; yet, he had his own way of thinking, independent way of thinking. When he had joint the Government, it was not possible for him to put into effect each and every idea of Gandhiji. Why restrict ourselves to India? When the first Communist Government was formed, Lenin tried to put into effect fully all the policies enunciated by Marx in Das Kapital. Lenin found after some time that it was impossible to work some of them. So he announced a new economic policy (NEP) and it was put into effect. It was a departure from what Marx had actually said in his book. Now, Lenin goes and Stalin comes. What does he do? I need not tell the House every one of you is aware as to what Stalin did. In fact, he was totally different from Lenin. I consider Lenin to be one of the greatest revolutionaries of the world. But if I might say I hope, I would be excusedI consider Stalin not to be a revolutionary at all. Whether one agrees with it or not is a different matter, but Stalin used the Government machine for continuing his reign over the Soviet land till he lived. For him it was just a struggle for power throughout his life.

Now, let us consider the policy Premier Khrushchev is pursuing. He has censured Stalin and his policies also in the strongest terms possible. The basic ideology is wholly acceptable to Premier Khrushchev in fact, he is the greatest exponent of this theory in the modem times but he has flatly refused to tread the beaten track and he has adopted a new programme and technique. I consider Premier Khrushchev to be one of the most distinguished leaders of the world, because he refuses to walk on the beaten track. In the political field situations change, men change, conditions change, environments change and the real leader must respond to the changing conditions. We do not want to drag in the name of Pandit Jawaharlalji for covering our lapses and inefficiencies. We cannot forget our great leader Pandit Jawaharlaljiour Prime Minister, our hero with whom we worked for 40 years, for about half a century. But I would like to say that it is clear that we have followed a wellset course for a number of years in international matters. We believe in non alignment and in the pursuit of peaceful methods for the settlement of international disputes. We are equally clear that colonies should not exist and that racialism should be resisted. Co existence is a wholesome and absolutely sound policy which was initiated and strengthened by our late Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlalji. We wholeheartedly endorse it and it is a great achievement of the policy of co existence that in certain matters even the biggest powers are coming closer to each other. Any threat or danger of war would be ruinous for the world, especially for countries like India who are engaged in fighting an exceedingly difficult problemthat of poverty and unemployment. I must say that I do not fancy the idea of keeping in complete isolation and not talking or discussing with others. We have always tolerated difference of opinion, and I feel pained when I see an exhibition occasionally of intolerance. I would like to recall what the late President Kennedy said in his inaugural address:

Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.

I think that is the best principle which should be accepted by us in this country. I would like to conclude by affirming our firm faith in democracy and socialism. To my mind, socialism in India must mean a better deal for the great mass of our people who are engaged in agriculture, the large number of workers who are engaged in the various factories and the middle classes who have suffered much during the period of rising prices. These are what I call the common men of my country. As the head of the Government, it would be my continuous endeavour to see that these objectives are realized and that a social and economic order is established in which the welfare of our people is assured.

(Speech at the opening of the Plutonium Plant of the Atomic Energy Department, Trombay,
on October 22, 1964)

The Atomic Energy commission has been able to build up this Plutonium Plant on their own. It is a great tribute to them. During the last few decades there has been a tremendous development of science and technology. This holds great hope for a developing country such as India. The leeway of ages can perhaps be made good in a decade or two by determined efforts on the part of our scientists and technologists. Science, therefore, has a special place and importance in our country. Our great leader, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the utmost emphasis on the setting up of new laboratories for research. There has, no doubt, to be fundamental research in science, but applied research is equally important for new improvements and changes in our techniques. I am glad that the importance of this aspect is fully realized by our scientists. The policy enunciated by our late Prime Minister in regard to the growth of science has to be pursued and followed up. We have to utilize the exploits of science in every branch of our activities and I do hope and expect that, despite our difficulties, necessary funds will be found for it. The atomic energy establishment in Trombay has been a great venture. We are grateful for the Canadian Government's aid and assistance. I am very glad indeed that every effort has been made in this establishment to train up our own scientists and thus build up a cadre of efficient scientists in our country. It is also pleasing to know that the first reactor, Apsara, was established by our own scientists and engineers. They are young and they have a great future before them. Naturally much more is expected of them. I wish them all success in their efforts. We have developed this plant with a view to utilizing atomic energy for peaceful purposes. It is essential that this revolutionary technique in atomic energy should be made use of for bettering the lot of the people and changing the face of the world. It is most regrettable that nuclear energy is being harnessed for making nuclear weapons. This constitutes a grave threat to the world. If there is a nuclear war, God forbid, it would mean destruction on a very big scale, indeed complete devastation. We cannot play with the lives of human beings. We have, therefore, to work for peace. It is unfortunate that no further advance has been made ever since the signing of the Moscow Partial Test Ban Treaty. It is important that this Treaty should be further extended to underground tests, etc.

The world is passing today through one of the most critical phases in human history and time is the essence of the matter. If we want to stop further proliferation of nuclear armaments, the Disarmament Committee will have to be more active and more earnest. And I want to take this opportunity to appeal to you, our distinguished guests who have come from so many friendly countries, to do all that you can to rouse world opinion and world conscience against the destructive use of the mighty atom. The peoples of the world must be made aware of the danger that they face from the possibility of the most glorious discovery achieved by the mind of man being used in a perverted manner for the destruction of humanity itself. India has decided not to enter this race for nuclear armaments. Asian and African nations have many more important things to do in order to build up their own country and countrymen. We cannot afford to spend millions and millions over nuclear arms when there is poverty and unemployment all around us. India will, therefore, have to rouse world opinion against the destructive use of atomic energy. The Trombay establishment is, therefore, an instrument of peace.

(Address at the National Defense College on November 16, 1964)

It is my desire to have good relations with all countries in Europe, Africa or Asia, especially with the neighboring countries. We should all endeavour to have the best of relations amongst ourselves. The production of atom bombs will impose a great burden on the country. It is a matter of pride that Indian scientists have done well in the nuclear field. But it should not be forgotten that the country stands for peace. It must be borne in mind that once the country enters the nuclear race, it will be difficult to stop at a particular point. The country will be committed to a tremendous cost. The choice before the country is the production of the atom bomb or the battle against starvation, soaring prices and unemployment. I do not consider the atom bomb as a weapon of war. It is a device for the destruction of humanity. What China has done is intended to frighten us, to frighten the countries of Southeast Asia and to create an impression on the African countries. Need we be frightened? If we are, China will be the gainer. I cannot say about other countries but India must take a definite stand and show to China and the world that she is not going to be demoralized by the Chinese explosion. The country has been trying to tide over one situation after another during the last few months. Luckily, the current kharif crop has been very good. There has been a bumper rice crop. It will start coming to the market soon. During the next two months, the position will be easier. But, we have to take a long range view of things and plan for at least the next two or three years. It is necessary to build reserve stocks of both rice and wheat. The most important task is to help the agriculturist produce more. For its part, the Government will assist him with good seeds, manure, irrigation facilities and agricultural credit.

Editorial Team,
Mindfiesta

 
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