Monday, October 2, 2006

Nehru on NEFA ( now Arunachal Pradesh)

"I'm alarmed when I see - not only in this country but in other great countries too - how anxious people are to shape others according to their own image or likeness, and to impose on them their particular way of living. We are welcome to our way of living, but why impose it on others? This applies equally to national and international fields. In fact, there would be more peace in the world if people were to desist from imposing their way of living on the other people and countries.

I am not at all sure which is the better way of living, the tribal or our own. In some respects I am quite certain theirs is better. Therefore, it is grossly presumptous on our part to approach them with an air of superiority, to tell them how to behave or what not to do. There is no point in trying to make them a second-rate copy of ourselves."

-Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Five fundamental principles deviced by Pt. Nehru for administering NEFA: -

  1. People should develop along lines of their own genius and we should avoid imposing anything on them. We should try to encourage in every way their traditional arts and culture.
  2. Tribal rights in land and forests should be respected.
  3. We should try to train and build up a team of their own people to do the work of administration and development. Some technical personnel from outside will no doubt, be needed, especially in the beginning. But we should avoid introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory.
  4. We should not over-administer these areas or overwhelm them with a multiplicity of schemes. We should rather work through, and not in rivalry to, their own social and cultural institutions.
  5. We should judge results, not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the quality of human character that is evolved.
I came across the above thought and principles of Pt. Nehru while I was going through a book titled "Philosophy for NEFA" - by Verrier Elwin. I don't know how much the State - Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA) - has shaped according to his vision, but it made me salute Pt. Jawarhar Lal Nehru-first Prime Minister of Independant India. He was indeed an Architect of Modern India.


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