Gulzarilal Nanda

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Gulzarilal Nanda (July 4, 1898January 15, 1998) was an Indian politician and Economist who specialized in labour issues. He was the Prime Minister of India for two short periods following the deaths of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964 and Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. Both his terms ended after the ruling Indian National Congress's parliamentary party elected a new prime minister. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1997.

Quotes[edit]

  • The nation is in the grip of a crisis. It is in essence a crisis of character. The obstructions and failures in other fields – economic, social and political – are just a reflection of our decline in the moral scale.
  • I passed an entire night in mental turmoil. Ultimately, I decided to take the plunge without even informing my family.
    • India Today in: "Gulzarilal Nanda: Profile in austerity".
    • When he joined the Freedom Movement in 1921 after he met Mahatma Gandhi.

Gulzarilal Nanda: A Life in the Service of the People[edit]

Promilla Kalhan in: Gulzarilal Nanda: A Life in the Service of the People, Allied Publishers, 1997

  • A radical change occurred in the state of my consciousness. I was fifteen then.I made up my mind that my life would take a new turn. I was aspiring for a future which would have some valuable significance. I went to Lahore with a feeling of eager expectation. A cousin of my father had joined the Forman Christian College (Lahore) two years earlier.He arranged my admission and guided my first steps
    • In, p. 10.
  • I had planned to return to Lahore to join the college as an English student of MA. But something happened which changed my course. I chanced to meet a Professor who said I should migrate to Allahabad University where I could do both MA and Law in a period of two years. My father-in-law had some relatives in Agra who helped me to get admission in a college there.
    • In, p. 11.
  • I had seen him [Mahatama Gandhi] from a distance This was going to be the first personal contact. As I ascended the stairs of Manibahavan...I was feeling the thrill of anticipation of a great event. I entered the room and the awe which the scene inside inspired in my heart has not been erased from my memory. I sat in front of the Mahatma...After a while Gandhiji turned to me and asked me about the work that I was doing...He then inquired about my situation. Would I have to face any difficulties if I came away to join the movement? I reflected for a few fleeting moments. I asked myself...How can an army like this function if every soldier who is recruited has to place his personal difficulties before the General. I replied to him that I had no problems for his consideration. Then an interesting conversation followed. Lala Lajpat Rai took up the thread and asked Gandhiji to permit me to proceed to the Punjab, the place of my origin and join him, in the work of the movement there. Thereafter Shankarlal Banker put forward the argument that since my political birth was in Bombay I should stick to this place. The Mahatma gave his verdict in favour of Bombay and thus the interview ended. I found that Bunker was the key figure in the organization in Bombay then and a number of activities were being carried out under his personal direction.
    • In, p. 5-6
  • Industrialization relations are of the highest importance from every point of view including that of production.
    • In, p. 23.
  • The question of giving workers a sense of belonging, an increased share in the affairs of the industry, has been a topical issue the world over. We gave it official recognition when a specific recommendation in this connection was made in the Second Five-Year Plan.
    • In, P.24.
  • I have myself taken a hand in propagating the virtues of workers’ partnership in the management and I strove hard to set up Joint Management Councils in as many establishments as possible both in the private and public sectors.
    • In, p. 27.
  • We cannot be oblivious of the fact that every year there is a net addition of 1.8 million to 2 million persons to the working force in the country on account of the continuous increase in population. It must be our common aim that the total effect of our policies is the creation of maximum employment in the country, accompanied by a steady rise in living standards.
    • In, p. 29.
  • The people of the country have taken to planning from the start – accepted it...At the top there were doubts, differences. Now The acceptance of planning is almost unanimous in the country. The importance of industrialization has always been accepted. Gandhiji’s emphasis on cottage industries...Cottage industries, however will not suffice.
    • In, p. 30.
  • A plan of large size can be made a reality either by an intensely capitalistic method of development or by a genuinely socialistic approach. The Capitalistic way is ruled out by the fact that the political conditions are wholly incompatible with it, and a pursuit of this method may lead to a political breakdown.
    • p.32.
  • Corruption is a serious hindrance to the development of the socialist pattern… When there is scope for corruption there cannot be equal opportunity… Some attention has to be paid to the well-being of women, landless labourers, and tribals among others – and equality of opportunity to all children. The ideology of underlying a socialist pattern is not an exclusive concern of any one Party. It is the concern of the whole nation.
    • In, p. 36.
  • Planning is to be based on the democratic approach and method. There should, therefore, be definite place for voluntary effort...a substantial advance should be made towards solving the problems of unemployment. At the same a large increase is the supply of consumer goods should be secured through cottage and small scale industries...The Socialist pattern implies a large and growing public sector in the national economy...And economy based on the socialistic pattern does not preclude the existence of a private sector, particularly in agriculture and small scale industries...In the public and private sectors alike, the relations of workers to management should be such as would give to them a distinctive role and a share in the making of decisions affecting the enterprise...In any case, a series of measures will have to be adopted to eliminate speculative and unearned gains...Special attention will have to be given to the elimination of conspicuous consumption...
    • As Panning Minister drafting the Second Fiver Year Plan, in 1955, p. 49.
  • [In 1956], Prohibition we have to make it successful. To whatever extent we go forward it must be attained effectively. We are told that only a very small percentage drink in India. That should be an added reason for carrying out prohibition because it should be easier to make it successful. When large numbers drink there is a no strong opinion against it. But if ninety percent do not, it is reservoir of public opinion which if utilized properly is a guarantee of success of prohibition.
    • In p. 41
    • Prohibition was made an integral part of the Second Fiver Plan in March 1956.
  • [The Samyukta Sadachar Samiti] was brought into being in response to a call and and as an answer to a challenge. There is a keen sense of awareness and deep anxiety about the damage that corruption in administration and business is doing to the social, economic and political fabric of the nation.
    • In, P.112.
    • The committee proposed by him was to prevent corruption.
  • When waiting, travelling and not fully occupied otherwise – relax, breath, with draw and remember at attainment of pleasure that really satisfies through the wise use of leisure is an integral part of right living.
    • In, p. 150.
  • Seek more and more direct contact and communion with nature – with the soul invigorative as well bodily beneficial influences of earth, sky, sun , wind and rain. Feeling oneness with nature. Face up to the weather and meet all its changing needs. Accept the weather as a whole. It then becomes an ally.
    • In, P.150.

About Gulzarilal Nanda[edit]

  • Before 1947 he was known as a transporter of “Nanda Bus Service “ with the partnership of ...Indian transporter Ahmed Din, the chairman of “District Transport Co-Operative Society Ltd.” in Lahore, Amritsar.
  • He worked as a research scholar on labour problems at the University of Allahabad (1920-1921) and became Professor of Economics at the National College (Bombay) in 1921. He joined the Non-Cooperation Movement the same year. In 1922, he become Secretary of the Ahmadabad Textile Labour Association in which he worked until 1946. He was imprisoned for Satyagraha in 1932, and again from 1942 to 1944.
  • After securing a master's degree, he became a professor at the National College, Bombay. In 1921, he met Mahatma Gandhi, who persuaded him to make Gujarat his home.
  • In 1971, when Indira Gandhi returned to power with a huge majority, he retired from politics, saying he found himself "out of tune" with the changed circumstances, and took to social and religious work. In later years, he guided the activities of the Navjeevan Sangh and the Manav Dharm mission, two organisations founded by him.
    • Rediff.com, in "Former PM Gulzarilal Nanda dead".
  • What set him apart from almost all the freedom fighters who held high offices in independent India was his complete freedom from material desire. He had no source of income and would not accept money from his children or from well-wishers. He had to be forced to sign an application for the freedom fighters pension of Rs 500 per month.
    • Rediff.com, in "Former PM Gulzarilal Nanda dead".
  • His name is firmly connected with India’s labour reforms. His interest in the subject goes back to the early twenties when he did post graduation work in Allahabad as a student. He had taken labour as his subject. Therefore he was sent to Ahmadabad to do this field work and to study trade unionism. The process of wage settlement was introduced in 1918 when textile weavers there went on a strike seeking increase in wages and Gandhiji went on a fast on this issue.
  • Nanda was associated with the Planning Commission from 1950 right upto to the time he became Home Ninister in 1963. Later in 1970, he became Railway Minister in 1970.
    • Promilla Kalhan in:"Gulzarilal Nanda: A Life in the Service of the People", p. 49.
  • He was largely instrumental in organising the Indian National Trade Union Congress and later became its President.
    • PMO, in "Shri Gulzari Lal Nanda - A Profile".
  • He is one of those extraordinary leaders of our country who had devoted all his lifetime in the service of the people especially in fighting corruption and social evils prevailing in society.
  • Once on solar eclipse day, like any other pilgrim, he visited Kurukshetra to have a sacred bath in the Brahma Sarovar. He smeared his body with slush from the holy spot and returned as there was little water in the lake. Disappointed with the neglect of a well-known religious place of pilgrimage like Kurukshetra, he set up Kurukshetra Development Board in August 1968.
  • He had constituted the Kurukshetra Development Board which set up Panorama and Museum and Light programme depicting the history of Mahabharata. By setting up a library and a museum, the people visiting this holy pilgrimage would get a glimpse of the life of the great leader...
  • No praise will be too high for the pioneer work he did in the cause of Labor. He introduced the principle of arbitration in settling industrial disputes. Every year the Association spends Rs. 50,000 to provide educational facilities for the workers. It has marshaled a volunteer corps of 1000 strong. As a result of his efforts the highest wages are paid to the workers and there are fewer strikes. The Labor Association has the largest membership in India.
  • A conviction of virtue, a spirit of service and a habit of mental rectitude bear witness to his work. Treasures of tenderness shine (d) within his being.

Gulzarilal Nanda: Profile in austerity[edit]

India Today in:Gulzarilal Nanda: Profile in austerity May 15, 1996

  • Authored the First Five Year Plan, and was a key member of Jawaharlal Nehru's trusted inner circle.
  • Formed the Majoor Mahajan, believed to be the country's oldest labour organisation. His political activities led to internment in various jails.
  • Just before he went to Dhulia Jail in 1931, he promised the 10-year-old Pushpaben [his daughter] a wristwatch if she came first in class. Taking him at his word, says Pushpaben: "When I demanded my gift from him, [[w:Jamnalal Bajaj|Jamnalal Bajaj, who was his jailmate, jokingly came up with a ghada (a water pitcher) instead of a ghadi (watch).
  • About the two occasions when her father was interim prime minister - after the death of Nehru and later after Lal Bahadur Shastri's demise - Pushpaben says: "On both, he took it as part of his duty. On the second occasion, there were some in the Cabinet who wanted him to continue as prime minister but he didn't allow himself to become part of a power game.
    • Pushabehn
  • Appointed vice-chairman of the Planning Commission by Nehru, he played a vital role in the drawing up of the First Five Year Plan and headed important ministries till 1971.
  • As a child, his grandson once drew a sketch and went to show it to his grandfather. After praising him for his effort, he [Nanda] admonished him for using the official stationery. One can't even dream of this kind of honesty.
    • Tejas, his grandson.
  • When Nanda was Union home minister in the early '60s, he set up a special cell to lodge complaints against corrupt officials and politicians. He came under pressure to wind up the cell but didn't yield. Subsequently, a riot in Delhi - which he later discovered was engineered - led him to resign.

External links[edit]

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