Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu, the ‘Father of the Nation’ a multi-faceted enigmatic personality led the freedom struggle of India from 1919 onwards to attain freedom from the British rule.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was his trusted lieutenant and was named by Bapu as his successor the first prime minister of independent India in 1947.
Both the political stalwarts had a dream and vision for the country.
Gandhiji, a staunch follower of non-violence believed that India would develop and be self-reliant only if the condition of the villages and the standard of living of the village dwellers could be improved.
However, even after 70 years since independence only a few hundreds of villages have been able to attain the status of self-reliance.
Most of the villages are lagging behind, being devoid of basic amenities such as electricity, drinking water, sanitation, roads, schools, healthcare facilities and so on.
Moreover, adding to the woes in most villages of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat, the problem of the caste system and untouchability still, prevails.
These two evil practices, which Gandhiji detested the most, are still acting as barriers to eradicating socio-economic disparities amongst villagers.
People belonging to the minority communities, Dalits and other backward castes are still barred from entering temples, tilling their land, sending children to schools or receiving water from common wells.
Even in metro cities, the untouchables named as Harijan or Sons of Lord Hari by Bapu are not granted equal status irrespective of their educational or social status.
Nehru, the first prime minister of our country and unarguably the most popular ever elected leader of independent India was a phenomenal global persona, admired, respected and adored by every eminent global leader during his time.
He maintained direct contact with the people; a practice hardly emulated by his contemporaries with a few exceptions such as Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Narendra Modi.
Nehru, a believer of socialism, is rightly termed as the Builder of Modern India for undertaking manifold developmental projects- the Bhakra Nangal Project, the Damodar Valley Corporation, Durgapur Steel Plant to name a few of his triumphs.
Sadly, India has completely deviated from the pro-socialist and pro-poor economic policy of Nehru to a pseudo-capitalist and pro-rich market-based economic policy at the expense of the poor and down-trodden people of the country.
The Non-Allied Movement or NAM, promulgated by Nehru along with Marshall Tito of erstwhile Yugoslavia and President Nasser of Egypt is history now, with India heading towards the American bloc slowly but steadily since 1991.
To accomplish the visions of both these stalwarts, the country should rectify the series of previous mistakes to make India “Sovereign, Socialist, Democratic, Secular, Republic" as stated in the Constitution of India.