DMPQ- . “Nehru rejected the capitalist developmental and civilizational perspective and, instead, worked for fundamental transformation of Indian society in a socialist direction.” Elaborate the statement.

For Nehru socialism meant greater equality of opportunity, social justice, more equitable distribution of higher incomes generated through the application of modern science and technology to the processes of production, the ending of the acute social and economic disparities generated by feudalism and capitalism, and the application of the scientific approach to the problems of society. Socialism also meant the eventual ending of the acquisitive mentality, the supremacy of the profit motive, and capitalist competitiveness and the promotion instead of the cooperative spirit. It also meant the gradual ending of class distinctions and class domination. Socialism also laid down the large-scale social ownership or control over the principal means of production. But Nehru insisted that, first of all, socialism concerned greater production, for there could be no equal distribution of poverty. In fact, to him socialism was equal to greater production plus equitable distribution.

In Indian conditions, Nehru regarded socialist transformation as a process and not as an event. Socialism was then not a clearly pre-defined, pre-laid-out scheme towards which the process of transformation moved. Instead, socialism was expected to go on being defined, stage by stage, as the process advanced. There was to be no sudden break but gradual change. Socialist transformation was to be viewed in terms of a series of reforms which would occur within the orbit of the existing socio-economic structure, but which would, over time and in their totality, amount to a revolution or a structural social transformation. Nehru described these reforms as ‘surgical operations’. Socialist revolution would, thus, consist of a series of ‘surgical operations’ performed through the due process of law by a democratic legislature.

On the basis of his experience of the national movement, Nehru came to the view that basic social change can be, and should be, brought about only through a broad societal consensus or the consent of the overwhelming majority of the people. As he told Tibor Mende in 1956: ‘One has to carry people with one.

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