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Nehru was against caste quota: Book

Jawaharlal Nehru believed that his ambition to build India with first-rate citizens (meritorious) should not be constrained by too much reservation at all levels, former union law minister HR Bhardwaj has said in his book.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2014 00:56 IST
HT Correspondent

Jawaharlal Nehru believed that his ambition to build India with first-rate citizens (meritorious) should not be constrained by too much reservation at all levels, former union law minister HR Bhardwaj has said in his book.

“However, he relentlessly advocated for creating educational opportunities and reservations at some preliminary stages, not at later stages,” he added. The book, titled Nehru: Gazing at Tomorrow, will be released by vice president Hamid Ansari on Wednesday.

Bhardwaj quoted extensively from Nehru’s letter to chief ministers on June 27, 1961 in which the then prime minister had opposed quota on caste and communal lines, particularly in service.

“If we go in for reservations in communal and caste basis, we swamp the bright and able people and remain second-rate or third-rate. I am grieved to learn how far this business of reservation has gone based on communal consideration,” Nehru wrote.

“It has amazed me to learn that even promotions are based sometimes on communal and caste considerations. This way lies not only folly, but disaster. Let’s help the backward groups by all means, but never at the cost of efficiency. How are we going to build our public sector or indeed any sector with second-rate people?”

The Congress party, however, steered clear Bhardwaj’s book. “I haven’t read the book and hence will not be able to comment. Moreover, if anything has been written in the book, it could also be his personal opinion,” party spokesperson Raj Babbar said.

In February this year before the Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had snubbed senior party colleague Janardan Dwivedi over his demand for ending the caste-based reservation and seeking quota for financially weaker sections bringing all communities under its ambit.