HT This Day: October 3, 1955 — Nehru inaugurates railway coach factory
The Perambur Integral Coach Factory went into production today when Mr. Nehru performed its inaugural ceremony in the assembly shop in the presence of a large gathering.
As the Prime Minister pressed the button to unveil the first coach to be assembled in the factory, from a crane overhead rained rose petals. Instantly, the coach moved out of the shop to the strain of loud clapping.
Mr. Nehru’s thoughts were dominated by the significance of the occasion which was to commemorate the anniversary of Gandhiji’s birthday. He said Gandhiji was not opposed to industrialization and, therefore, there was no contradiction between the celebration of his birthday and the inauguration of the coach factory.
The bulk of India comprised villages which had to be reconstructed if the country was to progress. Community projects had already covered more than 1, 00,000 villages and would cover the entire countryside within a few years.
The Prime Minister denounced casteism and the classification and stratification of society. The distance between officers and workers must go and anybody who considered manual labour beneath his dignity did not deserve his respect.
He declared that the new factory at Perambur “is another great step in our march” and “represents fairly our march towards industrialization.”
This factory, like all other factories, did not come in the way of development of village industries and the raising of the standard of living of the rural and urban population. Some people took a rather narrow and a lop-sided view of Gandhiji’s ideals without understanding all the aspects of their many-sided character.
Many, he thought, laid emphasis on the philosophy for which Mahatma Gandhi stood, without understanding the spirit underlying it. For the functioning of a great movement in India and as the leader of the great struggle against a mighty empire, Gandhiji laid stress on the village industries.
The Prime Minister said there could be no real advancement in the material stature of India without big factories. We cannot even maintain the freedom and independence of the nation without factories and all they represent.” At the same time, he did not think there could be well-being of India, large-scale employment, without widespread village industries. “There is no conflict about this in my mind,” he said.
“Occasionally there may be some conflict. Basically we have to advance simultaneously and not one after the other. We cannot keep pace with the modern world unless we adopt the latest technique, whether it is for the big factory or for the small village industry. We cannot keep pace with the modern world unless we utilize the sources of power available in thy world today.”
“Today we stand on the threshold of an atomic era. Atomic energy places an enormous new source of power at our disposal and you cannot ignore it. Even if you ignore it, others will not ignore it but will use it for their advantage. Therefore, we have to use all sources of power. We shall have to have this atomic energy when the time comes. At the same time, everything has ultimately to be judged in terms of the human welfare-in terms of the welfare of the millions of our country.”
Therefore, the Prime Minister said, he was glad to come here on this auspicious occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and perform the opening ceremony. In India new factories were coming up and great changes were taking place, through great river valley and power projects.
The Prime Minister said he was impressed with the “magnificent structure,” which had been built with considerable ability and efficiency.
He said he saw the big machines working in the factory. Most of these machines had come from foreign countries. “There can be no real progress or real industrialization in our country till the machines themselves are made in this country. So long as we have to rely upon other countries for the wherewithal, we are dependent.”