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Priceless book on India’s visionary role in global affairs

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Peacemakers (India and the Quest for One World) by Manu Bhagavan originally began ‘as an exploration of the ideas and ideologies that emerged in discussions related to the drafting of India’s new Constitution, written between 1946 and 1950.’

This book highlights the ways in which Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, though not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye on several issues and approaches, worked together in the years after the Quit India movement to create a coherent vision for the new Indian state.

Gandhi favoured local, village rule while Nehru relied on a powerful central state with an industrial base. While both remained committed to their varying ideals, they felt that an external democratic authority, world government, was needed to check the power of the state. Human rights today have come to exist thanks to the foundation laid by three major United Nations documents: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

This book reveals that India, with several prominent women of that time, played a central role in the preparation of these documents, using its own new Constitution as justification and foundation. Nehru’s concept of Non-Alignment was a proactive Gandhian means of equal management of two opposed factions, in an atmosphere of respect and trust, towards a more just world for all. Read about Nehru’s sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, India’s lead representative to the UN and Hansa Mehta, India’s representative to the UN Human Rights Commission from 1947-52 and feel proud about a glorious past we today know little or nothing about.

The Peacemakers HarperCollins Publishers Rs.499

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