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Toward Making Utopia a Reality

Lakhan Mehrotra

By Manu Bhagwan
Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 237, Rs. 499.00


The foundations of Independent India’s Foreign Policy are contained in Article 51 of the Constitution which stipulates that the state shall endeavour to (a) promote international peace and security (b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations (c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another; and (d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.   Article 51 thus is the pole star of India’s foreign policy. The Directive Principles contained therein are steeped in India’s tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the entire world is a family. Throughout the ages this universalism has governed India’s thinking and its contacts and relations with the rest of humanity. Now in a stunning discourse on the evolution of India’s policy as a champion of One World, Manu Bhagwan sums up various phases of India’s Quest for One World. That policy developed under the inspiration of Gandhi and Nehru and its advocacy was carried out passionately at the United Nations from its very inception most of all by Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal’s sister.   In his systematic and highly illuminating narrative, the author takes us back to the formative years of India’s Constitution from 1946 to 1950 and draws our attention to the Objectives Resolution which was moved by Nehru in the Constituent Assembly soon after it came into being and was adopted before its proceedings came to a close three years later. The Resolution sought for India a Constitution that would establish an Independent Sovereign Republic, ‘Where shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air, according to justice and the law of civilized nations; and this ancient land attains its rightful and honored place in the world and makes its full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the progress and the welfare of the mankind.’ The book highlights the ways in which Gandhi and Nehru worked together to create a coherent vision of external affairs for the new Indian state. The two agreed that an external, democratic authority, world government, was needed to check the power of the state all around. The idea of One World was a veritable part of India’s ‘full and willing contribution’ to mankind’s progress and welfare.   Both Indian leaders felt that since the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ ...

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