New Delhi | The Congress leadership on Tuesday paid rich tributes to India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary, describing him as the prime architect of modern India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also remembered Nehru in a post on X.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Sonia Gandhi, AICC treasurer Ajay Maken and general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal were among the party leaders who visited Nehru's memorial at Shanti Van here and paid homage to him.
The leaders later attended a small function in the central hall of Parliament, where they paid floral tributes before Nehru's portrait. Besides Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Venugopal, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were present in Parliament.
"Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime architect of modern India. In his understanding, only a Democratic structure which gave space to various cultural, political, and socio-economic trends to express themselves could hold India together," Kharge said in a post on X.
"Today, as we gather in Shanti Van, to pay our revered tributes to him, we must preserve, protect and defend India's Constitution and our long-cherished Democratic institutions and principles - his enduring legacy," he said.
In another post in Hindi, Kharge recalled the words of Nehru, who said, "Citizenship is in the service of the country".
"Humble tribute on the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ji, who took India from zero to the pinnacle, the creator of modern India, the fearless guardian of democracy and our source of inspiration," he said.
"His progressive ideas advanced India's social, political and economic development despite all the challenges and encouraged the people of the country to live together at every moment, without any discrimination, always keeping the country first," the Congress chief said.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also shared a video of Nehru in a post on X and said in Hindi, "Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru is a thought – of freedom, progress, justice. Mother India today needs these values ??of the 'Jawahar of Hind', like an ideology in every heart." Several other leaders also paid tributes and remembered Nehru on his birth anniversary.
The Congress put out videos of Nehru on its official X handle and said, "Nehruji resonated with the countrymen because he was an expression of their way of thinking." "Pandit Nehru, our first PM, was a visionary who instituted the coveted welfare state and a self-reliant, industrialised nation founded on agricultural growth and advances in science & technology. Today, we cherish the rich, unparalleled legacy of the ‘Architect of Modern India'," the party said.
Paying tributes to Nehru on his 134th birth anniversary, AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh recalled "the 'gentle colossus' who shaped 20th century India so very decisively".
"His legacy lives on and he continues to resonate in numerous ways, even as the self-styled Vishwaguru and his drum-beaters do their worst to deny his monumental contributions and distort, damage, denigrate, demean and defame him," he said.
Today, as the nation awaits India's victory in the cricket World Cup final five days hence, let us recall Nehru the cricketer. On September 12th and 13th, 1953 the Prime Minister's XI played a two-day match against the Vice President's XI in New Delhi to raise funds for flood relief in different states, he noted.
Nehru, he said, was on the field throughout. He bowled, fielded and batted.
"Nehru found time to speak on the radio for a few minutes while the game was on. Later, he served as the auctioneer selling off cricket bats and score books presented to him in November 1948 by the West Indies and Indian cricket teams that had just played a test match in Delhi then, and also by the Commonwealth and Indian cricket teams that had played a test match in February 1951 in Kanpur," Ramesh said.
"Fortunately, what he said on both occasions in Hindi was captured for posterity. They make for wonderful reading even today," he recalled citing a news report of the time.
Venugopal also said Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is the architect of modern India.
When he took over the reigns of India's destiny, not a pin was manufactured in India. But instead of blaming the past, cursing his predecessors and making excuses, he rolled up his sleeves and built our modern republic, he noted.
"Not only do we owe much of our developmental strides to him - be it through PSUs, the Green Revolution or modern educational institutions - but also the success of India as a democratic, inclusive and progressive country," the Congress leader alleged.
"Today, as India is in a difficult place with a fascist regime in power in New Delhi, it is Nehru's path that we must always walk on. He trusted the innate pluralistic instinct of Indian society and showed that a vast, continent-sized country could become an example for the entire world if it looked towards a brighter future," he also said.