chapter  6
14 Pages

Nehru’s Paradigm of Panchayati Raj and Its Contemporary Relevance

WithRanbir Singh, Saroj Malik

Nehru opted for Panchayati Raj because of various considerations. First, he had great faith in the ideology of liberalism which he had imbibed during his stay in England for education and also on account of the influence on him of his father, Moti Lal Nehru, who was deeply committed to this ideology. Second, Nehru’s option for panchayati raj could also be traced to the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on him. Third, Nehru’s choice for panchayati raj was also influenced by his quest to make the Community Development Programme successful in India. Fourth, Nehru’s decision to introduce panchayati raj in all the states of Indian Union was also influenced by his model of nation-building which sought to ensure penetration of the Centre into the periphery, and Balwant Rai Mehta’s scheme of democratic decentralisation could be a useful device. Fifth, as Paul Wallace observed, Nehru’s style was that of politicisation and decentralisation, and panchayati raj ensured both.