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Jawaharlal Nehru and Planning, 1938–41: India at the Crossroads

Bidyut Chakrabarty
Modern Asian Studies
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The modern state is interventionist, and planning is an effective means to ascertain its control over the entire social process. As an operational tool, planning seems formidable to structure the role of the state in accordance with its ideological underpinning. Therefore, not only is planning as an instrument tuned to economic regeneration, it is inextricably tied to the regime's political preference as well. The aim here is not to argue for a deterministic network between planning and the ideological slant of the regime and its leadership and viceversa, but to show the complex interdependence which entails, at the same time, an interplay of various pulls and pressures in a rapidly changing social fabric. Colonial India provides us with a political system embedded in both the age-old and primordial value system and various other cultural influences which, inter alia reflected the system's absorption of alien value preferences. This obviously was not a smooth process, for India which drew on loyalties based on primordial ties strove to absorb new stimuli which had their roots in a completely different socio-political and economic environment; the result being tension among those presiding over the destiny of the country which had its reflection in the political discourse of the day. By concentrating on planning which, among other things, strove to transform India from a traditional to a modern society, the paper seeks to explain the difficulty facing the Congress stalwarts, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose in particular, despite their confidence in planning as the only instrument to rejuvenate India after the British withdrawal. www.cambridge.org/core/journals/modern-asian-studies/article/abs/jawaharlal-nehru-and-planning-193841-india-at-the-crossroads/2CAFAF5646486300B94EAB56EA6FEC96