Arif Mohammad Khan delivers second lecture of the Prime Ministers Lecture Series

Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Culture

Governor of Kerala, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan delivered the second lecture of the Prime Ministers Lecture Series organized by Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya  on former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru,   on 19th April.  The focus of the lecture was on the religious and spiritual overtones in Nehru. According to Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, contrary to popular perceptions, Jawaharlal Nehru was deeply influenced by religion and spirituality in a higher sense, both in his youth and later years, and that it was mainly the ritualistic aspects of religion from which he largely stayed away. He felt that much of the misunderstanding arises from Nehru’s self-confessed agnosticism and his emphasis on offloading baggage of tradition in order to modernize.

Citing letters written by him to Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 from the Naini jail, Shri Khan highlighted how during this period Pandit Nehru was absorbed in the reading of the Gita, the Upanishads, and the Ramayana. If we consider nishkaama karma or action without desire for fruits is the highest religion as preached by the Gita, argued Sri Khan, then Nehru was a deeply religious man, as all his life he practised this philosophy for the good of others. Shri Khan asserted that translating Dharma as religion is one of the principal factors behind the inability to understand people like Nehru and the Indian culture and civilization which has seen all existence as one.

Taking examples from the Discovery of India and other texts also, the Governor asserted that Nehru was deeply in love with Indian culture and civilization and believed that Sanskrit language and inheritance was at the core of our civilization without which India could not even survive, let alone flourish. Quoting copiously from the Gita, the Upanishads and other texts, Shri Khan showed the highly nuanced relationship Nehru had with these texts and with religion in general.

The lecture was part of the academic initiatives of Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya.  The inaugural lecture of the Prime Ministers Lecture Series was delivered on 20 January 2023 by former President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind. The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya is a tribute to every Prime Minister of India since Independence, and a narrative record of how each one has contributed to the development of our nation over the last 75 years. It is a history of collective effort, and powerful evidence of the creative success of India’s democracy. The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya which was opened for the public in April last year has emerged as one of the top tourist destinations of Delhi. In this one year i.e., from 21 April 2022 to 20 April 2023 i.e., the date it was opened by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, approximately 3.5 lakh people have visited the Sangrahalaya.

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