Jawaharlal Nehru – the most quoted man in history?

In one of my recent posts I listed numerous quotes that I gathered in my journal last year. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), the Harrow / Cambridge educated philanthropist and first Prime Minister of India, featured prominently in this collection.

Now, Indian history is one I am largely unfamiliar with. But this is one of the great things of writing this blog – I get to explore areas of time and geography that I may not have come across in my education but would really like to learn more about.

Nehru is a figure I had heard many things about but mostly as remote facts relevant to international relations. For example I learnt of his leading role in the non-alignment movement in 1961 last year whilst studying the Cold War. It’s almost sad I didn’t further research this great man until I ran into some of his quotes on pinterest!

He has become known to many as the architect of  a democratic, modern and secular India. His life is far to complex and amazing to be triibulised by me so I implore you to read one of the following …

BBC History  – Historic figures – Jawaharlal Nehru 

PM India .gov – Shri Jawaharlal Nehru 

History .com – Jawaharlal Nehru

why he is so inspirational to me is in part because of his relationship with his daughter. Having read ‘Letters from a father to his daughter’ (1931) I have discovered the root of many of the quotes I had referenced. But these letters were more than this, they include the hopes and dreams of India as a nation and the relation between the generation fighting for independance and generation that would uphold it. Speaking to his ten year old daughter (who would also go on to become prime minister of India) he imposes ideas and concepts well beyond her years aiming to make her “think of the world as a whole, and the other peoples in it as (her) brothers and sisters”.

These letters are so beautifully written and express his ideas of the world, his dreams for the future and loving teachings – all using the most gorgeous metaphors and imagery. His letters on history speak to me particularly as he explains the “fascinating story of the earth “.

I especially think these letter inspire me because I can relate to the father-daughter relationship. They evoke the same emotions reading “the little princess” creates a book I always end up in tears reading!!

It is this emotional and worldly writing that makes him so quotable. It is writing to his daughter that he simplifies the nature of being human and living on earth to a simple but thought provoking manner. For example …

” culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit “

Many people have attempted to rank or categorise his work and Quotes but for me my favorate Quote of his will always be …

” You don’t change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall “

with this as a close second …

” Time is not measured by the passing of time but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves “

 

Do you have a favorate quote from Nehru? or an area of Indian history that you think I should write about ? – tweet me @time_daisy 

Thoughts on Elton’s ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’ …

Primarily hypothesised by Dr. G. R. Elton in his 1953 book, The Tudor Revolution in Government[1], the concept reflects the departure in style of government from the medieval to the modern during Henry VIII’s reign.  There has been much historiographic argument as a result of this seminal work.

Elton emphasises the role of Henry’s chief ministers, Wolsey and Cromwell, citing the years under their ‘rule’ as the two major periods of governmental change and development during Henry’s sovereignty[2]. Elton portrays Cromwell as the usurper of a medieval, household-based government and the designer of a modern bureaucratic state that translated royal supremacy into parliamentary terms[3][4].  Bradshaw holds a similar view crediting Cromwell as the instigator of a ‘structural reorganisation designed to transmute the crown’s (medieval) jurisdiction into a unitary’[5]. Elton sees Cromwell as ‘the most remarkable revolutionary in English history’ crediting him with the ‘revolution’[6].

The argument for this perceived change, being a ‘revolution’, emphasises the adjustment in structure in addition to a shift in power within the court. Elton describes the change from ‘medieval household to modern court’[7].  This occurred almost exclusively in the 1530’s under Cromwell’s direction. The 1539-40 reconstruction of the Royal Privy Council is a key example of the changes Cromwell instigated. By the restriction and fixation of membership, as well endowing new rights under the 1539 Statute of Proclamations Act, Cromwell achieved feet’s that Wolsey was never able to in 1526 under the Eltham Ordinances. Cromwell’s reforms created what some historians see as the foundations of a modern bureaucratic government, achieved by removing medieval structures within the central administration and transforming the household into a well-organized department of state[8].

Regarding the Tudor era simply as an extension of the medieval is serious miscalculation according to Elton[9]. However historians such as Chrimes have argued that there was no ‘fundamental departure from the medieval system’ – that this was not an age of dramatic administrative revolution[10]. Chrimes argues that what Elton witnesses as a ‘revolution’ was simply a ‘rejuvenation’ of the monarchy designed to impose an exacting authority in preparation for religious reformation[11]. A.F Pollard describes changes in evolutionary terms but sees little evidence between Henry VII and the reign of his Son, prior to the Henrician Reformation[12]. Perhaps then it was the administrative consequences of conjoining the church and monarchy that initiated the modernisation of government.

[1] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959)

[2] Ibid pp.67

[3] Hughes-Warrington, Marnie, Fifty Key Thinkers On History, 1st edn (London: Routledge, 2015) pp.79-80

[4] Kenyon, John, The History Men, 1st edn (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983) pp.210

[5] Coleman, Christopher and David Starkey, Revolution Reassessed, 1st edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1986) pp.5

[6] Williams, Penry, “A REVOLUTION IN TUDOR HISTORY?”, Past And Present, 25 (1963), 3-8  pp.6

[7] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959) pp.414

[8] Kenyon, John, The History Men, 1st edn (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983) pp.210

[9] Elton, Geoffrey Rudolph, The Tudor Revolution In Government, 1st edn (Cambridge, 1959) pp.7

[10] Williams, Penry, “A REVOLUTION IN TUDOR HISTORY?”, Past And Present, 25 (1963), 3-8  pp.3

[11] Ibid   pp.4

[12]Ibid   pp.3