Did Nehru say Indians are lazy and less intelligent? Read More

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech in the Rajya Sabha on February 07 as a Motion of thanks to President Droupadi Murmu for her speech in the Budget Session of the Parliament. Speaking then, PM Modi brought up a letter Nehru wrote to the chief ministers at the time in the Rajya Sabha. After that, the former read aloud a portion of the letter that had been translated.

“I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I am strongly against anything that leads to inefficiency and second-rate standards..,”

Then PM Modi went on to add that is why I say they are against it (reservation) by birth…Had the government recruited at that time and promoted them occasionally, they wouldn’t have been here today.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi had spoken about former Prime Minister Nehru in his speech in the Lok Sabha on the 5th. While speaking he quoted former PM Nehru’s statements from the Red Fort during the Independence Day in 1959.

In it, “People in India generally do not have the habit of working very hard, we do not work as much as people of Europe, Japan, China, Russia and America do. Don’t think those communities became prosperous by magic, they became prosperous through hard work and intelligence. Nehru Ji’s view towards Indians was that Indians were lazy and less intelligent” he added.

In this case, many BJP members, including Tamil Nadu BJP president Annamalai, are spreading these videos of Prime Minister Modi’s speech on their social media pages.

What did Nehru say?

The full version of Nehru’s Red Fort speech in 1959 is available on the Prasar Bharati YouTube channel. According to the video Nehru says, “In India, people do not usually have the habit of working hard. It is not our fault. Such habits get formed. But we don’t work as much as the people in Europe or Japan or China or Russia or America do. Don’t think these countries prospered through magic, but it was through hard work. So, we too can progress through hard work and intelligence, there is no other option, we cannot progress through magic.”


Similarly in the book, named “Letters For A Nation: From Jawaharlal Nehru To His Chief Ministers”  in one of his letters dated 27 June 1961, it said the following.

“It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the scheduled castes and tribes. They deserve help but, even so, I dislike any reservation, particularly in Services. I react strongly against anything that leads to inefficiency and second-rate standards. I want my country to be a first-class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second-rate, we are lost.”

Nehru went on to add that the real way to help a backward group is to provide opportunities for a good education that includes technical education. He added that the government has made two important decisions — universal free elementary education and scholarships on a very wide scale.

This implies Nehru’s belief that the underprivileged should have equal rights and greater access to high-quality education.

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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