Facing the Future

Jawaharlal Nehru's address to the students of Delhi University, 9 April 1949.

I like addressing students because I am eager to find out what sort of persons they are. Despite the revolutionary changes which have occurred, I hope they feel themselves strong enough to face anything the future holds in store for them. We have big problems before us and need big people to solve them. The younger generation should face the future with courage and be quiet and confident, so as to joyously shoulder the heavy responsibilities that will soon fall on them, because the trend of future world events shows that India, by virtue of her geographical position and vast resources, will play an important role in it.

Ultimately the greatness of the nation depends on the number of first-rate people it produces in all fields of activity. For this, certain innate qualities are needed as everybody cannot be an Einstein or a Ramanujam.[1] It is necessary to raise the general standard and give every person an opportunity to develop his potentialities.

I feel confident as India has done a very good job. Compared to other Asian countries, she presents a favourable picture and is definitely progressing even though slowly.

I can visualize that India in 15 to 20 years will emerge as a great and powerful nation by making full use of her potential resources. I dislike the attitude of India being regarded as the leader of Asia. People should think in terms of mutual cooperation and India, by reason of her geographical position and resources, cannot avoid certain obligations and responsibilities towards other Asian countries. The next five years will be full of tension and suspicion. But I do not think there will be any major war.

I still think of my own college days and the years that followed. Most of the studies I have done have been done in jail. People who think that studies end with the getting of a degree cannot do very much. For me the opportunity to study came in jail and I took advantage of it.

For an individual or nation to progress it is essential to have a blending of education and experience. If they pull in opposite directions it will lead to frustration. In 1920 I found myself perplexed as to what I should do. At this time Mahatma Gandhi showed us a new way which appealed to both mind and experience. This changed the atmosphere of the whole country, and people willingly went to jail and underwent all sorts of privations for the sake of the country.

[1] Srinivasan Ramanujam (1887-1920); mathematician; known for his researches on theory of numbers and fractions.


Opinions, reviews, essays, feedbacks etc. are invited.

If you wish to get your work published on The Nehru Blog, then send your submissions at editor@thenehru.org

We take utmost care while reproducing texts from various authentic sources for our readers. If you ever find any typographical error, syntax anomaly or other discrepancy, please help us rectify the same. Mail us at: editor@thenehru.org

Previous Post Next Post