Nehru and his team were seemingly innocent of the basics of economics that without a prosperous agriculture, you can’t have agricultural surplus, and without that, you can’t feed the growing urban population and sustain industrialisation. Yet, they neglected agriculture. Agriculture was so neglected that by 1957 India’s agricultural output fell below that of 1953!

Most countries like Japan and others who rapidly progressed and joined the first-world, first concentrated on agriculture and universal education. Nehru neglected both. Nehru copied the Soviets, without realising that all communist countries faced famines thanks to their stress on heavy industries at the expense of agriculture.

Nehru went socialistic where he should not have—in industrialisation; and did not go socialistic where he should have—in agriculture and land reforms. The renowned economist Jagdish Bhagwati had suggested that probably Indian needed capitalism in industry and socialism in land. But, Nehru did the reverse—besides wrong notions, the main factor was votes: Why annoy the powerful landlords and landed class? Wrote Kuldip Nayar in ‘Beyond the Lines’ : “…I got hold of the report (on land reforms) by Wolf Ladejinsky… His report vehemently criticized the government for having reforms on paper but doing very little on the ground… Surprisingly, it was Nehru who had stopped the report from being made public… Nehru abandoned the proposal to initiate drastic land reforms when he found that the states were opposed to the measure. This sent a wrong message to the country and proved yet again that he hated to join issue when vested interests were involved.”

I had quarrelled with him [Nehru] regarding his neglect of the village economy, especially agriculture, and protested to him about his almost total neglect of irrigation which was the key to Indian agriculture… Nehru told me disparagingly, ‘You are a villager, you know nothing.’ I retorted, ‘If you had one-tenth of my regard for the village, the Indian economy would have been different.’…I am not sure if he had any convictions, except for aping the Russian model.
—S. Nijalingappa, ‘My Life and Politics: An Autobiography’

India faced severe shortages in food-items, became dependent on the US
PL-480 food-aid, and became an international beggar.

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