Nehru and AmericaAmerica is swift and direct. She is also decisive; incertitude fails to touch her. Nehru was wakeful and unfailing. He was also untiring. No gulf was to be found between his life and his message. As America is a clarion call for the development of a universal Freedom, so also is Nehru’s soul a clarion call for the blossoming of a sustaining Peace. Nehru saw in America an evolution which is at once enormously dynamic and unimaginably unparalleled. America saw in Nehru, in his vision, an evolution which is supremely peaceful and divinely meaningful.
On November 6, 1961, President Kennedy greeted Nehru at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland:
Significant are these words. For with them President Kennedy brought forward clearly to the American consciousness one of the basic aspects of Nehru’s mission. Nehru was perfectly mirrored in Kennedy’s accurate scrutiny. And the Prime Minister, on his part, did not lag behind in assessing Kennedy:
America discovered in Nehru’s soul the secret of how a man’s characteristics can be uplifted into character. Nehru discovered in America’s soul the secret of how human dynamism can be transmuted into international unity.
Worried by a shoreless sea of debts, hounded by the undying throes of poverty and faced with a rapidly increasing population: this fate of hers, India cannot so easily overcome.
Threatened by her own creation — the two roaring bombs, suffering from the pressures of others’ demands, eclipsed by doubts about her own future in the world of tomorrow: this fate of hers, America cannot so easily escape.
President Johnson characterises Nehru’s contribution to the four frontiers with a profound insight:
Unlike the reputations of a good many luminaries of the world, Nehru’s did not rise and fall like the flash of a skyrocket. With his passing behind the curtain of eternity, India’s heart was smitten with excruciating pangs and slow-healing sorrows, while America was deprived of two far-flung embracing arms. To America, Nehru was a fount of inspiration and an unforgettable international. To Nehru, America was a towering achievement, a great boon to the world at large.
East and West: two Olympian influences, surprisingly luminous and instructive, ran simultaneously through the span of Nehru’s life. Kipling’s prophetic utterance, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” proved empty in the life of Jawaharlal Nehru.
People railed at Nehru’s neutralism, but his neutralism had a profound purpose of its own which was appreciated by the deepest minds in America.
The Hanford (California) Sentinel wrote on May 28, 1964:
Life to the American consciousness is nothing short of completing one task after another with the hope of realising the all-liberating Freedom. Life to the Indian consciousness is nothing short of completing one endeavour after another with the hope of realising the all-nourishing Peace.
In our salutations to America, we see God the Warrior and Protector. In our salutations to Nehru, we see God the Divine Dreamer and Torch-Bearer of Truth.