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Global Peace and Social Justice:: Shared Vision of Alva Myrdal and Jawaharlal Nehru
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the decade 1950s, two towering global personalities, Jawaharlal Nehru and Alva Myrdal, came close to each other to forge a bond wrapped through a deep sense of commitment to egalitarianism, social welfare and global peace. The 1950s in Indian history is remembered for India’s emergence from its colonial past and the undeniable stamp of its dynamic and progressive Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Not only did he steer the Indian society towards modernity by fighting off the traditional orthodoxy to enact the landmark family law reforms during 1954-56, he was firmly behind developing a self-sufficient economy through centralized planning. Alva Myrdal, who grew up in a intensely egalitarian Swedish tradition,  admired the land of Gandhi, Buddha and Tagore, was also appreciative of the efforts of Nehru  to unlock India’s untapped potential through planned economic development and supportive legal infrastructure.  Nehru saw in Alva the ideal feminist, who was not only determined to fight for women’s rights in society, and she was also devoted to welfare of society at large. In 1955, Alva Myrdal became the Swedish Ambassador to India with additional charge of Ceylon and Burma. Her tenure in Delhi brought the two visionaries closer.

 

The present paper attempts to analyze the exchange of ideas between Myrdal and Nehru, and the broad themes that intersected their diplomatic paths. Their shared vision included ensuring social justice by empowering society through education, a strong obligation towards empowering women for national progress, transcending myopic nationalism, overcome  sectarian divisiveness and a strong commitment to develop a neutral global axis of non-aligned countries to fend off another world war through nuclear disarmament.  The common dream brought them together as Myrdal often was part of Nehru’s official visits to various parts of India, where she would share the Swedish experience of universal education and women’s empowerment.  Nehru’s extended visit as Head of State to Sweden, planned meticulously by Alva Myrdal in her diplomatic capacity, remains a memorable visit as Nehru won the heart of the Swedes though his warmth, openness and moral values.

 

The association of Jawaharlal Nehru and Alva Myrdal not only brought the two countries , Sweden and India, closer to each other, their unfettered pledge to foster global peace and nuclear disarmament  paved the way for a  safer world.  As we traverse a world torn apart by nationalism, sectarian strife and prolonged impact of economic slowdown, the shared vision of Myrdal and Nehru appear as relevant today as it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Gender Studies History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-337371OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-337371DiVA, id: diva2:1169317
Conference
Gender, Activism and Politics in India and Sweden
Available from: 2017-12-23 Created: 2017-12-23 Last updated: 2017-12-23

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