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인도 근현대사에서 가장 중요한 인물을 든다면 간디(M. K. Gandhi)와 네루(Jawaharlal Nehru)일 것이다. 간디는 인도가 영국 지배로부터 자유로워지는 과정에서 지도자 역할을 했고 네루는 독립 후 ‘나라 만들기’의 기초를 닦았다. 그렇기에 네루의 유산은 실상 간디보다 더 실질적이다. 이 논문의 목표는 독립을 전후한 시기부터 그가 사망한 1964년까지의 기간 동안 네루가 당면했던 주요 과제와 그러한 과제를 얼마나 성공적으로 수행했는지를 개략적으로 그리고 비판적으로 평가해 보는 데 있다. 네루가 직면한 가장 중요한 과제는 인도를 근대국가로 변화시키는 것이었다. 네루에게 근대화는 국가철학이었고 그것은 국가통합, 의회민주주의, 산업화, 사회주의, 세속주의 등의 내용으로 구성되어 있었다. 그 중에서도 네루가 심혈을 기울인 것은 의회민주주의의 정착과 산업화를 위한 계획경제의 추진이었다. 비록 인도의 계획경제는 실패로 돌아갔고 네루는 인도 경제를 침체시킨 장본인으로 비난받고 있지만 인도의 민주주의 정착은 여타 개발도상국에서는 찾아볼 수 없는 사례이다. 인도의 경험에서 우리는 민주주의와 경제개발의 두 마리 토끼를 잡는 것이 얼마나 어려운 과제인가를 확인하게 된다.


M. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru are the most crucial figures in modern history of India. Gandhi was the leader of the nationalist movement that led to India’s independence from the British Empire while Nehru paved the ground for the modern state after independence. Nehru’s legacy remains more practical and more pertinent than Gandhi’s in India. When India obtained independence in 1947 Nehru was faced with many difficult tasks, the most important of which was transforming India to a modern state. To him modernization was the national philosophy and it included the national integration, parliamentary democracy, industrialization, socialism and secularism. Among these, Nehru considered secularism, democracy and socialism as the three priorities. First, Nehru made a particular effort to transform India into a secular modern state excluding religious elements reflected in Gandhi’s thoughts and the policy of the Indian National Congress. He acknowledged the modern conveniences of Western civilization and yet tried to overcome its defects. In this is found Nehru’s contribution that distinguishes him from Gandhi. Second, Nehru was convinced that India should adopt democracy as practiced in England even though he led the resistance movement against England. Finally, Nehru attempted to realize socialistic society that is fundamentally different from capitalist regime. It ought to be remembered, though, that he emphasized social justice and yet he also cherished individual freedom. He pursued social revolution and yet he tried to pursue it in a non-violent way. In other words, Nehru’s creativity can be found in his attempt to pursue modernity by combining both liberal and socialist elements. Nehru underscored in particular the establishment of democratic system and economic planning. It is an irony that his emphasis on democracy left significant influence on Indian politics while it became an obstacle to the economic development. Three five-year economic plannings were enforced during his term as prime minister but all these turned into failure. India’s economic growth remained far behind those of other newly founded states in Asia. To him rapid economic growth was not the end, however. Economic development and political democracy ought to be reconciled and pursued at the same time. He believed that both were indispensible virtue of modernity and would not give up one for the other. When Manmohan Singh was appointed financial minister in 1991 and started to reform India’s state-controlled economy, Nehru was criticized as responsible for India’s economic backwardness. Then what can be claimed as Nehru’s achievements? The fact that he solidified secular and democratic state will be remembered forever. The democratic system he established, however limited it may be, is thought to be as the most valuable asset of India and Nehru’s name will be accompanied with it for a long time.