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Imagining Nations, Creating States: Nehru, Ben-Gurion and an Analogical Study of India and Israel in Post-colonial Asia


India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion remained on non-speaking terms, but they both represented qualities of leadership in Asia, says the author.


Khinvraj Jangid, Associate Professor & Director of Jindal Center for Israel Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister (1947-64), and David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister (1948-54; 1955-63), played substantial roles in shaping two modern nation-states in post-Colonial Asia. 

The article is anchored by a comparative study of the two leaders who influenced nation-building through their individual political values and ideological convictions.

 The key question posed here is what similarities existed in the nation-building roles these figures played and how they may have contributed to the trajectories followed by their respective nations. 

Nehru and Ben-Gurion were both modernists in terms of their political visions of a secular, socialist-democratic and egalitarian state. 

Although the two men never met and remained on non-speaking terms because India had reservations about forging ties with Israel, they both represented qualities of leadership in Asia.

Published in: Israel Studies

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