Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that nationalism and the “Bharat Mata ki Jai” slogan were being misused to construct a “militant and purely emotional idea” of India, PTI reported. Singh said this idea excludes millions of residents and citizens.

The Congress leader was speaking at the launch of a book about the works and speeches of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Hailing Nehru’s contributions to independent India, Singh said: “With an inimitable style, and a multi-linguist, Nehru laid the foundation of the universities, academies and cultural institutions of Modern India. But for Nehru’s leadership, independent India would not have become what it is today.”

He added: “But unfortunately, a section of people who either do not have the patience to read history or would like to be deliberately guided by their prejudices, try their best to picture Nehru in a false light. But I am sure, history has a capacity to reject fake and false insinuations and put everything in proper perspective.”

Singh quoted Nehru as saying that “Bharat Mata”, or “Mother India”, was ultimately the people of India, “spread out all over vast land”.

The former prime minister’s remarks were an apparent criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led regime.