Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) an Indian nationalist who campaigned for Indian Independence. Under the tutelage of Gandhi, Nehru became India’s first Prime Minister after Indian independence in the year 1947. Nehru held this position until his death in the year 1964. Nehru was born in Allahabad and was educated in England, went to school at Harrow and later studied law at Trinity College, Cambridge. On returning to India in the year 1912, he practised law and got married to Kamala Kaul. They had one daughter named Indira Gandhi (who later succeeded her father as Prime Minister of India). In
During the 1920s and 1930s, he actively participated in the civil disobedience campaigns and also jailed on several occasions. He was one of the rising stars of the Indian independence movement and seen as the natural successor to Mahatma Gandhi. In the 1930s, Nehru was worked with Subhas Chandra Bose but split with Bose when he sought Axis help to drive the British from India. In the year 1942, Nehru followed Gandhi’s ‘Quit India Movement’. He had misgivings as he supported the British War effort against Nazi Germany, but was torn as he also wanted the British to leave India. In the year 1942, he was arrested for protesting and was put in jail until year 1945. After releasing from jail, Nehru found the Muslim league of Jinnah were much stronger and although opposed to partition, under pressure from Lord Mountbatten he came to view it as an inevitability. Nehru initially opposed the plan to separate India into two. However, being under pressure from Mountbatten (the last British Viceroy), Nehru reluctantly agreed. After Gaining independence on August 15th, 1947, Nehru became India’s first Prime Minister. On the evening of India’s independence, Nehru gave a speech to Congress and the nation – known as “Tryst with Destiny”. Being Prime Minister, Nehru played a crucial role in cementing the newly independent Republic of India as a democratic state committed to liberal democracy. In year 1950, Nehru signed the Indian constitution which enshrined in law – universal rights and democratic principles. Nehru government set up a system of universal education for children. This achievement is marked annually on his birthdate (14 Nov) with a special anniversary – Bal Divas ‘Children’s day’ Nehru was a lifelong liberal and has pursued policies to improve the overall welfare of the ‘untouchable class’ and Indian Women. Nehru was committed to secular ideas which is described as a Hindu agnostic. Nehru was proud of India’s Hindu heritage but also feared religion could become ossified and hold back India’s development. He sought to keep India out of the Cold war; he didn’t want India to rely on foreign states – be it Russia or America. He was being appreciated for his calm temperament and willingness to seek understanding between nations and conflicting parties. Nehru carried himself with a degree of humility and willingness to seek a peaceful solution. Nehru died in 1964.
India’s first longest serving Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a man of vision. Have participated in the long struggle for freedom from the British, Nehru fondly called as Pandit Nehru, a reference to his Kashmiri Pandit community root he was a firm believer in nation’s building, as he understood that the young Indian nation had a tryst with destiny. A man educated from foreign barrister and a close confidante of Mahatma Gandhi, he came as close as anyone has or ever will, to become the People’s Prince. He was chosen by Mahatma Gandhi’s as a political heir and free India’s first elected Prime Minister. After the death of Vallabhbhai Patel in year 1950, he towered amongst his colleagues in the Congress. His vision for better India fired by educational institutions, steel plants and powered by dams was widely shared. He was always seen as a brave man, who fought chauvinists; as a selfless man, who had endured years in jail to win freedom and above all as a visionary. His appeal cut across the conventionally opposed categories of high caste and low caste and was undoubtedly, the darling of the masses. He realised that the country cobbled together from a loose confederation of princely states and both owed their allegiance to the British as well as opposed them, needed to work hard to unleash its potential and energy into a nationalised channel that would help build India as a truly democratic nation where every citizen matter. Nehru’s first ever commitment was to make India a self-sufficient economy. As a result, he set up giant public sector industries and temples of modern learning that catered the needs of a growing nation and its people. His efforts and dedication to create a scientific temper can be seen from his zeal to establish higher centres of learning. Many Indians believe that the credit for India being a vibrant democracy, a knowledge partner, an industrial powerhouse, a globally respected military power and a technology and space innovator should go to Nehru as he had laid strong foundations upon which the institutions built themselves with focused and strong targets.
To understand Nehru better one needs to see his other side like in way he inspires children or the ‘future citizens’ as he called them. Hailed as Chacha (uncle) Nehru by children, his birthday on November 14 is celebrated in country as Children’s Day. We can see that Nehru was at a juncture where he fought with people who had empowered him with education. His perfect sense of acknowledging right and wrong and his Indian upbringing despite a western education gave him the opportunity to join and rise up the ranks of the Congress party in its freedom struggle. After becoming Prime Minister, he maintained equal distance from both the America, super powers and the Soviet Union without fear or favour, even as he charted a Non-Aligned course for the country which is based on the policy of Panchsheel.
A socialist at heart he signed the Panchsheel Agreement between India and China that was to serve as the five guiding principles of the relationship between these two sovereign nations. Not surprisingly, he felt betrayed when the Chinese attacked India even when he spoke about ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’. An underprepared Indian army who took on waves of Chinese soldiers fought valiantly and paid a heavy price. Nehru’s meticulous nurturing for India’s democracy during its troubled birth and childhood stands out. Scholars are convinced with the fact that democracies cannot be established at low levels of income. Thus, India’s democratic longevity is unique. It is perhaps due to the reason that country having a popular anti-colonial movement.
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