India has seen a lot of changes in the last few decades. From coming out victorious after 200 years of the British ruling the country to making a tremendous progress in economy, they’ve grown a lot as an independent nation.
And one of the most important names taken by the Indian people when speaking about the Independence and the freedom movement is Jawaharlal Nehru.
Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of independent India or Azad Bharat.
He was an eminent leader during the struggle for freedom and the Independence movement in India trying to overthrow the British government.
History of Jawaharlal Nehru and his Fight against the System.
Jawaharlal Nehru served as the prime minister of India after the independence in 1947 up until his demise in 1964.
He was the architect of the modern Indian nation-state as he helped shape the socio-economic condition of the modern time Hindustan.
He was given the nickname of Pandit Nehru because of his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community.
He was a very well-educated man who graduated from Trinity College and Cambridge University in natural science and attended Inner Temple to become a barrister.
Even though he studied to become a lawyer just like his father Motilal Nehru, a well-known lawyer, his mind was always in politics, especially of his country.
He came back to India in the hopes of becoming a prominent lawyer, instead, he joined politics during the upheavals of the 1910s.
Deciding not to join a law firm but be involved in politics came out to be fruitful to this determined young man as he became an eminent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s.
Nehru eventually became a leader of the entire congress in no time due to his strong policies and leadership qualities.
So much so that he became a dominating figure of the Indian politics during the 1930s.
His involvement in politics and his sturdy leadership qualities, however, wasn’t taken as a good sign by the British rulers ruling the country at the time.
For which he had to be in and out of jail numerous times that led to an imbalance in the political scenario of India.
While doing his time in jail, the Muslim League run by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Nehru’s former colleague of the old Congress was dominating the Indian politics since along with the fight for freedom India was also going through a cold war related to religion.
After Nehru’s release, the two leaders sat to negotiate for power-sharing which ended up being a fail move and it paved way for the independence as well as the partition of India and Pakistan.
Jawaharlal Nehru is considered one of the most influential and wise leaders in the world. He was a person of great intellect and always thought logically.
Even though he lived and studied abroad, he was very keen in Indian politics and had a vision of a free nation but upon joining the Congress he was very disappointed with what he saw as a “very much an English knowing upper-class affair”.
Yet he agreed to work for the party in support of the Indian Civil Right movement in South Africa. And also, this was the only way he could make strategies to fight against the British government.
Jawaharlal Nehru met Mahatma Gandhi for the first time in 1916 during the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress.
Nehru’s father Motilal Nehru was also very much interested in politics but both the father and the son were clueless as to develop strategies on how to attain freedom until they met Mahatma Gandhi.
He got very much inspired and influenced by Gandhi and other Indian freedom fighters that he decided to become one himself.
World War Era.
We could call Pandit Nehru a wise and able leader along with a commendable freedom fighter for the works he did during the World War eras.
He volunteered for the St. John Ambulance and worked as one of the provincial secretaries of the organization in Allahabad.
He was able to emerge from the wars as a leader whose political views were considered radical.
Nehru participated in the non-cooperation movement in 1920 which was the first big national involvement for him.
During the time he got arrested on charges of anti-governmental activities.
He also played a major role in the development of the internationalist outlook of the Indian independence struggle.
He was responsible for seeking foreign allies for India and forged links with movements for independence and democracy all over the world.
In 1927, the Congress was invited to attend the Congress of oppressed nationalities in Brussels, Belgium.
There, Nehru had the opportunity to represent India and was also elected to the Executive Council of the league against Imperialism.
Another example of him being a sensible and wise leader was that he was one of the very first leaders to realize the sufferings of the people in the states ruled by princes.
He made the struggles of the common people in princely states a part of the nationalist movement for independence.
In 1935 he got elected the President of the All India Stated People Conference that was formed in 1927.
Jawaharlal Nehru, a great Hindustani leader, and freedom fighter drafted the Indian Declaration of Independence and he emerged as a principal leader of the Lahore session of Congress in 1929.
Though everyone started considering Nehru as the rightful successor of Mahatma Gandhi during the Indian Freedom Fight as early as the 1930s, Gandhi didn’t officially designate him his political heir until 1924as he stepped back into a more spiritual role.
As India gained independence after 200 years, India and Pakistan became two different independent countries on August 15, 1947.
Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of the newly formed Independent India.
During the 17 years of Nehru being the Prime Minister of India, he brought about many positive changes and reforms in the governmental activities as well as the lives of the people of India.
As the prime minister and a leader of a free country, he imparted modern values and thoughts instead of inclining towards religious as well as old values.
He insisted upon the basic unity of India and stressed in making India a secular country instead of a Hindu nation.
He was responsible in carrying India into the modern age of scientific innovation and technological progress in the face of religious and ethnic diversity.
He also promoted social concern for the marginalized and poor communities and respected democratic values.
Nehru made laws that allowed widows of the Hindu religion to enjoy equality with the men concerning property and inheritance.
Pandit Nehru also made tremendous efforts in eliminating the caste system from different Indian communities by changing the laws to criminalize cast discrimination.
He established numerous institutions of higher education in the country like National Institute of Technology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Indian Institute of Technology.
Other remarkable changed he brought in education were guaranteeing free and compulsory primary education to each and every child.
Nehru wasn’t just popular in India for bringing about all the reforms and changes, he was considered a rightful as well as a witty and wise leader internationally.
For his leadership ability, he was approached by both the USA and USSR in efforts of making India an ally of both the nations during the cold war in 1940.
An approach he tactfully declined. Instead, he co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement of nations professing neutrality in the efforts to exclude themselves from aligning with either of the countries.
Nehru signed the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” with China which is also known as the Panchsheel in 1954.
The Panchsheel was a set of principles that would govern the relations between the two nations.
Another important decision Nehru made was, he accepted the arbitration of the UK and the World Bank signing the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 with the then Pakistani ruler Ayub Khan in order to resolve a long-standing dispute about sharing the resources of the major rivers of the Punjab areas.
Nehru, who normally didn’t believe in violence authorized the Indian Army to invade the Portuguese controlled Goa in 1961, which he later formally seized as a part of India.
He was highly criticized by the opposition for using military force to seize Goa, however, the very move increased his popularity among his supporters.
Jawaharlal Nehru played a major role in shaping the modern Indian government and political culture along with a sound foreign policy.
He was a prominent figure, a great Indian hero, and a successful freedom fighter.
He had four pillars of domestic policies and they were democracy, socialism, unity, and secularism and he significantly succeeds in maintaining a strong foundation of all four during his tenure.
He was able to relish an iconic status and was also widely admired around the world for his idealism and statesmanship.
Jawaharlal Nehru still remains a notable and highly celebrated figure of the Congress party till date.
His ideals and policies still continue to shape the Congress Party’s policy statement and its core political philosophy.
A Celebration of his Life.
Jawaharlal Nehru was an inspirational figure to all the Indians living inside and outside of the country.
His birthday, i.e. November 14 is celebrated as Baal Divas (Children’s Day) in India given his lifelong passion and work on behalf of children and youth.
His life has also inspired numerous filmmakers to make movies and documentaries based on his life struggles.
Apart from being a great leader, Pandit Nehru was also a prolific writer and wrote a number of books in English.
He also wrote his own biography titled “Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru” in 1936.
Nehru was married to Kamala Kaul and had only one child, daughter Indira Priyadarshani (later, Indira Gandhi) who later served as the first and till date the only female Prime Minister of India.
In 1955, Jawaharlal Nehru received the Bharat Ratna award, the highest civilian honor in India.
Pandit Nehru died on May 27, 1964, from a severe heart attack at the age of 74.