Jawaharlal Nehru

India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14th November 1889 in Allahabad to Motilal Nehru and Swaruprani Thussu. His father was a wealthy barrister who severed as the President of the Indian National Congress twice during the Independence struggle. Jawaharlal Nehru was the eldest of the three children. He had two sisters Vijaya Lakshmi (who later become the first female president of the UN General Assembly), and Krishna Lakshmi (a noted writer).

Nehru was home educated, and later when on to Trinity College, Cambridge and graduated with a degree in natural science. During his time at Trinity he also studied*studied*
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politics, economics, history and literature. After completing his education in Cambridge, Nehru shifted to London to study law at Inns of Court School of Law. After completing his education he returned to India and enrolled at Allahabad High Court.

Nehru at Allahabad High Court; Image Source: https://www.saddahaq.com/rare-pictures-and-moments-in-the-life-of-nehru
Nehru took keen interest in politics, which went on to become his prime focus. A committed nationalist, he become a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of 1910. With the support Gandhi, he went on to become a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress. He took over as president of the party in 1929 and went on to call for complete independence from the British Raj.

As the country moved towards independence, Nehru’s idea of secular nation-state was validated under his leadership, marking his dominance on the Indian political scene in 1930’s. In 1937 he went on to win the provincial elections and formed government in several provinces. However, things took a harsh turn with the launch of the Quit India Movement in 1942 when the British came down heavily on the Congress as a political organization. Even though Nehru was reluctant to join the movement – he had no alternative but to join Gandhi. When the movement was announced the British arrested all congress committee members along with Gandhi and Nehru.

Image Source: http://myfantasticindia.com/political-revolution-in-gandhi-land/
After his return from prison, the political scene in India had shifted. The Muslim League under the guidance of Muhammad Ali Jinnah had now become a dominant political party. This led to negotiations between Nehru and Jinnah on power sharing, leading to independence and partition of India due to lack on consensus between the two leaders. Nehru went on to get elected as the first Prime Minister of Independent India in 1947 by the party.

Image Source: http://www.livemint.com/Multimedia/VLxe6xosNM2PbOUYy2UZiO/Independence-Day-down-the-years-From-Nehru-to-Gandhi-to-Mod.html
During his term as the Prime Minister he set realize his vision of India. He had planned to bring about social, economic, and political reforms in the country along with changing the country’s monarchy in to a republic set up. He advocated a mixed economy set up where the government controlled the public sector would co-exist with the private sector. He also introduced land reforms in order to facilitate agriculture and support the farmers.

Along with economic and agricultural policies, Nehru paid high emphasis on education and saw the established of many pioneering institutes like All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, and National Institute of Technology under his governance. He also saw that schooling was made available countrywide along with free meals being served in school to fight malnutrition.

Nehru also advocated changes in the Hindu Law to abolish caste discrimination and increase legal rights for women. He created the reservation system to eradicate inequalities. However even though Nehru wrote Article 44 of the Indian Constitution that states that: ‘*The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India’ *he allowed Muslims to keep their personal law in certain matters.

Nehru leaded India through 1947 up till 1964 despite political upheavals in the later years. However during the 1962 Sino-Indian War his health started to deteriorate causing to his death later on 27th May 1964.

Chacha Nehru with children; Image Source: https://www.saddahaq.com/rare-pictures-and-moments-in-the-life-of-nehru
Nehru to date is remembered for his contributions and fondness for children. His birthday in India is celebrated as Children’s Day!