Jawahar Lal Nehru
There are certain facts about Jawahar Lal Nehru that are too well-known to be emphasised or written in detail. These are as follows:
- He was a multi-faceted personality
- Has was born on 14th November, 1889 to Pt. Moti Lal Nehru and Swaroop Rani.
- He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth
- He received his early education at home
- He went to England for higher studies and joined the Public School at Harrow, where the Prince who later became George VI also studied.
- He did his MSc and bar-at-law in England.
- In India, he came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi.
- He joined the freedom movement with full gusto and went to jail several times. Indeed, he spent the prime of his life in British jails.
- He was an extremely popular leader, perhaps next only to Gandhiji in terms of popularity.
- Nehru can be studied from several angles, such as a:
- freedom fighter;
- world leader;
- pioneer of the Non-aligned Movement;
- lover of peace;
- follower of Gandhiji;
- Prime Minister of India;
- lover of nature;
- lover of mankind;
- lover of animals;
- lover of simplicity;
- lover of Indian ancient heritage and culture;
- lover of western culture; and scientific temperament of mind;
- lover of science and scientific temperament of mind;
- the guiding force for setting to heavy industry and dams in India;
- builder of modern India;
- historian and cultural ambassador of India;
- speaker par excellence;
- lover of children;
- lover of the youth;.
- prose writer in English;
- lover of English poetry;
- A votary of refinement, good manners, and decent etiquettes;
- lover of the common man and the people; and;
- lover of consensus;
In whatever he said or did, there was a natural flow and grace. His high education, exposure to western culture, and rich background did not turn him into a snob or prude. He remained a pure lover of the Indian culture and literature. An autobiography, Glimpses of World History. Letters to his Daughter and other works provide ample proof of his genuine patriotism and love of mankind in general and Indian people in particular.
The first Prime Minister of Independent India
After Independence, Nehru, as the first Prime Minister of India, started reconstruction work. Millions of refugees who came to India from areas forming Pakistan were rehabilitated. Great dams like the Bhakra Dam were constructed. Great steel plants like the Bhilai Steel Plant were constructed with foreign collaboration. The Atomic Energy Commission and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay and several other factories, plants, and mills were set up.
Agriculture got the first priority, but the industry also received the much-required attention. Villages started to be given attention after Gandhiji’s dream.
Democrat and Humanist
Nehru did what he could to strengthen the democratic institutions – the Parliament, the judiciary, the Panchayat, etc. He was a great democrat, no doubt.
According to M.C. Chagla, a renowned jurist and a popular educationist, “Nehru honoured the office of Prime Minister by holding it.”
Nehru was not only a man of the masses but also of individual human beings. His affection for children who called him and still call him “Chacha Nehru”, is too well-known to require to be explained in detail. His fondness for a red rose in his buttonhole is still initiated by thousands of children who may not hold one in the button-hole of their shirt or coat but would like to love the roses not simply because of their superb beauty and sweet smell but also for the sake of Nehru whose proverbial rose has become an immortal symbol or memorial for children throughout India.
Failures in Pakistan and China policies
There were two big shocks for Nehru in his life. The first one was felt when he took the Pakistan attack on the J&K case to the UN. He had great faith in the UN. But it was a bit jolt, (though Nehru never expressed any revulsion to the UN) when the world organisation, instead of taking Pakistan to task equated India and Pakistan in the matter as if India had been equally at fault. This happened when the Indian forces were pushing back the Pakistan-armed marauders across the other side of the border and Nehru suddenly ordered the ceasefire. This happened in 1948.
The second and bigger shock (which proved fatal to Nehru) was when China while clamouring the slogan “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” and having signed the sacred “Panchsheel” stabbed India in the back and attacked her most unexpectedly in 1962. She annexed thousands of miles of Indian land which she is still having under her control. Later China annexed even Tibet which had served as a buffer state between the two countries.