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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru


Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas (Children's Day) because of his affection and love to children.

Nehru role in Indian Independence

He was barrister Cambridge and upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s. He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, and eventually of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. He was INC president and participated in various protest and movement to free India from British control and in this effort he went to join numerous times.

Nehru Political thought

His idea of a secular nation-state and he was staunch follower of Democracy. Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor. After becoming PM, Nehru embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia. He also successful in the formulation of Panchsheel Principles with the neighbor country China and in our NE-India, so that they can feel attachment with mainland India, instead of enforcing majoritarian view on tribal.

Panchsheel Treaty or Five Principles

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known as the Panchsheel Treaty: Non-interference in others internal affairs and respect for each other's territorial unity integrity and sovereignty, are a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954. They were enunciated in the preamble to the "Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India", which was signed on 28 April 1954.

The Five Principles, as stated in this treaty, are listed as:

  • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
  • Mutual non-aggression,
  • Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
  • Equality and mutual benefit,
  • Peaceful co-existence
Under Nehru's leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.

Nehru's Cultural, Moral and Intellectual orientation

His avowedly cultural and intellectual orientation is sufficiently well-known, due to refusal of purification ceremony on his return from England and had been ostracized by the Brahman orthodoxy. Nehru too didn’t submit to irrational authority, be it religion or dogma, though he went along with certain social customs. He did not approve of his father’s shraddha ceremony, but took part in it for his mother’s sake. Nehru was driven or dominated by the urge to see reason in people’s thinking and action. Sometimes he’d convince them to narrow their differences by concentrating on the “economic factor”, but the upsurge of religiosity or the assertion of communitarian identities weakened or nullified his efforts.

Nehru's view on Science and Religion

Jawaharlal Nehru had a formal western education, while informal traditional, so he could see issues of India form both local & international perspectives. This influenced his views on Science & on religion. Nehru visualized that adoption and integration of S&T for improving the alarming socio-economic conditions& for safeguarding its political independence and strengthening its defense. He valued It is a critical method, focus on rationality, reliance on facts. He also criticised some features of Industrial society like materialism & selfishness & while also praising on the betterment in life brought by it.He encouraged modernisation of small scale industries & Agriculture.

Nehru on Religion

Religion according to him was closely associated with superstitious practices and dogmatic belief unsuited to modern times. His attitude to religion was also shaped by communal riots & partition of India & he thought it as dangerous to the Idea of India.

Nehru Relevance in Contemporary India

In Present day, Scientific temper in retreat & religion has morphed into exploitation, communalism & illegal activities. The values of relentless questioning, logical argumentation are being deter & rationalists are attacked. Our scientific Institutions, labs have proven inadequate in solving india’s major problems of water, food, defense, sanitation, pollution& are low in innovation & original work. India needs to absorb science in a massive way through education, discussion, investment & infra. It is telling that post-independence we have not produced a single Nobel prize winner. India’s history has always springs of scientific outlook to life from the time of Upnishads, we only need to spread the effect through-out the land so that we reach a developed nation status by 2047 & be a guiding light for the world.

Nehru was a moral person, but without basing his values in religion & but was influenced by saints such as kabir, nanak, buddha & texts such as the Gita. He realized the importance of some worthwhile ideal to give substance to our lives & guide us beyond the material and physical demands. He valued an approach to life where the two walk together to ensure a life of peace and happiness for Humanity. He warned that without a moral & compassionate grounding we risk turning to ashes.

Nehru's role in uniting all social and political class after independence.

When India got Independence, Many Western Countries used to said at that time. India will not survive, she will collapse because of her great diversity in ethnicity, culture, language and she will not be able to sustain and unified this diversity in long term". Because, India got Independence with many complex problems like Partition, prevalence of poverty, lack of institutional structure, establishing democracy in country, doing planning for long term growth of nation and most important bringing all diverse political unit i.e. princely states into India and maintain India as a true federal political unit for long term.

Nehru took these problems as challenges and solved these problems in very short period and shaped the architect of India through following steps:

  • For establishing democracy, election was necessary and only 18 % population was literate. Despite of this, Mr. Nehru through his bodies like election commission was able to bring first general election in country and this was surprise for all other nations in terms of huge participants in election
  • Establishing Planning commission for long term planning and brought 5 Year plan taking inspiration from Russia. In first FYP, He was aware about lack of infrastructure and poverty in rural area, So, FYP was focus on these eliminating these problems.
  • On foreign policies front, He was able to craft an organization which was against bipolar world or cold war i.e. NAM. this organization was composed of all new independence colonies who was previously under British sovereignty.
  • He was able to maintain cordial and close relationship with China and USA as well as Russia
Architecture involve giving a strong foundation to a building so that in long term even if design of building change, building could remain standing. This was truly done by Mr. Nehru for India when she was in phase of Nation building and still standing today after 70 years of birth.