Born: November 14, 1889
Died: May 27, 1964
Achievements: Took active part in Non-Cooperation Movement;
elected President of the Allahabad Municipal Corporation in 1924, and
served for two years as the city's chief executive; Presided over
Congress' annual session in Lahore in 1929 and passed a resolution
demanding India's independence; elected as Congress President in 1936,
1937, and 1946; became first Prime Minister of independent India; was
one of the main architects of Non Aligned Movement.
Jawaharlal Nehru, also known as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was one of the
foremost leaders of Indian freedom struggle. He was the favourite
disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and later on went on to become the first
Prime Minister of India. Jawahar Lal Nehru is widely regarded as the
architect of modern India. He was very fond of children and children
used to affectionately call him Chacha Nehru.
Jawahar Lal Nehru was born on November 14,
1889. His father Motilal Nehru was a famous Allahabad based barrister.
Jawaharlal Nehru's mother's name was Swaroop Rani. Jawaharlal Nehru was
the only son of Motilal Nehru. Motilal Nehru has three daughters apart
from Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehrus were Saraswat Brahmin of Kashmiri lineage.
Jawaharlal Nehru received education in some of the finest schools and
universities of the world. He did his schooling from Harrow and
completed his Law degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. The seven
years he spent in England widened his horizons and he acquired a
rational and skeptical outlook and sampled Fabian socialism and Irish
nationalism, which added to his own patriotic dedication.
Jawaharlal Nehru returned to India in 1912 and started legal practice.
He married Kamala Nehru in 1916. Jawahar Lal Nehru joined Home Rule
League in 1917. His real initiation into politics came two years later
when he came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi in 1919. At that time
Mahatma Gandhi had launched a campaign against Rowlatt Act. Nehru was
instantly attracted to Gandhi's commitment for active but peaceful,
civil disobedience. Gandhi himself saw promise and India's future in the
young Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nehru family changed its family according to Mahatma Gandhi's
teachings. Jawaharlal and Motilal Nehru abandoned western clothes and
tastes for expensive possessions and pastimes. They now wore a Khadi
Kurta and Gandhi cap. Jawaharlal Nehru took active part in the Non-
Cooperation Movement 1920-1922) and was arrested for the first time
during the movement. He was released after few months.
Jawaharlal Nehru was elected President of the Allahabad Municipal
Corporation in 1924, and served for two years as the city's chief
executive. This proved to be a valuable administrative experience for
stood him in good stead later on when he became the prime minister of
the country. He used his tenure to expand public education, health care
and sanitation. He resigned in 1926 citing lack of cooperation from
civil servants and obstruction from British authorities.
From 1926 to 1928, Jawaharlal served as the General Secretary of the
All India Congress Committee. In 1928-29, the Congress's annual session
under President Motilal Nehru was held. During that session Jawaharlal
Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose backed a call for full political
independence, while Motilal Nehru and others wanted dominion status
within the British Empire. To resolve the point, Gandhi said that the
British would be given two years to grant India dominion status. If they
did not, the Congress would launch a national struggle for full,
political independence. Nehru and Bose reduced the time of opportunity
to one year. The British did not respond.
In December 1929, Congress's annual session was held in Lahore and
Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as the President of the Congress Party.
During that sessions a resolution demanding India's independence was
passed and on January 26, 1930 in Lahore, Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled free
India's flag. Gandhiji gave a call for Civil Disobedience Movement in
1930. The movement was a great success and forced British Government to
acknowledge the need for major political reforms.
When the British promulgated the Government of India Act 1935, the Congress Party decided to contest
elections. Nehru stayed out of the elections, but campaigned vigorously
nationwide for the party. The Congress formed governments in almost
every province, and won the largest number of seats in the Central
Assembly. Nehru was elected to the Congress presidency in 1936, 1937,
and 1946, and came to occupy a position in the nationalist movement
second only to that of Gandhi. Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested in 1942
during Quit India Movement. Released in 1945, he took a leading part in
the negotiations that culminated in the emergence of the dominions of
India and Pakistan in August 1947.
In 1947, he becamethe first Prime Minister of independent India. He
effectively coped with the formidable challenges of those times: the
disorders and mass exodus of minorities across the new border with
Pakistan, the integration of 500-odd princely states into the Indian
Union, the framing of a new constitution, and the establishment of the
political and administrative infrastructure for a parliamentary
Jawaharlal Nehru played a key role in building modern India. He set up
a Planning Commission, encouraged development of science and technology,
and launched three successive five-year plans. His policies led to a
sizable growth in agricultural and industrial production. Nehru also
played a major role in developing independent India's foreign policy. He
called for liquidation of colonialism in Asia and Africa and along with
Tito and Nasser, was one of the chief architects of the nonaligned
movement. He played a constructive, mediatory role in bringing the
Korean War to an end and in resolving other international crises, such
as those over the Suez Canal and the Congo, offering India's services
for conciliation and international policing. He contributed behind the
scenes toward the solution of several other explosive issues, such as
those of West Berlin, Austria, and Laos.
But Jawahar Lal Nehru couldn't improve India's relations with Pakistan
and China. The Kashmir issue proved a stumbling block in reaching an
accord with Pakistan, and the border dispute prevented a resolution with
China. The Chinese invasion in 1962, which Nehru failed to anticipate,
came as a great blow to him and probably hastened his death. Jawaharlal
Nehru died of a heart attack on May 27, 1964.