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Prime Minister of India
|Term in Office:||August 15, 1947 - May 27, 1964|
|Date of Birth:||November 14, 1889|
|Place of Birth:||Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh|
|Date of Death:||May 27, 1964|
|Political Party:||Indian National Congress|
The son of prominent Congress leader Motilal Nehru, he returned from education in England to practise law before following his father into politics, emerging as a protege of Mahatma Gandhi and entering the first rank in Indian nationalist politics as president of Congress (an annual post) for the first time in 1929.
Imprisoned for 32 months after the Quit India movement of 1942, Nehru formed the country's first Indian government in July 1946 in the face of mounting opposition from the All-India Muslim League, whose campaign for a separate state led to the creation of a separate Pakistan in 1947.
As prime minister, Nehru pursued a foreign policy of non-alignment while pusuing India's claim to Kashmir in the face of Pakistani opposition, resulting in the First Kashmir War (1947-49). Though professing distaste for armed force, he used India's army to secure the territories of Hyderabad (September 1948) and Portuguese-ruled Goa (December 1961). Military defeat at the hands of the People's Republic of China in October 1962 brought strong criticism of military unpreparedness and Nehru's policy of friendship with India's mighty neighbour.
Nehru's reported love affair with Edwina Mountbatten (wife of Lord Mountbatten, first Governor-General of independent India) is alleged by some to have placed him under undue political influence on the part of Lord Mountbatten in 1947-48. No evidence exists for the latter accusation.
During the Cold War on November 27, 1946, Prime Minister Nehru appealed to the United States and the Soviet Union to end nuclear testing and to start nuclear disarmament, stating that such an action would "save humanity from the ultimate disaster."
The Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital, Rose Belle, Mauritius was named after him.
Nehru's Economic Policy
Nehru was fascinated by Soviet Union's Piatilekta or 5-year plan and tried implementing the same for Indian Economy. He wanted India to have best of both Socialism and Capitalism and hence went on to create Democratic Socialism of India. He wanted the state to be the enterprenuer and all its citizens to be equal share holders. He strengthened the democratic pillars of nation immensely by creating proper wealth distribution systems at all levels. But this kind of system, where in the state is the enterprenuer, failed to generate wealth for the giant nation. It resulted in corruption and stagnation. Gurucharan Das in his book India Unbound captures the essence of Nehruvian era by the sentence -- ''The cake is distributed even before it was baked."
Books written by Nehru
Nehru's letters to his daughter Indira during successive periods of imprisonment in 1930-34 were later compiled into a book called Glimpses of World History. His 1942-45 incarceration produced The Discovery of India. He has written his biography too, titled An Autobiography. All of Nehru's writings bear strong imprints of his intellectual and sensitive mind along with a poetic temperament. In a review of The Glimpses of World History, Tom Wrightington says that Indians can learn English not from Macualay or Gibbon, but from Nehru. Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore have written letters, praising the content and Nehru's mastery over English and rhythm.
Nehru's famous Tryst with Destiny speech on the eve of Indian Independence can be found here.