Long Essay on Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru was born on November 14, 1889 at Allahabad. His ancestors came from Kashmir and enjoyed the honorific of Pandit, meaning ‘Man of Letters’. He did not attend any school in India. Whatever education he acquired was due to the efforts of English governesses employed by his father to mend him into a gentleman.
Jawaharlal Nehru left for England in 1905 and joined Harrow. He always felt a misfit there. He was transferred to Trinity College, Cambridge. There he studied chemistry, geology and botany. He had an equal interest for history, literature, politics and economics. When he returned to India, he behaved like a gentleman, but the condition of his motherland and her people moved him. He returned to India to discover India. During this time he was influenced by the Satyagraha of Gandhiji.
Jawaharlal Nehru married Kamala on February 8, 1916, the day of Basant Panchami. A daughter was born to them on November 19, 1917 who was named Indira, who later became the Prime Minister of India.
It was in 1916 that Jawaharlal Nehru met Gandhiji for the first time, but he was not much impressed by him. He became the joint secretary of the Home Rule League. However, in 1919, the occurrence of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre brought the two leaders together and in it he saw a great opportunity to serve the motherland. In 1921, he became a complete Gandhist with the Gandhi topi. It was also the year of confrontation with the British. He was arrested this year because he was becoming a popular leader and the government considered him a great threat. With every passing day he continued to take the role of a leader with massive support from the common men. He was considered to be a man of superior qualities. Many of them addressed him as the ‘Prince’.
In 1929, Motilal Nehru handed over the charge of the Presidentship of the All India Congress Committee to Jawaharlal Nehru, from father to son. Jawaharlal continued to be imprisoned and freed during his struggle for independence. He passed a total of 3262 days in various prisons. An Interim Cabinet was formed under him in September 1946. He assumed the post of the Prime Minister of India on August 15, 1947 and continued on this post until his death on May 27, 1964.
Jawaharlal Nehru was born in a country under the shackles of the British. He left no stone unturned to bring India to kiss her ‘tryst with destiny’. He continued to serve India even after independence and steered India toward economic freedom.
Jawaharlal Nehru was a man of letters. He has written many books which are world famous — Glimpses of the World History, The Unity of India, A Bunch of Old Letters, and of course, the Discovery of India. The speeches he delivered on various occasions have great literary value. His writings revealed that he was a great statesman, scholar, administrator, historian, humanist and politician. He wanted India to adopt the international outlook so that her culture was made compatible with that of the international community because the world was increasingly becoming a global village.
Jawaharlal Nehru had a scientific outlook and approach. He foresaw that India could not progress without embracing science in everyday life. It was the reason that he wanted scientists, technocrats and others to come forward in the service of the Indians even when proper facilities could not be provided because of lack of funds. He said that they should be instrumental in developing the required infrastructure that was so necessary for the leap of the nation to the height of scientific achievements. It was the reason that he went for industrial revolution. He was scientific and modern in his outlook. He also understood the complexities of the Indian situation and had clear vision as to how to adopt the latest scientific development into the country to achieve optimum results. The heavy industries he went for in the initial period of independence are a witness to his vision.
Jawaharlal Nehru understood properly that the best suited option for India was a mixture of capitalism and socialism, so he went for mixed economy. It was instrumental in creating the vast infrastructure, based on which we can taste the fruits of development today, though presently, free economy is preferred. This stage would not have been achieved without his emphasis in the beginning.
Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Indian leader of international stature who was liked for his ideas and thoughts. He took active interest in the international events. The formation of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1956 was due to his combined efforts with Tito and Nasser. He did not want India to side with either of the two super powers — the US or the USSR (now Russia). But his views on peace were a great debacle. He forgot that to seek peace, one must be strong too. It is his views on forwarding the Kashmir problem to the United Nations and failure to modernise the armed forces that he is criticised most for. India lost the war with China in 1962, chiefly due to lack of preparedness, and is considered a chief demerit of Jawaharlal Nehru.
His views on the Panchasheel are the cornerstone of India’s policy in interaction with the other countries. The Panchasheel outlines the five principles which are enunciated on the Preamble to the Sino-Indian Agreement of 1954. The five principles are :
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty;
- Mutual non-aggression;
- Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;
- Equal and mutual benefit; and
- Peaceful co-existence.
It cannot be denied that the views of Jawaharlal Nehru on modernisation have helped India a great deal. It was his vision that we are reaping rich dividends today, though a lot still needs to be done. Let us carry on with his legacy and make India the most modern country in the world.