Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

  • IASbaba
  • November 15, 2021
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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Part of: Prelims and GS-I- Modern History

On 14 November 1889, Jawaharlal Nehru was born in Allahabad to parents with Kashmiri Pandit lineage. He played a prominent role in the freedom struggle and became the first prime minister of independent India.

  • A prominent lawyer and a member of the Indian National Congress, and also served as its president twice.
  • Influenced by the works of G B Shaw, H G Wells, Bertrand Russell, J M Keynes, Meredith Townsend and Lowes Dickinson
  • In 1912, Nehru returned to India and started practice at the Allahabad High Court. However, he was disinterested in this job and soon drifted towards the national cause. He attended a Congress session in 1912 in Patna and felt that the membership of the party was restricted to upper-class elites. The INC at that time was in its moderate phase.
  • Advocated for non-cooperation and resigning from honorary positions. He supported more aggressive nationalists who were pressing for home rule.
  • He was influenced by Annie Besant and worked for her Home Rule League.
  • He was involved in the non-cooperation movement in 1920 and was imprisoned for the first time. When Gandhi called off the movement in the wake of the violence at Chauri Chaura, there was a split in the party and Motilal Nehru and C R Das formed the Swaraj Party. Jawaharlal Nehru, however, remained with the Congress and Gandhi.
  • The preamble of the Indian constitution, which is based on the objective’s resolution drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru, summarises the ideals and thoughts the founding fathers of independent India had dreamed of. It is the central theme around which the constitution revolves.
  • A founder and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • From 1957, his birth anniversary is celebrated as ‘Children’s Day’ in India.

Five principal pillars of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy to India — Nation-building, Democratic institution-building, Secularism, Democratic Socialist economics, and a Novel foreign policy (Non-alignment, Panchsheel) still form the cardinal values of India.

Three major achievements and their impact on shaping future of India:

Welfare State:

  • Through the planned economy approach, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru envisaged that in a land of extreme poverty and inequality, the objective of government policy must be the welfare of the poorest, most deprived and most marginalised of the people.
  • This notion drives the policy of successive governments that poverty and inequality in India cannot be tackled only by the market.
  • It can be reflected in creation of a framework of rights, including the right to work, the right to food, the right to education and the right to fair compensation for land, all of which have empowered the poorest of people in India.

Establishing Institutions of Excellence:

  • It was  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s who built the scientific base for India’s space and engineering triumphs today.
  • With the establishment of what is now the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has achieved the status of Space power today.
  • With the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) established in his tenure, Indians have a worldwide reputation for engineering excellence.
  • Also, he laid the foundations of a dual-track nuclear programme due to which India achieved nuclear-capable status.
  • Also, the economic policies of investing in heavy industries and protecting the nascent manufacturing sector, helped India to substitute imports to a certain extent.

Foreign Policy:

  • For Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s , Non-alignment (NAM) was the response to the bipolar divisions of the Cold War era.
  • After two centuries of British rule, Nehru was determined to protect the country’s strategic autonomy without compromising independence by aligning itself to either superpower in the Cold War.
  • This policy of NAM, made India one of the most distinguished leaders of Third World solidarity, reached out to the rest of the colonised world, and forged a joint front against colonialism and a reinvented imperialism.
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was also a skilled exponent of soft power, much before the term was even coined.
  • He developed a role for India in the world based entirely on its civilisations history and its moral standing, as the voice of the oppressed and the marginalised against the hegemony of the day.
  • This gave India global reputation and prestige across the world for years, and strengthened our self-respect as we stood, proud and independent, on the global stage.

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. – Pandit Nehru, 15 August 1947.

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