Bishwa Nath Singh:
While, the 83rd plenary of All India Congress Party is being held at Burari in northwest Delhi under the President ship of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, my memories take me back that her husband’s grand father (Nana)Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had honour to be elected as the President of the Congress party at the party’s Lahore session and had di...stinguished himself to serve All India National Congress as the party President six times. When Mahatma Gandhi had formally resigned from politics, Nehru had become the leader of the Congress party in 1934.Let us have glimpse of the legacy of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru who remained the Prime Minister of India for seventeen long years who could rightly be called the architect of modern India who had set –up India on the path of democracy and nurtured its institutions such as Parliament, multi-party system, independent judiciary and free press and had encouraged Panjayati Raj institutions!
(Photo of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru,the first Prime Minister of India)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and one of the strongest leaders of our country’s independence movement. Because of his able leadership, independent India had become one of the more industrialized nations. He w...as born into an affluent Kashmiri Brahmin family on the 14th of November, 1989 at Allahabad in India. He was the only son of Motilal Nehru, a leading Barrister and Prominent leader of India’s Independent Movement and Swarup Rani , a very pious lady of Pre-independence era. He studied from the age of 15 to 23 at Harrow School in England for two years before entering Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he spent three years earning an honors degree in Natural Science. He then qualified as a Barrister after two years at the Inner Temple, London. He returned to India in 1912 and practiced law in Allahabad High Court. On February 8, 1916, Nehru married seventeen year old Kamala Kaul. In the first year of the marriage, Kamala gave birth to their only child, Indira Priyadarshini on November 19, 1917 who later served as the Prime Minister of India. from January 24,1966 to March 24,1977 and from January 14,1980 to until her assassination on October 31, 1984. Pandit Nehru was deeply moved to join politics when on April 13, 1919, British troops fired at point-blank range into a crowd of ten thousand unarmed Indians who had gathered at Amritsar in Punjab, to celebrate a Hindu festival. He had joined the Non-cooperation movement that was led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920. The campaign of Non-cooperation advocated ‘Ahimsa’ (Non-violence )and ‘Swaraj’ (Independence) particularly in the economic sphere. In the year 1920, Gandhi refashioned the Congress party from an elite organization into an effective political instrument with widespread grassroots and Nehru supported the reforms. Nehru was arrested by the British and imprisoned for the first time in 1921. Over the next twenty four years, Nehru spent more than nine years in jail, with the longest of his nine detentions lasting for three years. Nehru occupied much of his prison time in reading & writing. He had written Glimpses of World History in 1934, his Autobiography in 1936 and The Discovery of India in 1946.He became the General Secretary of the Congress party for a period of two years from 1923-25. He attained the position again in 1927 for another two years. He traveled to Europe and the former Soviet Union, where he developed an interest in Marxism. Under Gandhi’s patronage, Nehru was elected President of the Congress party at the party’s Lahore session. Nehru served as the party President six times. When Mahatma Gandhi formally resigned from politics, Nehru became the leader of the Congress party in 1934. In February 1937, when the elections under the Government of India Act brought the Congress to power in a majority of the provinces, Nehru was faced with a dilemma. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the leader of the defeated Muslim League asked for the formation of a coalition Congress-Muslim League governments in some of the provinces. Nehru denied his request. The subsequent clash between the Congress and the Muslim League hardened into a conflict between the Hindus and the Muslims that ultimately led to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. When the Congress party passed the ‘Quit India’ resolution in Bombay on August 8 1942, the entire Congress Working Committee, including Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru was arrested and imprisoned. In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi officially designated Nehru as his political heir. On the midnight of August 15, 1947, India and Pakistan formally achieved their sovereignty. Nehru hoisted our national flag and delivered his famous speech from the historical Red Fort of Delhi, capital of India titled "India’s Tryst with Destiny". By the time, two nation theory had come into being. Pandit Nehru became the first Prime Minister of Independent India and introduced a mix of socialist planning and free enterprise measures to repair and build the country’s ravaged economy. He also took the External Affairs Ministerial portfolio and served as the Foreign Minister throughout his tenure as Prime Minister. In 1950, India became a Republic with him as its Prime Minister. With the foresight of a statesman he created institutions like Planning Commission, National Science Laboratories and laid the foundation of a vast public sector for developing infrastructure for industrial growth. Besides, developing the public sector, Nehru also wanted to encourage the private sector to establish a social order based on social justice he emphasised the need of planned development. Nehru gave a clear direction to India’s role in the comity of nations with the policy of non alignment and the principle of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence at a time when the rivalries of cold-war were driving the humanity to its doom. His vision was that of extensive application of science and technology and industrialisation for better living and liberation from the clutches of poverty, superstition and ignorance. Education to him was very important for internal freedom and fearlessness. It was Nehru who insisted if the world was to exist at all; it must exist as one. He was generous and gracious. Emotional sensitivity and intellectual passion infused his writings, giving them unusual appeal and topicality even today. He was awarded our national highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 1955. He never forgot India's great cultural heritage and liked to combine tradition with modernity.He became deeply involved in the development and implementation of the country’s five-year plans that over the course of the 1950s and 1960s saw India become one of the most industrialized nations in the world. In Foreign Affairs, Pandit Nehru had advocated the policies of nationalism, internationalism, anti-colonialism and non-alignment or ‘positive neutrality’. He had argued for the admission of China to the United Nations and called for détente between the United States and the Soviet Union. Acting as a mediator, he also helped to end the Korean war of 1950-53. However, in 1962, a long-standing border dispute with China broke out into war despite his best efforts to improve relations between India & China. In January 1963, he suffered a slight stroke followed by a more debilitating attack. Pandit Nehru died in office on May 27, 1964 in New Delhi from a third and fatal stroke. On his passing away, the whole country wept tears strolling down from their swollen eyes. His death was mourned all over the world.Let us join to pay our floral tribute & respectful homage to that great man who had towering personality and great statesman of the world!