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Jawahar Lal Nehru-1

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Jawahar Lal Nehru-1
14 November 1889 - 27 May 1964     Read also  Jawahar Lal Nehru-2

Jawahar Lal Nehru, born in 1889 was the first and longest serving prime minister of India - 1947-1964, 17 years. He was the son of a well-known lawyer of those times Motee Laal Nehru (1861-1931) and his wife Swaroop Rani in a Kashmeeree Pandit family in Ilaahaabaad, UP. He was educated in India and Britain. In England, he attended the independent boy's school, Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. During his time in Britain, Nehru was also known as Joe Nehru. He became a lawyer in 1912 - at the age of 23 years. He was imprisoned nine times between 1921 and 1945 for his political activities.

On 15 January 1941. Gandhi said about Nehru, "Some say Pandit Nehru and I were estranged. It will require much more than difference of opinion to estrange us. We had differences from the time we became co-workers and yet I have said for some years and say so now that not Rajaji but Jawaharlal will be my successor." So Nehru raised the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15 August 1947, the day India gained Independence.

Works for Independent India
Nehru did a lot of work for India after being Prime Minister.
Education - As he was a passionate advocate of education for India's children and youth, he believed it as essential for India's future progress. His government oversaw the establishment of many institutions of higher learning, including the "All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) , the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the National Institute of Technology (NITs). Nehru also outlined a commitment in his five-year plans(Panch Varsheeya Yojanaa) to guarantee free and compulsory primary education to all of India's children.

He developed a system of reservations in government services and educational institutions to eradicate the social inequalities and disadvantages faced by peoples of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

In the years following independence, Nehru frequently turned to his daughter Indira to look after him and manage his personal affairs. Under his leadership, the Congress won an overwhelming majority in the elections of 1952. Indira moved into Nehru's official residence to attend to him and became his constant companion in his travels across India and the world. Indira would virtually become Nehru's chief of staff.

His daughter, Indira Gandhi, became the next Prime Minister of India two years after his death. And Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India after 2 days after his mother's assassination and remained there for 7 years - 1984-1991. Unfortunately both were assassinated.

Nehru in Popular Culture
In his lifetime, Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed an iconic status in India and was widely admired across the world for his idealism and statesmanship. His birthday, 14 November, is celebrated in India as Baal Divas (Children's Day) in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Children across India remember him as Chaachaa Nehru (Uncle Nehru - since Gandhi Ji was called Baapu, so Nehru was known as Chaachaa - his younger brother). Congress leaders and activists often emulate his style of clothing, especially the Gandhi cap, and his mannerisms. An emotional attachment to his legacy was instrumental in the rise of his daughter Indira to leadership of the Congress Party and the national government. Nehru's personal preference for the Sheravaanee ensured that it continues to be considered formal wear in North India today; aside from lending his name to a kind of cap, the Nehru Jacket is named in his honor due to his preference for that style. A single Red rose in his Sheravaanee button hole was his special identity.

Many documentaries about Nehru's life have been produced. He has also been portrayed in films too. The canonical performance is probably that of Roshan Seth, who played him three times : in Richard Attenborough's 1982 film "Gandhi", Shyam Benegal's 1988 television series "Bharat Ek Khoj" - based on Nehru's "The Discovery of India", and in a 2007 TV film entitled "The Last Days of the Raj". In Ketan Mehta's film "Sardar", Nehru was portrayed by Benjamin Gilani. Girish Karnad's historical play, "Tughlaq" (1962) is an allegory about the Nehru's era. It was staged by Ebrahim Alkazi with National School of Drama Repertory at Purana Qila, Dehlee in 1970s and later at the Festival of India, London in 1982.

Writings of Nehru
Nehru was a prolific writer in English and wrote a number of books, such as
"The Discovery of India" - this is his most famous book
"Glimpses of World History",
"Toward Freedom" - his autobiography
"Letters from a Father to His Daughter" (to Indira Gandhi).


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/24/12