Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru

Born: Nov 14 in Allahabad, North-Western Provinces, British India
Died: May 27, 1964 (at age 74) in New Delhi, Delhi, India
Nationality: Indian
Famous For: First Prime Minister of India
Awards: Bharat Ratna 1955

Jawaharlal Nehru was the very first Prime Minister in India. He was a central figure in the politics of India for the better part of the 20th Century. Jawaharlal is considered to be the architect of modern India as it is currently considered a sovereign, secular, socialist and democratic republic.

Nehru’s Early Life

Jawaharlal was born on 14th November 1889 in India. His dad was a famous lawyer and worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi. Jawaharlal was educated at home by several English tutors and governesses until he turned 16. After this, Nehru continued his own education in England where he earned his degree in the natural science. After this, he went ahead to London to study law before returning to India in 1912. Back in India, he practiced law for several years. Jawaharlal got married. He and his wife had their first and only child, Indira, in 1917.

Leadership in Early Politics

In 1919, Nehru heard of the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also called the massacre of Amristar. This incident killed 379 people, leaving more than 1,200 wounded when the British army fired for about 10 minutes into a crowd of Indians.

Upon hearing of this massacre, Jawaharlal vowed to fight back. He decided to join the Indian National Congress, which was one of major political parties in India. He was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi who was the party’s leader.

The British did not give in to Indian demands for their freedom. Actually, in 1921, the Congress Party’s central leaders and other workers were all banned from working and operating in some places. For the very first time, Nehru was sent to prison as this ban took effect in India. Over the next 24 years, he was served a total of nine sentences, making a total of nine years in jail.

Indian Independence

In 1928, after a long period of struggle, Jawaharlal Nehru became the president of the Indian National Congress. Later in 1929, he led the famous session at Lahore; this session proclaimed total independence as India’s political goal. In November of 1930, Round Table Conferences started in London. The conferences were hosted by British and Indian leaders who wanted to work on a plan of independence.

In 1932, Nehru and his friend Gandhi were jailed on different charges of an attempt to start a civil disobedience movement. Later on, in the third and final conference in London, the Government of India-Act (1935) was created. The act gave Indian provinces the system of the autonomous government where elections would simply be held so as to name the provincial leaders. In 1935, this act was made a law and the Indian community started seeing Jawaharlal Nehru as Gandhi’s natural successor.

Nehru during World War II

In September of 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Britain committed India to this war without consulting the Indian officials. Gandhi and Nehru started mobilizing a civil disobedience movement and they were both jailed. The two leaders continued to oppose the British actions in India until the British withdrew and Nehru was finally appointed the first prime minister of India.

Leadership as Prime Minister

Under Nehru’s leadership, the Congressbecame a very popular party that dominated the national politics winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained a very popular leader in India in spite of a few political troubles in his last years in politics. He retired in 1958. Nehru died on May 27, 1964, at the age of 74.