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Thread: Legendary Politicians: Jawaharlal Nehru

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    Default Legendary Politicians: Jawaharlal Nehru

    Who’s Who

    Simply put, Jawaharlal Nehru (often referred to using the epithet ‘Panditji’) was the first Prime Minister of Independent India. He was also an extraordinary visionary, a capable leader, and a true patriot which is apparent once one delves into his history and examines the policies he was responsible for instituting. He was one of the primary architects of a democratic form of government in India and one of the principal stewards of newly-independent India.

    Nehru was also a keen lover of children and their innocence which is why India celebrates his birthday (14th November) as ‘Children’s Day’.

    Early Days and Career

    He was born in 1861 to Swaroop Rani and Motilal Nehru, the patriarch of an illustrious and well-off Kashmiri Brahmin family. His father was a renowned litigator and influential politician and the Nehru family was known to have rather unique views in that liberal thinking, speaking in English, and the pursuit of a good education were deeply encouraged; the young Nehru received all the benefits of being brought up in such an open-minded household.

    He was sent off to England for schooling at the Harrow School and went on to attend Cambridge University in London. In 1912, he returned to India to pass the bar exam in Uttar Pradesh and by 1916 his marriage had been arranged.

    Prolific Policies

    Nehru made many useful contributions during his political career and had a rather futuristic thought process. It was this ability of his to think ahead that ensured he would go down as one of the greatest public policy thinkers India would ever have. Some of his contributions include:

    -Being a leader in the movement to secure freedom from the British Empire.

    -Advocating the policy of Non-Alignment during the Cold War

    -Being the chief framer of domestic and international policies between 1947 and 1964 in India.

    -Supervising the launch of the nation's first 5-year plan. This method for framing economic and public policy continues even today

    Nehru was also an exemplary statesman, surprising international politicians with his eloquence and quiet grit.

    Personal Probe

    In 1916, Nehru married 16-year-old Kamala Kaul, who was brought up in a traditional Indian home and thus began feel alienated amongst the progressive Nehrus and their lofty ideals. She gave birth to their only child, Indira Priyadarshini (better known as Indira Gandhi), who also later became a Prime Minister of India in what many considered an egregious act of nepotism. His grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, also served as Prime Minister for a brief period of time.

    Nehru was romantically linked with many women and theories about illegitimate children as well as several clandestine affairs have always abounded; however, no definitive proof has ever been uncovered. Most historians believe that the rumours about his relationship with Lord Mountbatten’s wife, Edwina were based in fact and that the two did, in fact, share an emotional and intellectual--if not a physical--connection.

    Sensible Sayings

    -"A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action."

    -"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new; when an age ends; and when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance."

    -"A theory must be tempered with reality."

    -"Action itself, so long as I am convinced that it is right action, gives me satisfaction."

    -"Action to be effective must be directed to clearly conceived ends."

    -"Citizenship consists in the service of the country."

    -"Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think."

    -"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit."

    -"Democracy and socialism are means to an end, not the end itself."

    -"Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse."

    Doomed Death & Lasting Legacy

    Nehru passed away on May 27th, 1964 after succumbing to a stroke and then a heart attack. However, he left behind the kind of legacy almost no current politician can ever hope to aspire to.

    He played a major role in shaping modern India’s government, especially via his sound foreign policy. He is also praised for having created an educational system which, while far from perfect, reaches children in the farthest rural corners of India. He is also fondly remembered for being an ardent nationalist and making a tremendous contribution to Indian politic
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