Posted: August 12th, 2013
The Republic of India as one of the fastest growing economies in the world amalgamates diversity with democracy attributed to influx of foreign culture and a democratic and efficient parliamentary system respectively. Before the declaration of the country’s independence in 1947, India was colonized directly by the British who oppressively ruled the country. The harsh and exploitative rule of the nation under the British forced the people to invoke social change. Various personalities took part in changing India’s trajectory before and after independence. One such personality was Jawaharlal Nehru.
Born in November 14 1889, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the most influential political leaders and politicians in India. His influential status in the country’s political culture is attributed to the dominant and notable positions he held in the government such as leader of the Indian Independence Movement and the office of the Prime Minister of which he was the first Indian to hold such a vocation in independent India. In order to become the Prime Minister during the independence of India, Nehru was voted by the Indian National Congress. Nehru was also reelected with respect to the victory of the Congress Party in the country’s opening general election, which occurred in 1951. Additionally, Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the founding people of the intercontinental Non-Aligned Movement.
As the son of the moderate Congressman and nationalist leader, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru emerged to be a leader of the Congress’ left wing. Under the tutelage of the revolutionary Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, informally known as Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was elected as the President of the Congress. Moreover, Nehru was a strong supporter of Socialism as well as the notion of a sturdy public sector. Nehru asserted that the public sector was a major aspect of economic development and that a sturdy public sector could enable poor nations gain economic development. He was also Indira Gandhi’s father and Rajiv Gandhi’s maternal grandfather. Both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi eventually held the Prime Minister’s office. Indira served as the third Prime Minister while Rajiv served as the sixth Prime Minister of the country.
Jawaharlal Nehru was the eldest of his three siblings of which two of them were girls. The senior sister, Vijaya Lakshmi, eventually emerged as the United Nations General Assembly’s foremost female president. His younger sister, Krishna Hutheesing, became a recognized author and wrote numerous novels regarding him. According to Moraes (22), Nehru’s childhood was uneventful and restrictive. He was raised in an atmosphere characterized by wealthy people residing in the lavish estate, Anand Bhawan. Regarding his education, Nehru was home schooled by tutors such as Ferdinand Brooks who influenced him to gain an interest in esotericism and science. At the age of thirteen, Jawaharlal Nehru joined the Theosophical Society but his interest in the philosophy digressed and he later expunged himself from the society. His disinterest was attributed to the departure of Brooks, who was his main influence.
Regarding his religious stance, Nehru was indeed condescending of religion. However, the influence of his esoteric studies compelled him to study Hindu scriptures and Buddhist writings (Nanda, 65). Through the writings and the scriptures, Nehru was able to learn about the religious and cultural legacy of the Indian people first hand. During his youth, Nehru further advanced to become an enthusiastic nationalist based on the influence of the Boer War and the Russian-Japanese War. The battle victories of the Japanese influenced Nehru into advocating for Asian and Indian freedom from European colonization. Later, Nehru attended Trinity College in 1907, studied politics, history, literature and economics and graduated with an honorary degree in Natural Science. Moreover, Nehru pursued law studies at the Inns of Court School of Law in London where he succeeded on the bar examinations and was selected to the English bar.
Nehru’s Role in Indian Democracy
The struggle for independence by India considerably influenced Nehru’s in revolutionary politics. His period in Britain also played a crucial role in his development of interests in Indian politics. Upon his return to India, Nehru attended the Indian National Congress’ yearly session and discovered that the party in 1912 comprised ineffective members. However, he participated in support of the Indian Civil Rights Movement in South Africa. Moreover, Nehru vouched against the discrimination of Indians in British colonies. Nehru also campaigned against the censorship statutes decreed by the British in India. His views were deemed as radical due to his open criticism of the Indian Civil Service for its backing of British policies and the demanding of Home Rule for Indians in order for India to enjoy the class of a Dominion such as Australia within the British domain (Moraes, 56). Because of his radical actions, the country’s democracy was largely influenced through:
Nehru’s Declaration of Independence
As one of the initial leaders of the Congress party, Nehru sought to shatter all relations with the British and introduced a resolution advocating for the full national independence for India in 1927. Despite Gandhi not agreeing to the initial resolution, he later agreed that Britain should accord Dominion status to India. However, the British rejected the resolution. This did not hinder Nehru from vouching for the resolution. After assumption of the Congress Party’s presidency in 1929, Nehru introduced a successful resolution routing for full independence. His actions led to the creation and hoisting of the Indian Flag and the mass uprising of the Indian people comprising legislators who concurred with the resolution. Through the declaration, Nehru became the leader of the Indian Independence Movement commencing the struggle for independence (Tharoor, 156-162).
Nehru also influenced Indian democracy through civil disobedience in accordance with the British legislations. Gandhi’s initial plan to commence civil disobedience regarding the salt tax by the British influenced Nehru. The successful protest by Indians assisted Nehru in acknowledging the influence of salt as an emblem. In 1930, Nehru was apprehended for leading a vast demonstration into the ceremonious manufacture of contraband salt. He was imprisoned for six months due to violation of the salt decree by the British (Corbridge and Harris, 87). Resulting from Nehru’s arrest, the civil disobedience gained a new cadence. Arrests and firing at protestors became the norm. Furthermore, the Salt resistance thrived in attracting the world’s attention attributed to the recognition of legitimacy based on Nehru’s and the Congress Party’s claims by the Indians, British and the World in general (Corbridge and Harris, 99).
Role in Policy Structuring
Nehru also influenced India’s democracy by elaborating Congress policies and the country’s under his guidance in 1929. He devised Congress aims by including freedom of association, freedom of authentic expression, equality irrespective of caste, religion or creed, language and culture protection and the freedom of religion. Moreover, Nehru incorporated protection of rights and interests of peasants, socialism, nationalization of industries and secularism. Consequently, Nehru proposed certain resolutions bent on India’s foreign policy. With respect to his policies, Nehru was accorded the platform of framing and creating foreign policy of future Indian countries. Additionally, Nehru was accorded with the responsibility of economy planning for a future India. Such policies influence the country’s economy presently.
As the Prime Minister of India, Nehru influenced the overture of an altered Indian version of nation economy planning and control. Through the creation of the Planning Commission of India, Nehru structured the foremost Five Year Plan after the country’s independence in 1951. The plan paved the way for the charting of the investments of the government in agriculture and industries (Ramachandran, 202). The implementation of fiscal policies based on increasing taxes on income and business created a mixed economy characterized by the management of premeditated industries such as mining and electricity, public interests and privatization of enterprises. Moreover, Nehru practiced land redistribution and initiated programs that led to the creation of irrigation canals, dams and the use of fertilizers in order to augment agricultural production. Nehru also created efficiency in rural India by launching various community development programs such as the creation of cottage industries (Ramachandran, 222).
Reorganization of States
Before the country’s independence, the British occupied India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which were collectively divided into two territories that included the British India Provinces and the princely states. With the creation of India’s new constitution in 1950, India was declared a sovereign republic. Through Nehru, India was declared a Union of States, which led to the creation of the States Reorganization Commission, which was responsible for the creation of states based on linguistic lines. However, Nehru disagreed with the organization of states on ethnic lines leading to the reorganization of states irrespective of ethnicity thereby creating states reminiscent of a modern republic (Corbridge and Harriss, 145).
As one of the prominent and influential leaders of India, Nehru received national acclaim and global recognition due to his impracticality and diplomacy. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Children’s day due to his passion and efforts in the welfare, education, growth and development of the youth in general. Nehru was also involved in the reform of education in India due to his belief in education as a revelation and hindsight. On May 27 1964, Nehru was declared dead due to heart failure.
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