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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru-The First PM of India

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru-The First Prime Minister of India


by Dr. Ravindra Kumar

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru [1889-1964] was among those few on the forefront, who struggling under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi for 22 years [1920-1942], achieved freedom from the shackles of British Empire. It was he who presided over four sessions of the Indian National Congress [1929, 1936, 1937 and 1946] before country’s independence. Undoubtedly, he possessed multi-dimensional personality, and no one, even from his critics or opponents, can be doubtful of this fact.

It was in June 1920 that an attractive youth Jawaharlal Nehru educated from Harrow and Cambridge Universities and who was a son of Pandit Motilal Nehru, a prosperous and eminent lawyer of Allahabad, and also a national figure, turned towards the peasantry of Oudh; he sat beside farmers, dined with them and engrossed in their problems and hardships. As it was the early phase of Gandhian era of National Liberation Movement of India, Jawaharlal Nehru first emphasized upon peasant’s organization if they really desired to get rid of their centuries old problems and hardships. Then he laid foundation of the Oudh Kisan Sabha [1920], the United Provinces Kisan Sabha [1930] and the All India Kisan Sabha [1936]. Not only this, along with his colleagues, he played a significant role in the progressive land reform, the abolition of Zamindari system and landlordism and to implement the concept of land to the tiller, which were some of the great achieveme nts of modern India.

only had its important role in social, political and economic life of the country, but it was the nurture and defender of the culture and cultural values of India. That is why; during his 17 years tenure of the office of Prime Minister of India he continuously talked of development in the agriculture sector and never underestimated the role and contribution of rural masses, especially peasantry in the nation building. In 1963 he clearly said, “I am all for industry, I am all for steel plant and this and that, but I do say that agriculture is far more important than any industry…”

Paying tribute to Pandit Nehru for his great and noteworthy work for peasantry, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel said at Lucknow in 1936, “He [Nehru] is fully aware of farmers’ grievances, sad plight and troubles. Leaving aside comforts and sacrificing his all the service rendered by him, along with his wife, Kamla, for the cause of peasantry is unique and unparallel.”

Pandit Nehru was a writer par excellence; he was a language creator and also a thinker that is evident itself from his three universally renowned works: The Autobiography, Discovery of India and the World History. After 41 years of his passing away Nehru’s style of writing and expression attracts a number of young and old; it entice and inspire even writers of eminence. To quote from one of his emotional, intelligible and historical writings, “Popular movements which have any reality and strength behind them usually throw up personalities who typify and symbolize the movement. The trial [of a leader of the movement] becomes something much more than the trial of an individual; it becomes the trial of whole people or perhaps it will be more correct to say that, in the ultimate analysis, it is the trial before the bar of public opinion of the…authorities who have tried to stem the flowing river of the great popular movement…”

Commitments to secularism, waking together for the cause of the nation and to honour democratic values were other facets of Pandit Nehru’s personality. His secularism, in my view, was completely within the domain of the Indian Way, which is like an ocean, several rivers from different directions mingle in it; they intermingling with the water of the ocean and by doing so make themselves grand on the one hand and contribute to the vastness of the ocean on the other.

The way Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel walked together for the cause of the country was a unique example in the entire history of India; it is exemplary and to be followed by those who talk of nation or express concern over national interest. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru always recognized healthy criticism, for he encouraged even his opponents and critics and it was his extraordinary quality.

Thus, Nehru was a multifaceted personality; he was a great leader and an international figure. Broad thinking and progress was his message to his compatriots, which is adaptable and completely relevant today.

*************

Renowned Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is the Former Vice-Chancellor of CCS University Meerut [India]

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