Yentha’s weekly series on historical personalities - those who now live as 'lifeless' statues in various parts of the capital city. Here comes the twelfth in the series.
Jawaharlal Nehru - 14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964
India's first, and till date, the longest serving Prime MinisterJawaharlal Nehru was born to Allahabad based barrister Motilal Nehru and his wife Swaroop Rani. After his education from some of the finest schools and universities in the world including a degree in Law from Trinity College Cambridge, he returned to India in 1912. In 1916 he married Kamala Nehru and had one daughter Indira Priyadarshini. He met Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 and was instantly drawn to the non violent movement led by Gandhi against the British.
Nehru was chosen as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1936, 1937 and 1946. He was arrested and jailed many times for his active participation in the struggle for India’s independence. It is believed that his personal animosity with Mohammed Jinnah caused for the partitioning of the country into India and Pakistan. In August 15, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru took office as the first Prime Minister of Independent India, and gave the famous speech – A tryst with destiny.
Creating institutions like the Planning Commission and the National Science Laboratories, he laid the foundation for the development of the infrastructure for industrial growth. He effectively coped up with the challenge of integrating around 500 princely states to the Indian union, framing a new constitution and the establishment of political and administrative infrastructure for a parliamentary democracy. Nehru's educational policies gave the nation world-class institutions like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management.
Jawaharlal Nehru was also renowned the world over as a writer and his works like The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History and the autobiographical Towards Freedom are still widely read. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1955. His birthday is observed as Children's Day.
The 1962 war, which broke out between India and China, a war that India lost, exposed the weakness of the Indian military and was a great shock to Jawaharlal Nehru. The sudden deterioration in Nehru's health, which ultimately ended with his death due to a heart attack on May 27, 1964, is believed to have been caused by this sudden attack on Indian outposts by China.
Statue unveiled by Dr.Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, on September 3, 2005.