Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947
1st Prime Minister of India
In office
15 August 1947 – 27 May 1964
MonarchGeorge VI
(until 26 January 1950)
PresidentRajendra Prasad
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Governor GeneralThe Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
(until 26 January 1950)
DeputyVallabhbhai Patel
(until 1950)
Preceded byPosition established
Himself as Vice President of Executive Council
Succeeded byGulzarilal Nanda (Acting)
Minister of Defence
In office
31 October 1962 – 14 November 1962
Preceded byV. K. Krishna Menon
Succeeded byYashwantrao Chavan
In office
30 January 1957 – 17 April 1957
Preceded byKailash Nath Katju
Succeeded byV. K. Krishna Menon
In office
10 February 1953 – 10 January 1955
Preceded byN. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
Succeeded byKailash Nath Katju
Minister of Finance
In office
13 February 1958 – 13 March 1958
Preceded byTiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachariar
Succeeded byMorarji Desai
In office
24 July 1956 – 30 August 1956
Preceded byChintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh
Succeeded byTiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachariar
Minister of External Affairs
In office
2 September 1946 – 27 May 1964
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGulzarilal Nanda
Vice President of Executive Council
In office
2 September 1946 – 15 August 1947
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byconstituency established
Succeeded byVijaya Lakshmi Pandit
ConstituencyPhulpur, Uttar Pradesh
Personal details
Born(1889-11-14)14 November 1889
Allahabad, North-Western Provinces, British India
(present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died27 May 1964(1964-05-27) (aged 74)
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Cause of deathHeart attack
Resting placeShantivan
Political partyIndian National Congress
Kamala Nehru
(m. 1916; died 1936)
ChildrenIndira Gandhi
ParentsPandit Motilal Nehru
Swaruprani Thussu
RelativesSee Nehru–Gandhi family
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Inns of Court
  • Barrister
  • writer
  • politician
AwardsBharat Ratna Ribbon.svg Bharat Ratna (1955)

Jawaharlal Nehru (/;[1] Hindi: [ˈdʒəʋaːɦərˈlaːl ˈneːɦru] (About this soundlisten); 14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India.[2] He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru (Hindi, lit., "Uncle Nehru").[3][4]

The son of Motilal Nehru, a prominent lawyer and nationalist statesman and Swaroop Rani, Nehru was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Inner Temple, where he trained to be a barrister. Upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s. He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, and eventually of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. As Congress President in 1929, Nehru called for complete independence from the British Raj and instigated the Congress's decisive shift towards the left.

Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence. His idea of a secular nation-state was seemingly validated when the Congress swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces; on the other hand, the separatist Muslim League fared much poorer. But these achievements were severely compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British effectively crush the Congress as a political organisation. Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape. The Muslim League under his old Congress colleague and now opponent, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had come to dominate Muslim politics in India. Negotiations between Congress and Muslim League for power sharing failed and gave way to the independence and bloody partition of India in 1947.

Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor. As Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India's transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party system. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia.

Under Nehru's leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas (Children's Day).

Early life and career (1889–1912)

Birth and family background

Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14 November 1889 in Allahabad in British India. His father, Motilal Nehru (1861–1931), a self-made wealthy barrister who belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community,[5] served twice as President of the Indian National Congress, in 1919 and 1928. His mother, Swaruprani Thussu (1868–1938), who came from a well-known Kashmiri Brahmin family settled in Lahore,[6] was Motilal's second wife, the first having died in child birth. Jawaharlal was the eldest of three children, two of whom were girls.[7] The elder sister, Vijaya Lakshmi, later became the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly.[8] The youngest sister, Krishna Hutheesing, became a noted writer and authored several books on her brother.


Nehru described his childhood as a "sheltered and uneventful one". He grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at wealthy homes including a palatial estate called the Anand Bhavan. His father had him educated at home by private governesses and tutors.[9] Under the influence of a tutor, Ferdinand T. Brooks, he became interested in science and theosophy.[10] He was subsequently initiated into the Theosophical Society at age thirteen by family friend Annie Besant. However, his interest in theosophy did not prove to be enduring and he left the society shortly after Brooks departed as his tutor.[11] He wrote: "for nearly three years [Brooks] was with me and in many ways he influenced me greatly".[10]

Nehru's theosophical interests had induced him to the study of the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures.[12] According to Bal Ram Nanda, these scriptures were Nehru's "first introduction to the religious and cultural heritage of [India]....[they] provided Nehru the initial impulse for [his] long intellectual quest which culminated...in The Discovery of India."[12]


Nehru became an ardent nationalist during his youth.[13] The Second Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War intensified his feelings. About the latter he wrote, "[The] Japanese victories [had] stirred up my enthusiasm ... Nationalistic ideas filled my mind ... I mused of Indian freedom and Asiatic freedom from the thraldom of Europe."[10] Later when he had begun his institutional schooling in 1905 at Harrow, a leading school in England, he was greatly influenced by G. M. Trevelyan's Garibaldi books, which he had received as prizes for academic merit.[14] He viewed Garibaldi as a revolutionary hero. He wrote: "Visions of similar deeds in India came before, of [my] gallant fight for [Indian] freedom and in my mind India and Italy got strangely mixed together."[10]


Nehru went to Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1907 and graduated with an honours degree in natural science in 1910.[15] During this period, he also studied politics, economics, history and literature desultorily. Writings of Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, J.M. Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Lowes Dickinson and Meredith Townsend moulded much of his political and economic thinking.[10]

After completing his degree in 1910, Nehru moved to London and studied law at Inner temple Inn[16] During this time, he continued to study the scholars of the Fabian Society including Beatrice Webb.[10] He was called to the Bar in 1912.[17][16]

Advocate practice

After returning to India in August 1912, Nehru enrolled himself as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court and tried to settle down as a barrister. But, unlike his father, he had only a desultory interest in his profession and did not relish either the practice of law or the company of lawyers. He wrote: "Decidedly the atmosphere was not intellectually stimulating and a sense of the utter insipidity of life grew upon me."[10] His involvement in nationalist politics would gradually replace his legal practice in the coming years.[10]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Jawaharlal Nehru
Alemannisch: Jawaharlal Nehru
aragonés: Jawaharlal Nehru
asturianu: Jawaharlal Nehru
Aymar aru: Jawaharlal Nehru
azərbaycanca: Cəvahirləl Nehru
Bân-lâm-gú: Jawaharlal Nehru
беларуская: Джавахарлал Нэру
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Джавагарлал Нэру
Bikol Central: Jawaharlal Nehru
brezhoneg: Jawaharlal Nehru
Esperanto: Jawaharlal Nehru
Fiji Hindi: Jawaharlal Nehru
français: Jawaharlal Nehru
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Jawaharlal Nehru
Bahasa Hulontalo: Jawaharlal Nehru
Bahasa Indonesia: Jawaharlal Nehru
interlingua: Jawaharlal Nehru
íslenska: Jawaharlal Nehru
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: जवाहर लाल नेहरु
Kiswahili: Jawaharlal Nehru
لۊری شومالی: جواهر لعل نهرو
Lëtzebuergesch: Jawaharlal Nehru
македонски: Џавахарлал Нехру
მარგალური: ჯავაჰარლალ ნერუ
مازِرونی: جواهر لعل نهرو
Bahasa Melayu: Jawaharlal Nehru
Minangkabau: Jawaharlal Nehru
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂျဝါဟာလာ နေရူး
Nederlands: Jawaharlal Nehru
नेपाल भाषा: जवाहरलाल नेहरु
norsk nynorsk: Jawaharlal Nehru
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Jawaharlal Neru
پنجابی: نہرو
Piemontèis: Jawaharlal Nehru
português: Jawaharlal Nehru
Runa Simi: Jawaharlal Nehru
русиньскый: Джавагарлал Негру
संस्कृतम्: जवाहरलाल नेहरू
sicilianu: Jawaharlal Nehru
Simple English: Jawaharlal Nehru
slovenščina: Džavaharlal Nehru
српски / srpski: Џавахарлал Нехру
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Džavaharlal Nehru
Basa Sunda: Jawaharlal Néhru
tarandíne: Jawaharlal Nehru
татарча/tatarça: Cavaharlal Neru
українська: Джавахарлал Неру
vepsän kel’: Neru Džavaharlal
Tiếng Việt: Jawaharlal Nehru
粵語: 尼赫魯
žemaitėška: Džavaharlals Neru