Jawahar Lal Nehru: Commemoration
In his lifetime, Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed an iconic status in India and was widely admired across the world for his idealism and statesmanship. His birthday, 14 November, is celebrated in India as Baal Divas (Children’s Day) in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Children across India remember him as Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru). Nehru remains a popular symbol of the Congress party which frequently celebrates his memory. Congress leaders and activists often emulate his style of clothing, especially the Gandhi cap, and his mannerisms. Nehru’s ideals and policies continue to shape the Congress party’s manifesto and core political philosophy. An emotional attachment to his legacy was instrumental in the rise of his daughter Indira to leadership of the Congress party and the national government.
Many documentaries about Nehru’s life have been produced. He has also been portrayed in fictionalized films. The canonical performance is probably that of Roshan Seth, who played him three times: in Richard Attenborough’s 1982 film Gandhi, Shyam Benegal’s 1988 television series Bharat Ek Khoj, based on Nehru’s The Discovery of India, and in a 2007 TV film entitled The Last Days of the Raj. In Ketan Mehta’s film Sardar, Nehru was portrayed by Benjamin Gilani. Nehru’s personal preference for the sherwani ensured that it continues to be considered formal wear in North India today; aside from lending his name to a kind of cap, the Nehru jacket is named in his honour due to his preference for that style.
Numerous public institutions and memorials across India are dedicated to Nehru’s memory. The Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi is among the most prestigious universities in India. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port near the city of Mumbai is a modern port and dock designed to handle a huge cargo and traffic load. Nehru’s residence in Delhi is preserved as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. The Nehru family homes at Anand Bhavan and Swaraj Bhavan are also preserved to commemorate Nehru and his family’s legacy.
Jawahar Lal Nehru: Writings
Nehru was a prolific writer in English and wrote a number of books, such as The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History, and his autobiography, Towards Freedom.
Jawahar Lal Nehru Biography in Brief
- 1889: Born in Allahabad. Grows up in an influential political family with European governess’ and tutors.
- 1907-1910: Takes the Tripos in Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge and joins Inner Temple, London.
- 1912: Returns to India. Joins the Allahabad High Court Bar.
- 1916: Marries Kamala Kaul. Their only child, Indira, is born the next year.
- 1919: The turning point in his life. while travelling on a train, he overhears General Dyer gloating over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Nehru vows to fight against British.
- 1920: Begins public career in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Attends special session of Congress at Calcutta as delegate.
- 1930s: Forms the left wing of the Congress-the congress Socialist Party.
- 1937: Post-electoral victory of the congress, Nehru disagrees to coalition with the Muslim League. Also refuses to join hands with Fazul Haque’s Krishak Party as well, throwing Punjab and Bengal into the waiting arms of League.
- 1938-1939: Openly supports Gandhian philosophy in the Gandhi – S.C. Bose rift. Bose resigns as Congress President.
- 1946: Declares that the Cabinet Mission Plan would be altered once Congress is in power. Sparks insecurity in the League, leading to Jinah’s call for Direct Action.
- 1947: Nehru becomes the first Prime Minister Of Independent India.
- 1950s: Charts the course of India’s development with his five-year plan. Entrusts responsibility of mobilizing resources to the public sector.
- 1950s: Nehru outlines the foreign policy with disarmament as its focus. He spearheads the Non-aligned Movement. The debacle with China in 1962 makes him realizes he cannot ignore brewing tensions in neighboring countries. Foreign policy is accordingly redefined.
- 1964: Dies in Delhi.