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    Thursday, May 27, 2021

    Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: Revisiting nation-building efforts of India's first and longest-serving Prime



    On November 14, 1889, Nehru was born in Allahabad, India. In 1919, he joined the Indian National Congress and supported Mahatma Gandhi in the fight for freedom. He was named General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee in September 1923. During World War I and World War II, Mahatma Gandhi's Indian Nationalism was growing in strength. Gandhi relied on nonviolent protest by boycotting British goods. When World War II begins, Britain sends Indian troops into fight without consulting India's self-rule government, which leads to greater obstacles and the restoration of freedom.  On August 15, 1947, he was sworn in as India's first Prime Minister after the country gained independence from the British empire. Nehru served as India's Prime Minister for the longest time, till his death on May 27, 1964.

    Criticism was welcomed by Nehru, who thought that disagreements, debates, and discussions were essential to democracy. He was a fervent believer that in a democracy, the majority has the last word, but the minority must have a say as well, rather than a "my way or the highway" attitude. Dr. BR Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mukherjee, and C. Rajagopalachari were among Nehru's Ministers who had opposing viewpoints and ultimately created their own political organizations. The Team of Rivals was the name given to this group. Nonetheless, he enlisted their help to use their talents for the greater good of the country, putting his personal preferences aside.

    Foundational stone of Modern India

    During his 17 years as Prime Minister, he accomplished a much, including reforming India's ancient Hindu laws and empathizing with India's marginalized tribal populations, believing that "people should grow along the lines of their own brilliance." 

    Our IITs, IIMs, NIDs, the Atomic Energy Commission (the forerunner to ISRO), and the Indian National Committee for Space Research, to mention a few, were all established during his tenure.

    In 1956, India's first atomic reactor, Apsara, reached criticality, and in late 1963, India successfully tested its first rocket from Thumba. As critical as one may be of the now-defunct Planning Commission, it surely gave the process of developing India into a modern state a feeling of purpose and concentration under Nehru.

    Temples of Modern India

    By completing projects like the Sutlej dams, Nehru and the Punjab administration of Partap Singh Kairon demonstrated that Indians could handle large-scale civil engineering projects. The project began in 1954 and was accomplished in October 1963. The state power board developed these dams, much as the public works department developed the new planned city of Chandigarh.

    The comparison of the dam to a temple, mosque, or gurudwara, as well as the adoration it elicits, carried a hidden message. Punjab had been ripped apart by Partition's devastation, and here was a new beginning.

    Ace of  Foreign Policy

    Nehru dreamed of himself as a foreign policy ace. He assumed personal command of India's foreign affairs and proceeded to deprofessionalize it by bringing in dilettantes like his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit and the unpleasant, abrasive VK Krishna Menon to deal with the outside world.

    Nehru sat uncomfortably alongside strongmen like Tito, Sukarno, and Nasser in the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, which he co-founded. NAM has been a talking shop since its establishment, with no one taking it seriously, not the Russians, and much less so the Americans.

    Five Pillars of Nehru's Legacy

    However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in historical interpretation, with the narrative around the contributions of prior leaders being portrayed in a new light. Jawahar Lal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, is one such example. 

    Nation-building, Democratic institution-building, Secularism, Democratic Socialist economics, and a Novel foreign policy (Non-alignment, Panchsheel) – these are the five pillars of Nehru's legacy to India.

    Likewise, Nehru was a far less destructive leader than Mao or Stalin. Sardar Patel's free hand in integrating the princely states into the Indian Union performed wonders. The India he left behind was more secular than it had ever been, and its Muslim inhabitants felt safer than they had in the past, all without making the country's Hindu majority feel desperate or lost. 

    Pressurizing CIA to end unwanted Sino-India war

    After the independence, first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru made India among the first non-socialist bloc countries to have established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1950. Later on 20 October 1962, the border conflict of Ladakh and North East Frontier Agency led to unwanted Sino-India war the People's Liberation Army of China invaded the disputed areas of interest in a synchronized move. Nehru began to move with the demand of an military aid from the United States which has somehow pressurized the Central Intelligence Agency to run subversion operations targeting Tibet. Nearly a month later, on 20 November 1962, China declared the ceasefire and simultaneously announced its withdrawal from one of the two disputed areas. The end of the conflict led to the removal of Indian posts and patrols from Aksai Chin which had now gone under the direct influence of Chinese control. 

    Positive Rights and Privileges' to Women

    The rank system had been indeed a societal position structure that has existed for almost 2000 years, and untouchables have been treated harshly and assigned the most obnoxious tasks. Brahmins (Priests), Kshatriyas (Warriors), Vaishyas (Merchants and Land Owners), Shudras (Servants, Subordinate to Vaishyas), and Untouchables (Servants, Subordinate to Vaishyas) were given labour such as latrine cleaning and cleaning the locations of the higher class primarily for Brahmins and were not paid in any way. 

    Ladies were another minority group before to India's independence. However, the Indian Constitution, drafted under the leadership of India's first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, granted women certain positive rights like as the right to vote, the right to be separated, and the right to acquire genealogical property, and women across the country were seen casting ballots soon after the establishment of the Election Commission of India in 1951.

    Mind Behind Indian Cosmetic Lakmé 

    After the British Government departed the nation in 1947, the narrative of Lakmé blossomed, with a survey finding that Indian ladies were wild and on cloud nine for foreign cosmetic goods. However, this leads to the issue. India is a newly independent country that is having difficulty dealing with foreign currencies. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was worried that Indian ladies were wasting valuable foreign cash on cosmetics and asked Jamshed ji Tata to produce them in India.

    JRD Tata established his business in the market and named it Laxmi, after the goddess Laxmi. But that didn't work out. The items were completely rejected by upper-middle-class ladies. Foreign products were completely enamored by the women since they appeared to be elegant. JRD Tata with the help of Nehru devised a strategy. He changed the company's name to Lakmé right away. It was now difficult to tell if the firm was DESI or VIDESHI. This provided the firm with a lifeline. Day by day, the firm became more prominent and well-known. In addition, Indian women were beauty-obsessed. He also utilized it in his advertisements. Later, as Indian cinema grew in popularity, the corporation began to designate a celebrity ambassador to help sell the product.

    It is no exaggeration to say that Nehru was essential for the modernization of India. For a younger generation to properly appreciate Nehru, historians must reconstruct him as a more credible figure, flaws and all, while discarding the hagiographies already in circulation. Anything less would be a slap in the face to his remembrance.

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