Every May 27th, the nation remembers, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, a freedom fighter who after independance became the country's first Prime Minister. Does the nation really remember him ?
His contributions have been so many and his love for the country was second to none. Even if all his contributions are to be forgotten the one immense contribution which can never ever be forgotten is the fact that he guided the country in its infancy, when the country chose the rule of democracy. He was truly a great democrat himself and it is stating the truth that if democracy has taken deeproots in the country a great amount of credit goes to Nehru.
He was born in an aristocratic Kashmiri brahmin family on November 14,1889, at Allahabad, to father Motilal and mother Swaroop Rani. Young Jawahar was packed off to study at Harrow a public school in UK. At an early age itself he started showing signs of his great future intellectual capabilities.Chided by his father, that Jawahar was spending large sums of money at school, he wanted an account of all his spendings to be sent to him regularly. Young Jawahar wrote back ,to his father, that if he had no faith in his son's capabilities, he could always cook up the accounts and please him, and on this ground refused to send an account of his monthly spendings.
He studied law and qualified as a lawyer. Motilal himself was a very successful lawyer of great repute and this had made him one of the richest Indians those days. However, before Jawahar could realise, he had got immersed in the ongoing freedom struggle, being led by Gandhiji. He bcame an ardent follower of Gandhi and soon Motilal also joined the freedom struggle. Together with a galaxy of great leaders like Vallabbhai Patel, Subash Chander Bose, C R Rajagopalchari, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad,Gaffar Khan and so many others, India became free, on August 15,1947 but not before it was partitioned and a new country, Pakistan was created, on August 14,1947. With Gandhiji's blessings, Jawaharlal Nehru was to become the first Prime Minister of free India and was to give the famous speech "tryst with destiny" at the midnight hour when India attained freedom.
He was a person who believed in planning, was of scientific temper and understood the Indian culture and his fellow Indians, perhaps, next only to Gandhiji. His scholarly works especially 'Discovery of India' is a best seller book even today. He understood the need of atomic energy and eastablishedthe atomic centre at Bombay now known as Bhaba Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC). He built the five IIT's which are today recognised as institutions of excellence the world over. He was also instrumental to set up the IIM at Ahemdabad, which is now a world famous mangement Institute. At the time of independance the country's private sector lacked finances to set up huge infrastructure plants like steel mills etc. He created the PSU's which heralded the country into the Industrial age at a faster pace. Some of the PSU's ,are having the largest market capitalisation,like ONGC, BHEL,SAIL, NTPC,etc. He was also instrumental in establishing a countrywide spread of scientific laboratories, known as CSIR Labs, each devoted to a particular discipline. The space program was also his initiative and today we are ready to launch a mission to the moon.
However, it was, the manner in which he nurtured the nascent parliamentry democracy by his own example and by guiding it, both from inside and outside and creation of the various state institutions, that have today made India, the largest democracy in the world. He was a supporter of freedom of press and no cartoon offended him.
Nehru took an active part in international affairs and was widely respected and heard in the world bodies like UN. He was the founder of the Non Alignment movement which at one time had more than 100 nations as its members. India was recognised as a key member and leader of this movement when the world was divided into US and USSR camps.
He passed away on May 27,1964 saddened by the act of betrayal by China, whom he considered his friend, when it attacked India in late 1962. The country had lost a jewel in the passing away of Jawaharlal Nehru. History will remember him as one of India's greatest son.
However today we see poltics has become for many politicians a commercial venture and corrup0tion is sapping the strength of Indian democracy. We are also witnessing the distressing scenes of the parliament and state assemblies being prevented from functioning more and more frequently. At times like these, we are forced ,to ask the question, should we remember Nehru only on his birth and death anniversary days and forget him in between?