Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Essay

India has seen many freedom fighters and political leaders under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Some of those freedom fighters/political figures attained martyrdom, but some survived the ordeal to witness the beginning of a new dawn free from the clutches of slavery, marking an end of British Rule in India. Fewer among them attained the status of a National leader whose appeal goes beyond the demographic lines of caste, creed, religion and ethnicity. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of such politicians who rose to become the first Prime minister of Independent India.

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Introduction

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14th November 1889, at Allahabad in the state of United Province. (Now known as Uttar Pradesh). Trained under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was among very few National leaders of Freedom struggle who had gained the confidence of Mahatma Gandhi .On various occasions Gandhi had acknowledged Nehru as his forbearer, leaving no room for doubt in Nehru being the second popular leader after Gandhi.

Belonging to a wealthy family, Nehru could have easily carried out with his family’s profession and practiced as a barrister in Allahabad High Court.

Early Life

Jawaharlal Nehru was also known as Pandit Jawarlal Nehru as he belonged to the Kashmiri Pandits community. Born as the eldest son to Motilal Nehru (1861-1931) and his second wife Swarooprani Thussu (1968-1938). Motilal Nehru was a wealthy Barrister. Nehru had two sisters. The elder sister Vijalakshmi was a successful diplomat and later became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly. His youngest sister Krishna Hutheesing was a noted writer, who had written many books on his brother.

Nehru described his childhood as uneventful, as he grew up in the confines of family’s palatial bungalow- Anand Bhavan, situated in Allahabad. His father Motilal Nehru had built the house for Nehru family when their previous house was converted into the Office of the Indian National Congress. His father Motilal Nehru was two times President of the Indian National Congress.

During his childhood Pandit Nehru was tutored at his home by private tutors arranged by his father. Nehru himself had described his childhood as uneventful; spent in the safe confines of his bungalow Nehru was particularly interested in Science and Theosophy. He was initiated into the Theosophical society by Annie Besant when he was only 13.As a child Nehru was particularly interested in Buddhist and Hindu scriptures which played a vital role in formation of his book “ The Discovery of India”.

Education

The seeds of Nationalism had been sown in Nehru at a very early age. He was highly influenced by the South African war and the Russia-Japan war. Because of the influence of these world events and reading about Garibaldi (Italian General and Nationalist) during his schooling in 1905 at Harrow, that Nehru started dreaming of a free India, an India free from the clutches of British Empire.

 

Nehru went to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1907 and graduated with Honours degree in Natural Science in 1910. After degree Nehru went to Inner Temple, London, to study law. He was called to the Bar in 1912.

Marriage

Jawaharlal Nehru married Kamala Kaul Nehru on 8th February 1916. They gave birth to a girl child Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) who later became the first woman Prime Minister of India.

Freedom fighter (1912-1947)

Upon his return from London in August 1912, Nehru tried to settle down as a Barrister in Allahabad High Court, but his law practice did not proved to be enduring as he had only desultory interest in becoming a lawyer and didn’t like the company of lawyers as well.

The beginning

Nehru first attended a conference of Indian National Congress in Patna in 1912. He was disappointed as he saw Congress as a party of India’s English speaking elites, a class which does not represent the real India. Any how he agreed to work for the party in support of Civil Rights Movement of South Africa. He collected funds for the movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Later on he started campaigning against the discrimination face by Indians in British colonies.

World War I

During the First World War Nehru was sympathetic towards the French. He also was appointed as a Provincial Secretary to the St. John’s Ambulance, which is an international organization for providing First Aid and medicines to the war affected people. Post World War Nehru emerged as a more determined and aggressive National leader demanding complete freedom from the British Empire.

 

Home Rule League

Annie Besant had found a Home Rule league in 1916, demanding self governance and dominion status for India under the British Empire, on the lines of Irish Home Rule movement. Upon his release from prison, Bal Gangadhar Tilak also formed his own league in April 1916. Nehru joined both leagues but was particularly active in the former, owing to Annie Besant’s influence on him. Nehru also rose to become the Secretary of Besant’s Home Rule League and was instrumental in negotiating her release after she was arrested in June 1917.

Non Co operation Movement

Non co operation movement was the first big break through in political carrier of Nehru, as he rose to become a mass leader after his joining the movement in 1920. Nehru led the non co operation movement in United Province. He was arrested in 1921 for anti governmental activities, only to be released after few months. When Gandhiji called off the non co operation movement after the Chauri Chaura incident, Nehru remained loyal to him even though many prominent congress leaders like Motilal Nehru and C R Das joined Swaraj party.

Demand for Dominion and complete independence

During the late 1920s Nehru started raising his voice demanding dominion status for India. In 1927 Madras session of the congress Nehru got the party’s approval in demanding complete Independence for India. In 1929 Gandhi agreed to the demands of Nehru and gave British Government a time limit of two years for granting dominion status to India. Later on the time limit was reduced to one year on Nehru’s insistence. The demand for dominion status was rejected in 1929 by the British Empire. Nehru became the President of the Indian National Congress at a Lahore session in 1929. He successfully passed a resolution demanding complete independence for India.

Hoisting the first National Flag

On the New Year’s Eve of 1929, Nehru for the first time hoisted the Indian Tricolour, at Lahore on the banks of Ravi River. It was the beginning of a new movement, demanding complete independence for India under the leadership of Nehru. The movement had great public and political support, with 172 members of provincial Legislature resigning seeing public sentiment. Congress workers and sections from society started erecting National Flags at all the prominent locations. People were asked to celebrate 26th January as Independence Day.

Apart from the movements stated above, Nehru played a vital role in other National movements like salt satyagrah, civil disobedience movement and was instrumental in opposing Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s “Pakistan Resolution “ of March 1940.

Prime Minister of India (1947-1964)

Cabinet Mission plan arrived in India in 1946, to propose plans for the transfer of power to the people of India. Once elected Nehru headed an unstable Nation marked with communal riots and an opposition from Jinnah’s Muslim League demanding separate Muslim state Pakistan. Seeing no other alternative Nehru finally agreed to the Partition of India which the Cabinet Mission Plan had recommended, on June 3, 1947. He gave his famous speech “Tryst with destiny” in the midnight of 15th August 1947, Independence Day, as the first Prime Minister of India.

Conclusion

Jawaharlal Nehru was hugely acclaimed freedom fighter and a seasoned politician. Although he belonged to a wealthy family, he chose to dedicate his life for Indian freedom struggle. Under the political tutoring of Mahatma Gandhi Nehru became his apparent heir and further rose to become the first Prime Minister of Independent India.

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