Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is fondly remembered by the Children as Chacha Nehru as he had special love for them and is celebrated throughout the country as Children’s Day. His real message for children was to allow them to grow by providing them with a safe and loving environment giving ample opportunities to learn and take great strides and contribute to the progress of the nation. He had a great love for roses and compared children with those saying that children were like the buds in a garden so very bright and colourful. They should be carefully and lovingly nurtured as they were the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow. He felt that children are the real strength of the country and the very foundation of the society. He became beloved of the children who gave him the endearing name of ‘Chacha Nehru’ and celebrate his birth day with great pomp and show which is become a universal Children’s Day.
I remember having celebrated his 100th Birthday Anniversary at Bhubaneshwar where I was head of the committee formed for the celebrations, where we arranged a variety of cultural, sports and other items for the children in which thousands of children participated. The joy and enthusiasm with which children participated can never be forgotten. It was a true tribute paid to that great man and his general love for children reflected through their dancing, singing and marry making with lots of fun and fanfare.
Pandit Nehru was born with a silver spoon in his mouth in a wealthy Kashmiri Pandit community and his father was Pandit Moti Lal Nehru a wealthy barrister who lived with a very high standard in the society but later joined the national movement where he was elected as President of Indian National Congress twice. The father and son dominated Indian politics during the 1930’s as the country moved towards independence. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was highly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi under whose patronage he became the top leader of the country in not only achieving the independence but became its first Prime Minister in 1947 of independent India.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had a vision of India and he embarked upon an ambitious programme of economic, social and political reforms and with the same in mind he helped in bringing the Constitution of India where people every citizen was to have right to equality, liberty and fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation. He established big dams, steel plants, scientific laboratories and called them as temples of the country. These bases later became the foundation stones of the countries progress. He is considered to be the architect of Modern Indian Nation. Nehru implemented policies based on important substitution industrialization advocated a mixed economy where the government controlled public sector would co-exist with the private sector He believed that the establishment of basic and heavy industry was fundamental to the development and modernization of the Indian economy.
The policy of non-alignment during the Cold War meant that Nehru received financial and technical support from both power blocs in building India’s industrial base from scratch. Steel mill complexes were built at Bokaro and Rourkela with assistance from the Soviet Union and West Germany. There was substantial industrial development. Industry grew 7.0 per cent annually between 1950 and 1965 – almost trebling industrial output and making India the world’s seventh largest industrial country. Nehru’s critics, however, contended that India’s important substitution industrialization, which was continued long after the Nehru era, weakened the international competitiveness of its manufacturing industries. India’s share of world trade fell from 1.4 per cent in 1951–1960 to 0.5 per cent over 1981–1990. On the other hand, India’s export performance is argued to have actually showed sustained improvement over the period. The volume of exports went up at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent in 1951–1960 to 7.6 per cent in 1971–1980.
Pandit Nehru was a Graduate of the Trinity College, Cambridge and the inner temple where he was trained to be a barrister. He practiced in Allahabad High Court but joined national politics and thus became a nationalist since his teenage years and rose to become the Congress President. Mahatma Gandhi acknowledged him as his political heir and successor as he towed his life on his lines and worked for Hindu Muslim unity. He was the principal author of Indian Declaration of Independence (1929). Nehru closely worked with Subhash Bose in developing good relations with governments of free countries all over the world.
He was father of Indira Gandhi whom he groomed in politics and who became the third Prime Minister of the country and his son Rajiv Gandhi became the 6th Prime Minister of the country. He had many things to his credit and his life and works influenced in the making of Modern India. He will be long remembered as the architect of Modern India and has truly been conferred the title Bharat Ratna.
Nehru is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state; a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic.