A Historical Brief: Nehru and Nationalism

Jawaharal Nehru proved, through his successive terms to the presidency of the Indian National Congress, to be a leading figure in the struggle for India’s independence from the British during the Raj period of colonial control. His prolific writing, oratory skills, and organizational abilities are still renowned today, particularly for consummately using these tools nonviolently towards an inspirational outcome that would shape India into the future. Indeed, Nehru played a central role in the post-Raj period, so was able to manifest his ideas into public policy. “On 15 August 1947, Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/nehru_jawaharlal.shtml). He was a servant of India’s public interest, and continually took steps to modernize and develop the society, economy, and foreign policy of India. His travels in Europe at a time when fascism was on the rise and respected, compelled him to seek advancement based on moderately socialist principles. In foreign policy, he turned India into a world leader of the nonalignment movement and in societal development, Nehru helped bring about freedom and democracy for the country.

He hadn’t always been in the position to accomplish this mission. Nehru wrote the Discovery of India from a jail cell under British authority. Ahmadngar Fort was a prison detaining a variety of Indians, particularly freedom fighters like Nehru. This is where, in 1944, he began his writings. His ability to so was impressive under the conditions, Nehru tells us “…there was no convention or law or rule to govern the conditions under which Indian prisoners and detenus had to exist, except such ordinances as it pleased our British rulers to issue from time to time” (Nehru 2).

Nehru sought an end to the humiliating position of India on the world stage, and a return to its greatness. He spread his words of India’s history as a great power with a rich tradition from village to village across the plains, essentially bringing the idea to the Indian people that, despite their differences, ethnic, linguistic, or religious, there is something characteristically Indian about them all, and only united could they make India great again.

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