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Jawaharlal NehruJawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru

Know about Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India.

Nehru as Prime Minister

Whenever one sets about assessing the life and works of Jawaharlal Nehru, the realization invariably dawns that Nehru's contribution to India's destiny as its first prime minister was in no way less significant than his pivotal role in the freedom struggle. Come to think about it, Nehru's very election as the prime ministerial candidate was steeped in bitter controversy and his initial days in office were marked by a wave of intense communal violence sweeping across the country.

As being chosen as Independent India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the Constituent Assembly of India on the eve of India's Independence and in a soul-stirring speech entitled 'A Tryst with Destiny,' he passionately enumerated the responsibilities that come with freedom. Nehru envisioned a socialist India and the first step towards this end was taken with the setting up of the Planning Commission of India and the first Five-Year Plan in 1951.

Pandit Nehru realized that modernization and technological development were vital to the growth of the nascent Indian economy and the government took upon itself the task of establishing strategic industries. Public sector enterprises became the pillars of the economy while the government concentrated on providing electricity, healthcare and roads to the rural population. Efforts were also made to augment agricultural production and to alleviate poverty.

Simultaneously Jawaharlal Nehru's government invested heavily on setting up of educational institutions of pre-eminence such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management. Nehru also envisaged plans to ensure free and compulsory elementary education for rural children. He espoused the doctrine of secularism and launched initiatives to improve the status of socially disadvantaged groups.

Nehru was also India's foreign minister and under him non-alignment became the guiding principle of India's foreign policy. Despite entrenched acrimonies, he tried to improve India's relations with China and signed the 1954 Sino-Indian treaty based on the tenets of Pancha Sila. However due to his pacifist nature, needs of Indian armed forces were put on the backburner and only the defeat of the Indian Army at the hands of the Chinese in 1962 finally made him woke up to this reality. This humiliating episode alone took much of the sheen from his invaluable contribution to the nation as its prime minister.

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