Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday on the 14th of November is celebrated as Nehru Jayanti. Jawaharlal Nehru was an ardent freedom fighter while India was under the subjugation of the British Empire.
He went on to become one of the major leaders in the Indian Independence Movement and when India attained freedom finally, he became the first Prime Minister of India.
He is considered to be the architect of the modern India which emerged as the sovereign, socialist, secular democratic nation. His birthday is also celebrated as Children’s’ Day or Bal Divas in India because of his extreme affection for children.
- Life of Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru was born to the prominent lawyer and nationalist leader Motilal Nehru and Swaroop Rani in 14th of November 1889. He was educated to be a barrister and trained in Trinity College, Cambridge and the Inner Temple. He was since childhood deeply ingrained in the cultural heritage of India and had studied Buddhist and Hindu scriptures in detail. In 1910, Nehru passed with an honors degree in Natural Science from Trinity College. Nehru then studied law in Inner Temple and passed his Bar Examinations in 1912. When he returned to India, he enrolled in Allahabad High Court to practice law. However, he took a keen interest in the Indian Independence movement and emerged as a major leader of caliber. He became a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress in the 1920. Nehru led the Non-Cooperation movement from United Province or the current Uttar Pradesh and was arrested for the same. He was mentored by Mahatma Gandhi and in 1929; he called for Complete Independence or Sampurna Swaraj from the British Government.
Under his leadership Congress did exceptionally well and formed provincial government in 1937 in the Provincial Elections, but failed miserably in the aftermath of the Quit India movement of 1942. Nehru served a prolonged Jail term and when he came out the political scenario had changed. Mohammad Ali Jinnah had emerged as the leader of the Muslim community via the Muslim League and when the discussion of a power sharing failed; India was divided into India and Pakistan, based on religious affinity. The partition of India in 1947 however was a bloody and heart wrenching phenomena.
Nehru was probably amongst the first few to realize the sufferings of the common people in the princely states. Till now the nationalist movements were confined to the areas which were directly under the British rule, but Nehru was the person who helped spread this in the princely states too, thus it became a unanimous and united struggle.
Nehru was unanimously selected as the Prime Minister of India in 1947 and he immediately set out to implement his visions of modern India. The constitution on India came into being in 1950, where India was declared as the sovereign, socialist, secular democracy. He also set to bring in reforms in the economic, social and political arena. Despite having trouble sin the later part of his leadership and the Sino-India war, Nehru remained an extremely popular and suave leader till his last day. There were four known assassination attempts on his life. But Nehru never liked having security on him as he felt that the disrupted public life. He passed away on the 27th of May, 1964. He was survived by his daughter Indira Gandhi, who later went on to become the first female Prime Minister of any country and successfully steered India for quite some time.
Nehru propagated policies based on industrialization, import, Substitution and called for a mixed economy. He managed to wean help from both the power blocks for the advancement of India. He was passionate about the development of the children and the youth of India, considering them to be the future of the state. He made an outline of his commitment in the five-year planning to provide free and compulsory primary education to all the children of India. He authored books such as Glimpses of World History, Discover of India and Letters from a Father to a Daughter, which remain important books for the growing up years. He also made provisions for free milk and free meal for all the children suffering from malnutrition. Nehru also made changes in the legal systems for the betterment of the judiciary.
- Celebration of Nehru Jayanti
As a tribute to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day in India. It is celebrated to reiterate and increase the awareness of the common people towards the rights, care and importance of education of children. Nehru was a great champion for the children’s cause and thus this day is a reminder of his contribution towards the children and youth of India. Nehru was the first person who had setup the essential machineries to ensure that education was free and compulsory for all children at least up to the primary level. He had also set up projects where milk and food was supplied free to those suffering from malnutrition. Apart from this Nehru had set up numerous educational institutes and is also the founder of the top most learning seats of the country in matters of technology – the Indian Institute of Technology or the IIT s.
Children’s day is celebrated by all the schools of the country through various activities like art, craft, music or sports. There are discourses on this day on the life on Chacha Nehru, as he was fondly called by the children. The school authorities distribute chocolates and other small gifts to all its children, various organizations make donations of books and other essential things to numerous orphanages and other non-governmental organizations for the betterment of under privileged children.
Apart from this prayer meetings are held in Shanti Ban, where he was cremated and Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram is played as his favorite song. Leaders and common people visit this place and also the Teen Murti Bhavan, where he resided, and which has now been turned into a museum to pay homage to him. There are various discourses held in his memory also on this day.
This day is a reminder of the renewal of our commitments to the welfare of the children as well as our country and to live life according to the principles of Jawaharlal Nehru.