Jawaharlal Nehru, along with Ghandi and Jinnah, was to play a very important part in India’s history in the Twentieth Century. Nehru was born in 1889 and died in 1964.




Nehru was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. When he returned to India in 1912, he practised as a barrister. This was hardly an unexpected move as his father was the famous journalist and lawyer Motilal Nehru.

Nehru became involved in Congress after the massacre at Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, Nehru was arrested and put in prison for activities associated Congress. Between 1921 and 1946, he spent 9 years in prison. When he was out of prison, he had his freedom of movement heavily restricted by the British authorities. 

In 1929, partly as a result of his ability and fame and also because of Gandhi’s support, Nehru became president of Congress. As a result, he became a lynchpin in the negotiations that were to take place between the British and Congress over independence. He tainted his reputation by failing to give the British full support for their campaign against the Japanese in the Far East during World War Two. However, when India was given independence in 1947, Nehru was the obvious choice for Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

As India’s leader, he kept the nation non-aligned. He kept this independent stance to acquire money from whatever source as he realised that India needed outside funding if she was to modernise. Nehru attempted to mediate in the Korean War and during the 1950’s crisis in Vietnam. He was idolised by the Indian population and his death in May 1964, robbed the Third World of its natural leader. He was succeeded as prime Minister by Lal Shastri, who in turn was succeeded by Nehru’s daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1966.

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