84 Facts About Nehru

1. Nehru was a principal leader of the Indian nationalist movement in the 1930s and 1940s.

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2. Nehru promoted parliamentary democracy, secularism, and science and technology during the 1950s, powerfully influencing India's arc as a modern nation.

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3. Nehru joined the Indian National Congress, rose to become the leader of a progressive faction during the 1920s, and eventually of the Congress, receiving the support of Mahatma Gandhi who was to designate Nehru as his political heir.

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4. Nehru promoted the idea of the secular nation-state in the 1937 Indian provincial elections, allowing the Congress to sweep the elections, and to form governments in several provinces.

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5. Nehru became the interim prime minister of India in September 1946, with the League joining his government with some hesitancy in October 1946.

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6. On 26 January 1950, when India became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, Nehru became the Republic of India's first prime minister.

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7. Nehru embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social, and political reforms.

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8. Nehru described his childhood as a "sheltered and uneventful one".

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9. Nehru grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at wealthy homes, including a palatial estate called the Anand Bhavan.

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10. Nehru wrote: "for nearly three years [Brooks] was with me and in many ways, he influenced me greatly".

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11. Nehru wrote: "Visions of similar deeds in India came before, of [my] gallant fight for [Indian] freedom and in my mind, India and Italy got strangely mixed together.

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12. Nehru went to Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1907 and graduated with an honours degree in natural science in 1910.

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13. Nehru doubted the effectiveness of Congress but agreed to work for the party in support of the Indian civil rights movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, collecting funds for the movement in 1913.

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14. Nehru spoke out against the censorship acts passed by the British government in India.

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15. Nehru emerged from the war years as a leader whose political views were considered radical.

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16. Nehru ridiculed the Indian Civil Service for supporting British policies.

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17. Nehru became involved with aggressive nationalists leaders demanding Home Rule for Indians.

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18. Nehru joined both leagues, but worked primarily for the former.

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19. Nehru welcomed and encouraged the rapprochement between the two Indian communities.

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20. Nehru joined the movement and rose to become secretary of Besant's Home Rule League.

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21. Nehru sought foreign allies for India and forged links with movements for independence and democracy around the world.

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22. Nehru represented India and was elected to the Executive Council of the League against Imperialism that was born at this meeting.

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23. Nehru drafted the policies of the Congress and a future Indian nation in 1929.

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24. Nehru was one of the first leaders to demand that the Congress Party should resolve to make a complete and explicit break from all ties with the British Empire.

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25. At midnight on New Year's Eve 1929, Nehru hoisted the tricolour flag of India upon the banks of the Ravi in Lahore.

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26. Nehru spent the early months of 1936 in Switzerland visiting his ailing wife in Lausanne, where she died in March.

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27. Since the Muslim League under Muhammad Ali Jinnah had fared badly at the polls, Nehru declared that the only two parties that mattered in India were the British colonial authorities and the Congress.

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28. Nehru was elected in his place and held the presidency for two years.

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29. Nehru worked closely with Bose in developing good relations with governments of free countries all over the world.

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30. Nehru helped to make the struggle of the people in the princely states a part of the nationalist movement for independence.

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31. Nehru was given the responsibility of planning the economy of a future India and appointed the National Planning Commission in 1938 to help frame such policies.

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32. Nehru opened up its ranks to membership from across the political spectrum.

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33. When Nehru presented Lord Linlithgow with these demands, he chose to reject them.

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34. When Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, expressed his desire to meet, Nehru refused him.

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35. In October 1940, Gandhi and Nehru, abandoning their original stand of supporting Britain, decided to launch a limited civil disobedience campaign in which leading advocates of Indian independence were selected to participate one by one.

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36. Nehru served as prime minister for 18 years, first as the interim prime minister and from 1950 as the prime minister of the Republic of India.

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37. In December 1953, Nehru appointed the States Reorganisation Commission to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines.

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38. Nehru stressed commonality among Indians and promoted pan-Indianism, refusing to reorganise states on either religious or ethnic lines.

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39. In 1962, Nehru led the Congress to victory with a diminished majority.

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40. Nehru is time and again described as a charismatic leader with a rare charm.

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41. Parekh attributes this to the national philosophy Nehru formulated for India.

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42. Nehru implemented policies based on import substitution industrialisation and advocated a mixed economy where the government-controlled public sector would co-exist with the private sector.

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43. Nehru believed the establishment of basic and heavy industry was fundamental to the development and modernisation of the Indian economy.

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44. Nehru was a passionate advocate of education for India's children and youth, believing it essential for India's future progress.

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45. Nehru outlined a commitment in his five-year plans to guarantee free and compulsory primary education to all of India's children.

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46. Nehru launched initiatives such as the provision of free milk and meals to children to fight malnutrition.

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47. Nehru sought to build support among the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa in opposition to the two hostile superpowers contesting the Cold War.

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48. Nehru was a strong supporter of the United Nations, except when it tried to resolve the Kashmir question.

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49. Nehru pioneered the policy of non-alignment and co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement of nations professing neutrality between the rival blocs of nations led by the US and the USSR.

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50. Recognising the People's Republic of China soon after its founding, Nehru argued for its inclusion in the United Nations and refused to brand the Chinese as the aggressors in their conflict with Korea.

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51. Nehru sought to establish warm and friendly relations with China in 1950 and hoped to act as an intermediary to bridge the gulf and tensions between the communist states and the Western bloc.

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52. Nehru was a key organiser of the Bandung Conference of April 1955, which brought 29 newly independent nations together from Asia and Africa, and was designed to galvanise the nonalignment movement under Nehru's leadership.

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53. Nehru envisioned it as his key leadership opportunity on the world stage, where he would bring together the emerging nations.

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54. Nehru used military force to annex Hyderabad in 1948 and Goa in 1961.

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55. Nehru entrusted Homi J Bhabha, a nuclear physicist, with complete authority over all nuclear-related affairs and programs and answerable only to the prime minister.

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56. Nehru commissioned the first study of the effects of nuclear explosions on human health and campaigned ceaselessly for the abolition of what he called "these frightful engines of destruction".

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57. Nehru was then at the peak of his popularity in India; the only criticism came from the far-right.

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58. In 1954, Nehru signed with China the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in India as the Panchsheel, a set of principles to govern relations between the two states.

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59. In 1956, Nehru criticised the joint invasion of the Suez Canal by the British, French, and Israelis.

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60. Nehru accepted the UK and World Bank's arbitration, signing the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 with Pakistani ruler Ayub Khan to resolve long-standing disputes about sharing the resources of the major rivers of the Punjab region.

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61. From 1959, in a process that accelerated in 1961, Nehru adopted the "Forward Policy" of setting up military outposts in disputed areas of the Sino-Indian border, including in 43 outposts in territory not previously controlled by India.

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62. War exposed the unpreparedness of India's military, which could send only 14,000 troops to the war zone in opposition to the much larger Chinese Army, and Nehru was widely criticised for his government's insufficient attention to defence.

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63. Nehru's improved relations with the US under John F Kennedy proved useful during the war, as in 1962, the president of Pakistan Ayub Khan was made to guarantee his neutrality regarding India, threatened by "communist aggression from Red China".

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64. Under American advice Nehru refrained from using the Indian air force to beat back the Chinese advances.

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65. Nehru ordered the raising of an elite Indian-trained "Tibetan Armed Force" composed of Tibetan refugees, which served with distinction in future wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

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66. Nehru hailed Nehru as Bharat Mata's "favourite prince" and likened him to mythological warrior-king Rama.

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67. Nehru was instrumental in getting the Congress party working committee to vote for partition.

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68. Nehru is credited with integrating peacefully most of the princely states of India.

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69. Nehru went on to serve as a minister with various portfolios during Nehru's tenure and in Shastri and Indira Gandhi governments.

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70. Nehru was responsible for the establishment of Hindi as an official language of the central government and a few states.

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71. Nehru accomplished the nationalisation of insurance companies and the formation of the Life Insurance Corporation of India through the Life Insurance Corporation of India Act, 1956.

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72. Nehru was forced to resign after the debacle of the 1962 China war.

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73. Nehru began to be embarrassed by her ruthlessness and disregard for parliamentary tradition and was "hurt" by what he saw as assertiveness with no purpose other than to stake out an identity independent of her father.

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74. At Lady Edwina Mountbatten's burial at sea in 1960 Nehru requested an Indian Navy frigate INS Trishul to escort HMS Wakeful from which the burial took place and to cast a wreath as a mark of the respect in which she was held in India.

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75. Nehru liked and admired Nehru, it was useful to him that the Prime Minister should find such attractions in the Governor-General's home, it was agreeable to find Edwina almost permanently in good temper: the advantages of the alliance were obvious.

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76. Nehru wanted to model India as a secular country; his secularist policies remain a subject of debate.

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77. Nehru is praised for creating a system providing universal primary education, reaching children in the farthest corners of rural India.

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78. In pursuit of a single, unified India, Nehru warned, "Integrate or perish.

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79. In 2012, Nehru was ranked number four in Outlooks poll of The Greatest Indian.

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80. Indian film director Kiran Kumar made a film about Nehru titled Nehru: The Jewel of India in 1990 starring Partap Sharma in the titular role.

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81. Nehru was not a trained historian, but his feel for the flow of events and his capacity to weave together a wide range of knowledge in a meaningful pattern give to his books qualities of a high order.

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82. Dressed in a golden silk jacket with a red rose in the buttonhole, Nehru rose to speak.

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83. In 1948, Nehru was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Mysore.

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84. In 1955, Nehru was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

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