Jawaharlal Nehru Biography Essay Outline

On August 15, 1947, India finally gained its independence and Nehru became the nation’s first prime minister. Amid the celebration of newly acquired freedom, there was also considerable turmoil. The mass displacement that followed partition into the separate nations of Pakistan and India, along with disputes over control of Kashmir, resulted in the loss of property and lives for several hundred thousand Muslims and Hindus.

Throughout his 17-year leadership, Nehru advocated democratic socialism and secularism and encouraged India’s industrialization beginning with the implementation of the first of his five-year plans in 1951, which emphasized the importance of increasing agricultural production. He also promoted scientific and technological advancements through the establishment of higher learning, and instituted various social reforms such as free public education and meals for Indian children, legal rights for women—including the ability to inherit property and divorce their husbands—and laws to prohibit discrimination based on caste.

During the Cold War, Nehru adopted a policy of non-alignment in which he professed neutrality, but was criticized when he refused to condemn the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and later requested foreign aid after China invaded India’s northern border in 1962. The conflict, known as the Sino-Indian War, had a deleterious effect on Nehru’s health, resulting in a severe stroke in January of 1964 and his death a few months later on May 27.

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