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Jawaharlal Nehru Phase In India (PART1) | ETHICS

Introduction | Jawaharlal Nehru Phase In India (PART1)

  • An influential leader in the Indian independence movement and political heir of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru became the nation’s first prime minister in 1947.
  • India, since independence, has undergone profound transformations in its politics-from the dominant Congress system to Coalition era, its economics- from a controlled “democratic socialism” to a thriving free-enterprise system, its trade-from protectionism to liberalization, and its social relations- from a rigidly hierarchical caste system to a more egalitarian policy affirming opportunities and outcomes for the “lowest” castes.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Political Awakening

  • Joined All India Home Rule League: Upon learning of esteemed theosophist Annie Besant’s arrest in 1917, Nehru was moved to join the All India Home Rule League, an organization devoted to obtaining self-government within the British Empire.
  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: The Massacre of Amritsar, in which hundreds of Indians were killed and more than a thousand others were wounded, outraged Nehru and further solidified his resolve to win India’s independence.
  • During the Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22) led by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was imprisoned for the first time for activities against the British government and, over the course of the next two and a half decades, spent a total of nine years in jail.
  • President of INC: In 1929, Jawaharlal was elected president of the Indian National Congress—his first leadership role in politics—whereby he promoted the goal of complete independence from Britain as opposed to dominion status.
  • Participation in Individual Satyagraha: To protest against the participation of India in World War II without consulting Indian leaders and confusion created by the August Offer, the individual satyagraha was launched not to seek independence but to affirm the right to speech. Pt. Nehru was chosen as the second satyagrahi in this movement after Vinoba Bhave.
  • Quit India Movement: The members of Congress passed the Quit India resolution on August 8, 1942, demanding political freedom from Britain in exchange for support in the war effort. The following day, the British government arrested all Congress leaders, including Nehru and Gandhi.
  • Role in framing of Indian Constitution: He was one of the pioneers of the constituent Assembly. He moved the objective Resolution on 13 December 1946, which became the light for our preamble. He was the chairman of the States Committee, Union Powers Committee and Union Constitution Committee.

Nehru as PM of Independent India | Jawaharlal Nehru Phase In India (PART1)

  • After India achieved independence on 15 August 1947, Nehru became the prime minister. As prime minister, he delivered his now-famous address to the nation, ‘Tryst with Destiny’.
  • Nehru, as prime minister, advocated a mixed economy. He was established heavy industries believing them to be essential to the development of a country. But there were also heavy control and regulations of the industry.
  • Nehru’s vision of a united India led to the speedy integration of the princely states into the Indian Dominion. He was ably supported by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and V K Krishna Menon, his aide in this matter.
  • In 1953, he appointed the States Reorganisation Commission to redraw state boundaries on linguistic lines.
  • He enacted many laws to criminalise certain practices like caste-based discrimination. He also increased legal rights for women.
  • He advocated the use of Hindi as the country’s official language but this met with heavy resistance from non-Hindi speakers.
  • He was also keen on having cordial relations with other nations of the world.
  • Nehru was leading a newly independent country and initiated many projects like setting up the IITs, the defence academies, the nuclear energy program and so on.
  • He was a founder and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Nehru was also responsible for the liberation of Goa after years of failed negotiations with the Portuguese.
  • He was a prolific author and some of his works are ‘The Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of World History’.
  • Nehru died in 1964

Integration of Princely States | Jawaharlal Nehru Phase In India (PART1)

  • Unifying post partition India and the princely states under one administration was perhaps the most important task faced by then political leadership. In colonial India, nearly 40% of the territory was occupied by five hundred sixty five small and large states ruled by princes who enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy under the system of British Paramountcy. British power protected them from their own people as also from external aggression so long as they did British bidding.
  • As the British left, many of 565 princely states, began to dream of independence. They had claimed that the paramountcy could not be transferred to the new states of India and Pakistan. The ambitions were fuelled by the then British PM Clement Attlee announcement on Feb 20, 1947 that “His Majesty’s Government does not intend to hand over their powers and obligations under paramountcy to any government of British India”.
  • With great skill and masterful diplomacy and using both persuasion and pressure, Sardar Patel succeeded in integrating the hundreds of princely states. Few princely states joined Constituent Assembly with wisdom & realism, patriotism, but other princely states still stayed away from joining it. Princely states of Travancore, Bhopal, and Hyderabad publicly announced their desire to claim an independent status.
  • On June 27, 1947, Sardar Patel assumed additional charge of the newly created states department with V.P. Menon as its Secretary.
  • The government’s approach was guided by three considerations. :
    • The people of most of the princely states clearly wanted to become part of the Indian Union.
    • The government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions. The idea was to accommodate plurality & adopt a flexible approach in dealing with the demands of the regions.
    • In the back drop of Partition, the integration and consolidation of the territorial boundaries of the nation had assumed supreme importance.

Integration of Tribal population

  • Jawaharlal Nehru was the main influence in shaping government’s attitude towards the tribals. Nehru stood for economic and social development of the tribal people in multifarious ways, especially in the fields of communications, modern medical facilities, agriculture and education.
  • Nehru approach was based on the nationalist policy towards tribes since the 1920s when Gandhiji set up ashrams in the tribal areas and promoted constructive work.
  • There were certain broad guidelines laid down by Nehru, with the help of Verrier Elwin [British Anthropologist] which was called as “Tribal Panchsheel”. They are:
    • People should develop along the line of their own genius & we should avoid imposing anything on them. We should try to encourage in every way their own traditional arts and culture.
    • Tribals rights to land and forest should be respected.
    • We should try to train and build up a team of their own people to do the work of administration and development. Some technical personnel from outside will no doubt, be needed, especially in the beginning. But we should avoid introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory.
    • We should not over administer these areas or overwhelm them with a multiplicity of schemes. We should rather work through & not in rivalry to, their own social & cultural institutions.
    • We should judge results not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the quality of human character that is involved.

Issue of language | Jawaharlal Nehru Phase In India (PART1)

  • The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty years of independent India.
  • Linguistic identity during first 20 years after independence had become a strong force in all societies. Due to
  • diversity in languages, this language issue became more difficult to tackle.
  • The problem posed to national consolidation by linguistic diversity has taken two major forms :
    • The dispute over official language of the union.
    • The linguistic reorganization of the states

The Official Language

  • Opposition to Hindi as a national languages tended to create conflict between Hindi speaking and non- Hindi speaking regions of the country.
  • The issue of a national language was resolved when the constitution-makers virtually accepted all the major languages as “languages of India”.
  • Being a foreign language Gandhi opposed the idea that English would be an all India medium of communications in free India. Sharp differences marked the initial debates as the problem of the official language was highly political from the beginning.
  • Hindi was chosen over Hindustani [written in Devanagari or Urdu script] to be the official language of India & but the national language.
  • The issue of the time-frame for a shift from English to Hindi produced a divide between Hindi & non Hindi areas. Proponents of Hindi wanted immediate switch over, while non Hindi areas advocated retention of English for a long if not indefinite period. Nehru was in favour of making Hindi the official language, but he also favoured English to be continuing as an additional official language.
  • The constitution provided that Hindi in Devanagari script with international numerals would be India’s official language. English was to continue for use in all official purposes till 1965, when it would be replaced by Hindi in phased manner. However, Parliament would have the power to provide for the use of English for specified purposes even after 1965.
  • The constitution laid upon the government the duty to promote the spread and development of Hindi & provides for the appointment of Commission & a Joint Parliamentary Committee to review the progress in the respect. The state legislatures were to divide the matter of official language at state level, though the official language of the Union would serve as the language of communication between the states and the centre & between one state & another.
  • In 1956, the report of the official language commission set up in 1955 in terms of a constitutional provision, recommended that Hindi should start progressively replacing English in various functions of the central government with effective change taking place in 1965. Two members of commission, one each from West Bengal & Tamil Nadu, dissented this while accusing other members for pro-Hindi Bias. JPC [Joint Parliamentary Committee] reviewed the report to implement the recommendations of JPC, President issued an order in April 1960 stating that after 1965 Hindi would be the Principal official language, but English would continue without any restriction as the associate official language. To promote Hindi, according to President’s directive, central government took a series of steps to promote Hindi. These includes the setting up of central Hindi Directorate, publication of standards works in Hindi or in Hindi translation in various fields, compulsory training of central government employees in Hindi and translation of major text of law into Hindi & promotion of their use by the courts.
  • To allay the fear of non Hindi speakers Nehru in the Parliament in 1959, assured them that English would continue as alternate language as long as the people require it. In 1963, official languages Act was passed. The object of the Act, was to remove a restriction which had been placed by the constitution on the use of English after a certain dates namely 1965. Because of ambiguity in Official Languages Act due to the world “may” instead of “shall”, they criticized it.

 

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