Jawaharlal Nehru was born into a Kashmiri Pandit family that had settled in Allahabad. He was the son of Motilal Nehru, a successful barrister and recognized Congress leader. After completing his education at Cambridge University, Nehru came back to India in 1912 and then joined active politics. He became one of the leading figures in India’s struggle for independence. A strong opponent of the Muslim League’s “Two-Nation theory,” he finally agreed with the Vice-Roy Lord Mountbatten that the last British proposal that was Partition was the only available move. During the mass killings that followed Partition, he relentlessly travelled to affected areas, calling for peace and helping refugees. He was by then India’s first prime minister, a function he retained until his death in 1964. The towering personality that he was played a major role in Indian politics, at a time when the Congress system was in full bloom. As a leftist impressed by the Fabian theories and also by the success of the USSR in heavy industrial policies, he played a major role in the economic orientations of his country, so much so that the public sector and a strict license system became overpowerful. On the international scene, Nehru was one of the champions of the Non-Alignment movement. In his last years, he was devastated by the Chinese aggression on the Himalayan disputed borders (in 1962) and by the communal tensions that his secular mind had tried to suppress (Jabalpur in 1961; Rourkela and Jamshedpur in 1964).
BRECHER, Michael. 1959. Nehru: A Political Biography. London: Oxford University Press. SARVEPALLI, Gopal. 1989, Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography. Delhi: Oxford University Press (three volumes).