Nehru-Last Days

Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the pioneering leaders of India, who played an active role in the independence struggle of the country. He was also the first Prime Minister of Independent India. From childhood, Jawaharlal Nehru led a luxurious and glorious life. His father, Motilal Nehru was an eminent personality in the society, both in the social as well as in the political sphere. Jawaharlal Nehru also had a glorious political career and basked in name as well as fame for long time.

Though he had a good career record, his last eight-years as the Prime Minister of the country were not very successful. The country was facing both internal and external crisis during these eight years. Some of the economic policies that were set by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were not accepted in the country as well as in the foreign countries. It was also believed that he could not control the ongoing procedures in the country and there was anarchy all around. During the tenure of Nehru as the Prime Minister, Five-Year plans were initiated for the development and progress of the nation. The second Five Year Plan was initiated in the year 1956 and it mainly concentrated on the industrial development of the country. The establishment of several heavy engineering industries was emphasized in this Five Year Plan.

However, there was a problem that hampered the growth of these industries completely. Huge finances were required to set up these establishments, but the Government could fund only about one-third part of the total budget. The rest had to be funded by the several international institutions, World Bank and many more financing companies. This clearly depicted that India was greatly dependent on international financial aids and showed a clear picture of the economic conditions in the country. This pushed Jawaharlal Nehru into back gear. Within a year of the inception of the Second Five Year Plan, the whole plan failed to meet most of the targets that were set. Weather conditions were also unfavorable during this time and this hampered the growth of the nation to a great deal.

Though Jawaharlal Nehru was a great politician, but at some places he was a weak administrator and took some decisions as a Prime Minister, which went against him in various ways. Nehru was himself a devoted and clean man, away from any sort of corruption. But there were some people working in administrative bodies under him, who were corrupt. This was the only failure of Jawaharlal Nehru as a Prime Minister. At this very time, there were problems within the Congress Party. This became evident in the General Elections that were held in 1957. Every year the party framed radical policies that made them more unacceptable with the general masses.

There were also some linguistics problems that were faced by the nation during the period of Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. Hindi was prescribed as the national language of the country and that was accepted by all. But since, Jawaharlal Nehru had seen the world to a great extent; he knew the importance of the English language. He was a man with great foresight and could sense that English would be the most important and commonly used language in the near future. He stressed on the fact that English should be used as an additional official language. There were also problems with the Urdu language. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted the language to be part of the pluralistic society in India. Urdu was spoken and followed by several people in the country and it was also recognized by the Constitution. These problems affected Nehru to a great deal and he sank deeper and deeper into this.

Jawaharlal Nehru had also established several foreign links that had helped him in enhancing his personal horizon and outlook. He used these experiences for the upliftment and progress of India. However, strains were also seen in the various foreign policies and foreign relations that he had established. During this time, India had managed to include Goa in the Indian Union by making it independent from the Portuguese rule. This was the only positive thing that had happened in the political and social sphere of India in those days. This boosted the morale of Jawaharlal Nehru to a great deal. Congress also won the elections in 1962 that provided some relief to the man, who had dreamt of making a new India.

The Indo-China Relationship was a major issue that had troubled Jawaharlal Nehru in his last days. He was the man, who had tried his best to cultivate harmonious and cordial relations with China. There are also several instances, where India did not react to certain hostilities that were shown by China. Jawaharlal Nehru even went to the extent of visiting the country for improving and enhancing the relation between the two countries. But Sino-Indian relations had reached nadir in the year 1959 with the advent of Dalai Lama in the social and political field.

Jawaharlal Nehru's health was also deteriorating with passing time. He was suffering from a kidney disorder, namely pyelonephritis. It was said that he suffered from this disorder due to excessive workload. He was diagnosed in London and doctors said that if he took rest for a long period of time, he would be absolutely fine. He was a man in his early seventies by then. During the last two years of his life, Jawaharlal Nehru had to endure several harsh conditions, both politically and socially. Several dissatisfactions and disapprovals in the country had made Nehru very upset and that added to the health deterioration.

On 8th January, 1964, he suffered a major stroke that paralyzed him. Many people advised Jawaharlal Nehru to resign at this time, but he refused to do so. He still went to the Parliament on 10th February, but it clearly showed that he was not completely fit, though he denied that he was unwell. In the few months after this, he had recovered a bit and Congressmen were happy that they would get their leader back in power. But on 27th May, he fell severely ill and was in great pain. He was in great discomfort and doctors were called at once. Doctors confirmed that his aorta had ruptured and death was inevitable. He also asked for sedatives and was provided with it, but that did not bring him much relief. Doctors informed all his relatives that nothing more could be done to save him. On the same day at about 1.44p.m Jawaharlal Nehru breathed his last. This marked the end to a grand and glorious personality, who had excelled in political, social as well as in professional life. India lost a great leader on this day and his presence is still felt in times of crisis.

Last Updated on : 10/08/2012



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