A grateful nation remembers how PM Nehru laid foundation stone of a proud, modern democracy

As independent India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru oversaw integration of princely states into India, framing of Constitution, setting up of key constitutions and the non-alignment policy

Jawaharlal Nehru making the famous 'Tryst with destiny' speech in the Constituent Assembly
Jawaharlal Nehru making the famous 'Tryst with destiny' speech in the Constituent Assembly

NH Web Desk

It will be 58 years on May 27, 2022 since the death of independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Today, on his death anniversary, we remember his “tryst with destiny” and his notable contributions to the creation of a proud, sovereign parliamentary democracy.

His detractors have carried out a campaign of criticism against Pandit Nehru, but his decisive interventions helped India have a huge impact on world politics.

Here are some of the achievements of Jawaharlal Nehru as India’s first Prime Minister:

  1. Integration of princely states into India as the Union of states:

Under the guidance of Nehru, then Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhai Patel and administrator VP Menon consolidated and integrated all territories and princely states under India. Initially, all states were given the option of joining either India or Pakistan or choosing independence. In the next 10 years, the government under Nehru convinced most of the rulers of the various princely states to accede to India.

  1. Framing of the Constitution:

With Pandit Nehru at the helm, the Constituent Assembly of India was elected to frame the Constitution of India. Their members were also the first members of Parliament. The Constitution of India was written by a 299 member assembly through 11 sessions over a period of three years. It provided the framework for separation of legislature, executive and the judiciary, fundamental rights, powers and duties of citizens

  1. Setting up of key institutions post-Independence:

One of the first institutions set up by Nehru was the Election Commission of India in 1950, followed by the Planning Commission, National Physics Laboratory and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in the same year. Then the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay, was set up in 1954 to consolidate India's nuclear program, later renamed as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). This was followed by the University Grants Commission, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Atomic Energy Commission in 1956.

The National School of Drama was set up in 1959, the first Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, in 1961, followed by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in the same year. In 1962, Indian National Committee for Space Research was set up.

  1. Settling of refugees post-partition:

After the partition, the government under Nehru had to resettle close to 5 lakh people in the national capital. This task was carried out in an efficient manner despite the huge challenges it presented am several rehabilitation colonies came into existence.

  1. Indus Water Treaty

Brokered by the World Bank, the Jawaharlal Nehru government signed a water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan on September 19, 1960. The treaty dealt with the usage of the water from the river Indus and its five tributaries – Sutlej, Beas, Ravi in the east and Jhelum, Chenab and Indus in the west.

All water from the eastern rivers were made available for unrestricted use in India and India allowed unrestricted flow of water from the western rivers to Pakistan. India could use water from the western rivers for irrigation, storage and (some of it) for electricity production.

  1. India’s foreign policy:

Jawaharlal Nehru was largely instrumental in shaping India’s independent foreign policy and the nation adopted the policy of non-alignment. This was at a time when there was a cold war brewing between the Soviet Union and the United States and Nehru adopted a policy of not aligning with either country. The country’s foreign policy was largely influenced by international developments after World War II and we had taken a strong stand against imperial aggressions by Japan, Germany and Italy in 1930.

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