Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964)
The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in
Profile of Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru was born in 1889 in Allahabad, India. He studied mainly in Britain, first by attending the Harrow School in 1905 and later the Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He went on to study law at the Inner Temple in London, a profession which he took back to India and practised for about seven years. In 1919, Nehru joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and through his leadership role helped India to gain its independence from England. Over the years, Nehru and the INC's leader, Mahatma Gandhi, developed a strong relationship. Both fought for their country's freedom, though they did not always agree about the direction in which they wished India to grow. Nehru became the President of the INC six different times, the first being in 1929. Nehru spent many years in prison for leading several non-violent civil disobedience campaigns in India, which involved defying the Government by refusing to obey certain laws.
While in prison, Nehru wrote several books, including Toward Freedom, The Discovery of India, and Glimpses of World History, which became popular in several parts of the world and inspired many leaders of the National Liberations Movements in Asia and Africa. In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, Nehru served simultaneously as the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of India. Through his hard work, agricultural production increased and the economy grew. As Prime Minister during the Cold War in the 1950s, Nehru urged his country's people to remain non-aligned in foreign matters. His quest for global peace saw him opposing nuclear testing of any kind and military invasions by aligned forces. Under his leadership, India organised the Asian Relations Conference. It chaired the International Control Commission in 1954 and was a major player in organising the Bandung Conference in 1955. The Conference adopted a resolution that became known as the 'Dasa Sila' or 'The Ten Principles' of Bandung. It strived for world peace, respect for one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for non-interference in one another's internal affairs. The resolution also sought to uphold the human rights principles of the United Nations. He was also deeply passionate about bringing about Afro-Asian unity. The Asian-African Conference became the embryo of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The seeds that sprouted in Bandung took firm root six years later when 25 newly independent countries formally founded the NAM at the Belgrade Summit of 1961. India has played an active role in strengthening the NAM and making it an effective voice in representing the collective aspirations and interests of the developing countries on such vital issues as development, peace and stability. Nehru is fondly remembered for fighting long and hard, even spending time in prison, to gain India's independence and for supporting the struggle against apartheid.