Download a free copy of the Will and Testament of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964).
Nehru was the first prime minister of India, and to date is the longest serving, remaining in office from 1947 until his death in 1964. A leading figure in the Indian independence movement, Nehru was eventually recognized as the political heir to Mahatma Gandhi. He was elected by the Congress Party to assume office as independent India's first PM, and was re-elected when the Congress Party won India's first general election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important figure in the international politics of the post-war era. He is frequently referred to as Pandit Nehru ("pandit" being a Sanskrit and Hindi honorific meaning "scholar" or "teacher") and, specifically in India, as Panditji (with "-ji" being a suffix to the honorific).
Nehru came from a wealthy family. He became a leader of the left wing of the Indian National Congress when still fairly young, and became president under the mentorship of Gandhi. Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader, advocating complete independence from the British Empire. He was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the public sector as the means by which long-standing challenges of economic development could be addressed by poorer nations.
In his lifetime, Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed an iconic status in India and was widely admired across the world for his idealism and statesmanship. His birthday, 14 November, is celebrated in India as Baal Divas (Children's Day) in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Children across India remember him as Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru).
Nehru remains a popular symbol of the Congress party, and his ideals and policies continue to shape the party's manifesto and core political philosophy. An emotional attachment to his legacy was instrumental in the rise of his daughter Indira to leadership of the Congress party and the national government.
Last Updated: 14-April-2016