“The light is out.” Jawaharlal Nehru’s death was announced in Parliament on May 27, 1964. He was India’s first prime minister and served 17 years in office after playing an integral role in achieving its Independence. His midnight address on August 15, 1947, announcing India’s freedom to the world, is regarded as one of the most historic speeches made by a political leader. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom,” he said.
Widely regarded as the ‘Architect of modern India’, he helped shape the constitution before it was adopted by Parliament on January 26, 1950. Many of his policies, however, came under criticism after his death.
His daughter, Indira Gandhi, went on to become the first woman prime minister of the country. Mentored by Nehru during his days as Congress chief, she was a force to reckon with and was widely regarded as the ‘Iron Lady’ of India.
Born on November 14, 1889, his birthday is celebrated as ‘Children’s Day’ in India. He was fondly called “chacha Nehru” by children. Sunday, May 27, marks the 54th death anniversary of Nehru.