The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, cannot be imagined without Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji’s influence on Nehru gradually increased in the history of the Indian Freedom Movement. Still, from the very first meeting, Nehru looked at Gandhi with great respect, but initially, he did not seem to agree much with Gandhi. Nehru’s birthday is on November 14, which the country celebrates every year as Children’s Day. On the occasion of Nehru Jayanti, let us know how Nehru changed under the influence of Gandhiji.
Gandhi’s influence on Jawaharlal Nehru
In fact, many people see this or Nehru as a great devotee of Gandhi or try to show the difference between them by highlighting the differences between the two. But if we look at Nehru’s life, we will find that Gandhi had a significant influence on Nehru’s ideology, and this change did not happen overnight. Still, the relationship between the two continued to develop.
He was not interested in advocacy
Before meeting Gandhiji, Nehru returned from Britain as a barrister in 1912 and started working as a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court. But like his father, he was not interested in law. At that time, the moderates were dominant in the Congress. He was not satisfied with the functioning of Congress and was not happy with the pace of the freedom movement. Yet, he had great respect for Gandhiji from the very beginning.
During the first world war
Nehru was not even entirely against the Allies in the World War that started in 1914. His inclination was more towards France, which was with the British in the war. But he also continued to oppose the censorship laws of the British government in India. In 1916, he preferred to join the Home Rule League of both Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. In the same year, he also appeared as a supporter of the Lucknow Pact, related to Hindu-Muslim representation.
When did both of them meet for the first time?
On December 26, 1916, 27-year-old Nehru reached Lucknow railway station from Allahabad. In front of the Charbagh station, he met 47-year-old Gandhiji, who had come there from Ahmedabad. In that Lucknow session of Congress, Gandhiji gave his speech, and both met in the same session.
What did Nehru say about this meeting?
In his autobiography Towards Freedom, Nehru has told about his first meeting with Gandhi. “My first meeting with Gandhiji was in 1916 at the Lucknow session of the Congress. We were all fans of his historic fight in South Africa. But he was very distant, aloof, and apolitical from the youth like us. He had refused to take part in Congress and national politics. But soon, his movement for farmers and laborers in Champaran filled us all with enthusiasm. We saw that they were ready to try their methods in India and were confident of success.
After this, Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi did not look back. It was seen that Nehru continued to surrender himself unconditionally to Gandhiji. In 1920, Nehru actively participated in the non-cooperation movement and also went to jail. When Gandhi Ji canceled the movement due to the Chauri Chaura incident, he was opposed all over the country, but Nehru completely stood by Gandhiji.
There was also a difference between the two
In the late 1920s, Nehru was clearly dissatisfied with the slow pace of the country’s independence movement. He wanted that Congress should fight for complete independence instead of Swaraj. There was an evident influence of Marxism in Nehru’s thoughts. For the first time here, Nehru looked very different from Gandhi, and it was clearly visible to see the different language and politics between the two. But Nehru still went on to become a Gandhian.
Gandhi had declared Nehru as his successor in 1942, the year before independence. Even before this, many times, the differences of both are clearly visible in the letters of both on the speed of the freedom movement. Gandhiji also expressed doubts that two might part ways. But Nehru never allowed this to happen. Nehru appeared impractical to Gandhiji in many cases, but he never openly opposed or mentioned it but always kept his identity of being a Gandhian.