history : What-were-Jawaharlal-Nehrus-greatest-achievements-1
Answer by Felix David:
To understand the true extent of Nehru's achievement, let's look at the circumstances under which he lead India:
- Riots during the Partition of India: In the Punjab region alone, between 200,000 to 500,000 people were killed. 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were displaced during the partition in what is the largest mass migration in human history.
- Food shortages: Famines in British India had a long lasting impact. Most recent was the Bengal Famine of 1943.
- Integration of Princely States: As many as 500 states had to be integrated.
- Refugees: The partition resulted in millions of displaced refugees.
And in addition to these awful problems, there was the formidable task of Nation Building. No other nation was born in more horrific circumstances.
Most of Nehru's achievements have been mentioned by others. But what makes Nehru's achievements all the more stellar is the context. While Nehru's accomplishment are certainly laudable, he was ably supported by such stalwarts as Patel, Ambedkar and Rajagopalachari. However, it must be mentioned that these people had left early. Patel died in 1950, Ambedkar and Rajaji left the Union Cabinet in 1951. In the period since, especially in the fifties, Nehru's appeal peaked. As Nirad Chaudhuri wrote in 1953,
Nehru's leadership 'is the most important moral force behind the unity of India.'
Some people think Patel might have been a better alternative and even venture to suggest that there was animosity between the two. Firstly, Rajmohan Gandhi's Patel: A Life dispels any shred of rancor between them. Secondly, Gandhi chose Nehru because he most accurately represented the diverse, pluralistic and inclusive idea of India that Gandhi himself had lived, fought and died for. Nehru was a Hindu whom the Muslims had trusted, a Brahmin who abhorred the caste system, a North Indian who didn't impose Hindi on the South and a man trusted by women. In short, he was genuinely an all-India leader.