Jawaharlal Nehru (14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence.
He emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state: a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while many Indian children knew him as “Uncle Nehru“.
As Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India’s transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party democracy. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in Non-Alignment while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia.
Independence Day, is annually observed on 15 August for commemorating the nation’s independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947.
India attained independence following an Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC).
Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British Indian Empire was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan; the partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to sectarian violence.
On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India that day, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the prime minister has raised the flag and given a speech.
Independence day is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5 September 1888 – 17 April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesman who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967.
One of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, his academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921–1932) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics at University of Oxford (1936–1952).
His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta, reinterpreting this tradition for a contemporary understanding. He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism”, contributing to the formation of contemporary Hindu identity. He has been influential in shaping the understanding of Hinduism, in both India and the west, and earned a reputation as a bridge-builder between India and the West.
Radhakrishnan was awarded several high awards during his life, including a knighthood in 1931, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1954, and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
Radhakrishnan believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day on 5 September.
Quit India Movement or the India August Movement was a civil disobedience movement launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee or more simply by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India.
The Cripps Mission had failed, and on 8 August 1942, Gandhi made a call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered in Mumbai at the Gowalia Tank Maidan. The All-India Congress Committee launched a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called “An Orderly British Withdrawal” from India.
Sporadic small-scale violence took place around the country and the British arrested tens of thousands of leaders, keeping them imprisoned until 1945.
In terms of immediate objectives Quit India failed because of heavy-handed suppression, weak co-ordination and the lack of a clear-cut programme of action. However, the British government realised that India was ungovernable in the long run due to the cost of World War II, and the question for postwar became how to exit gracefully and peacefully.
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
He is often called England’s national poet, and the “Bard of Avon“.
His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories, and these are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in these genres.
He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
The Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India.
Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but the government expanded the criteria to include “any field of human endeavour” in December 2011.
The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year. Recipients receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.
The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and scientist C. V. Raman, who were honoured in 1954.
Homi Jehangir Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Colloquially known as “father of the Indian nuclear programme”.
Bhabha was the founding director of two well-known research institutions, namely the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Trombay Atomic Energy Establishment both sites were the cornerstone of Indian development of nuclear weapons which Bhabha also supervised as its director.