An influential leader in the Indian independence movement and political heir of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru became the nation’s first prime minister in 1947. Although faced with the challenge of uniting a vast population diverse in culture, language and religion, he successfully established various economic, social and educational reforms that earned him the respect and admiration of millions of Indians. His policies of non-alignment and Panchscheel—principles of peaceful coexistence—guided India’s international relations until the outbreak of the Sino-Indian War in 1962, which contributed to his declining health and subsequent death in 1964, ending his 17-years in office. His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, later served as prime ministers.
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