(Last Updated on : 25-07-2012)
Education and social reforms by Jawaharlal Nehru
led to the success of the Indian state
. He was an ardent advocate of education for Indian youth believing it essential for future progress. His government actually oversaw the establishment of many institutions of higher learning, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and the National Institutes of Technology.
He also outlined the pledge and promise of five year plan to guarantee free and compulsory education at primary level to all children of India. For this purpose, however, the creation of mass village enrolment program, and the construction of thousands of mass village enrolment program and the construction of thousands of educational institutions were undertaken. Jawaharlal Nehru also launched the initiative like provision of free milk and meals to children in order to fight malnutrition. Adult education centres, vocational and technical schools were also organised for adults, especially in the rural areas.
Under Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Parliament
brought about many changes to Hindu law to criminalize caste bias and augment the legal rights and social freedoms of women. A system of reservations in government services and educational institutions was created to wipe out the social inequalities and difficulty faced by peoples of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Nehru also championed secularism and religious harmony, thus increasing the representation of minorities in government.
Nehru in most cases has been criticized from several quarters for the inconsistent claim of the law. Nehru most notably, allowed Muslims to keep their personal law in matters relating to marriage and inheritance. Also the Old Portuguese Family Laws was allowed to continue in the small state of Goa
, and Muslim Personal law was prohibited by Nehru. This was the result of the annexation of Goa in 1961 by India, when Nehru promised the people that their laws would be left intact. This has led to accusations of selective secularism.
Nehru did pass the Special Marriage Act in 1954, while he exempted Muslim law from legislation and they remained un-reformed. The idea behind this act was to give everyone in India the ability to marry outside the personal law under a civil marriage. As usual the law applied to all of India, except Indian state
of Jammu and Kashmir
(again leading to accusations of selective secularism). In many respects, the act was almost identical to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which gives some idea as to how secularized the law regarding Hindus had become. The Special Marriage Act actually allowed Muslim community to marry under it and in that way retain the protections, generally beneficial to Muslim women that could not be found in the personal law. Under the act polygamy was illegal, and inheritance and succession would be governed by the Indian Succession Act, rather than the respective Muslim Personal Law. Divorce also would be governed by the secular law, and maintenance of a divorced wife would be along the lines set down in the civil law.
Nehru led the faction of the Indian National Congress
party that promoted Hindi as the language of Indian nation. After a divisive and exhaustive debate with the non-Hindi speakers, Hindi was adopted as the official language of India in 1950 with English continuing as an associate official language for a period of fifteen years, after which Hindi would become the sole official language.