Back in Time is ED’s newspaper-like column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to relive it several years later, on the date it had occurred.

July, 1955:

In the initial days of June, this year, Nehru visited the Soviet Union and stayed there for a couple of days. During his stay, Nehru left no stone unturned to establish India as a successful international player in the ongoing cold war.

As a result, India is now closely linked to the Soviet Union. Not only that, but his visit also initiated industrialization of Indian origin. 

Nehru’s visit to the Soviet Union

When he came back from his 16 days long visit to the Soviet Union, he landed in Delhi, and Dr. Prasad went to meet him at the airport. Many people appeared at the airport to see him, to celebrate his arrival and listen to his speech.  

Announcement of Awarding Bharat Ratna

President Rajendra Prasad held a feast in the Rashtrapati Bhawan after his arrival. Amongst all the guests, Prasad referred to Nehru as “a great architect of peace in our time”. He further declared the news of awarding Bharat Ratna, the prestigious award, to Nehru.

In the feast, he said, “Jawahar is literally a Bharat Ratna. Why not formally make him one? He had laid the foundation of peace and you will see the visit will prove of historic significance.” He is proud of Nehru that through his efforts India is now standing strong internationally

Jawaharlal Nehru at the ceremony

And hence, in July 1955, Dr. Prasad bestowed Nehru with the Bharat Ratna in a formal ceremony held in a banquet.  

Also Read: How Nehru’s Visit To Soviet Union Played A Pivotal Role In Shaping India As A Socialist Country

Post Scriptum

It has been 66 years since Nehru was awarded the Bharat Ratna. However, there are still several controversies related to his win. It has been constantly said that Nehru awarded himself and, his other family members, Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi, with the Bharat Ratna. 

The process of rewarding Nehru has been criticized as well. Because legally, the process involves the Prime Minister going to the President with the names of the nominees for Bharat Ratna and then the President approves it.

However, in the case of Nehru, that didn’t really happen as he was on the trip. So, it is said that he nominated himself for the Bharat Ratna. But, technically, Prasad himself wanted to grant Nehru the Bharat Ratna.

Having said that, after the constant rage, Prasad apologized, and said, “He had acted unconstitutionally as he had decided to confer the honour without any recommendation or advice from my Prime Minister or the Cabinet.”

PM Nehru with President Dr. Rajendra Prasad

There have been several attempts to remove this period from history, not literally “removing” though. In 2016, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan ordered the erasing of all the texts that were about Nehru in 8th class books.

In another instance, a post was doing rounds on social media which spread lies about Nehru and called him “the fifth column harming the nation’s progress”. 

With that said, the fact that Nehru and Prasad had rational conflicts should be kept in mind. And how can someone convince a person to reward him, with whom he has differences?

Image Sources: Google

Sources: The Hindu, The Wire, The Quint

Connect with the blogger: Palak Dogra

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