Gulzarilal Nanda

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Sialkot, Punjab
Birth Sign
Sialkot, Punjab

Gulzarilal Nanda was a well-known Indian politician who served as the country’s interim Prime Minister twice. His terms were uneventful, but the time was critical. When Jawaharlal Nehru died in 1962, India was still striving to recover from the Sino-Indian war. Nanda came forward at a critical time to lead a nation that was without a leader. Nanda stood resigned as interim Prime Minister after Lal Bahadur Shastri was appointed, only to return in 1966 when Lal Bahadur Shastri died. The timing of Nanda’s intervention was critical once again, as India was recovering from a war with Pakistan in 1965. Nanda only had to serve both terms for a total of thirteen days. Nanda’s career, however, encompasses more than only his stint as interim Prime Minister. Nanda served the country in numerous official positions prior to his nomination as Prime Minister. Nanda, an economist by training, specialized in labor issues and served as Minister of Labour. Nanda has represented India in a number of international and national conventions. From 1963 to 1966, he was also the Minister of Home Affairs. Nanda was given the prestigious Bharat Ratna for his outstanding contributions during the Indian liberation struggle and afterwards in post-independence India.

Childhood and Adolescence

Gulzarilal Nanda was born in Sialkot, Punjab, to a Punjabi Hindu family on July 4, 1898. Sialkot was formerly a part of British India’s Punjab province. It became a part of Pakistan after India was partitioned in 1947. Nanda was educated in Lahore, Amritsar, Agra, and Allahabad as a child.

Career of Gulzarilal Nanda

Nanda began his career as a research scholar at Allahabad University, focusing on labor issues. From 1920 to 1921, he worked there. Nanda kept himself informed on the freedom fight movement in addition to his academic work. He was a devout Gandhi supporter. Nanda became a Professor of Economics at the National College in Bombay in 1921. Nanda, unable to stop from actively participating in the freedom struggle, joined the Anti-British Non-Cooperation Movement.

Nanda was the secretary of the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association from 1922 to 1946. Nanda was imprisoned twice in the interim, once for his active engagement in Satyagraha in 1932 and again for two years in 1942. In 1944, he was released after serving two years in prison. Meanwhile, Nanda was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly in 1937, and from 1937 to 1939, he served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Labor and Excise to the Government of Bombay. Nanda aggressively worked for the improvement and progress of the city and its governance in this profile.

From 1946 to 1950, Nanda served as the Bombay Government’s Labour Minister. During his time as Labour Minister, Nanda accomplished a number of significant goals. He was the Chairman of the Bombay Housing Board and directed the Labour Disputes Bill in the state assembly. He was also a Trustee of the Kasturba Memorial Trust, the secretary of the Hindustan MazdoorSevakSangh (Indian Labor Welfare Organization), and a Trustee of the Kasturba Memorial Trust.

Nanda joined the National Planning Committee as a member. He was a driving force behind the formation of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, eventually becoming its president. As India’s Labour Minister, Nanda served as a government representative to the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 1947. Meanwhile, he was a member of the Freedom of Association Committee, which held conferences in Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. He researched immigrant labor and housing situations throughout his stay at the Committee conference.

Nanda was appointed to the Indian Planning Commission in 1950. He was named Vice Chairman of the board. The next year, he was named Minister of Planning. In addition, he was given responsibility for the Irrigation and Power portfolios. Nanda was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bombay in the general elections of 1952. He was re-instated as Minister of Planning, Irrigation, and Power the next year. In Singapore in 1955, Nanda led the Indian Delegation to the Plan Consultative Committee.

Nanda was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1957. He was named Minister of State for Labour, Employment, and Planning. He was eventually promoted to Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. He returned to Geneva in 1959 to represent India at the International Labor Conference. He also traveled to the Federal Republic of Germany, the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Austria. Nanda was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962, but this time from the Gujarat constituency of Sabarkantha. He founded the Congress Forum for Socialist Action the following year.
Nanda was the Union Minister for Labour and Employment from 1962 to 1963.

He later served as Minister of Home Affairs from 1963 until 1966. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s then-Prime Minister, died when Nanda was serving as Minister of Home Affairs. Nanda was appointed Interim Prime Minister and served for thirteen days before the election of Lal Bahadur Shastri as India’s next Prime Minister. When Lal Bahadur Shastri died in 1966, Gulzarilal Nanda was appointed Interim Prime Minister of India. He held the office for another thirteen days before Indira Gandhi took power.

Major Projects of Gulzarilal Nanda

Nanda was a well-known Indian politician who specialized on labor problems. During his lifetime, he worked for the Indian government as a Labour Minister and then as a Minister of Home Affairs. He even took on the profile of Irrigation and Power as a multi-talented personality. Though Nanda worked tirelessly throughout his career, the pinnacle of his achievements occurred in 1962 and 1966, when he twice served as interim Prime Minister for thirteen days each.

Achievements & Awards

He was one of 42 members of the Allahabad University Alumni Association, NCR, Ghaziabad, who received the title of “Proud Past Alumni.” In 1997, the Government of India bestowed upon him the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, to honor his dedication and service to the country.

Personal History and Legacy

Nanda and Lakshmi tied the knot. Three children were born to the couple: two sons and a daughter. Nanda lived a life of poverty despite being a well-known politician and leader of the Indian liberation movement. On January 15, 1998, Nanda passed away in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Gulzarilal Nanda is about $3 Million.