Jawaharlal Nehru Bust

Jawaharlal Nehru bust, Singapore, public art

Public Art: Jawaharlal Nehru Bust

Sculptor: © Biman Bihari Das

Description: A bronze bust of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, measuring 330x460x510 mm.

Date Unveiled: The Prime Minister of india , Manmohan Singh and the Emeritus Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong, unveiled the bust and marker of Jawaharlal Nehru, at Asian Civilizations Museum, in Singapore on November 20th, 2011 . Manmohan Singh said at the unveiling ceremony “In honouring Pandit Nehru today, you honour India and all the values that India stands for—secularism, democracy, freedom and rule of law.”

Commissioned by : The Indian Council of Cultural Relations

Location: The Jawaharlal Nehru bust is located outside the Asian Civilisation Museum,along the Singapore River, Singapore.



“We have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart.”

The first Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a leader who was loved and respected by all Indians and admired by the world for his ideals and statesmanship.

Nehru was born on 14 November 1889 in Allahabad, India, to Swarup Rani and Motilal Nehru, a lawyer active in India.s national movement. At fifteen, Nehru went to England to study at Harrow School and later, at Trinity College, Cambridge. He returned home in 1912 to begin a career in law. In 1916, he married Kamala Kaul. Their daughter and only child, Indira Priyadarshini (1917-1984), later served as India's Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984.

Nehru abandoned his legal practice to join the Indian National Congress (founded in 1885) in its campaign for the end of British rule. Outraged by the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 and inspired by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), the Father of the Nation, Nehru immersed himself in the nationalist cause. He campaigned tirelessly to mobilise the people of India against British rule. He was imprisoned by the British on many occasions for his non-violent activities in the cause of India's independence.


After the Second World War, Nehru renewed the call for an India free from British rule. As President of the Indian National Congress, he led an interim government through tumultuous negotiations for full independence. He and Gandhi tried to prevent the partition of India, but failed. On 15 August 1947, India became independent. On the eve of that historic occasion, Nehru declared:

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance.”

As Prime Minister, Nehru drove the transformation of a largely agrarian economy into a modern industrial power. Paving the way for India's long-term strength in science and technology, his government established many institutes of higher learning.

Children were a source of personal joy to „Chacha. or Uncle Nehru, who worked hard to improve the health, welfare and future of his country.s youth. To this day, Nehru's birthday is celebrated as Children's Day in India.

Wishing to avoid entanglement in the Cold War, Nehru was a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement. He believed in Asian solidarity and convened the Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi, in 1947. He was a strong and eloquent champion of the right of peoples to self determination. He supported Asian-African solidarity and played a leadership role at the Bandung Conference.

Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964. His death was mourned by India and the world. His legacy to India is a secular democracy. His legacy is his dream of building a more just and equal world.


Nehru was a good friend of Singapore. A keen traveller, he first visited Singapore on 26 and 27 May 1937 as part of a pan-Malayan tour. During this trip, he spoke to a gathering at Farrer Park and to the Indian Chamber of Commerce, urging the local Indian community to be united and pay more attention to education.

Nehru's second visit to Singapore on 18 March 1946 at the start of an eight day tour of Malaya, came amid preparations for India.s independence. Invited by Lord Louis Mountbatten, then Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia and later the last British Viceroy of India, Nehru succeeded in persuading Mountbatten to repatriate the members of the Indian National Army under British internment back to India. Nehru briefly visited the former Indian National Army memorial at the Esplanade (where a plaque now stands) and in a press interview, stated:

“Singapore has attracted me for long as a great cosmopolitan city where the various peoples of Asia are all represented… Singapore will become the place where Asian unity is forged. In the future, the peoples of Asia must hold together for their own good as well as the good and freedom of the world.”

Nehru's final visit to Singapore was a State visit from 17 to 19 June 1950, during which he laid the foundation stones for the Singapore Indian Association's headquarters at Balestier Road, as well as the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall at Race Course Lane. He also opened a new dormitory at the Ramakrishna Mission at Bartley Road. Nehru then spoke at the Jalan Besar Stadium, calling for peace and conciliation in a region where decolonisation was in progress. It was here, that thousands led by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, gathered on 30 May 1964 for a condolence service to honour the memory of “a staunch friend” who led India to freedom and won the hearts of millions to his vision of harmony and justice in a post-colonial world.

Friends of Our Shores : The Jawaharlal Nehru Bust is part of the Friends to Our Shores series,  a project by the National Heritage Board (NHB) of Singapore, which commemorates eminent personalities from abroad who had a connection to Singapore, by erecting a marker dedicated to the person. The series also includes markers and busts of Joseph Conrad, Dr Jose Rizal, Deng Xiaoping and Ho Chi Minh.

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