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Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, PM of India - "a historical and influential figure" -Common app

pranavkjain 2 / 3  
Jan 18, 2011   #1
Here is the essay I wrote for my Common application.How is it?

Describe a historical figure that has had an influence on you and explain that influence.
End to bloodbaths in Rwanda and Eritrea, stability in Afghanistan, peace in Kashmir, unprecedented growth of central Africa, democracy in Myanmar, nuclear disarmament, and protection of the polar bear and Antarctica - during my tenure as the UN Secretary General I have seen it all. With global cooperation and the incentive to make a difference, I have changed the world for better, bringing power to the weak and giving a voice to those without one. Today my tenure ends, and as I spend my last moments in my office at 760, UN Plaza in New York City before delivering my farewell address to the General Assembly , I look outside my window at the delegates arriving from the world over for my last session and think of the millions whose hopes they represent and also of the man who inspired me to help them.

A host of portraits adorn the walls of my office. However, as I think of the man who has inspired me the most my, eyes stop at the portrait of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru - the first and the longest serving Prime Minister of India. The gentle smile on his face reminds me of his humility, and the glow in his eyes speaks volumes about his determination and vision. My address still an hour away, I begin to dig deep into the past - specifically the formative years of my life.

I grew up in India during the time when its economy was rapidly progressing, and since childhood, my ambitions were high. I would think of doing path breaking research in economics and creating pieces of literature that would alter the thinking of an entire generation. As a restless youngster yearning to understand the past of his country, I used to read India's economic and political history in detail and was thus introduced to Nehru - the man who shaped the very history I read. I read about his ideals, visions, policies, and deeds. Reading about Nehru affected me on two levels. First, it provided me with valuable knowledge about a great statesmen and the way he led the nation I called home. At a more profound level, it broadened my ambitions. His advocacy for peace and intense desire to serve others was truly inspirational. As I read more about him, I extended my ambitions to incorporate my knowledge to impact the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way. Nehru had a vision, and he worked his entire life to transform it into reality. This fact made me realize that if I wanted to make a difference, dreaming extravagantly would never help. I had to act. Walking the path Nehru showed me would serve me well. Since then, if I were ever going to write something, it would have to inspire others. If I were to conduct research in economics, it would have to be for the benefit of the poor.

I first encountered Nehru at the age of ten when I read his celebrated speech, "Tryst with Destiny," delivered on the eve of India's independence. In his skillfully-engineered speech, Nehru spoke at length about his vision for a modern India and the importance of freedom. I could feel the hope with which he looked at the future. I had an adrenaline rush as I found him asking his countrymen to be a part of the great 'adventure' of building a new India. In his words I could see a reflection of his exuberance towards the new found freedom and his ambition - an ambition which extended to the greater cause of humanity.

Illiteracy and poverty were rampant and seemed insurmountable during Nehru's time. He, nonetheless, confronted these challenges steady in his belief that the poor should be able to lift themselves. The government's role was to make them self-reliant by providing them with the necessary resources. This philosophy was successful in elevating many to prosperity. It is this belief that guided me to pursue various community service activities both in India and abroad.

Recognizing the value of education and observing the challenges faced by India's large blind population, I volunteered to take tests on behalf of blind students disenfranchised by society. In addition, I collaborated with local health care workers to provide eye care to nearby villagers. Because of our efforts, these villagers can now read, write, and sew - activities that have empowered them to earn a living that provides them with self-respect.

Nehru's inspiration, however, inspired me to empower those less fortunate across geographical boundaries. In fact, in 2010 I traveled with a group of volunteers to Peru where we constructed a green house in the Andes, sometimes working in temperatures as low as - 9 degrees centigrade. Our work provided the villagers with sustainable means of nutrition and reduced their dependence on others who have exerted deliberate indifference for years.

"The north thrives as the South decays." This thought often crossed my mind while I was in Peru. As I explored Latin America firsthand, I could see clearly how the global north continues to thrive while the global south shivers in the winds of poverty, how Mc Donald's was expanding while children in the Andes were malnourished. Working in Peru and in rural India made me realize that there was something more important than becoming a leading intellectual or researcher: identifying unmet needs and working to fulfill them. Both experiences provided me with the answer to a question Nehru had asked the youth of his country: "Will the monument you leave behind be a palace on Malabar Hill, or will it be built up in the hearts of the people you have served?"

One of Nehru's key strengths as a leader was his ability to communicate. An orator as well as a writer, he proselytized the masses and lifted them from despair to hope. He mobilized them and made them believe in democratic ideals as the way to peace and prosperity. Nehru's mastery of words amazed and energized his listeners and taught me how words - if used skillfully - can transform, uplift, and inspire.

Nehru's command of words inspired me to develop a similar ability. I participated in multiple debate tournaments around the country and received multiple accolades. What began with my reading of "Tryst with Destiny" had turned into a passion, from talking about my country's politics to assessing the possibility of geeks ruling the world in the future. Public speaking gave me confidence and courage, sharpened my critical thinking skills, and prepared me for what lay ahead by training me to develop principled and well-reasoned arguments.

Nehru taught me how dedication and relentless pursuit of one's goals can change the seemingly hopeless lives of millions. Throughout my life, I have brought passion and dedication into everything I have done. Reflecting on my tenure as Secretary General, I am proud of my accomplishments and feel I have followed the path Nehru showed me. I hope my successor builds on my success and continues to uplift the lives of others.
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Jan 21, 2011   #2
One method we talk about here at EF sometimes is neurolinguistic programming (NLP), which is based on Ericksonian hypnosis. I want to recommend it for you, because it is a very useful subject... very useful for someone with your interest in having command of words.

I think that last paragraph needs to have another sentence at the end. It is a short paragraph, and the essay will pack a harder punch if you express them main theme at the start and also at the end. You expressed yourself well at the end, but at the beginning despite beautifully constructed sentences you do not establish a theme for the reader to enjoy.

If you don't add a sentence to the end of that first para to express a theme, the reader has to follow you from topic to topic without knowing what it is all about or what to use as a reference point. At the end of that first para, after saying it is "the man who inspired me to help," give a sentence that sums up the message of this essay... can it be expressed in a sentence?

Anyway, I see no errors, and I think it is very impressive.

OP pranavkjain 2 / 3  
Jan 22, 2011   #3
Hi Susan

Thank you so much for your reply.

However, Nothing can be done now.The essay has already been sent.I just posted it to know what others think of it.I did get it edited from my family friend who is a Harvard graduate.
KofiD 1 / 5  
Jan 23, 2011   #4

Your essay is very , very impressive. I pray get admitted to a school of your choice. It was a very inspiring to read how much in tune you are with the political pulse of your lovable country India. Thanks also for commenting on my essay. You can look at the revisions to see what you think. Thank you so much.


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