King without Crown: Jawaharlal Nehru
Today is the 115th birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of Indian PM, and the national hero of India’s freedom fight against British Raj. But unlike armed struggle Mahtama-Jawaharlal led fight against the British was based on non-violence-satyagraha-passive resistance. Nehru was born in a famous Kashmiri Brahman family. His family title once was Kaul. His grandfather migrated from Kashmir to Delhi during the reign of Mughal emperor Farukh Shear in 1716. His grandfather, Raj Kaul used to live by the side of canal in Kashmir. In Hindi canal is termed as ‘Nahar’. After migrating to Delhi Raj Kaul adopted a surname ‘Nehru’, meaning the habitant of Nahar (canal). Thus the family later came to be known as Nehru family. Kauls were famous for their learning and knowledge. Jalarlal was born in 14th November 1889. His father was famous lawyer and congress leader Matilal Nehru. Matilal settled in Allahabad- his place of residence ‘Anandabhavan’ played a significant role in the later history of independence of India.
India observed the day as Children Day (Chacha Nehru). After the death of Jaharlal, he was cremated on the bank of Jamuna River flowing by the side of Delhi. The place was later developed as a fine green garden with scenic beauty and serene calmness. It was named as ‘Shantivan’. The place makes you feeling as if you have dissolved your self with the nature. Whenever I go to Delhi I make it a point to spend some time there in the evening. It is so soothing. He was remembered through a simple function held in ‘Shantivan’ in which Indian PM Dr. Monmohan Singh, Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Ms Shila Diskshit paid tributes to Jaharlal Nehru.
From my very boyhood Jaharlal was my idol, and later on I became a great admirer of Nehru’s political philosophy and his writings. I first saw Nehru from close quarter when I was a young man of 21 years attending the Indian Science Congress in Calcutta in 1957 as a student delegate from Dhaka University. By accident my seat was adjacent to the passage through which Nehru, the chief guest of the inaugural session would pass to get to the dais. As he passed through the narrow passage passed my seat I had the finest position to look at him. He was not a very tall man- his complexion seemed to me tanned brown at that time. He spoke for an hour dealing with economic and scientific problems the Independent India was facing at that time. His eloquence and voice overwhelmed my young mind- I was greatly thrilled. Nehru ended his speech with ‘Joy Hind’ followed by applause. The session was, as I remember, presided over by Professor Satyen Bose. Bose was then Vice Chancellor of Viswa Bharati.
15th November 2004
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