New Delhi: India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru is fondly referred to as ‘Chacha Nehru’ because of his affection towards children, and November 14 just can not be imagined without giving a thought to Nehru's incontrovertible contribution in making of modern India. While history is ruthless in the evaluation of men and their acts it can not be denied that Jawaharlal Nehru's personal faith in the values of democracy, secularism and liberalism paved way for the making of the character that modern India is known for. PSU Watch has tried to collate 10 most interesting yet 'not much known' facts about PM Nehru.
One. The Noble run
Jawaharlal Nehru was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for good 11 times (some say more than that though) but did not receive the global honour. The Nobel Foundation that gives away the award considered Nehru's name for the prize several times in the 1950s for laying the foundations of a modern India. Pandit Nehru's political guru Mahatma Gandhi too was not conferred with the Nobel prize by the Nobel Foundation despite five nominations.
Two. Home Schooling
India's first Prime Minister was homeschooled till he turned 15. His father and famous barrister of India at that time Pt. Motilal Nehru took a special interest in his academics. He ensured that young Nehru received a wholesome education at home under the mentorship of skilled tutors and governesses.
Three. Almost a decade in Jail
Many of you would be aware that Jawaharlal Nehru had been jailed many times during India’s independence struggle but few of you would be aware that he spent almost 10 years of his life in Jail for freedom from the British. Nehru was imprisoned 9 times. Altogether he was jailed by the British for a total of 3,259 days which is almost a decade of his life spent in jail.
Four. Nehru's interview in Playboy Magazine
Did Jawaharlal Nehru give an interview to the adult magazine Playboy? This question remains a riddle since past more than half a century. Although, an interview of India's first PM was published in the Playboy magazine in its October edition of 1963. In fact, Playboy magazine had highlighted that in its cover page too (see image).
India's first Prime Minister was also the first Indian to be published on the Playboy magazine. Whether he himself gave the interview to the magazine or it was a cobbled one from his various statements, still remains a riddle.
The interview written in a question-answer format states at many places that "Nehru has spoken" on a range of issues. In the interview, there are questions regarding Mahatma Gandhi, Guru Rabindranath Tagore and the Chinese aggression to the non-aligned movement. Whether or not, the flamboyant Prime Minister gave this interview to the adult magazine, is still an unsolved riddle.
Five. A fan of 555
Nehru was believed to be very fond of smoking. The famous cigarette brand ‘555’ is said to be his favourite brand. There are various pictures of Pandit Nehru in the public where he is seen smoking.
The corridors of History has it that Lady Mountbatten had a very close friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru
Six. An affair to remember
Did Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten love each other? Well, you may find a clue here. Pamela Hicks nee Mountbatten, Edwina Mountbatten's daughter had written in the book "Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten" that India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the country's last vicereine Edwina Mountbatten deeply loved and respected each other but they did not a physical relationship. That book was originally published in Britain in 2012. Pamela further writes in the book that was published in India in 2017 that her mother and Nehru shared a "profound relationship" that bloomed after Edwina arrived in India along with her husband and India's last viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1947. No one knows if they shared a platonic, romantic or a sexual relationship but they definitely had a strong bond and used to write numerous letters to each other.
Creator of secular India
Seven. Creator of secular India
Although the Indian constitution was compiled by Dr BR Ambedkar, it was Pandit Nehru who introduced Article 44 to the constitution which sought to establish India’s status as a ‘secular state’.
Eight. Survived 4 attempts of assassination
During his lifetime, Pandit Nehru survived four attempts to assassinate him. Historians say that there were four attempts in 1947, during the partition, the in 1955 by a rickshaw puller and other two in 1956 and 1961 to kill PM Nehru.
Nine. Wrote his biography in 1930 during Jail days
Nehru's autobiography ‘Toward Freedom’ was penned by him while he was in prison during the 1930s. He authored several other books.
More than 1.5 million people attended Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru's cremation
Ten. More than 1.5 million people attended his cremation
Pandit Nehru died of a massive heart attack on May 27, 1964. It is said that more than 1.5 million people gathered to witness his cremation because he was truly loved by everyone. It was one of the largest gatherings of people, the first being Gandhi's cremation.