BY Harsimran Kaur  ON Jan 08 , 2021  IN BOOK REVIEWS, NEHRU by Shashi Tharoor

Picking “Nehru” was more for intellectual capacity, to understand the real “Chacha Nehru” and his tryst with the freedom struggle. Written by Shashi Tharoor, I knew the book would encapsulate the pivotal fragments of Nehru’s life, considering the assiduous writer he is.

Now, many avid readers of today’s generation would prefer casual reads or something pertaining to the complexities of life, and how to sustain a better life?

So why “Nehru”!

We know him as the first Prime minister of India. His birth anniversary is ebulliently celebrated as children’s day on November 14 th every year. But what made him what he was?

He had nerve of hard steel to call spade a spade. As you flip through the pages, you are
overwhelmed with a personality so outrightly honest and impeccably focused. His pursuit to achieve the unattaianable, the courage to align all faiths together, abhorrence for bigotry and riding the carriage of secularism made him a remarkable figure not only in India but in International domain as well.

The freedom that we all boast about in our day to day conversations is a by-product of the sacrifices of a man, who kept his privileged upbringing at the back burner to facilitate a crusade of anti- imperialism with an undeterred sense of responsibility and an unflinching radicalism.

Born to an effluent family, son of Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal grew up into a polished gentleman with all the English mannerisms seeped into him like a spider attached to its web.

Largely influenced by his father’s political and social viability, and of course by his own vulnerable experience to the imperialistic jibes, he gave himself to the freedom struggle of India. A faithful protégé of Gandhi, Nehru considered him as a father figure. His reluctance to accept some of the ideologies of Gandhi and the subsequent frictions that proliferated are vividly described in the book.

Nehru’s unapologetic enthusiasm in the non-cooperation movement to the historic Purna Swaraj resolution passed by the Indian National Congress led him to a path where there was no looking back. His multiple incarcerations made him reflect on the India he dreamt of, and his writings can be
admired in his autobiography “The Discovery of India.”

The book vividly talks about his candidature as the Prime Minister of India. The road was tough and challenging. He admonished the idea of a two nation theory but alas! Could not get away with India’s fissiparous tendencies. His relentless efforts to make Muslims comfortable and protect them
did not go in vain and somehow they give credit to Nehru for ensconcing them safely in the soil of India.

Take Away

We all cannot be Nehru. But as citizens of this country, we should realize and reflect on the indelible sacrifices made by Nehru and his companions in the freedom struggle. This reflection will make us more sensitive towards the issues cascading down our throat. The current scenario in our country is full of ambiguity. From the abrogation of Article 370 to CAA hovering over our heads, peace and equanimity is lost. Secularism is a treasure not glorified by every country. We should be proud of this heritage and keep the torch alighted by showing compassion towards all faiths this country carries in its womb

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