The powerful leader who shaped India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, republic had many dimensions to his personality; one among them was his fondness of children. In the 50s, to the entire country, he was a freedom fighter who became the Prime Minister, but the ease and affection with which met the young citizens of India, made him their Chacha. It has been five decades since he bid us goodbye; his legacy stays, and his birthday is still celebrated as Children’s Day across India.
Here are 10 fun facts about their beloved Chacha Nehru, the children of India may enjoy reading.
- Jawaharlal Nehru was home schooled till he turned 15, and received most of his primary education at Home. His father, Motilal Nehru took special interest in his academics, but there were several other tutors and governesses, who made sure the teen was at par if not advanced than other boys his age. During this time, Ferdinand Brooks kept him indulged and interested in science and technology.
- It is said that during a train journey, he had overheard of General Dyer’s satisfaction about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. This abhorrent gloating on part of the British official made him pledge to fight for India’s freedom.
- During this struggle for freedom, Pandit Nehru was imprisoned 9 times. He was in jail for exactly 3259 days, adding up to 9 years of his life spent in the British prison.
- During his imprisonment, between the years 1934 to 1935, our first Prime Minister penned his autobiography, “Toward Freedom”. His work was published from in the USA the following year.
- Though the Indian constitution was compiled by Dr. BR Ambedkar, it was Jawaharlal Nehru who introduced Article 44 to the constitution. This article on the civil code is the foundation on which India got its ‘secular state’ status. The motive behind including this article was to do away with unwanted religious taboos that may hamper the country’s growth in the years to follow.
- Do you know that there had been 4 attempts to assassinate Pt. Nehru? The first plot to kill him was hatched during the partition of India. After independence, he was targeted once in 1955, then in 1956, and finally in 1961.
- Between the years 1950 to 1955, he won 11 nominations to the Nobel Peace Prize. Most of these nominations were for his endeavors towards maintaining and upholding peace in the Indian subcontinent.
- Nehru, despite his English education, relinquished western wear during the freedom movement. It was during this time that he resorted to Indian wear like sherwanis, long kurta, and churidars. And, let’s not forget the cap and the jacket that grew famous as the Nehru Topi and Nehru jacket in later years.
- These clothes, that eventually became a fashion statement followed by eminent personalities, were stitched by his tailor Mohammed Umer. Among many houses that were torched and reduced during the riots, one was Umer’s, but Nehru helped him rebuild it.
- After his demise, his cremation ceremony was attended by over 1.5 million people from all over the country. This gathering was second only to the attendance at Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation.
No human is free of vices; Pt. Nehru’s had his own flaws also. Know, that those do not outweigh his contribution towards this country and his endeavors to give us a better and free life.
Happy Children’s Day.