Nehru Rejected Offer to Make Nepal Province of India, Indira May Have Taken It: Pranab in Autobiography

Sujit Nath
·2-min read

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejected Nepal’s king Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah's offer that the Himalayan nation be made a province of India, late President Pranab Mukherjee says in his much-talked-about autobiography, 'The Presidential Years'.

In chapter 11, under the heading 'My Prime Ministers: Different Styles, Different Temperaments', Mukherjee, however, writes that "had Indira Gandhi been in Nehru’s place, she would have perhaps seized upon the opportunity, like she did with Sikkim".

While expressing his views on former prime ministers and presidents of India, he mentioned, “Every PM has his or her own style of functioning. Lal Bahadur Shastri took positions that were very different from that of Nehru. There can be divergent perceptions among PMs, even if they happen to come from the same party, on issues such as foreign policy, security and internal administration.”

Nehru dealt with Nepal very diplomatically, Mukherjee writes. "After the Rana rule was replaced by the monarchy in Nepal, he wished for democracy to take root. Interestingly, Nepal’s king, Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah, had suggested to Nehru that Nepal be made a province of India. But Nehru rejected the offer on the grounds that Nepal was an independent nation and must remain so,” he says.

“Had Indira Gandhi been in Nehru’s place, she would have perhaps seized upon the opportunity, like she did with Sikkim,” Mukherjee says.

Mukherjee's book, ‘The Presidential Years’, recently triggered a public spat between his son and daughter.

Abhijit Mukherjee, Pranab's son, took to Twitter and raised concerns over the memoir, saying that he wants to go through the book before it goes for final printing.

Soon after Abhijit’s series of tweets, Pranab’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee responded on social media and mentioned that there was no need to create "unnecessary hurdles" in the publication of the book.

“I, daughter of the author of the memoir 'The Presidential Years', request my brother Abhijit Mukherjee not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick,” Sharmistha tweeted.