Jawarharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964)

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Born: 14 November 1889
Place of Birth: Allahabad
Parents: Motilal Nehru (father) and Swaruprani Thussu (mother)
Spouse: Kamala Nehru
Children: Indira Gandhi
Education: Harrow School, London; Trinity College, Cambridge; Inns of Court School of Law, London
Associations: Indian National Congress
Political Ideology: Nationalism; Socialism; Democracy
Religious Beliefs: Hinduism
Publications: The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History, Toward Freedom, Letters from a Father to His Daughter
Passed Away: 27 May 1964
Memorial: Shantivan, New Delhi

Jawarharlal Nehru Biography & Family History

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Birth


Prayagraj, Prayagraj County, Uttar Pradesh India

Death


New Delhi, Delhi India
Cause of death: Heart Attack

Cause of death

Heart Attack

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Timeline

1889 - In the year that Jawarharlal Nehru was born, on February 22nd, President Cleveland signed a bill allowing North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington to become states. North and South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states on November 2nd, Montana became the 41st state on November 8th, and Washington became the 42nd state on November 11th.

1912 - Jawarharlal was 23 years old when the RMS Titanic sank in April. The RMS Titanic was a British built and run passenger liner that was billed as "unsinkable." On its maiden voyage from Southampton England to New York City, carrying about 2,224 passengers and crew - from the wealthiest people in the world to poor emigrants from Europe, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Five of her watertight compartments failed but she was designed to survive only 4 being flooded. She began to sink. There were only enough lifeboats for about half of the passengers so over 1,000 remained behind while "women and children first" were loaded. Over 1500 died, making it the largest maritime disaster in modern history.

1924 - At the age of 35 years old, Jawarharlal was alive when in May, wealthy college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped and killed 14 year old Robert Franks "in the interest of science". Leopold and Loeb thought that they were intellectually superior and that they could commit the perfect crime and not be caught. They were brought in for questioning within 8 days and quickly confessed. Clarence Darrow was hired as their defense lawyer, getting them life imprisonment instead of a death sentence. Loeb was eventually killed in prison - Leopold was released after 33 years, dying of a heart attack at age 66.

1942 - By the time he was 53 years old, on June 17th, Roosevelt approved the Manhattan Project, which lead to the development of the first atomic bomb. With the support of Canada and the United Kingdom, the Project came to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly $2 billion. Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a nuclear physicist born in New York, led the Los Alamos Laboratory that developed the actual bomb. The first artificial nuclear explosion took place near Alamogordo New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

1964 - In the year of Jawarharlal Nehru's passing, in June, three young civil rights workers - Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi - were kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi. Working with "Freedom Summer", they were registering African-Americans to vote in the Southern states. Their bodies were found two months later. Although it was discovered that the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff's Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved, only 7 men were convicted and served less than six years.

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Obituary

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India Mourning Nehru, 74, Dead of a Heart Attack; World Leaders Honor Him

New Delhi, May 27 -- Jawaharlal Nehru, maker of modern India and her Prime Minister for the 17 years since independence, died today at the age of 74.
Death was caused by coronary thrombosis, the formation of a clot in a coronary artery of the heart.
Twelve days of mourning have been ordered throughout the country. Late today thousands of Indians of all levels, including peasants on foot from distant areas, were arriving for the funeral tomorrow.
[Messages paying tribute to the Indian Prime Minister and his efforts to achieve peace were issued by U Thant, President Johnson, Premier Khrushchev, President de Gaulle and other world leaders.]
Mr. Nehru woke at 6 A.M. (8:30 P.M. Eastern daylight time, Tuesday) and complained of pain in his shoulders. Before his physicians were called in, he had a heart attack and fell unconscious. He died in a coma eight hours later.
Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda was later sworn in as caretaker Prime Minister to await the Congress party's election of a leader. Mr. Nanda, 64, who is given little chance of election, owes his caretaker position to the seniority of his post in the Cabinet. The parliamentary members of the Congress party will meet Friday to elect a successor to Mr. Nehru, a high party source said tonight. Mr. Nehru suffered a paralytic stroke in January when he went to a Congress party meeting. This caused a weakening of his left limbs. There were reports that the Prime Minister had suffered another stroke today, but physicians refused to confirm this. He returned last night from a six-day holiday in Dehra Dun, a Himalayan health resort.
Although Mr. Nehru resumed his full responsibilities as Prime Minister in recent weeks, he was not the same. In Parliament he rose with an effort to answer questions. When he walked he dragged his left foot.
Most of his routine duties were delegated to Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was taken into the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio after Mr. Nehru's stroke.
As soon as Parliament assembled this morning to begin a 10-day special session to vote a land bill, the members were told that Mr. Nehru had been "suddenly taken seriously ill" and that his condition was "causing anxiety." Home Minister Nanda and Finance Minister T. T. Krishnamachari conveyed the news to both houses of Parliament.
At noon, the Prime Minister was reported to have been placed in an oxygen tent.
An hour later Mr. Nehru's condition was described as "grave and desperate."
At 2 P.M., Steel Minister Coimbatore Subramaniam walked into Parliament to announce Mr. Nehru's death. He said:
"The light is out."
Several members wept. They recalled the death of the revered Indian leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, in 1948. Then Mr. Nehru, when announcing Gandhi's death, used the expression Mr. Subramaniam used.
Parliament adjourned immediately and members and ministers went to the Prime Minster's residence. They filed past Mr. Nehru's body, which was in a first-floor study. Mr. Nehru's daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, sat on the floor by his side, her head covered. Mrs. Gandhi, the widow of Feroze Gandhi, who was not related to Mohandas Gandhi, is the only child of Mr. Nehru. His wife, Kamala, whom he married in 1916, died in 1936.
Mr. Nehru also had two sisters, Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the elder, and Mrs. Khrishna Hutheesing. Mrs. Pandit, the widow of Ranjit Pandit, has served in major diplomatic posts for India and was President of the United Nations General Assembly. Mrs. Hutheesing is the wife of G. P. Hutheesing, a politician, journalist and industrialist.
As news of Mr. Nehru's death spread, several thousand people gathered at the gates of his residence. Men, women and children stood in mile-long queues in the hot sun, through the late evening and then a drizzle to see their dead leader, whom they affectionately called "Chacha [Uncle] Nehru."
After six hours, Mr. Nehru's body was taken to the front porch to lie in state. Draped in national tricolor flags, the body lay on an elevated platform. A red mark, made with a dab of sandalwood paste, on Mr. Nehru's forehead contrasted with the pallor of his face.
People wept as they filed past. Hundreds chanted holy verses. Thousands kept a vigil outside throughout the night.
The body will lie in state until tomorrow afternoon. The funeral procession is scheduled to begin at 1 P.M. (3:30 A. M. Eastern daylight time). After four hours of winding through the main streets, the body will be cremated in Rajghat on the banks of the Jamuna River.
Traditional Hindu rites will take place 300 yards north of the spot where Gandhi was cremated. Rajghat has been a place for pilgrimages by Indians and foreigners who come to pay homage to Gandhi.
Offices and businesses will be closed tomorrow. A 12-day state of mourning has been ordered.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk will fly into New Delhi tomorrow. The British Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten will arrive from London. Lord Mountbatten will represent Queen Elizabeth II.
The Ceylonese Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, will also attend.
Mr. Nehru's sisters flew from Bombay, and state Chief Ministers and prominent Congress Party leaders have also arrived.
Defense Minister Y. B. Chavan, who is in the United States, has cut short his visit and is returning tomorrow.
Ambassador I. A. Bendiktov of the Soviet Union wept as he filed past Mr. Nehru's body.
A wreath was placed at Mr. Nehru's foot on behalf of the Chinese Communist Embassy.
Prime Minister Nehru, the uncontested leader of the Congress party, refused to name a successor.
At a news conference last Friday he was asked whether in the interest of democracy, he should not name a successor during his lifetime. He answered:
"My lifetime is not ending so very soon."
The death will have a immediate effect on the Congress party. It is full of schisms, with forces of the right, left and center pulling in different directions.
The leftists, led by V. K. Krishna Menon, are expected to back Mr. Nehru's daughter, Mrs. Gandhi, who has a sympathetic ear to the deposed Defense Minister and who was her father's confidante.
The rightists are already trying to bring back the former Finance Minister, Morarji R. Desai, who with another strong rightist, S. K. Patil, was squeezed out in a Cabinet shuffle last October.
A logical choice, according to observers, would be Mr. Shastri, who is a centrist, has virtually a five-year mandate until 1967 and, under India's parliamentary system, its leader could presumably serve as Prime Minister at least until elections that year.
It is thought that Mr. Nehru's absence will be felt gravely in India's disputes with Pakistan and Communist China.
Mr. Nehru was not considered to be a dogmatist and was open to persuasion. In the Kashmir issue, which has produced bitterness between India and Pakistan, the Prime Minister had recently shown greater flexibility in seeking a solution.
Sheik Mohammed Abdullah, the Kashmiri leader who was recently released after 10 years in prison, was able to impress upon the Prime Minister the need for an early solution with Pakistan.
With Mr. Nehru's blessing, he embarked on a mission of persuasion to Pakistan. He was reported to have obtained the consent of President Mohammad Ayub Khan for a meeting with the Indian leader.
Prime Minister Nehru recently eased his position on opening talks with Communist China for a settlement of the border dispute. About 15,000 square miles of Indian territory went under Chinese control after the invasion of India late in 1962. Mr. Nehru said he was willing to begin talks if Communist China pulled back the troops in the disputed area and initiated the approach for talks.
Observers unanimously agree that dealings with the two neighboring countries will be more difficult now. When Mr. Nehru was alive, he had authority to decide on his own and prevail upon his party to accept his decisions.
Observers doubt that any individual can lead the country in the same way. They feel rather that decisions will be made by a collective leadership in a more complicated manner. And most Indian leaders are less liberal than Mr. Nehru was.
Mr. Nanda, in a broadcast to the country tonight, emphasized that he had just "stepped in to fill a breach."
He added that the void created by Prime Minister's death was great, and asked:
"Is there a man in the whole country who can take the place of Nehru?"

Memories

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I went over to his limousine near The New School for Social Research. I motioned for him to roll down his window. "I must have your autograph I said. He responded, "I don't give autographs." In order to be really funny and to make him laugh, I said in Hindi (The only phrase I knew) "Thumara nom kya hai?" Which was, "WHAT IS YOUR NAME?" He laughed heartily and gave me his autograph!
Mar 19 · Reply
Why was he totally alone without the Secret Service or a bodyguard?
Mar 19 · Reply
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