India’s first and longest serving Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s reputation has never been more questionable. A quick Google search on Jawaharlal Nehru will hit you back with hundreds of search results—with some people hurling online abuses at him while some defending the country’s one of the most prominent personalities.
From being blamed for the political dynasty of Indian National Congress to the mistakes committed by Indira, Rajeev and even Rahul Gandhi—the spectrum is far-reaching and never-ending.
The increasing fervour of patriotism in India has resulted in people questioning every single decision that Nehru made for India before and after Independence.
While many of his policy decisions like the ideology of socialism, accession of Kashmir, Indo-China war are debatable and have every right to be questioned in a democracy—there are some bizarre theories about his life doing the rounds on the web — some laughable and some downright filthy.
Playing the life in the public must not be easy. A person gives up his privacy and becomes fodder for everyday gossip and everyone’s opinions. Perhaps, Nehru did not think of it in this way in his lifetime—but with increasing virtual presence and social media giving everyone a right to disagree, rumours about his life have increased in multitudes.
However, love him or hate him, the legacy of one of the men responsible for laying the foundations of India’s democracy that gave us this freedom to speak our minds lives on. The most questioned prime ministers of this country belong to the people. There is an open season on him.
As the country celebrates his 129th birth anniversary, here are four books you should read to know Jawaharlal Nehru.
· Nehru: The Invention of India by Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor has written the biography of India’s first Prime Minister in a refreshing way. The book comments on Nehru’s life with objectivity. Tharoor admires Nehru as the ‘Thomas Jefferson of India’. The book discusses his relationship with his spiritual mentor Mahatma Gandhi, touches on his privileged background and his ideals. It also focuses on all of India’s major moments with Nehru in the centre.
· Nehru: A Political Biography by Michael Brecher
Along with writing the biography of India’s first Prime Minister, Brecher has also touched upon the political history of India with Nehru involved in it. The book shows the development of Nehru—politically as well as psychologically.
Nehru: The Making of India by MJ Akbar
MJ Akbar wrote a biography on India’s first Prime Minister while explaining the political and historical forces that led to the Partition. The book explains Nehru’s privilege— being born into one of India’s most aristocratic caste. It is a study on the various forces that were prevalent in India. Nehru’s social and cultural background provides a fascinating picture. The book also focuses on Nehru’s take on the issues that plagued the newly independent India.
· Jawaharlal Nehru: A biography by Frank Moraes
This biography by Frank Moraes tries to present Nehru through India’s eyes against the backdrop of Indian politics. Primarily a political biography, the book shows glimpses of Nehru’s personal life—highlighting his personality as well as his politics. The book follows the complex personality of Nehru—as a person who mesmerized everyone.