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Everything made him thoughtful, all Indians inspired him, so he inspired all Indians

By Alexander K Luke*

Let us now praise a great man...
He was one of us, one amongst us, but he stood apart. Harrow and Cambridge taught him to love English but not England. There was another land, to which he was a stranger, which claimed him, he returned to it. For the next thirty years, ten in jail, he changed his attire and walked with Gandhi in his epic search for freedom and morality.
Nehru, our Prime Minister in those first dangerous years, respected by the good and great of the world, a thinker and a man excited by possibilities not yet real; he attracted many, big and small. Andre Malraux of France held intense conversations with him, to children he was Chacha Nehru, and he loved roses. Gandhi pointed to him as our leader, the issue was settled for Indians.
Everything made him thoughtful, all Indians inspired him, so he inspired all Indians. Lata's great song brought tears to his eyes, but she could sing it because of him. He made what was beautiful more beautiful. The films and songs of the fifties, dances and stories were in a real sense his.
Recall the last scene of "Mother India". Nargis, an old woman now, life's battles fought, one son lost but her face serene, alight with hope for future... The new canal water flows, Nehru's promise. Mehboob made the film, it was a syncretic time...
But Nehru was also a writer, not perhaps a great one but very near it. “The Discovery of India” is a fine book, well written with a craftsman's skill and discipline. He describes his wife's death. She is in a Swiss sanatorium. The year is 1936, Hitler raging, Churchill defiant, Stalin waiting. Great armies are on the move.
One sick woman in the midst, her husband a revolutionary fighting for India's freedom. To stay or to return? She dies, Nehru by her side, very moving. He must have cried, alone...
---
*1975 batch Gujarat cadre IAS official, who turned around several sick state PSUs; resigned from service in 2006

Comments

shailesh gandhi said…
A sensitively penned tribute to a man who greatly contributed to the idea of India
Deepak Pradhan said…
Very well expressed qualities of great human , also loved leader of millions . He was true visionary . Might have done some mistakes , felt now , but today after 75 years of independence ,we have vibrant democracy existing existing.
6th Sense said…
Excellent write up only a person like Alexander Luke can narrate such lucidly

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