Random Thoughts-4: "Jawaharlal Nehru"
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Random Thoughts-4: "Jawaharlal Nehru"

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November 14 is a special day for the children of India. It is the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who loved children and found happiness in the midst of children. It is observed in India as Children's day. The Bible says that man was created in the image of God. So he is closer to God than other living things. Children are even more close to God because of their innocence, easy laughter and other lovable qualities. All great souls love children and become children in their midst. They are more happy in their company.

My dad was a great admirer of Nehruji and my introduction to Nehruji, like so many other great and wonderful things in life, was through my dad. He would tell me about the greatness of Nehruji and narrate many an interesting anecdote from his life. He also admired Nehruji's speeches and writings, which led me later to get "The Discovery of India", "Glimpses from World History" and a compilation of his speeches, published by the Publications Division of the Govt of India.

In my pre-university class English textbook, there was an inspiring article, "Coming of Gandhiji" by Nehruji. Then I came across Nehruji's speech mourning the death of Gandhiji. How much he loved 'Bapu' and how much saddened was he by the assassination of Gandhiji!

During 1964, on a holiday, I was in a cinema theatre watching the matinee show. Suddenly the screening was interrupted and a handwritten slide informing the 'sad and sudden demise of our beloved Prime Minister Nehruji' was put on. We were all stunned. That evening there was a silent procession as a mark of respect to the departed soul in which I took part. I was a eleventh standard student then. I made a scrap book and started pasting Nehruji's pictures and news items related to him in it.

Much has been said about time; great healer, subtle thief and so on. It erases many of our fond thoughts from our memory. I am unable to remember what happened to that scrap book. So also to the books. I remember to have given 'Nehru's Speeches' to friends who were practising shorthand and about the other two, I don't remember anything. Probably some relative or friend borrowed them from me and then conveniently forgotten to return.

Another beautiful book to disappear was, "As America remembers Jawaharlal Nehru", a beautiful pictorial publication from the USIS, New Delhi. However, I still remember a touching quote by Nehruji on himself:

"If anybody chose to think of me, then I should like them to say, this was a man who loved India and its people and they, in turn, gave him of their love most abundantly and extravagantly."

Then there was Nehruji's favourite lines from a poem of Robert Frost, in his own handwriting, which was found near his death-bed:

"The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep"
(Only Nehruji has written the author's name as "Richard Frost").

Nehruji did not believe in organized religion but was a great admirer of Lord Buddha. I remember to have seen a photograph of him meditating in a Buddhist monastery. He was proud of cultural and literary heritage of India. He was a great statesmen, a towering intellect, an inspiring speaker, a beautiful writer, a dreamer, an idealist and a noble soul.

I only wish parents and teachers make a special effort to create an interest in today's children of Nehruji and turn them to reading Nehruji's life and works; better than indulging in useless, negative and often harmful pursuits.

My grateful thanks to dad for helping me develop a love and reverence for Nehruji and inspiring an interest in his works. (Written for my blog, "Role Models and Inspiring Lives" on November 14, 2008).