“Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India.” This is how every child born in independent India comes to know of Nehru first. This is how I came to know of Nehru first. We are born with a sense of pride for our freedom fighters — Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad — and countless many, people with amazing bravery, people with enormous patience, people with the highest intellect, and what not. And thus we grow, enriched by the fruits of the efforts of these great people, and nurtured by the glories of the Indian culture.
But who was Nehru? I came to know about one “Chacha Nehru”, who was the favorite of all children. The man with the most beautiful of roses perfectly inserted into his coat. The man whose birthday we celebrate as Children’s day and remind ourselves that there is a child in every one of us. A child who is still pure in his heart. A child who can still make the world around him happier. A child who cannot harm anyone in any sense. A child who need care for no one, yet gets the care of everyone. And thus we live, hoping that the child in us comes to the fore and takes away all the sorrows and burdens that our life has bestowed upon us.
So who was Nehru? I also came to know about a Congressman who would not give up prime-ministership. The diplomat who believed in the deep similarities between the ancient civilizations of China and India so much, that he could not see the former coming to attack our borders. The strategist who failed to see the consequences of taking one of the biggest unsolved problems of our times to the United Nations, instead of solving it then and there.
Yet the visionary who had the know-how of taking a poverty-ridden country, together as a nation, on the path to development and success, without aligning with any warring force on the planet. The leader who was capable of admitting his mistakes and moving ahead with enhanced zeal. The prime-minister who planted the seeds of freedom for everyone, of every kind, including the freedom that I utilize even after 52 years of his death to write an article about him.
And who am I? I am a believer — I believe that the tailor who inspires the people who wear the clothes sewn by him to appreciate the art of clothing, is the best tailor. The servant who inspires his master to devote his life serving the whole humanity, is the best servant. The teacher who inspires his students to keep learning till their death-beds, is the best teacher. The doctor who inspires his patients to believe that nothing is impossible given trust and patience, is the best doctor. The soldier who inspires the whole nation to
forfeit their ego and their selves for the common good, is the best soldier. The writer who inspires a reader to write only after reading 25 pages of his artifact, is the best writer. And hence I say, with pride and confidence, while reading a gem (The Glimpses of World History): “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is my favourite author”.