The truth about Nehru and new India’s tryst with fake propaganda

Jawaharlal Nehru, legacy, first, Indian, Prime Minister
There is absolutely no guarantee that Jawaharlal Nehru's ideology, at least of India being a land of rational, liberal, secular and forward-looking people, will not make a grand return some day. | Illustration - Eunice Dhivya

That Jawaharlal Nehru’s life has been narrated through a huge body of apocryphal stories isn’t a big surprise. For, the story of his life began with a tale that sounds more like a myth, a metaphorical argument meant to lend a certain aura to his personality.

The story goes that his father Motilal once visited a yogi in Rishikesh to find out if he would ever be blessed with a son. By then, Motilal had lost his first wife with his first-born, and also another son from his second marriage.

The ascetic who, as the legend goes, lived in a tree and had acquired the reputation of having great powers earned through penance and meditation. But, for the senior Nehru he had bad news—that he was not destined to have a son.

When pressed for a boon, the yogi sprinkled some water over Motilal and blessed him with a son. “By doing this, I have sacrificed all the benefits of all the austerities I have conducted over many generations,” the yogi told Motilal. The next day the yogi died and 10 months later Motilal was blessed with a son—Jawaharlal.  (Nehru: The Invention of India, Shashi Tharoor).

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