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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