1 August 1899|
|Died||28 February 1936
Kamala Kaul Nehru ( pronunciation (help·info); 1 August 1899 – 28 February 1936) was a freedom fighter, wife of Jawaharlal Nehru (leader of the Indian National Congress and the first Prime Minister of India), and the mother of Indira Gandhi, also another Prime Minister. Her grandson Rajiv Gandhi too was a Prime Minister of India for a term of 5 years. She was known to be deeply sincere, highly patriotic, a women's rights activist, serious minded and sensitive.
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Kamala Nehru was born on 1 August 1899 and brought up in a traditional Kashmiri Brahmin middle-class family of old Delhi. Rajpati and Jawaharmal Kaul were Kamala Nehru's parents; Kamala, their eldest child, had two brothers, Chand Bahadur Kaul and the botanist, Kailas Nath Kaul, and a sister, Swaroop Kathju. All her schooling had been at home, under the guidance of a Pandit and a Maulvi.
Kamala married Jawaharlal Nehru at the age of 17. Her husband went to a trip in the Himalayas shortly after their marriage. In his autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru, referring to his wife, stated "I almost overlooked her." Kamala gave birth to a girl child in November 1917, Indira Priyadarshini, who later succeeded her father as prime minister and head of the Congress party. Kamala gave birth to a boy in November 1924, but he lived for only a week.
Contribution to the Indian Independence Movement
Kamala was involved with the Nehrus in the national movement, that she emerged into the forefront. In the Non Cooperation movement of 1921, she organized groups of women in Allahabad and picketed shops selling foreign cloth and liquor. When her husband was arrested to prevent him delivering a "seditious" public speech, she went in his place to read it out. The British soon realized the threat that Kamala Nehru posed to them and how popular she had become with women's groups all over India. She was thus arrested on two occasions for involvement in Independence struggle activities, along with Sarojini Naidu, Nehru's mother and other women of the Indian freedom struggle. During this period she started a dispensary in her house Swaraj Bhawan, converting few rooms into a Congress Dispensary to treat wounded freedom fighters, their families, and other residents of Allahabad. After her death, Mahatma Gandhi with the help of other prominent leaders converted this dispensary into a proper hospital known as Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital in her memory.
Kamala died from tuberculosis in Lausanne, Switzerland on 28 February 1936, with her husband, daughter and mother-in-law by her side. During her last few years, Kamala was frequently ill and taken to a sanatorium in Switzerland for treatment, though she returned to India as she got well. In early 1935, as Kamala's health again deteriorated, she was taken to Baudweiller (Black forest, Switzerland) and admitted to a sanatorium for treatment. Her husband (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) was in jail in India at that time. As her health worsened, Nehru was released from prison and rushed to Switzerland in October 1935. While Kamala's health improved initially, it started to deteriorate again in 1936, and she died in February. In the prologue to his autobiography, in a chapter added after Kamala's death, Nehru recounts that he was devastated and remained mourning for a few months.
A number of institutions in India, such as Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital & Regional Cancer Centre , Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi, Kamala Nehru Degree Evening college (Bangalore), Kamala Nehru Park, Kamla Nehru Institute of Technology (Sultanpur), Kamala Nehru Zoo (Indore), Kamala Nehru Polytechnic (Hyderabad) are named after her.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kamala Nehru.|
- "From years 1916 to 1964...The man and the times". The Windsor Star. 27 May 1964. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Nehru, Jawaharlal (26 January 1936). An Autobiography (1 ed.). London: Bodley Head.
- "Kamala Nehru Biography". Iloveindia. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Jayakar, Pupul (1995). Indira Gandhi, a biography (Rev. ed. ed.). New Delhi, India: Penguin. pp. 90–92. ISBN 978-0140114621.
- Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal (8 August 1940). An Autobiography (2nd ed.). London: Bodell Head.