Kamala Nehru

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Kamala Nehru
Kamala Nehru
Spouse of the Prime Minister of India
In office
15 August 1947 – 27 May 1964
Succeeded by Lakshmi Nanda
Personal details
Born (1899-08-01)1 August 1899
Died 28 February 1936(1936-02-28) (aged 36)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Nationality Indian
Spouse(s) Jawaharlal Nehru
Children Indira Gandhi
Religion Hinduism

Kamala Kaul Nehru (About this sound pronunciation ; 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.

Early life[edit]

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, and she did not know a word of English.


Kamala married Jawaharlal Nehru at the age of 17. Her husband went to a trip in the Himalayas shortly after their marriage.[1] In his autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru, referring to his wife, stated "I almost overlooked her."[1] 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.[1]

Nehru in 1918 with wife Kamala and daughter Indira

Contribution to the Indian Independence Movement[edit]

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.[2]


Kamala Nehru spent some time at Gandhi's ashram with Kasturba Gandhi where she built a close friendship with Prabhavati Devi.[citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

Kamala died from tuberculosis in Lausanne, Switzerland on 28 February 1936, with her daughter and her mother-in-law by her side. As far as it is known from valid sources, while Kamala was living in Prague in now Checz Republic , she fell seriously ill, and her husband (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who admitted her there) was in India. Eventually, she was taken to Lausanne by Subhash Chandra Bose, Under such dire straits Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (the legendary freedom fighter and Chief of INA) took care of Kamala and arranged for her treatments there. where finally she expired; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came there, and arranged for her cremation [1] at the Lausanne Crematorium. 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "From years 1916 to 1964...The man and the times". The Windsor Star. 27 May 1964. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Kamala Nehru Biography". Iloveindia. Retrieved 15 September 2012.