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), 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, 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, 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. 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.
Death and legacy
Kamala died from tuberculosis in Lausanne, Switzerland on 28 February 1936, with her daughter and her mother-in-law by her side. Kamala was cremated 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 Polytechnic (Hyderabad) are named after her.
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