AD's English Literature : Jawaharlal Nehru's Literary Outputs Have an Ample Display of the Open-mindedness, Deep Insight and Prolific Scholarship

Jawaharlal Nehru's Literary Outputs Have an Ample Display of the Open-mindedness, Deep Insight and Prolific Scholarship

"At the stroke of the midnight hour, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the sound of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance."-Referring to Indian independence by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Introduction: Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) is not only a great political figure and a champion of liberty but also a keen observer of men and manners of India and of the world. His literary outputs have an ample display of the open-mindedness, deep insight and prolific scholarship. Before we take a close scrutiny of his literary works, the bare fiats about Nehru’s life can be told quickly. Nehru, born to rich Kashmiri parents, had an exclusive education both at home and abroad. At Harrow and Cambridge and the Inner Temple he received his higher education. Soon after his return from England he plunged into the nationalistic struggle, went to Gail a number of times, became president of the Indian National Congress, Took a leading part in the negotiations that culminated in the freedom of the country and heeded the Interim Government. He was prime Minister of free India from August 1947 till his death on 27 May 1964.

His writings: Nehru does most of his serious editing during his prison days. Three main books of Nehru’s which we owe to his prison days are-An Autobiography, Glimpses of world History, The Discovery of India. Unity of India is Nehru’s collection of speeches and newspaper articles. He was a talented and expressive writer in English, and he and India's freedom struggle became more widely known through the extensive circulation of his writings in the West.

An Autobiography (1936): His than nine months from June 1934 to February 1935 or 14th February 1935 to be precise. Prison is central to Nehru’s experience and, the original little suggested by the author is In and out of prison with a sub title ‘An Autobiographical Narrative with Musings on recent events in India’. It is finally published under the bare title An Autobiography by John Lane The Bodley Head of London in April 1936. The purpose of this book says Nehru, is two folds. It is give himself a definite task that novel fill in the long solitude of Jail life and would divert his mind from worry and dispersion. It is also an attempt at understanding- understanding thru past events with which he has been connected and understanding his own responses to them and teeny trace his own mental development.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru  
The book is divided into several chapters. The first sentence of the narrative could be called epigrammatic- ‘An only son of prosperous parents is apt to be spoilt specially in India and recalls the opening of Pride and Prejudice and though he  does not say so here or elsewhere, the whole book could be seen as a refutation of the traditional wisdom. 
The book is generally well received in England and even those who disagree with the point of view of the author recognized its importance and quality. Friends like Ellen Wilkinson, Edward Thompson and H.V. Brails ford “hail it as a basic utterance of one of the few great man of the time.” Tagore praises it highly. ‘I have just finished reading your great book and, I feel immensely impressed and proud of your achievement.’ Perhaps the best praise has come from John Günter who writes in his bestselling book Inside Asia (1974). “Nehru’s Autobiography is subtle, complex, discriminating, infinitely cultivated, steeped in doubt, suffused with intellectual passion. He further adds that it is not only an autobiography of the most searching kind, but the story of a whole society, the story of the life and de elopement of nation. In matter of style it is the style of a man who has read nor mousy and has absorbed it and reflects a collated consciousness.
Glimpses of World History (1939): The title page of the book sufficiently hints at the content of the book, it says “Further letters to his daughter, written in prison, and composing a rambling account of history for young people.” The soft lucid descriptive and reflective style are very pleasant reading here Tom Wentringham in his tribute to Nehru includes in collecting , called Abinandan Granth calls the book ‘better history and betters English’ . He says “it in the future some Indian Children are to learn English they will do well to insist that are thought from these ‘Glimpses’ rather than from Macaulay or from Gibbon.’
The Discovery of India (1946): Nehru’s other notable book is The Discovery of India. Written in Ahmednagar jail in five months, the book contains Nehru’s reflections on life in general and India in particular. The discovery of the title obviously takes place during the 1936 whirlwind election tour of India. It is the most relevant book on the cultural unity of India or the continuity of Indian civilization and it is monumental in conception. The sense of deep patriotism and love for our heritage are the vital issue in this book. One can easily discover the national and cultural identity from this book. The book is beautifully filmed in Hindi, Bharat Ek khoj by Shyam Bengal which we all love to see.
Conclusion: The important leader, thinker and writer Nehru has been a relentless motivator, lifelong worker and timeless developer. After a prolonged journey of life he lease the world unsatisfied as there have been miles to go before his sleep.
Ref: 1.Microsoft Students’ Encarta
          2.IGNOU Study Guide

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