Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:59 am

St John Philby
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/20

St John Philby
St John Philby in Riyadh
Born: Harry St John Bridger Philby, 3 April 1885, Badulla, British Ceylon
Died: 30 September 1960 (aged 75), Beirut, Lebanon
Alma mater: Westminster School; Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation: Arabist, explorer, writer, intelligence officer

Spouse(s): Dora and Rozy Philby,
Children: 8, namely Kim Philby, Diana, Helena, Patricia, from first marriage, and Fahad, Sultan, Faris and Khaled Philby from the second

Harry St John Bridger Philby, CIE (3 April 1885 – 30 September 1960), also known as Jack Philby or Sheikh Abdullah (Arabic: الشيخ عبدالله‎), was a British Arabist, adviser, explorer, writer, and colonial office intelligence officer.

As he states in his autobiography, he "became something of a fanatic" and in 1908[1] "the first Socialist to join the Indian Civil Service". After studying Oriental languages at the University of Cambridge, he was posted to Lahore in the Punjab in 1908, acquiring fluency in Urdu, Punjabi, Baluchi, Persian and eventually Arabic. He converted to Islam in 1930 and later became an adviser to Ibn Saud, urging him to unite the Arabian Peninsula under Saudi rule,[2] and helping him to negotiate with the United Kingdom and the United States when petroleum was discovered in 1938; in addition he married for the second time, to a Saudi Arabian.[3]

His only son by his first wife Dora Johnston was Kim Philby, who became known worldwide as a double agent for the Soviet Union, where he defected in 1963.[4] One of his three sons with his second wife Rozy al-Abdul Aziz is the former United Nations Resident Coordinator in, inter-alia, Kuwait and later Turkmenistan, Khaled Philby.

Early years

His son Kim Philby

Percy Cox

Born in Badulla in British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the son of a tea planter, he was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied oriental languages under Edward Granville Browne, and was a friend and classmate of Jawaharlal Nehru, who later became the first Prime Minister of independent India. Philby married Dora Johnston in September 1910,[4] with his distant cousin Bernard Law Montgomery as best man. In addition to their son Kim, born in 1912, they had three daughters: Diana, Helena and Patricia.


In late 1915 Percy Cox recruited Philby as head of the finance branch of the British administration in Baghdad, a job which included fixing compensation for property and business owners. Their mission was twofold: to organise the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks and to protect the oil fields near Basra and the Shatt al Arab, which was a source of oil for the Royal Navy. The revolt was organised with the promise of creating a unified Arab state, or Arab federation, from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen. Gertrude Bell was his first controller and taught him the finer arts of espionage. In 1916 he became Revenue Commissioner for British Occupied Territories.

In November 1917 Philby was sent to the interior of the Arabian peninsula as head of a mission to Ibn Saud, the chieftain who professed Wahhabism, the movement within Sunni Islam, and bitter enemy of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, leader of the Hashemites and of the Arab Revolt, both contenders to become "King of the Arabs". Philby secretly began to favour Ibn Saud even though British policy supported Sherif Hussein. Philby completed a crossing from Riyadh to Jeddah by a "backdoor" route, thus demonstrating Saud and not Hussein was in control of the Arabian highlands.

In November 1918, Britain and France issued the Anglo-French Declaration[5] to the Arabs, promising self-determination. Philby felt there was a betrayal of this assurance, along with others made in the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement. He saw the promise of a single unified Arab nation as having been betrayed. Philby argued that Ibn Saud was a "democrat" guiding his affairs "by mutual counsel" as laid out in the Quran, in contrast to George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston's support for Hussein. After the Iraqi revolt of 1920 Philby was appointed Minister of Internal Security in Mandatory Iraq.

In November 1921, Philby was named chief head of the Secret Service in Mandatory Palestine, working with T. E. Lawrence and meeting his American counterpart, Allen Dulles. At the end of 1922, Philby travelled to London for extensive meetings with parties involved in the Palestine question, included Winston Churchill, George V, Edward, Prince of Wales, Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Wickham Steed, and Chaim Weizmann.[6]

Adviser to Ibn Saud

Philby's view was that both British and Saud family's interests would be best served by uniting the Arabian peninsula under one government, stretching from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, with the Saudis supplanting the Hashemites as Islamic "Keepers of the Holy Places" while protecting shipping lanes along the Suez Canal–Aden–Mumbai (then Bombay) route.

Philby was forced to resign his post in 1924 over differences of allowing Jewish immigration to Palestine. He was found to have had unauthorised correspondence with Ibn Saud, sending confidential information, which carried with it the connotation of espionage. Shortly afterwards Ibn Saud began to call for the overthrow of the Hashemite dynasty, with Philby advising him on how far he could go in occupying Arabia without incurring the wrath of the British, the principal power in the Middle East. In 1925 Philby claimed Ibn Saud had brought unprecedented order into Arabia.

Philby settled in Jeddah and became a partner in a trading company. Over the next few years he became famous as an international writer and explorer. Philby personally mapped on camel back what is now the Saudi–Yemeni border on the Rub' al Khali. In his unique position he became Ibn Saud's chief adviser in dealing with the British Empire and Western powers. He converted to Islam in 1930.[7] In 1931 Philby invited Charles Richard Crane to Jeddah to facilitate exploration of the kingdom's subsoil oil. Crane was accompanied by noted historian George Antonius, who acted as translator.

In May 1932, Standard Oil of California (SoCal) sought out Philby in its quest to obtain an oil concession in Saudi Arabia, ultimately signing Philby as a paid adviser to SoCal. Philby, in turn, recognising that competition by foreign interests would get a better deal for the Saudi King, made contact with George Martin Lees, Chief Geologist of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, in order to alert him to SoCal's interest in gaining oil exploration rights in Saudi Arabia. Anglo Persian was one of five international partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), through which it pursued its interest in the Saudi concession. In March 1933, IPC sent a representative, Stephen Longrigg, to join negotiations with the Saudi government in Jeddah. However, Philby's primary loyalty was to the Saudi King and, although he was being paid by SoCal, he kept the arrangement a secret from Longrigg. In May 1933, IPC instructed Longrigg to withdraw from Jeddah, leaving SoCal free to conclude negotiations with the Saudi Arabia for a 60-year contract to obtain the exclusive concession for exploration and extraction of oil in the al-Hasa region along the Persian Gulf.[8]

By 1934, in an effort to safeguard the port of Aden, Britain had no fewer than 1,400 "peace treaties" with the various tribal rulers of the hinterlands of what became Yemen. Philby undermined British influence in the region, however, by facilitating the entry of United States commercial interests, followed by a political alliance between the US and the Saud dynasty.

In 1936 SoCal and Texaco pooled their assets together into what later became ARAMCO (Arabian–American Oil Company). The United States Department of State describes ARAMCO as the richest commercial prize in the history of the planet.[9] Philby represented Saudi interests. In 1937 when the Spanish Civil War broke out, Philby arranged for his son, Kim Philby, to become a war correspondent for The Times.

Later Philby began secret negotiations with Germany and Spain, concerning Saudi Arabia's role in the event of a general European war. These discussions would allow neutral Saudi Arabia to sell oil to neutral Spain, which then would be transported to Germany. John Loftus, who worked in the United States Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations Nazi-hunting unit, claims Adolf Eichmann, while on a mission to the Middle East, met with Philby "during the mid-1930s".[10]

Philby Plan

Philby, a known anti-Zionist, outlined a plan to reach a compromise with Zionism, after consultation with Arab leaders, and it was reported in The New York Times in October 1929. The Plan foresaw a shared confirmation of the Balfour Declaration and continued Jewish immigration into Palestine in exchange for a renunciation by Zionists of any desire to seek political dominance. Representation of the two groups would be based on respecting the numerical proportions between the two groups. Judah Magnes, chancellor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a member of Brit Shalom, reacted to the proposal positively, and suggested alterations in order to secure guarantees for the Jewish minority.[11]

As related in his memoirs, David Ben Gurion, who would become Israel's first Prime Minister, met Philby on 18 May 1937 at the Athenaeum Club in London. Ben Gurion attempted to use Philby as an intermediary to reach an agreement between the Zionist Movement and King Ibn Saud. A few days after their meeting, Philby sent to Ben Gurion a draft treaty by which the Zionists would renounce the Balfour Declaration in exchange for being welcomed to the Middle East by an Arab Federation headed by Ibn Saud. However, several clauses of the draft treaty were unacceptable to Ben Gurion. In particular, Philby had proposed that in future Palestine be "open to the immigration of all those seeking to become its citizens, regardless of race and creed" and refused to mention in specific Jewish immigration. To Ben Gurion, this would have defeated the whole aim of Zionism. Ben Gurion sent Philby a counterproposal based on what Ben Gurion regarded as the indispensable minimum Zionist aspirations to which Philby never replied.[12]

St John Philby, previously a member of the Labour Party, fought a by-election held on 20 July 1939 for the parliamentary constituency of Hythe, Kent. He stood for the anti-Semitic British People's Party, declaring "no cause whatever is worth the spilling of human blood" and "protection of the small man against big business". He lost his deposit. Soon after, the Second World War began. He is recorded as having referred to Adolf Hitler as un homme très fin ("a most sophisticated man").[13]

When he travelled to Bombay he was arrested on 3 August 1940 under Defence Regulation 18B, deported to England and there briefly interned. Shortly after his release from custody Philby recommended his son, Kim, to Valentine Vivian, MI6 deputy chief, who recruited him into the British secret service. When Harold Hoskins of the United States State Department visited Ibn Saud in August 1943, he asked if the king would be willing to have an intermediary meet with Chaim Weizmann. Ibn Saud angrily responded, that he was insulted by the suggestion that he could be bribed for £20 million to accept resettlement of Arabs from Palestine. Hoskins reports the king said Weizmann told him the promise of payment would be "guaranteed by President Roosevelt". A month later Weizmann, in a letter to Sumner Welles wrote: "It is conceived on big lines, large enough to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of both Arabs and Jews, and the strategic and economic interests of the United States;... properly managed, Mr. Philby's scheme offers an approach which should not be abandoned".[14]

Suez Crisis

After Ibn Saud's death in 1953 Philby openly criticised the successor King Saud, saying the royal family's morals were being picked up "in the gutters of the West". He was exiled to Lebanon in 1955. In exile he wrote:

the true basis of Arab hostility to Jewish immigration into Palestine is xenophobia, and instinctive perception that the vast majority of central and eastern European Jews, seeking admission... are not Semites at all.... Whatever political repercussions of their settlement may be, their advent is regarded as a menace to the Semitic culture of Arabia... the European Jew of today, with his secular outlook... is regarded as an unwelcome intruder within the gates of Arabia

While in Beirut, he reconciled with Kim, and they lived together for a time.[15] The son was reemployed by MI6 as an outside informer on retainer. Jack Philby helped further his son's career by introducing him to his extensive network of contacts in the Middle East, including President Camille Chamoun of Lebanon. Both were sympathetic to Nasser during the Suez Crisis of August 1956. Between Jack's access to ARAMCO and Kim's access to British intelligence there was little they did not know about Operation Musketeer, the French and British plan to capture the Suez Canal. The Soviet Union exposed the entire plan in the United Nations and threatened Britain and France with "long-range guided missiles equipped with atomic warheads".

In 1955 Jack Philby returned to live in Riyadh. In 1960, on a visit to Kim in Beirut, he suddenly became ill and was rushed to hospital. "The man whose life had been so eventful and panoramic, so daring and theatrical, now lay unconscious. He awoke only for a moment and murmured to his son, 'I am so bored.' And then he expired."[16] He is buried in the Muslim cemetery in the Basta district of Beirut.[15] His tombstone reads, "Greatest of Arabian Explorers".

Academic interests

A Wabar meteorite etched section

In his travels he took great interest in wildlife and gave a scientific name to the Arabian woodpecker (Desertipicus (now Dendrocopos) dorae), as well as a subspecies (no longer valid) of a scops owl (Otus scops pamelae). Most of his birds were named after women whom he admired. He contributed numerous specimens to the British Museum. He also contributed to the draft of a book on the birds of Arabia by George Latimer Bates. It was not published, but was made use of in Birds of Arabia (1954) by Richard Meinertzhagen. Philby is remembered in ornithology by the name of Philby's partridge (Alectoris philbyi).[17][18]

In 1932, while searching for the lost city of Ubar, he was the first Westerner to visit and describe the Wabar craters.[19]

Awards and legacy

In August 1917 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire.[20] In 1920 he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society Founder's Gold Medal for his two journeys in South Central Arabia.[21]

A subspecies of Middle Eastern lizard, Uromastyx ornata philbyi, and a partridge, Alectoris philbyi, are named in his honour.[22][23]

Some authors have summarised Philby as a British traitor and an anti-Semite.[24][25] They suggest Philby never forgave the British government for ending his civil service career (due to sexual misconduct).[26] Once recruited by MI6, according to these authors, Philby used his intelligence assignment to take revenge on the British government.[27] With the extensive contacts he acquired as a British agent, Philby continued to betray British policy and resist all efforts at creating a Jewish homeland throughout his life. Philby disclosed classified British intelligence to Ibn Saud during wartime; he secretly helped secure American oil concessions in Saudi Arabia, double-crossing British competitors;[15] he created economic partnerships, allied against British interests and in favour of Nazi Germany, with the help of Allen Dulles (later CIA Director); and Philby worked with Nazi intelligence to sabotage efforts at creating a Jewish homeland.[28]

Philby's 1955 book Saudi Arabia contains the only known account of the 1931 Saudi–Yemeni border skirimish.[29]


• The Heart of Arabia: A Record of Travel & Exploration. (London: Constable) 1922.
• Arabia of the Wahhabis. (London: Constable) 1928.
• Arabia. (London: Ernest Benn) 1930.
• The Empty Quarter: being a description of the great south desert of Arabia known as Rub 'al Khali (London: Constable & Company Ltd) 1933. scanned book
• Harun al Rashid (London: P. Davies) 1933. About Harun al-Rashid
• Routes in south-west Arabia [map]: From surveys made in 1936 (Methuen & Co Ltd) 1936.
• Sheba's daughters; being a record of travel in Southern Arabia (London: Methuen & Co Ltd) 1939.
• A Pilgrim in Arabia (London: The Golden Cockerel Press), [1943].
• The Background of Islam: being a sketch of Arabian history in pre-Islamic times (Alexandria: Whitehead Morris) 1947.
• Arabian Days, an autobiography (London: R. Hale) 1948.
• Arabian Highlands (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press) 1952. scanned book
• Arabian Jubilee (London: Hale) [1952]
• Sa′udi Arabia (London: Benn) 1955, New impression: Librairie du Liban, Beirut 1968
• The Land of Midian. (London: Ernest Bean Limited) 1957.
• Forty Years in the Wilderness (London: R. Hale) c1957.
• Arabian Oil Ventures (Washington: Middle East Institute) 1964.

See also

• The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
• Muhammad Asad
• King of the Sands


1. The London Gazette Publication date: 3 November 1908 Issue:28191 Page: 7933
2. "Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia". The Huffington Post. 3 September 2014.
3. Ben Macintyre A Spy Among Friends pg 24
4. ... ection.pdf
5. The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919, II-The Report Upon Mesopotamia.
6. "Harry St John Philby". World News.
7. Macintyre B (2014). A Spy Among Friends. Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom. p. 27. ISBN 9781408851722.
8. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, by Daniel Yergin, p. 290
9. "Context of '1945: US State Department Official Calls Saudi Oil 'One of the Greatest Material Prizes in World History".
10. John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, p. 45.
11. Daniel P. Kotzin,Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish Nonconformist, Syracuse University Press, 2010 pp.225–235.
12. דוד בן גוריון, "פגישות עם מנהיגים ערבים" David Ben Gurion, "Meetings With Arab Leaders", Tel Aviv, 1967,Ch.21, p.137-150. Ben Gurion included the full text of Philby's draft treaty and his own conter-proposal.
13. Pryce-Jones, David (2011). Treason of the Heart. Encounter Books. p. 144. ISBN 1594035288.
14. Philby of Arabia, Elizabeth Monroe, Pitman Publishing (1973), p. 225.
15. Carver, Tom (11 October 2012). "Diary: Philby in Beirut". London Review of Books. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
16. Yergin, Daniel (1990). The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power. Simon & Schuster. p. 301. ISBN 978-0671502485.
17. Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. 1939 Some Arabian Mammals Collected by Mr. H. St. J. B. Philby, C.I.E. Novitates Zoologicae, 41: 181–211.
18. Pocock, R I 1935 The Mammals Collected in S. E. Arabia by Mr. Bartram Thomas and Mr. H. St. J. Philby. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 10, 15: 441–467.
19. "Wabar". Earth Impact Database. Planetary and Space Science Centre University of New Brunswick Fredericton. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
20. The London Gazette: 24 August 1917 Issue:30252 Page: 8852
21. "RGS Gold Medal Recipients" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011.
22. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Philby", p. 206).
23. Madge, S.; McGowan, P. J.; Kirwan, G. M. (2002). Pheasants, partridges and grouse: a guide to the pheasants, partridges, quails, grouse, guineafowl, buttonquails and sandgrouse of the world. A&C Black.
24. Anthony Cave Brown, Treason in the Blood: Harry St. John Philby, Kim Philby, and the Spy Case of the Century, 1994, Houghton Mifflin.
25. John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews 21, 24, 32, 38, 41–44 (1994)
26. John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, supra, at 23–26
27. John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, supra, at 24
28. John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, supra, at 24, 32, 38, 42–44
29. Gibler, Dougla; Miller, Steven; Little, Erin (2017). "Report on MIDs that could not be found" (PDF). Retrieved 6 September 2019.


• Kingmakers: the Invention of the Modern Middle East, Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, W.W. Norton (2008)
• Princes of Darkness, Laurent Murawiec, Rowman and Littlefield (2005)
• Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004)
• Arabian Jubilee, H. StJ. B. Philby, Robert Hale, (1952)
• Philby of Arabia, Elizabeth Monroe, Pitman Publishing (1973)
• The Secret War Against the Jews, John Loftus and Mark Aarons, St Martin's Press (1994)
• Arabia, the Gulf and the West Basic Books (1980)
• The House of Saud, David Holden and Richard Johns, Holt Rinehart and Winston (1981)
• The Philby Conspiracy, Bruce Page, David Leitch and Phillip Knightley, Doubleday (1968)
• Saudi Arabia and the United States, 1931–2002 by Josh Pollack (2002)
• Mirage: Power, Politics, And the Hidden History of Arabian Oil, by Aileen Keating, Prometheus Books (2005)

External links

• Royal Geographical Society
• Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony's College
• Newspaper clippings about St John Philby in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:09 am

Part 1 of 4

Jawaharlal Nehru
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/20

In 1885, on retiring from the civil service, Hume summoned the first meeting of the Indian National Congress, in the hope of winning a greater role for Indians in administration under the British Crown. Over time, under Gandhi and Nehru, the Congress became the main propellant of independence, and in India today Hume's role as forerunner is still remembered and acknowledged. (The thirteen-year-old Nehru was, in fact, initiated into the Theosophical Society by its third leader, Annie Besant, and the "thrilled" youngster later saw "old Colonel Olcott with his fine beard.")

-- Mystical Imperialism, Excerpt from "Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia", by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac

Contemporary India on occasion published keynote nationalist texts, such as Nehru's addresses to annual sessions of the Indian National Congress, but most of its content was specially written....

When Jawaharlal Nehru, in the months leading up to India's independence, sent a note to Freda Bedi, the address was wonderfully concise: The Huts, Model Town, Lahore....

The Indian Civil Liberties Union was established by the Congress's Jawaharlal Nehru in 1936 -- two years after the National Council for Civil Liberties was established in Britain, harnessing radical, communist and pacifist concerns about illiberalism and an intolerance towards political dissent. Freda was diligent in seeking out breaches of civil liberties and became the most prominent activist in Punjab of a movement which she insisted was non-party and non-denominational 'welcoming all shades of opinion in its rank'. By the spring of 1937, Freda was on the national council of the Civil Liberties Union and in June she was the principal organiser and speaker at a widely reported civil liberties conference in Amritsar. The purpose of the Union, she explained, was 'to throw the spotlight of publicity on any encroachments of the legal rights of the people, and to consolidate public opinion so that we are in a position to demand redress from the authorities concerned. Its function is therefore, mainly as a propagandistic body.' So the aim was to work within the system more than to challenge it. She talked of the civil liberties movements already in place in Europe and America 'and we can count on their help and co-operation in this fight which has in reality no national boundaries, but is concerned with man and his relation to the state. We of the Colonial countries' -- she declared in an emphatic expression of her identification with India over England -- 'may be more in need of such organizations, but it is only a matter of degree because wherever there are rich and poor, wherever in fact Capitalism raises its head, the need is urgent.'

Once established as a speaker, the demands on Freda's time became relentless....

Before boarding the plane [February, 1947], Freda dropped a line to a friend asking for advice about what to do in London. Jawaharlal Nehru, who by the end of the year was to become the first prime minister of independent India, sent a brief reply to her at The Huts. 'I hope you will enjoy your visit to England after 14 years,' he wrote. 'You should certainly meet Krishna Menon, I cannot suggest what you might do there, but Krishna Menon will, no doubt, be able to do so.'...

Freda's visit had a charming codicil. A year later, her mother received a last minute invitation to meet India's new prime minister. 'Summoned to a reception at India House, London, to meet Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru, Mrs. F.N. Swan ... cooked a meal for four, prepared the next day's food and then found time to go out and buy herself a new dress and a new hat for the occasion before catching a train to London less than seven hours after receiving the invitation,' reported the Derby Daily Telegraph. Mrs Swan told the paper that her daughter was 'well known to Pandit Nehru' and she said her proudest moment came when Nehru stopped at her table and shook her hand....

At this time, Kashmir was emerging from a long period of isolation and popular politics was taking root. The maharaja, Hari Singh, was a Hindu and, in the eyes of most Kashmiris, an outsider, while his princely state was largely Muslim and the Kashmir Valley emphatically so. He was also part of a generation of Indian princes who were much more comfortable hunting, shooting and fishing than in engaging with social and political reform. The princely states were not formally part of the British Raj, but in Srinagar -- as in many other princely capitals -- a British Resident kept a careful watching eye and on occasions intervened to seek to ensure political stability and protect British interests. Princely autocracy and the accompanying restraints on political activity and public expression were increasingly an anachronism as the temper of Indian politics began to rise. Sheikh Abdullah and a like-minded group of young, educated Kashmiris -- most of them from the state's Muslim majority -- sought to challenge the oppressive feudalism still prevalent in the villages and to mobilise public opinion.

The Bedis came to see the Kashmir Valley not simply as a picturesque location offering respite from the summer heat but as the site of a political struggle to which they could, and should, contribute. This was probably a mix of personal initiative and prompting by the Communist Party, which viewed Kashmir as a promising place to seek recruits and influence. Sheikh Abdullah had a firm personal friendship and political alliance with the Congress's Jawaharlal Nehru, himself of distant Kashmiri descent. But the communists were keen to help support Abdullah's party, the National Conference, and shape its policy and strategy. When in the summer of 1942 Bedi was released from Deoli and Freda was able to disengage from her lecturing job in Lahore, their involvement in Kashmiri politics stepped up....

The reputation Bedi gained for taking the lead in compiling the 'New Kashmir' manifesto helped him in his task of securing recruits. Christabel Taseer saw at close quarters Bedi's effectiveness -- she recounted that G.M. Sadiq, later a prime minister of the state, 'was motivated to be a Leftist, as were a number of other young Kashrniris, by association with B.P.L. Bedi and his wife, Freda, both dedicated Marxists.' Another Kashmiri leftist with a large popular following, G.M. Karra, told Taseer how he and several others had been 'won over to the Communist cause through the Bedis'. Yet another stated that 'Kashmir's Marxist intellectual scene was dominated by B.P.L. Bedi and his English wife Freda Bedi'. The Bedis were big fish in the small pond of Kashmiri progressives and radicals -- and their close friendship with Sheikh Abdullah and his reliance on the left for strategic direction and organisational support gave them huge authority and influence. At the same time, the Bedis were making friends in the political mainstream of the nationalist movement too. A remarkable group photograph survives, taken in Kashmir in 1945 at the annual session of the National Conference, which includes three future prime ministers of India and two future prime ministers of Indian Kashmir: Sheikh Abdullah and his ally Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad are at the back; in front of them are Jawaharlal Nehru -- recently released from detention -- and his daughter Indira Gandhi; two nationalist leaders in what became Pakistan are prominent, Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai from Baluchistan and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan from the Frontier, the latter carrying a young child, very probably Indira's son, Rajiv Gandhi; on one flank is Mridula Sarabhai, an influential supporter of Kashmiri nationalism; on the other is Freda Bedi, smiling broadly and clearly pregnant, with B.P.L. behind her, largely hidden to the camera....

The women's militia in which Freda enrolled was one of a number of left-inspired initiatives to support Kashmir's progressive government and its ambitions for social change. The men's militia, replete with a political officer, saw active service alongside Indian troops and several of its members were killed. A cultural front encompassed progressive writers and poets from Kashmir and other parts of India and performed hastily written agitprop theatre. 'The atmosphere reminded one of Spain and the International Brigade,' one of the participants recalled a touch romantically, 'where, it was said, writers had come to live their books, and poets had come to die for their poetry!'

The Women's Self-Defence Corps was, as its name suggests, not intended as an offensive force but to help defend Srinagar, and particularly to protect the honour of its women. The numbers enrolling were modest and disproportionately from the Pandit, or Kashmiri Hindu, minority -- reflecting the social conservatism of the Muslim community and the preponderance of Pandits in the local intelligentsia and the left. The women were provided with rifles and trained in their use by an Indian army officer; they drilled and paraded in Srinagar's parks and open spaces. An armed women's militia would have been a striking innovation in any part of India -- in the conservative and sheltered Kashmir Valley, it reflected a revolution in social attitudes. The Communist Party paper, the People's Age, gave proud prominence to the militia. 'I am writing this letter from the Paladium [sic] Cinema which is our headquarters now,' one woman volunteer wrote. 'Down below at the crossing, thousands of Kashmiris are always mounting guard with their rifles. The whole city is mad with joy ... Today four of us girls will be taught the use of rifles. Tomorrow we may be sent to the ... front as field-nurses.' A subsequent issue featured two pages of photographs of the women in training, and declared: 'The women in Kashmir are the first in India to build an army of women trained to use the rifle. By their example they have made Indian history, filled our chests with pride, raised our country's banner higher among the great nations of the world.'

The women's militia never saw active service, though it paraded for and was inspected by Jawaharlal Nehru, now India's prime minister, on his visits to Srinagar. Pathe newsreel footage from 1948 includes a glimpse of Freda on the parade ground with a rifle in her hand. The volunteers also took on a social role, helping those displaced both by Partition-related upheaval and by the fighting in parts of the former princely state which came to involve the Pakistan army as well as irregular forces. They took up 'women's work' among the refugees, organising milk for the camps, and distributing clothes and blankets, 'all of us,' Freda told friends, 'acting as older sisters to the thousands of children and women suffering not only physical hardships in the desperate cold, but often in mental torture when relations and children had been killed, abducted, or lost on the miserable trek to safety.'....

The impact of the conflict over Kashmir pervaded Freda's letters -- 'we are a battle front' she told Olive Chandler -- and while a United Nations-brokered ceasefire came into effect at the close of 1948, Kashmir's contested status cast a shadow on the social ambitions of its governing party:

While a very brutal tribal invasion + hot propaganda from the Pakistan side has been trying to make the State communal minded, it has valiantly stuck to its democratic ideas, + built up a corner of India where one can truly sayan inter-communal life exists. Something to be deeply grateful for after the inevitable frustration + bitterness that followed in the wake of the riots both in India + Pakistan.

All I had by way of books + household goods was either looted in Lahore, or is stored there ... + I can't get it. We had to rebuild from the ground up. But nothing matters -- all of us are safe + having been daily with refugees with their heartrending stories of violent death + abduction I feel we have been lucky.

She went on to reflect on the prospect of a popular vote to decide whether Kashmir should be part of India or Pakistan -- a commitment that Nehru had made to Kashmiris, though neither he nor subsequent Indian leaders have honoured it. 'Living in Kashmir is like sitting on the edge of a precipice,' she said.

There will be a tough fight when + if a plebiscite takes place. The other side uses low weapons: an appeal to religious fanaticism + hatred which can always find a response. We fight with clean hands. I am content as a democrat that Kashmir should vote + turn whichever way it wishes: but I know a Pakistan victory would mean massacre, abduction, the mass migration of Hindus + Sikhs + I hate to face it. God forbid it should happen. Kashmir with its Socialist Government + its young leaders can lead India, rebuild this miserable Country. I've great faith in it, + love for it, too. It is beautiful, rich in talent + natural resources.

Nehru also pressed Sheikh Abdullah to keep communists at a distance, with Bedi the main target of his displeasure. In May 1949, after a brief visit to Kashmir, Nehru wrote to 'Shaikh Saheb' with a gentle warning:

Quite a number of our embassies here are greatly worried at, what they say, the communist infiltration into Kashmir .... Most of them have heard about Bedi and they enquire about him. I understand that Bedi is editing the newspaper there and is drawing a substantial salary plus free car etc. I have no personal grievance against Bedi, but in view of the trouble we are having with the Communist Party in India, naturally Bedi's name is constantly coming up before people here.

Sheikh Abdullah's reply isn't available -- but Nehru wouldn't let the matter rest. He wrote again to the Kashmiri leader:

You referred to the Bedis. I rather like them and especially Freda. I know that Freda left the Communist Party some years ago. What she has done since, I do not know. But so far as I know, Bedi has continued in the Party, and the Party, especially today, does not tolerate any lukewarm people or those who do not fall in line with their present policy.

I do not want you to push out the Bedis and cause immediate distress to them. But I do think that no responsible work should be given to them and they should be kept completely in the background. Yesterday I saw a little book on you written by the Bedis. This kind of thing immediately makes people think that the Bedis are playing a prominent role in Kashmir and are closely associated with you. These create reactions in their minds against you and your Government.

The publication which had attracted Nehru's attention was a twenty-page pamphlet in praise of Sheikh Abdullah. This unsophisticated piece of propaganda written jointly by the Bedis sought to portray the Kashmiri leader as one of 'the Great Three' figures of India's independence era alongside Nehru and Gandhi -- a theatrical over-statement which should have brought a blush to the authors' cheeks.

B.P.L. Bedi was aware of Nehru's antipathy and of the attempts to marginalise him. He said there was 'very great pressure ... exerted by the Government of India for my being sent away from Kashmir, because they felt leftist policies would be going on more and more adamantly if I stayed on there.' His influence and access started to diminish. Bedi was removed from his counter-propaganda role and deputed to Kashmir's education ministry to revise school textbooks. Freda was also involved (and probably more active) in drafting new textbooks and both husband and wife were nominated to Jammu and Kashmir's Central Advisory Board on Education. 'Over 90 books were rewritten and printed .. .' Freda commented, 'and Kashmir was the first part of India to reorganise its teaching material so that the books fitted in with the new world and the new free India that our children now live in.' These were important tasks but at some remove from the most sensitive political decision making. Nehru's advice, it seems, was being heeded. For Bedi, this sidelining must have added to a sense of anguish. After almost twenty years of incessant political activity, both the main political forces to which he had owed allegiance -- the Communist Party and the Kashmiri nationalists -- were cutting him loose. He had seen himself as a key and perhaps indispensable figure; that's not quite how others viewed him....

The Bedis also had a more active social life during their years in Srinagar than probably at any other time of their marriage. They enjoyed their status and the attention that surrounded it -- which stemmed both from their association with Sheikh Abdullah and Freda's exceptional position as a white woman who entirely identified with India and with Kashmiri nationalism. Michael Brecher, a Canadian academic, spent three months in Srinagar with his wife in the summer of 1951 and saw a lot of the Bedis. He found them both compelling but 'very different in almost every respect'. B.P.L. was clearly well connected, though a touch arrogant -- 'someone who could be very jovial and charming' but also 'a very serious committed ideologue'. He took more to Freda, 'a striking looking person, a very handsome lady ... most impressive as a human being: bright, engaged, caring'. He considered her a 'dual character -- being very British, it seemed to us' but totally immersed in her environment. Brecher came across a constant stream of visitors to the Bedis' home, including a woman he met in their garden who was 'very quiet, demure, almost inconspicuous'. This was Indira Gandhi, Nehru's only child, then in her mid-thirties. 'My sense from Freda was they were good friends.' The friendship nurtured in Kashmir between Indira and Freda, both Oxford graduates, strengthened over the following decade....

Towards the close of the Bedis' time in Kashmir, she accepted a six months' United Nations posting to Burma, which had won its independence from Britain a year after India. She could probably sense that her husband wouldn't continue for much longer at Sheikh Abdullah's side, and the family needed an income....

Freda's new role with the United Nations was to help in the planning of Burma's social services: 'A job after my own heart,' she told Olive Chandler, 'but it's hard not to be with the family. However, in their interest, I can't throw opportunities away + this opens new fields for us all.' She was restless by nature and relished the opportunity of working somewhere new. 'Burma is like India enough to be homely,' she wrote, 'unlike enough to be beguiling.' Without family responsibilities, she had more time to devote to her own interests, and above all to meditate. She met a Buddhist teacher in Rangoon, U Titthila, who had spent the war years in London where he had on occasions abandoned his monk's robes to serve as an air raid warden and, during the Blitz when London came under sustained German air attack, as a stretcher bearer. Freda found him 'very saintly'; she asked him to teach her Vipassana (insight) meditation techniques. 'And it was then ... I got my first flash of understanding -- can't call it more than that. But it changed my whole life. I felt that, really, this meditation had shown me what I was trying to find ... and I got great, great happiness -- a feeling that I had found the path.'...

For two months, she had a weekly session with U Titthila. 'And I remember him saying when the eight weeks was coming to an end: if you get a realisation or a flash of realisation, it may not be sitting in your room in meditation, in pose in front of a picture of the Buddha or something, it will probably be somewhere where you don't expect it.' That's exactly what happened. 'I was actually walking with the [UN] commission through the streets of Akyab in the north of Burma -- [it was] as though some gates in my mind had just opened and suddenly I was seeing the flow of things, meaning, connections. And when I went back to Delhi, well, I told my husband I'd been searching all my life, it's the Buddhist monks who have been able to show me something I could not find and I'm a Buddhist from now on. Then I began to learn Buddhism after that.' Her family's recollection is that this 'flash' of spiritual awakening was accompanied by a breakdown. According to Ranga, his mother fainted and was taken to hospital. Bedi managed to get emergency travel documents, headed out to Burma and brought his wife home. When she came back, she didn't recognise B.P.L. or anybody. She didn't recognise her children. She would sit on her cot doing nothing -- completely blank. You couldn't make eye contact with her,' Ranga recalls. 'There was no speech, no recognition-though she could eat and bathe. That lasted for about two months when she gradually started reacting to things. All she recalled was that when walking down the street ... she saw a huge flash of light in the sky and she lost consciousness.'....

On her return to Delhi, she set up an organisation that she called the Friends of Buddhism. She took a personal vow of brahmacharya, a commitment to virtuous living which implies a decision to become celibate. Her engagement with the faith radically refashioned her links with her family and set her on the course which defined the last quarter-of-a- century of her life....

Once she was fully recovered, Freda again had to take on the responsibility of being the family's primary earner. She got a helping hand from a well-placed friend. Among her papers is a handwritten note from 'Indu', Indira Gandhi, on the headed paper of the Prime Minister's House: 'Durgabai Deshmukh wants to see you at 11 a.m. tomorrow ... in her office in the Planning Commission, Rashtrapati Bhawan. I shall send the car at 10.30.' Deshmukh was an influential figure in the Congress Party and had been a member of India's Constituent Assembly. She had just been appointed as the initial chairperson of the Planning Commission, which in Nehruvian India with its faith in the state to engineer social and economic progress was an important post. She was adamant on the need to champion the interests and promote the welfare of women, children and the disabled. Her meeting with Freda clearly went well. The following month, in January 1954, Freda began working for the government's Central Social Welfare Board establishing and editing a monthly journal, Social Welfare. Although she was not a natural civil servant, she embraced the social agenda and the opportunity to travel across India and throw a spotlight on women's concerns and on projects which successfully addressed them. She remained in the job for eight years....

The late 1950s were a period of transition for the Bedi family. Bhabooji, Baba's mother and a constant in Freda's life ever since she had arrived in India, died in August 1958. She was told just before her death that Ranga had got engaged. He had spent a year or two with friends farming on 600 acres of remote land near the border with Nepal -- and, for a second time in his life, living in huts without electricity or running water. That hadn't worked out, and he secured a job as an assistant manager on a tea estate in the far reaches of Assam, one of the first Indians to break into the hitherto 'ex pat' domain of tea planting. He and Urmila Paul, known universally as Umi, married in November. She was from a Christian family and they had a Christian wedding at her uncle's home in the Lodhi Estate in Delhi. Indira Gandhi attended and brought a note from her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, bestowing his blessings....

Towards the close of 1956, Delhi hosted a major international Buddhist gathering that was Freda's introduction to the Tibetan schools of Buddhism, which are in the Mahayana tradition as distinct from the Theravada school which is predominant in Burma. This Buddha Jayanti was to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Buddha's life. The Indian government wanted Tibet's Buddhist leaders to attend, particularly the Dalai Lama, who was that rare combination of temporal ruler and spiritual leader of his people. The Chinese authorities initially said no but at the last minute relented. Jawaharlal Nehru was at Delhi airport to welcome the twenty-one year old Dalai Lama on his first visit to India; the young Tibetan leader had at this stage not made up his mind whether he would return to his Chinese-occupied homeland or lead a Tibetan independence movement in exile. Freda played a role in welcoming the Tibetan delegation to the Indian capital. 'The radiance and good humour of the Dalai Lama was something we shall never forget,' she told Olive Chandler. 'I also got a chance of shepherding the official tour of the International delegates to India's Buddhist shrines and made many new friends.' A snatch of newsreel footage shows Freda Bedi at the side of the Dalai Lama at Ashoka Vihar, the Buddhist centre outside Delhi where the Bedi family had camped out a few years earlier. Both Kabir and Guli were also there, the latter peering out nervously between a heavily garlanded Dalai Lama and her sari-clad mother.19 Freda also received the Dalai Lama's blessing.

In the following year, when she made a brief visit to Britain, Freda made a point of visiting the main Buddhist centres in London and meeting Christmas Humphreys, a judge who was the most prominent of the tiny band of converts to Buddhism in Britain. She was becoming well-known and well-connected as a practitioner of Buddhism. What prompted her to become not simply a devotee but an activist once more was the Dalai Lama's second visit to India -- in circumstances hugely different from his first. Nehru had dissuaded the Dalai Lama from staying in India after the Buddha Jayanti celebrations. Early in 1959, Tibet rose up against Chinese rule, an insurrection which provoked a steely response. The Dalai Lama and his retinue, fearing for their lives and for Tibet's Buddhist traditions and learning, fled across the Himalayas, crossing into India at the end of March and reaching the town of Tezpur in Assam on 18th April 1959. Tens of thousands of Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama, undergoing immense hardships as they traversed across the mountains and sought to evade the Chinese army. Freda felt impelled to get involved.

'Technically, I was Welfare Adviser to the Ministry,' Freda wrote of her time at the Tibetan refugee camps in north-east India; 'actually I was Mother to a camp full of soldiers, lamas, peasants and families.' It was a role she found fulfilling. Freda was able to use the skills and contacts she had developed as a social worker and civil servant and at the same time to be nourished by the spirituality evident among those who congregated in the camps. The needs of the refugees were profound. For many, the journeys had been harrowing -- avoiding Chinese troops, travelling on foot across the world's most daunting mountain range and sometimes reduced to eating yak leather to stave off starvation. Many failed to complete the journey. And while the Indian camps offered sanctuary, they were insanitary, overcrowded and badly organised. For hundreds of those who arrived tattered, malnourished and vulnerable to disease, the camps were places to die.

In October 1959, six months after the camps were set up, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's prime minister, asked Freda to visit them and report back -- though it may be more accurate to say that Freda badgered her old friend into giving her this role....

Her most immediate task was to remedy the shortcomings in the running of these hastily set-up camps. She used the privileged access she had to India's decision makers. She went straight to the top -- to Nehru. And he listened. In early December, Nehru sent a note to India's foreign secretary, the country's most senior career diplomat, asking for a response to concerns that Freda had brought to the prime minister's notice. He endorsed one of Freda's suggestions, 'the absolute necessity of social workers being attached to the camps'.

The normal official machinery (Nehru wrote) is not adequate for this purpose, however good it might be. The lack of even such ordinary things as soap and the inadequacy of clothing etc. should not occur if a person can get out of official routines. But more than the lack of things is the social approach.

What concerned Nehru even more was Freda's complaint of endemic corruption. 'She says that "I am convinced that there is very bad corruption among the lower clerical staff in Missamari [sic]". Heavy bribery is referred to. She suggested in her note on corruption that an immediate secret investigation should take place in this matter.' Nehru ordered action to investigate, and if necessary to remove, corrupt officials. 'It is not enough for the local police to be asked to do it,' he instructed. It's not clear what remedial measures were taken but the interest in the running of the Tibetan camps shown by the prime minister and by his daughter, Indira Gandhi, will have helped to redress the most acute of the problems facing the refugees there....

Towards the close of her six months in the camps, Freda Bedi again sought out Nehru, and this time was more insistent about the measures the Indian government needed to take to meet its responsibilities towards the refugees. She wrote to the prime minister to pass on the representations of 'the representatives of the Venerable Lamas and monks of the famous monasteries ... living in Misamari', though the vigour with which she expressed herself -- this was not the temperately worded letter that India's prime minister would be more accustomed to receive -- underlines her own anger at what she saw as the harsh treatment of the Tibetan clerics in particular. Her main concern was the enrolling of Tibetan refugees on road building projects.

Roadwork is heaving, exhausting, and nomadic, it is utterly unsuited to monks who have lived for long years in settled monastic communities. They can't 'take it', any more than could our lecturers, or officials, or Ashramites, or university faculties and students. Let us face that fact, and make more determined efforts to rehabilitate them in their own groups on land.

She insisted that those who did not offer to do roadwork were not lazy, and that almost all those in the camps were 'eager and willing to work on land in a settled Community'. And she sought lenience for some of those involved in roadwork who were penalised as 'deserters' when they were forced to leave their duties because rain washed away the roads or had made shelter and food supplies precarious. 'I feel it is not worthy of Gov[ernmen]t to be vindictive when the refugees have already suffered as much in Tibet,' she told Nehru. 'We should be big hearted.'

She warned Nehru that the Indian government's responsibility for Tibetan monks wasn't limited to the 700 or so in Dalhousie in the north Indian hills and the 1,500 which at this date -- March 1960 -- were at Buxa. There were a further 1,200 monks in Misamari and new arrivals expected for some months more, and another 1,500 refugees outside the government camps living in and around the Indian border towns of Kalimpong and Darjeeling and 'in a pitiable condition'. Freda was speaking from personal observation. Her letter concluded with an appeal and a warning, again couched in language that only a personal friend could use to address a prime minister:

Panditji, I am specially asking your help as I do not want a residue of over one thousand unhappy lamas and monks to be left on our hands when Misamari closed. Nor do I want to hear totally unfair statements that 'they won't work'. I am sure you will help to clarify matters in Delhi.

Nehru asked his foreign secretary to investigate, who replied with a robust defence of the use of refugees in road-building projects. They were not acting under compulsion, he insisted, and this was a temporary measure while more permanent arrangements were made for accommodation and rehabilitation. And he suggested that some at least of the refugees were work shy, expressing just the sort of view that Freda had insisted was so unjust and uncaring. 'Mrs Bedi complains that we have been hard on the Lamas,' the foreign secretary wrote in a note to Nehru. 'There are various grades of Lamas, from the highly spiritual ones -- the incarnate Lamas -- to those who merely serve as attendents [sic]. Our information now is that having found life relatively easy ... many ordinary people who would otherwise have to earn their living by work, are taking to beads and putting forward claims as Lamas. I feel that some pressure should be brought to bear on this kind of people to do some useful work.'

In her letter to the prime minister, Freda had mused that if Nehru could see the Buxa and Misamari camps, 'I feel you would instinctively realise the major unsolved policy problems here on the spot.' In a testament to her personal sway with India's leader, the following month Nehru did indeed visit Misamari. He spent two hours at the camp, looking round the hospital and seeing Tibetan girls who were being trained in handloom weaving. He addressed a crowd which consisted of almost all the 2,800 Tibetans then at Misamari, assuring them that he would act on an appeal he had received from the Dalai Lama to extend arrangements for educating both the young and adults. There was no greater spur to official attention to the Tibetans' welfare than the prime minister's personal oversight of the issue. And if any had doubted just how much influence Freda held with the prime minister, persuading him to travel across the country to one of its most difficult-to-reach corners demonstrated just how influential and effective she was.

Freda did not let the matter drop. On her return to Delhi in June, she called on the prime minister and in a remarkable demonstration of her moral authority and personal influence, cajoled Nehru to write to one of his top civil servants that same evening to express his disquiet about what he had heard concerning recent ministry instructions.

One is the order that all the new refugees, without any screening, should be sent on somewhere for road-making, etc. This seems to me unwise and impracticable. These refugees differ greatly, and to treat them as if they were all alike, is not at all wise. There are, I suppose, senior Lamas, junior Lamas, people totally unused to any physical work etc. ...

Sending people for road-making when they are entirely opposed to it, will probably create dis-affection in the road-making groups which have now settled down more-or-less. I was also told that the mortality rate increases.

It reads almost as if Freda was dictating the prime minister's note. She also prompted Nehru to question a reduction in rations for those in the camps, and to urge the provision of wheat, a much more familiar part of the Tibetan diet, rather than rice. Freda Bedi was, Nehru warned, going to call on the ministry the following day -- and civil servants were urged to take immediate action on these and any other pressing issues she raised. 'I do not want the fairly good record we have set up in our treatment of these refugees,' the prime minister asserted, 'to be spoiled now by attempts at economy or lack of care.'

Nehru's more persistent concern was the impact of providing refuge to the Dalai Lama and so many of his followers on relations with India's powerful eastern neighbour. A steady deterioration in relations eventually led to a short border war in 1962 which -- to Nehru's shock and distress -- China won. In the immediate aftermath of that military setback, Nehru came to address troops at Misamari camp, which had reverted to serving as a military base. Nevertheless, India persisted with its open-door policy for Tibetans, and somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 refugees followed the Dalai Lama into India. The Dalai Lama and his immediate entourage were settled in the hill town of Dharamsala in north India, which became the headquarters of Tibet's government-in-exile. One of Freda's more quixotic interventions with Nehru was to argue that the Dalai Lama and his entourage should remain in their temporary home in the hill resort of Mussoorie rather than relocated to Dharamsala. Nehru replied that he found her arguments 'singularly feeble'.

Freda found her time in the Assam camps both physically and emotionally draining. On her return to Delhi she was admitted to hospital suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion. It was sufficiently serious for Kabir and Gulhima to be brought down from their boarding school in the hills. The doctors said their presence might lift her spirits. 'She responded well to our being there,' Gull says. 'Initially when we went in to see her she did not respond. But the next day she was sitting up and spoke.' Once recovered, she was determined to have a continuing role promoting the welfare of Tibetan refugees even though she was returning to her government job editing Social Welfare. Reading between the lines of Nehru's missives, Freda seems to have lobbied him on this point. 'If possible, I should like to take advantage of her work in future,' Nehru noted. 'She knows these refugees and they have got to know her. Could we arrange with the Central Social Welfare Board to give her to us for two or three weeks at a time after suitable intervals?'

When Freda confided to her friend Olive Chandler that her heart was in working with the Tibetans, she was saying what was becoming increasingly evident to her colleagues in the Social Welfare Board. 'Freda went to these camps and her heart bled,' according to her friend and colleague Tara All Baig. 'She neglected her work with the Board more and more, travelling to the centres especially in Bengal and Dehra Dun where distress was greatest.' Her boss, the formidable Durgabai Deshmukh, got fed up with Freda's preoccupation with the Tibetan issue to the exclusion of other aspects of her work. She was determined to sack Freda, and only Baig's personal intervention saved her job. 'I was lashed by Durgabai's best legal arguments against retaining her. But Freda had children and needed her job. I weathered the storm and was rewarded with Freda's reinstatement.' She survived in her government post for another couple of years, by which time the pull of working more fully and directly with the lamas among the Tibetan refugees had become compelling.

In her letters and representations to Nehru about conditions in the Tibetan camps, Freda raised an issue about the treatment of the monks and lamas which became for her a mission. 'We are not trying seriously or systematically to send them to educational institutions to teach them English or Hindi or the provincial regional languages, without which they cannot be suitably rehabilitated,' she lamented. 'A small number should be sent now so that they can, after about 1-2 years, return to their monasteries/farms and teach the others.' Nehru, once again, endorsed Freda's suggestion and passed it on to civil servants, insisting that 'some priority' must be given to arranging teaching of languages in the camps, and to adults as well as children. Freda understood that there would be no early return to Tibet for the refugees and if the spiritual tradition which she and the Tibetans so greatly valued was to survive, then it would need to adapt to its new surroundings. She also wanted the world to appreciate Tibetan Buddhism and to have access to its richness -- to share her discovery and the joy that it brought. And for both these goals, that meant educating the coming generation of spiritual leaders -- not simply ensuring that their religious instruction and guidance continued in their new home, but that they gained proficiency in English and Hindi....

Of all the ventures that Freda Bedi embarked upon in her varied life, the Young Lamas' Home School has borne the biggest legacy....

Lang-Sims saw at close quarters the setting up of the Home School. The house was newly built with stone floors, standing on raised ground on an 'exceptionally pleasant' site amid an expanse of scrubland....

Freda's energy, drive and organisation had established the school and marshalled the young lamas. She was every bit as effective at developing the profile of the new school, which was so important in ensuring continued government support and private fundraising. With an eye perhaps on both goals, Freda took Lois Lang-Sims to meet Nehru, then in his early seventies and increasingly worn-out after fourteen years in office. 'Freda expressed her gratitude for his encouragement and assistance in her school project: suddenly he really smiled, seeming to wake out of his dream, and said teasingly, in a very low, quiet voice: "It was not for you I did it." Then he half closed his eyes and appeared almost to go to sleep.'

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Men often call themselves progressive when they only mean that they are not reactionary. Progressive men start and lead progressive movements like the many we have seen spring up around us all over the world in the last two decades. Some of these progressive movements have had a great fascination for Nehru. He always likes to be looked upon as a modern; he wants to be a Picasso hung up in the Royal Academy, looking upon the classical forms around him with a supercilious air. He is easily moved by the righteousness of a cause and by anything that smacks of a crusade. He always comes back from his trips abroad full of admiration for some other people in some other part of the world who may be fighting their battle for freedom, whether that battle is to achieve freedom or to retain it. He is fond of reading literature which speaks the language of freedom. All this has endeared him to our people, to whom he is more a legend than a practical leader. In terms of folklore, he could be likened to a prince, ready with his sword to defend the unarmed, to guard the rights of man, to fight for human justice. But all this Tennysonian allegory of the days of King Arthur and Lancelot does not sit so well at the desk of the Prime Minister of India, more especially when this knight with the shining piece of steel has constantly got to dip it in ordinary blue-black ink to append his signature to executive actions, some of which could be likened to those of a small-town dictator in a neo-fascist state. That new streak, perceptible in Jawaharlal Nehru, some say has come with responsibility; others strongly suspect it has come with power.

To understand this, one has to go back fifteen years, when, in the staid Modern Review [1. November 1937.] of Calcutta, a magazine which circulates among ‘highbrows’ only, there appeared an article, anonymously written, entitled ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’. Readers of the Modern Review were disturbed by the appearance of this ridiculously melodramatic article in an otherwise weighty publication. The author was obviously an enthusiastic college student whom the editor was trying desperately hard to encourage. Nehru was at that time President of the Indian National Congress, and he had indicated his unwillingness to carry on the appointment for another term. The young writer was trying to dissuade the Congress from reelecting him, on the grounds that in Jawaharlal was the germ of a fascist, and that if he were pampered too much, the pampering would go to his head. Of course, he wrote in glowing terms about Jawaharlal all the way through the article, as some of the passages quoted below will indicate:

‘ . . . The Rashtrapati [2. Sanskrit word for President.] looked up as he passed swiftly through the waiting crowds, his hands went up and were joined together in salute and his pale hard face was lit up by a smile. It was a warm personal smile, and the people who saw it responded to it immediately and smiled and cheered in return.

‘The smile passed away and again the face became stern and sad, impassive in the midst of the emotion that it had roused in the multitude. Almost it seemed that the smile and the gesture accompanying it had little reality behind them; they were just tricks of the trade to gain the goodwill of the crowds whose darling he had become. Was it so?

‘Watch him again. There is a great procession, and tens of thousands of persons surround his car and cheer him in an ecstasy of abandonment. He stands on the seat of the car, balancing himself rather well, straight and seemingly tall, like a god, serene and unmoved by the seething multitude. Suddenly there is that smile again, or even a merry laugh, and the tension seems to break and the crowd laughs with him, not knowing what he is laughing at. He is god-like no longer but a human being, claiming kinship and comradeship with the thousands who surround him, and the crowd feels happy and friendly and takes him to its heart. But the smile is gone and the pale stern face is there again . . .

Jawaharlal is a personality which compels interest and attention. But they have a vital significance for us, for he is bound up with the present in India, and probably the future and he has the power in him to do great good to India or great injury ....

‘ . . . From the far north to Cape Comorin he has gone like some triumphant Caesar passing by, leaving a trail of glory and a legend behind him. Is all this for him just a passing fancy which amuses him, or some deep design or the play of some force which he himself does not know? Is it his will to power of which he speaks in his autobiography that is driving him from crowd to crowd and making him whisper to himself: “I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars”?’

Then came the young writer’s warning:

‘. . . Men like Jawaharlal with all their capacity for great and good work are unsafe in a democracy. He calls himself a democrat and a socialist, and no doubt he does so in all earnestness, but every psychologist knows that the mind is ultimately a slave to the heart and that logic can always be made to fit in with the desires and irrepressible urges of man. A little twist and Jawaharlal might turn into a dictator, sweeping aside the paraphernalia of a slow-moving democracy. He might still use the language and slogans of democracy and socialism, but we all know how fascism has fattened on this language and then cast it away as useless lumber.' (The italics are mine.)

On the other hand, the writer went on to say, ‘Jawaharlal is certainly not fascist either by conviction or by temperament. He is far too much of an aristocrat for the crudity and vulgarity of fascism ...’ Since when has aristocracy been a bar to fascism? In fact, history proves that it has fostered it. But when an editor decides to encourage a young man who fancies he has a flair for writing, it would be pointless to mutilate the script on grounds of historical accuracy. So the Modern Review printed this effusion, obviously without any sub-editing.

Soon the young writer was becoming wobbly. He could not make up his mind about Jawaharlal, and ended by proving that Jawarharlal could not become a fascist but that he would! The passages in the article that followed read:

‘Jawaharlal cannot become a fascist. And yet he has all the makings of a dictator in him -- vast popularity, strong will directed to a well-defined purpose, energy, pride, organisational capacity, ability, hardness, and, with all his love of the crowd, an intolerance of others and certain contempt for the weak and inefficient. His flashes of temper are well known, and even when they are controlled, the curling of the lips betrays him. His overmastering desire to get things done, to sweep away what he dislikes and build anew, will hardly brook for long the slow process of democracy. He may keep the husk but he will see to it that it bends to his will. In normal times he would just be an efficient and successful executive, but in this revolutionary epoch, Caesarism is always at the door, and is it not possible that Jawaharlal might fancy himself as a Caesar?

‘Therein lies danger for Jawaharlal and for India. For it is not through Caesarism that India will attain freedom, and though she may prosper a little under a benevolent and efficient despotism she will remain stunted, and the day of emancipation of her people will be delayed . . .

‘Let us not . . . spoil him by too much adulation and praise. His conceit, if any, is already formidable. It must be checked. We want no Caesars.’

This quite incredible article, which read like a rough shooting script for a Cecil B. De Mille version of an Indian Quo Vadis, was obviously not taken seriously by anyone except the author himself. It certainly made no difference whatsoever to the Indian National Congress, which voted Jawaharlal as President despite all warnings.

Imagine our surprise when some years later it was revealed that the author of this anonymous absurdity was none other than Jawaharlal Nehru himself....

The people of the world are accustomed to see Pandit Nehru as he appears in their capitals, with a pleasant, friendly grin on his face, stretching out his hand for a warm handshake or joined in the Indian manner of namaskar. They know him as the essence of gentility, a humble little Pandit from India, educated at Harrow and Cambridge. But that is not the Nehru we know. There is very little humility in him now, and even the little he had learned from Mahatma Gandhi is hardly to be evidenced these days. Nehru’s concept of humility is that the Indians should gather to acclaim him as the greatest of them all, and that he should try to dissuade them from such a process of thought. The article which Pandit Nehru wrote on himself in the Modern Review appears to substantiate this view.

There is nothing humble about the way he runs his cabinet; to his ministers he is like a schoolmaster taking his class. Only two of his colleagues, Maulana Azad and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, exercise any influence over him. Of the rest, two more, Deshmukh and Gopalswamy Ayangar, stand on their dignity, but most of the others who theoretically share joint cabinet responsibility according to the parliamentary convention, find moron-like agreement with their Prime Minister, once he expresses a definite view. A grunt from Nehru produces immediate acceptance of an idea. A dissenting opinion, apologetically expressed and prefaced by: 'I wonder, Mr Prime Minister, whether we should not also consider . . .’ produces a look of disgust on his face, which indicates how utterly stupid the Prime Minister regards such a suggestion to be, and, if occasion arises, Pandit Nehru is not unwilling to say it in so many words. The more ambitious anglers for power, which can only emanate from his authority, now spend their time trying to forecast how he is likely to react on any matter which they may have to discuss with him.

-- Nehru: The Lotus Eater From Kashmir, by D.F. Karaka

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947
1st Prime Minister of India
In office: 15 August 1947 – 27 May 1964
Monarch: George VI (until 26 January 1950)
President: Rajendra Prasad; Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Governor General: The Earl Mountbatten of Burma; Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (until 26 January 1950)
Deputy: Vallabhbhai Patel (until 1950)
Preceded by: Position established
Himself as Vice President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by: Gulzarilal Nanda (Acting)
Minister of Defence
In office: 31 October 1962 – 14 November 1962
Preceded by: V. K. Krishna Menon
Succeeded by: Yashwantrao Chavan
In office: 30 January 1957 – 17 April 1957
Preceded by: Kailash Nath Katju
Succeeded by: V. K. Krishna Menon
In office: 10 February 1953 – 10 January 1955
Preceded by: N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
Succeeded by: Kailash Nath Katju
Minister of Finance
In office: 13 February 1958 – 13 March 1958
Preceded by: Tiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachariar
Succeeded by: Morarji Desai
In office: 24 July 1956 – 30 August 1956
Preceded by: Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh
Succeeded by: Tiruvellore Thattai Krishnamachariar
Minister of External Affairs
In office: 2 September 1946 – 27 May 1964
Preceded by: Position established
Succeeded by: Gulzarilal Nanda
Vice President of Executive Council
In office: 2 September 1946 – 15 August 1947
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office: 1952-1964
Preceded by: constituency established
Succeeded by: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Constituency: Phulpur, Uttar Pradesh
Personal details
Born: 14 November 1889, Allahabad, North-Western Provinces, British India (present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died: 27 May 1964 (aged 74), New Delhi, Delhi, India
Cause of death: Heart attack
Resting place: Shantivan
Political party: Indian National Congress
Spouse(s): Kamala Nehru (m. 1916; died 1936)
Children: Indira Gandhi
Parents: Pandit Motilal Nehru; Swarup Rani Nehru
Relatives: See Nehru–Gandhi family
Alma mater: Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A.)
Inner Temple (Barrister-at-Law)
Occupation: Barrister writer politician
Awards: Bharat Ratna (1955)

Jawaharlal Nehru (/ˈneɪruː, ˈnɛruː/;[1] Hindi: [ˈdʒəʋaːɦərˈlaːl ˈneːɦru] (About this soundlisten); 14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India.[2] He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru (Hindi, lit., "Uncle Nehru").[3][4]

The son of Motilal Nehru, a prominent lawyer and nationalist statesman and Swaroop Rani, Nehru was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Inner Temple, where he trained to be a barrister. Upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s. He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, and eventually of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. As Congress President in 1929, Nehru called for complete independence from the British Raj and instigated the Congress's decisive shift towards the left.

Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence. His idea of a secular nation-state was seemingly validated when the Congress swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces; on the other hand, the separatist Muslim League fared much poorer. But these achievements were severely compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British effectively crush the Congress as a political organisation. Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape. The Muslim League under his old Congress colleague and now opponent, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had come to dominate Muslim politics in India. Negotiations between Congress and Muslim League for power sharing failed and gave way to the independence and bloody partition of India in 1947.

Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor. As Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India's transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party system. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia.

Under Nehru's leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas (Children's Day).
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Part 2 of 4

Early life and career (1889–1912)

Birth and family background

Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14 November 1889 in Allahabad in British India. His father, Motilal Nehru (1861–1931), a self-made wealthy barrister who belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community,[5] served twice as President of the Indian National Congress, in 1919 and 1928. His mother, Swaruprani Thussu (1868–1938), who came from a well-known Kashmiri Brahmin family settled in Lahore,[6] was Motilal's second wife, the first having died in child birth. Jawaharlal was the eldest of three children, two of whom were girls.[7] The elder sister, Vijaya Lakshmi, later became the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly.[8] The youngest sister, Krishna Hutheesing, became a noted writer and authored several books on her brother.


Nehru described his childhood as a "sheltered and uneventful one". He grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at wealthy homes including a palatial estate called the Anand Bhavan. His father had him educated at home by private governesses and tutors.[9] Under the influence of a tutor, Ferdinand T. Brooks, he became interested in science and theosophy.[10] He was subsequently initiated into the Theosophical Society at age thirteen by family friend Annie Besant. However, his interest in theosophy did not prove to be enduring and he left the society shortly after Brooks departed as his tutor.[11] He wrote: "for nearly three years [Brooks] was with me and in many ways he influenced me greatly".[10]

After Blavatsky died in 1891, William Quan Judge became involved in a dispute with Henry Steel Olcott and Annie Besant over Judge allegedly forging letters from the Mahatmas. As a result, he ended his association with Olcott and Besant during 1895 and took most of the Society's American Section with him. He managed his new organization for about a year until his death in New York City, whereupon Katherine Tingley became manager. The organization originating from the faction of Olcott and Besant is based in India and known as the Theosophical Society - Adyar, while the organization managed by Judge is known nowadays simply as the Theosophical Society, but often with the specification, "international headquarters, Pasadena, California." The Theosophical Society - Adyar is the group denounced as Neo-Theosophy by those who are followers of William Q. Judge and the original teachings of Madame Blavatsky; they do not accept what they regard as the Neo-Theosophical teachings of Annie Besant, Henry Olcott, and C. W. Leadbeater.

The term Neo-Theosophy was coined by Ferdinand T. Brooks around 1912 in a book called Neo Theosophy Exposed, the second part of an earlier book called The Theosophical Society and its Esoteric Bogeydom.
Around 1924, Margaret Thomas published a book called Theosophy Versus Neo-Theosophy. This book, now available online, presents a detailed critical comparison of Blavatskyian Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy.

G. R. S. Mead who was also highly critical of the clairvoyant researches of Besant and Leadbeater, remaining loyal to Blavatskyian Theosophy, also used the term Neo-Theosophy to refer to Besant's movement. For him "Theosophy" meant the wisdom element in the great world religions and philosophies.

Later, the term Neo-Theosophical came to be used outside Theosophical circles to refer to groups formed by former Theosophists as well as groups whose central premises borrow heavily from Blavatskyian Theosophy. Robert S. Ellwood, in his 1973 book Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America referred to organizations that had been formed by former Theosophists as "devolutions of Theosophy" and included in his survey "Neo-Gnostic groups and Neo-Rosicrucian groups [...] the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, [...] Alice Bailey's groups, (Guy Ballard's) "I AM" Activity and Max Heindel's Rosicrucianism. In a later book, Alternative Altars (1979) Professor Ellwood added;

Alice Bailey (1880 - 1949), founder of the Arcane School and the Full Moon Meditation Groups, and Guy Ballard (1878 - 1930), of the "I AM" movement, are representative of those who have started activities based on new and special communications from Theosophical Masters.

The author Daryl S. Paulson associates "neo-Theosophy" with Alice Bailey.

Other neo-Theosophists include Steiner's contemporary Peter Deunov and Samael Aun Weor, who introduced theosophical teachings to Latin America. Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley were also influencers of (and influenced by) the leading edge of the theosophical movement, which in turn influenced Anton LaVey's Satanism, L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology, Wicca, and the modern New Age and New Thought movements. (Alice Bailey introduced the term New Age).[8] Some examples of Neo-Theosophists today include Benjamin Creme and Douglas Baker.

-- Neo-Theosophy, by Theosophy Wiki

Nehru's theosophical interests had induced him to the study of the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures.[12] According to Bal Ram Nanda, these scriptures were Nehru's "first introduction to the religious and cultural heritage of [India]....[they] provided Nehru the initial impulse for [his] long intellectual quest which The Discovery of India."[12]


Nehru became an ardent nationalist during his youth.[13] The Second Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War intensified his feelings. About the latter he wrote, "[The] Japanese victories [had] stirred up my enthusiasm ... Nationalistic ideas filled my mind ... I mused of Indian freedom and Asiatic freedom from the thraldom of Europe."[10] Later when he had begun his institutional schooling in 1905 at Harrow, a leading school in England, he was greatly influenced by G. M. Trevelyan's Garibaldi books, which he had received as prizes for academic merit.[14] He viewed Garibaldi as a revolutionary hero. He wrote: "Visions of similar deeds in India came before, of [my] gallant fight for [Indian] freedom and in my mind India and Italy got strangely mixed together."[10]


Nehru went to Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1907 and graduated with an honours degree in natural science in 1910.[15] During this period, he also studied politics, economics, history and literature desultorily. Writings of Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, J.M. Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Lowes Dickinson and Meredith Townsend moulded much of his political and economic thinking.[10]

After completing his degree in 1910, Nehru moved to London and studied law at Inner temple Inn[16] During this time, he continued to study the scholars of the Fabian Society including Beatrice Webb.[10] He was called to the Bar in 1912.[17][16]

Advocate practice

After returning to India in August 1912, Nehru enrolled himself as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court and tried to settle down as a barrister. But, unlike his father, he had only a desultory interest in his profession and did not relish either the practice of law or the company of lawyers. He wrote: "Decidedly the atmosphere was not intellectually stimulating and a sense of the utter insipidity of life grew upon me."[10] His involvement in nationalist politics would gradually replace his legal practice in the coming years.[10]

The Nehru family c. 1890s

Nehru dressed in cadet uniform at Harrow School in England

Nehru in khaki uniform as a member of Seva Dal

Nehru at the Allahabad High Court

Struggle for Indian independence (1912–1947)

In Britain

Nehru had developed an interest in Indian politics during his time in Britain as a student and a barrister.[18]

Early contribution on return to India

Within months of his return to India in 1912, Nehru attended an annual session of the Indian National Congress in Patna.[19] Congress in 1912 was the party of moderates and elites,[19] and he was disconcerted by what he saw as "very much an English-knowing upper-class affair".[20] Nehru harboured doubts regarding the effectiveness of Congress but agreed to work for the party in support of the Indian civil rights movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa,[21] collecting funds for the movement in 1913.[19] Later, he campaigned against indentured labour and other such discrimination faced by Indians in the British colonies.[22]

World War I

When World War I broke out, sympathy in India was divided. Although educated Indians "by and large took a vicarious pleasure" in seeing the British rulers humbled, the ruling upper classes sided with the Allies. Nehru confessed that he viewed the war with mixed feelings. Frank Moraes wrote: "If [Nehru's] sympathy was with any country it was with France, whose culture he greatly admired."[23] During the war, Nehru volunteered for the St John Ambulance and worked as one of the provincial secretaries of the organisation in Allahabad.[19] He also spoke out against the censorship acts passed by the British government in India.[24]

Nehru in 1919 with wife Kamala and daughter Indira

Nehru emerged from the war years as a leader whose political views were considered radical. Although the political discourse had been dominated at this time by Gopal Krishna Gokhale,[21] a moderate who said that it was "madness to think of independence",[19] Nehru had spoken "openly of the politics of non-cooperation, of the need of resigning from honorary positions under the government and of not continuing the futile politics of representation".[25] He ridiculed the Indian Civil Service for its support of British policies. He noted that someone had once defined the Indian Civil Service, "with which we are unfortunately still afflicted in this country, as neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service".[26] Motilal Nehru, a prominent moderate leader, acknowledged the limits of constitutional agitation, but counselled his son that there was no other "practical alternative" to it. Nehru, however, was not satisfied with the pace of the national movement. He became involved with aggressive nationalists leaders who were demanding Home Rule for Indians.[27]

The influence of the moderates on Congress politics began to wane after Gokhale died in 1915.[19] Anti-moderate leaders such as Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak took the opportunity to call for a national movement for Home Rule. But, in 1915, the proposal was rejected because of the reluctance of the moderates to commit to such a radical course of action. Besant nevertheless formed a league for advocating Home Rule in 1916; and Tilak, on his release from a prison term, had in April 1916 formed his own league.[19] Nehru joined both leagues but worked especially for the former.[28] He remarked later: "[Besant] had a very powerful influence on me in my childhood... even later when I entered political life her influence continued."[28] Another development which brought about a radical change in Indian politics was the espousal of Hindu-Muslim unity with the Lucknow Pact at the annual meeting of the Congress in December 1916. The pact had been initiated earlier in the year at Allahabad at a meeting of the All India Congress Committee which was held at the Nehru residence at Anand Bhawan. Nehru welcomed and encouraged the rapprochement between the two Indian communities.[28]

Home rule movement

Several nationalist leaders banded together in 1916 under the leadership of Annie Besant to voice a demand for self-governance, and to obtain the status of a Dominion within the British Empire as enjoyed by Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland at the time. Nehru joined the movement and rose to become secretary of Besant's Home Rule League.[28][29] In June 1917 Besant was arrested and interned by the British government. The Congress and various other Indian organisations threatened to launch protests if she were not set free. The British government was subsequently forced to release Besant and make significant concessions after a period of intense protest.


The first big national involvement of Nehru came at the onset of the Non-Cooperation movement in 1920. He led the movement in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Nehru was arrested on charges of anti-governmental activities in 1921, and was released a few months later.[30] In the rift that formed within the Congress following the sudden closure of the Non-Cooperation movement after the Chauri Chaura incident, Nehru remained loyal to Gandhi and did not join the Swaraj Party formed by his father Motilal Nehru and CR Das.[31]

Internationalising struggle for Indian independence

Nehru and his daughter Indira in Britain, 1930s

Nehru played a leading role in the development of the internationalist outlook of the Indian independence struggle. He sought foreign allies for India and forged links with movements for independence and democracy all over the world. In 1927, his efforts paid off and the Congress was invited to attend the congress of oppressed nationalities in Brussels in Belgium. The meeting was called to co-ordinate and plan a common struggle against imperialism. Nehru represented India and was elected to the Executive Council of the League against Imperialism that was born at this meeting.[32]

Increasingly, Nehru saw the struggle for independence from British imperialism as a multi-national effort by the various colonies and dominions of the Empire; some of his statements on this matter, however, were interpreted as complicity with the rise of Hitler and his espoused intentions. In the face of these allegations, Nehru responded, "We have sympathy for the national movement of Arabs in Palestine because it is directed against British Imperialism. Our sympathies cannot be weakened by the fact that the national movement coincides with Hitler's interests."[33]

Mid 1930s

During the mid-1930s, Nehru was much concerned with developments in Europe, which seemed to be drifting toward another world war. He was in Europe in early 1936, visiting his ailing wife, shortly before she died in a sanitarium in Switzerland.[34] At that time, he emphasised that, in the event of war, India's place was alongside the democracies, though he insisted that India could only fight in support of Great Britain and France as a free country.[35]

Parting company with Subhas Chandra Bose

Nehru worked closely with Subhas Chandra Bose in developing good relations with governments of free countries all over the world. However, the two split in the late 1930s, when Bose agreed to seek the help of fascists in driving the British out of India. At the same time, Nehru had supported the Republicans who were fighting against Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War.[36] Nehru along with his aide V. K. Krishna Menon visited Spain and declared support for the Republicans. He refused to meet Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy when the latter expressed his desire to meet him.[37][38]

Nehru in a procession at Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, 14 October 1937


Nehru was one of the first nationalist leaders to realise the sufferings of the people in the states ruled by Indian princes. In 1923, he suffered imprisonment in Nabha, a princely state, when he went there to see the struggle that was being waged by the Sikhs against the corrupt Mahants.[39][40] The nationalist movement had been confined to the territories under direct British rule. He helped to make the struggle of the people in the princely states a part of the nationalist movement for independence.[40][41] The All India States Peoples Conference (AISPC) was formed in 1927. Nehru who had been supporting the cause of the people of the princely states for many years was made the President of the organization in 1939.[42] He opened up its ranks to membership from across the political spectrum. The body would play an important role during the political integration of India, helping Indian leaders Vallabhbhai Patel and V. P. Menon (to whom Nehru had delegated the task of integrating the princely states into India) negotiate with hundreds of princes.[43][44]

Princely states

In July 1946, Nehru pointedly observed that no princely state could prevail militarily against the army of independent India.[45] In January 1947, he said that independent India would not accept the Divine right of kings,[46] and in May 1947, he declared that any princely state which refused to join the Constituent Assembly would be treated as an enemy state.[45] Vallabhbhai Patel and V.P. Menon were more conciliatory towards the princes, and as the men charged with integrating the states, were successful in the task.[47] During the drafting of the Indian constitution, many Indian leaders (except Nehru) of that time were in favour of allowing each princely state or covenanting state to be independent as a federal state along the lines suggested originally by the Government of India Act 1935. But as the drafting of the constitution progressed and the idea of forming a republic took concrete shape, it was decided that all the princely states/covenanting States would merge with the Indian republic.

Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, as prime minister, de-recognised all the rulers by a presidential order in 1969, a decision struck down by the Supreme Court of India. Eventually, her government by the 26th amendment to the constitution was successful in derecognizing these former rulers and ending the privy purse paid to them in 1971.[48]

In a series of letters Nehru wrote to his ten-year-old daughter Indira in 1928, Letters from a Father to His Daughter, he promotes the republican model of government to her, and heavily criticizes the monarchs of India.

“When the patriarch’s office became hereditary, that is son succeeded father, there was little difference between him and a king. He developed into a king and the king got the strange notion that everything in the country belonged to him. He thought he was the country. ... Kings forgot that they were really chosen by the people in order to organize and distribute the food and other things of the country among the people. They forgot that they were chosen because they were supposed to be the cleverest and the most experienced persons in the tribe or country. They imagined that they were masters and all the other people in the country were their servants. As a matter of fact, they were servants of the country.

Later on ... kings became so conceited that they thought that people had nothing to do with choosing them. It was God himself, they said, that had made them kings. They called this the “divine right of kings.” For long years, they misbehaved like this and lived in great pomp and luxury while their people starved.

In India, we have still many rajas and maharajas and nawabs. You see them going about with fine clothes, in expensive motor cars and spending a lot of money on themselves. Where do they get all this money from? They get it in taxes from the people. The taxes are given so that the money may be used to help all the people in the country — by making schools and hospitals and libraries and museums and good roads and many other things for the good of the people. But our rajas and maharajas still think as the French king did of old L’etat c’est moi — “the state, it is I.” And they spend the money of the people on their own pleasures. While they live in luxury, their people, who work hard and give them the money, starve and their children have no schools to go to.”

1929 declaration of independence

Nehru was one of the first leaders to demand that the Congress Party should resolve to make a complete and explicit break from all ties with the British Empire. His resolution for independence was approved at the Madras session of Congress in 1927 despite Gandhi's criticism. At that time he also formed Independence for India league, a pressure group within the Congress.[49][50]

In 1928, Gandhi agreed to Nehru's demands and proposed a resolution that called for the British to grant dominion status to India within two years.[51] If the British failed to meet the deadline, the Congress would call upon all Indians to fight for complete independence. Nehru was one of the leaders who objected to the time given to the British – he pressed Gandhi to demand immediate actions from the British. Gandhi brokered a further compromise by reducing the time given from two years to one.[50] Nehru agreed to vote for the new resolution.

Demands for dominion status were rejected by the British in 1929.[52] Nehru assumed the presidency of the Congress party during the Lahore session on 29 December 1929 and introduced a successful resolution calling for complete independence.[52][53]

Draft of the declaration of independence

Nehru drafted the Indian declaration of independence, which stated:

We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence.[54]

At midnight on New Year's Eve 1929, Nehru hoisted the tricolour flag of India upon the banks of the Ravi in Lahore.[55] A pledge of independence was read out, which included a readiness to withhold taxes. The massive gathering of public attending the ceremony was asked if they agreed with it, and the vast majority of people were witnessed to raise their hands in approval. 172 Indian members of central and provincial legislatures resigned in support of the resolution and in accordance with Indian public sentiment. The Congress asked the people of India to observe 26 January as Independence Day. The flag of India was hoisted publicly across India by Congress volunteers, nationalists and the public. Plans for a mass civil disobedience were also underway.[56]

After the Lahore session of the Congress in 1929, Nehru gradually emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian independence movement. Gandhi stepped back into a more spiritual role. Although Gandhi did not officially designate Nehru his political heir until 1942, the country as early as the mid-1930s saw in Nehru the natural successor to Gandhi.[57]

Civil disobedience

Nehru and most of the Congress leaders were initially ambivalent about Gandhi's plan to begin civil disobedience with a satyagraha aimed at the British salt tax. After the protest gathered steam, they realised the power of salt as a symbol. Nehru remarked about the unprecedented popular response, "it seemed as though a spring had been suddenly released".[58] He was arrested on 14 April 1930 while on train from Allahabad for Raipur. He had earlier, after addressing a huge meeting and leading a vast procession, ceremoniously manufactured some contraband salt. He was charged with breach of the salt law, tried summarily behind prison walls and sentenced to six months of imprisonment.

He nominated Gandhi to succeed him as Congress President during his absence in jail, but Gandhi declined, and Nehru then nominated his father as his successor.[59][60] With Nehru's arrest the civil disobedience acquired a new tempo, and arrests, firing on crowds and lathi charges grew to be ordinary occurrences.

Salt satyagraha success

The salt satyagraha succeeded in drawing the attention of the world. Indian, British, and world opinion increasingly began to recognise the legitimacy of the claims by the Congress party for independence. Nehru considered the salt satyagraha the high-water mark of his association with Gandhi,[61] and felt that its lasting importance was in changing the attitudes of Indians:

Of course these movements exercised tremendous pressure on the British Government and shook the government machinery. But the real importance, to my mind, lay in the effect they had on our own people, and especially the village masses. ... Non-cooperation dragged them out of the mire and gave them self-respect and self-reliance. ... They acted courageously and did not submit so easily to unjust oppression; their outlook widened and they began to think a little in terms of India as a whole. ... It was a remarkable transformation and the Congress, under Gandhi's leadership, must have the credit for it.[62]

Architect of India

Gandhi and Nehru in 1942

Nehru elaborated the policies of the Congress and a future Indian nation in 1929.[63] He declared that the aims of the congress were freedom of religion, right to form associations, freedom of expression of thought, equality before law for every individual without distinction of caste, colour, creed or religion, protection to regional languages and cultures, safeguarding the interests of the peasants and labour, abolition of untouchability, introduction of adult franchise, imposition of prohibition, nationalisation of industries, socialism, and establishment of a secular India.[64] All these aims formed the core of the "Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy" resolution drafted by Nehru in 1929–31 and were ratified in 1931 by the Congress party session at Karachi chaired by Vallabhbhai Patel.[65][66] Gandhian right-wing Congressmen Vallabhbhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and C. Rajagopalachari.In the 1930s the Congress Socialist Party group was formed within the INC under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan, Narendra Deo and others.Nehru, however, never joined the group but did act as bridge between them and Gandhi.[67] He had the support of the left-wing Congressmen Maulana Azad and Subhas Chandra Bose.[68] The trio combined to oust Dr. Prasad as Congress President in 1936. Nehru was elected in his place and held the presidency for two years (1936–37).[69] He was then succeeded by his socialist colleagues Bose (1938–39) and Azad (1940–46). After the fall of Bose from the mainstream of Indian politics (because of his support of violence in driving the British out of India,[70] the power struggle between the socialists and conservatives balanced out. However, Sardar Patel died in 1950, leaving Nehru as the sole remaining iconic national leader, and soon the situation became such that Nehru was able to implement many of his basic policies without hindrance. Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, during the state of Emergency she imposed, was able to fulfill her father's dream by the 42nd amendment (1976) of the Indian constitution by which India officially became "socialist" and "secular".[71][72]

During Nehru's second term as general secretary of the Congress, he proposed certain resolutions concerning the foreign policy of India.[73] From that time onward, he was given carte blanche in framing the foreign policy of any future Indian nation. He developed good relations with governments all over the world. He firmly placed India on the side of democracy and freedom during a time when the world was under the threat of fascism.[38] He was also given the responsibility of planning the economy of a future India. He appointed the National Planning Commission in 1938 to help in framing such policies.[74] However, many of the plans framed by Nehru and his colleagues would come undone with the unexpected partition of India in 1947.[75]

Electoral politics in 1930s

Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore

Nehru's visit to Europe in 1936 proved to be the watershed in his political and economic thinking. His real interest in Marxism and his socialist pattern of thought stem from that tour. His subsequent sojourns in prison enabled him to study Marxism in more depth. Interested in its ideas but repelled by some of its methods, he could never bring himself to accept Karl Marx's writings as revealed scripture. Yet from then on, the yardstick of his economic thinking remained Marxist, adjusted, where necessary, to Indian conditions.[76][77]

At the 1936 Lucknow session of 1936, the Congress party, despite opposition from the newly elected Nehru as the party president, agreed to contest the provincial elections to be held in 1937 under the Government of India Act 1935.[78][79] The elections brought Congress party to power in a majority of the provinces with increased popularity and power for Nehru. Since the Muslim League under Muhammad Ali Jinnah (who was to become the creator of Pakistan) had fared badly at the polls, Nehru declared that the only two parties that mattered in India were the British colonial authorities and the Congress. Jinnah's statements that the Muslim League was the third and "equal partner" within Indian politics was widely rejected. Nehru had hoped to elevate Maulana Azad as the pre-eminent leader of Indian Muslims, but in this, he was undermined by Gandhi, who continued to treat Jinnah as the voice of Indian Muslims.

World War II and Quit India movement

When World War II started, Viceroy Linlithgow had unilaterally declared India a belligerent on the side of the Britain, without consulting the elected Indian representatives.[80] Nehru hurried back from a visit to China, announcing that, in a conflict between democracy and Fascism, "our sympathies must inevitably be on the side of democracy.... I should like India to play its full part and throw all her resources into the struggle for a new order.

After much deliberation, the Congress under Nehru informed the government that it would co-operate with the British but on certain conditions. First, Britain must give an assurance of full independence for India after the war and allow the election of a constituent assembly to frame a new constitution; second, although the Indian armed forces would remain under the British Commander-in-Chief, Indians must be included immediately in the central government and given a chance to share power and responsibility.[81] When Nehru presented Lord Linlithgow with the demands, he chose to reject them. A deadlock was reached. "The same old game is played again", Nehru wrote bitterly to Gandhi, "the background is the same, the various epithets are the same and the actors are the same and the results must be the same".[82]

On 23 October 1939, the Congress condemned the Viceroy's attitude and called upon the Congress ministries in the various provinces to resign in protest. Before this crucial announcement, Nehru urged Jinnah and the Muslim League to join the protest but the latter declined.[81]

Pakistan Resolution

In March 1940 Jinnah passed what would come to be known as the "Pakistan Resolution", declaring "Muslims are a nation according to any definition of a nation, and they must have their homelands, their territory and their State." This state was to be known as Pakistan, meaning "Land of the Pure". Nehru angrily declared that "all the old problems ... pale into insignificance before the latest stand taken by the Muslim League leader in Lahore". Linlithgow made Nehru an offer on 8 October 1940. It stated that Dominion status for India was the objective of the British government.[83] However, it referred neither to a date nor method of accomplishment. Only Jinnah got something more precise. "The British would not contemplate transferring power to a Congress-dominated national government the authority of which was "denied by large and powerful elements in India's national life".[84]

In October 1940, Gandhi and Nehru, abandoning their original stand of supporting Britain, decided to launch a limited civil disobedience campaign in which leading advocates of Indian independence were selected to participate one by one.[34] Nehru was arrested and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. After spending a little more than a year in jail, he was released, along with other Congress prisoners, three days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.[34]

Japan attacks India

Nehru and Jinnah walk together at Simla, 1946

When the Japanese carried their attack through Burma (now Myanmar) to the borders of India in the spring of 1942, the British government, faced by this new military threat, decided to make some overtures to India, as Nehru had originally desired.[85] Prime Minister Winston Churchill dispatched Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the war Cabinet who was known to be politically close to Nehru and also knew Jinnah, with proposals for a settlement of the constitutional problem.[86] As soon as he arrived he discovered that India was more deeply divided than he had imagined. Nehru, eager for a compromise, was hopeful. Gandhi was not. Jinnah had continued opposing the Congress. "Pakistan is our only demand, and by God we will have it.", declared the Muslim League newspaper "Dawn".[87]

Cripps's mission failed as Gandhi would accept nothing less than independence. Relations between Nehru and Gandhi cooled over the latter's refusal to co-operate with Cripps, but the two later reconciled.[88] On 15 January 1941, Gandhi had stated:

Some say Jawaharlal and I were estranged. It will require much more than difference of opinion to estrange us. We had differences from the time we became co-workers and yet I have said for some years and say so now that not Rajaji but Jawaharlal will be my successor.[89][90]

Quit India Movement

In 1942, Gandhi called on the British to leave India; Nehru, though reluctant to embarrass the allied war effort, had no alternative but to join Gandhi. Following the Quit India resolution passed by the Congress party in Bombay on 8 August 1942, the entire Congress working committee, including Gandhi and Nehru, was arrested and imprisoned. Most the Congress working committee including, Nehru, Abdul Kalam Azad, Sardar Patel were incarcerated at the Ahmednagar Fort[91] until 15 June 1945.[92]

During the period where all of the Congress leadership were in jail, the Muslim League under Jinnah grew in power.[93] In April 1943, the League captured the governments of Bengal and, a month later, that of the North West Frontier Province. In none of these provinces had the League previously had a majority – only the arrest of Congress members made it possible. With all the Muslim dominated provinces except the Punjab under Jinnah's control, the artificial concept of a separate Muslim State was turning into a reality. However, by 1944, Jinnah's power and prestige were on the wane. A general sympathy towards the jailed Congress leaders was developing among Muslims, and much of the blame for the disastrous Bengal famine of 1943–44 during which two million died, had been laid on the shoulders of the province's Muslim League government. The numbers at Jinnah's meetings, once counted in thousands soon numbered only a few hundreds. In despair, Jinnah left the political scene for a stay in Kashmir. His prestige was restored unwittingly by Gandhi, who had been released from prison on medical grounds in May 1944 and had met Jinnah in Bombay in September.[94] There he offered the Muslim leader a plebiscite in the Muslim areas after the war to see whether they wanted to separate from the rest of India. Essentially, it was an acceptance of the principle of Pakistan – but not in so many words. Jinnah demanded that the exact words be said; Gandhi refused and the talks broke down. Jinnah, however, had greatly strengthened his own position and that of the League. The most influential member of Congress had been seen to negotiate with him on equal terms.[95] Other Muslim League leaders, opposed both to Jinnah and to the partition of India, lost strength.
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Part 3 of 4

Prime Minister of India (1947–1964)

Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi

Teen Murti Bhavan, Nehru's residence as Prime Minister, now a museum in his memory

Nehru served as prime minister for 18 years, first as the interim prime minister and from 1950 as the prime minister of the republic of India.

Interim Prime Minister and Independence (1946–1952)

Nehru and his colleagues were released prior to the arrival of the British 1946 Cabinet Mission to India to propose plans for transfer of power.[96] The agreed plan in 1946 led to elections to the provincial assemblies and the members of the assemblies in turn electing members of the Constituent assembly. Congress won majority of seats in the assembly and headed the interim government with Nehru as the prime minister.

Lord Mountbatten swears in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of free India at the ceremony held at 8:30 am IST on 15 August 1947

The period before independence in early 1947 was impaired by outbreaks of communal violence and political disorder, and the opposition of the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were demanding a separate Muslim state of Pakistan.[96] After failed bids to form coalitions, Nehru reluctantly supported the partition of India, according to a plan released by the British on 3 June 1947.


He took office as the Prime Minister of India on 15 August, and delivered his inaugural address titled "Tryst with Destiny".[97]

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, 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 soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity."[98]

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was shot while he was walking to a platform from which he was to address a prayer meeting. The assassin, Nathuram Godse, was a Hindu nationalist with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha party, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by insisting upon a payment to Pakistan.[99] Nehru addressed the nation through radio:

Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that; nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years, we will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not only for me, but for millions and millions in this country.[100][101]

President Harry Truman and Jawaharlal Nehru, with Nehru's sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, during Nehru's visit to the United States, October 1949

Yasmin Khan argued that Gandhi's death and funeral helped consolidate the authority of the new Indian state under Nehru and Patel. The Congress tightly controlled the epic public displays of grief over a two-week period—the funeral, mortuary rituals and distribution of the martyr's ashes—as millions participated and hundreds of millions watched. The goal was to assert the power of the government, legitimise the Congress party's control and suppress all religious para-military groups. Nehru and Patel suppressed the RSS, the Muslim National Guards, and the Khaksars, with some 200,000 arrests.[102] Gandhi's death and funeral linked the distant state with the Indian people and made more understand the need to suppress religious parties during the transition to independence for the Indian people.[103]

In later years, there emerged a revisionist school of history which sought to blame Nehru for the partition of India, mostly referring to his highly centralised policies for an independent India in 1947, which Jinnah opposed in favour of a more decentralised India.[104][105]

Integration of states

See also: States Reorganisation Act, 1956

Nehru's study in Teen Murti Bhavan

(From left to right): Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nizam VII and Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri after Hyderabad's accession to India

The British Indian Empire, which included present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was divided into two types of territories: the Provinces of British India, which were governed directly by British officials responsible to the Viceroy of India; and princely states, under the rule of local hereditary rulers who recognised British suzerainty in return for local autonomy, in most cases as established by a treaty.[106] Between 1947 and about 1950, the territories of the princely states were politically integrated into the Indian Union under Nehru and Sardar Patel. Most were merged into existing provinces; others were organised into new provinces, such as Rajputana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Bharat, and Vindhya Pradesh, made up of multiple princely states; a few, including Mysore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Bilaspur, became separate provinces.[107] The Government of India Act 1935 remained the constitutional law of India pending adoption of a new Constitution.

Adoption of New Constitution

Nehru signing the Indian Constitution c.1950

The new Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, made India a sovereign democratic republic. The new republic was declared to be a "Union of States".[108] The constitution of 1950 distinguished between three main types of states: Part A states, which were the former governors' provinces of British India, were ruled by an elected governor and state legislature. The Part B states were former princely states or groups of princely states, governed by a rajpramukh, who was usually the ruler of a constituent state, and an elected legislature. The rajpramukh was appointed by the President of India. The Part C states included both the former chief commissioners' provinces and some princely states, and each was governed by a chief commissioner appointed by the President of India. The sole Part D state was the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were administered by a lieutenant governor appointed by the central government.[109]

Election of 1952

After the adoption of the constitution on 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly continued to act as the interim parliament until new elections. Nehru's interim cabinet consisted of 15 members from diverse communities and parties. The first elections to Indian legislative bodies (National parliament and State assemblies ) under the new constitution of India were held in 1952. Various members of the cabinet resigned from their posts and formed their own parties to contest the elections. During that period, the then Congress party president, Purushottam Das Tandon also resigned his post because of differences with Nehru and since Nehru's popularity was needed for winning elections. Nehru, while being the PM, also was elected the president of Congress for 1951 and 1952.[110][111] In the election, despite a large number of parties competing, the Congress party under Nehru's leadership won large majorities at both state and national level.

First term as Prime Minister (1952–1957)

State reorganization

In December 1953, Nehru appointed the States Reorganisation Commission to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines. This was headed by Justice Fazal Ali and the commission itself was also known as the Fazal Ali Commission. The efforts of this commission were overseen by Govind Ballabh Pant, who served as Nehru's Home Minister from December 1954. The commission created a report in 1955 recommending the reorganisation of India's states.[112] Under the Seventh Amendment, the existing distinction between Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D states was abolished. The distinction between Part A and Part B states was removed, becoming known simply as "states". A new type of entity, the union territory, replaced the classification as a Part C or Part D state. Nehru stressed commonality among Indians and promoted pan-Indianism. He refused to reorganise states on either religious or ethnic lines.[113] Western scholars have mostly praised Nehru for the integration of the states into a modern republic but the act was not accepted universally in India.

Election of 1957

Nehru also led the Congress party to victory with 47.8% of the votes and taking 371 of the 494 seats in the 1957 elections.

Election of 1962

In the 1962 elections, Nehru led the Congress to victory yet with a diminished majority. Communist and socialist parties were the main beneficiaries although some right wing groups like Bharatiya Jana Sangh also did well.[114]

Vision and governing policies

According to Bhikhu Parekh, Nehru can be regarded as the founder of the modern Indian state. Parekh attributes this to the national philosophy for India that Nehru formulated. For Nehru, modernization was the national philosophy, with seven goals: national unity, parliamentary democracy, industrialization, socialism, development of the scientific temper, and non-alignment. In Parekh's opinion, the philosophy and the policies that resulted from that benefited a large section of society such as the public sector workers, industrial houses, middle and upper peasantry. It failed, however, to benefit the urban and rural poor, the unemployed and the Hindu fundamentalists.[115]

Economic policies

Nehru meeting with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Deutsche Bank chairman Hermann Josef Abs during a state visit to West Germany in June 1956.

Nehru implemented policies based on import substitution industrialization and advocated a mixed economy where the government controlled public sector would co-exist with the private sector.[116] He believed that the establishment of basic and heavy industry was fundamental to the development and modernisation of the Indian economy. The government, therefore, directed investment primarily into key public sector industries – steel, iron, coal, and power – promoting their development with subsidies and protectionist policies.[117]

The policy of non-alignment during the Cold War meant that Nehru received financial and technical support from both power blocs in building India's industrial base from scratch.[118] Steel mill complexes were built at Bokaro and Rourkela with assistance from the Soviet Union and West Germany. There was substantial industrial development.[118] Industry grew 7.0 percent annually between 1950 and 1965 – almost trebling industrial output and making India the world's seventh largest industrial country.[118] Nehru's critics, however, contended that India's import substitution industrialisation, which was continued long after the Nehru era, weakened the international competitiveness of its manufacturing industries.[119] India's share of world trade fell from 1.4 per cent in 1951–1960 to 0.5 per cent over 1981–1990.[120] On the other hand, India's export performance is argued to have actually showed sustained improvement over the period. The volume of exports went up at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent in 1951–1960 to 7.6 per cent in 1971–1980.[121]

GDP and GNP grew 3.9 and 4.0 per cent annually between 1950–51 and 1964–65.[122][123] It was a radical break from the British colonial period.[124] But, in comparison to other industrial powers in Europe and East Asia, the growth rates were considered anemic at best.[120][125] India lagged behind the miracle economies (Japan, West Germany, France, and Italy).[126] State planning, controls, and regulations were argued to have impaired economic growth.[127] While India's economy grew faster than both the United Kingdom and the United States – low initial income and rapid population increase – meant that growth was inadequate for any sort of catch-up with rich income nations.[125][126][128]

Nehru's preference for big state controlled enterprises created a complex system of quantitative regulations, quotas and tariffs, industrial licenses and a host of other controls. This system, known in India as Permit Raj, was responsible for economic inefficiencies that stifled entrepreneurship and checked economic growth for decades until the liberalization policies initiated by Congress government in 1991 under P. V. Narasimha Rao.[129]

Agriculture policies

Under Nehru's leadership, the government attempted to develop India quickly by embarking on agrarian reform and rapid industrialisation.[130] A successful land reform was introduced that abolished giant landholdings, but efforts to redistribute land by placing limits on landownership failed. Attempts to introduce large-scale cooperative farming were frustrated by landowning rural elites, who formed the core of the powerful right-wing of the Congress and had considerable political support in opposing the efforts of Nehru.[131] Agricultural production expanded until the early 1960s, as additional land was brought under cultivation and some irrigation projects began to have an effect. The establishment of agricultural universities, modelled after land-grant colleges in the United States, contributed to the development of the economy. These universities worked with high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, initially developed in Mexico and the Philippines, that in the 1960s began the Green Revolution, an effort to diversify and increase crop production. At the same time a series of failed monsoons would cause serious food shortages despite the steady progress and increase in agricultural production.[132]

Social policies


Jawaharlal Nehru was a passionate advocate of education for India's children and youth, believing it essential for India's future progress. His government oversaw the establishment of many institutions of higher learning, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and the National Institutes of Technology.[133] Nehru also outlined a commitment in his five-year plans to guarantee free and compulsory primary education to all of India's children. For this purpose, Nehru oversaw the creation of mass village enrollment programs and the construction of thousands of schools. Nehru also launched initiatives such as the provision of free milk and meals to children to fight malnutrition. Adult education centers, vocational and technical schools were also organised for adults, especially in the rural areas.[134]

Hindu Marriage law

Under Nehru, the Indian Parliament enacted many changes to Hindu law to criminalize caste discrimination and increase the legal rights and social freedoms of women.[135][136][137][138]

Nehru with schoolchildren at the Durgapur Steel Plant. Durgapur, Rourkela and Bhilai were three integrated steel plants set up under India's Second Five-Year Plan in the late 1950s.

Nehru specifically wrote Article 44 of the Indian constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy which states : 'The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.' The article has formed the basis of secularism in India.[139] However, Nehru has been criticized for the inconsistent application of the law. Most notably, Nehru allowed Muslims to keep their personal law in matters relating to marriage and inheritance. Also in the small state of Goa, a civil code based on the old Portuguese Family Laws was allowed to continue, and Muslim Personal law was prohibited by Nehru. This was the result of the annexation of Goa in 1961 by India, when Nehru promised the people that their laws would be left intact. This has led to accusations of selective secularism.

While Nehru exempted Muslim law from legislation and they remained unreformed, he did pass the Special Marriage Act in 1954.[140] The idea behind this act was to give everyone in India the ability to marry outside the personal law under a civil marriage. As usual the law applied to all of India, except Jammu and Kashmir (again leading to accusations of selective secularism). In many respects, the act was almost identical to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which gives some idea as to how secularised the law regarding Hindus had become. The Special Marriage Act allowed Muslims to marry under it and thereby retain the protections, generally beneficial to Muslim women, that could not be found in the personal law. Under the act polygamy was illegal, and inheritance and succession would be governed by the Indian Succession Act, rather than the respective Muslim Personal Law. Divorce also would be governed by the secular law, and maintenance of a divorced wife would be along the lines set down in the civil law.[141]

Reservations for socially oppressed communities

A system of reservations in government services and educational institutions was created to eradicate the social inequalities and disadvantages faced by peoples of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Nehru also championed secularism and religious harmony, increasing the representation of minorities in government.[142]

Language policy

Nehru led the faction of the Congress party which promoted Hindi as the lingua-franca of the Indian nation. After an exhaustive and divisive debate with the non-Hindi speakers, Hindi was adopted as the official language of India in 1950 with English continuing as an associate official language for a period of fifteen years, after which Hindi would become the sole official language. Efforts by the Indian Government to make Hindi the sole official language after 1965 were not acceptable to many non-Hindi Indian states, who wanted the continued use of English. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a descendant of Dravidar Kazhagam, led the opposition to Hindi.[143] To allay their fears, Nehru enacted the Official Languages Act in 1963 to ensure the continuing use of English beyond 1965. The text of the Act did not satisfy the DMK and increased their scepticism that his assurances might not be honoured by future administrations.The Official Languages Act was eventually amended in 1967 by the Congress Government headed by Indira Gandhi to guarantee the indefinite use of Hindi and English as official languages. This effectively ensured the current "virtual indefinite policy of bilingualism" of the Indian Republic.[144]

Foreign policy

Further information: List of state visits made by Jawaharlal Nehru

See also: India and the Non-Aligned Movement

Throughout his long tenure as the prime minister, Nehru also held the portfolio of External Affairs. As such, he has been credited as the sole architect of Indian foreign policy by many including Rajendra prasad Dubey.[145] His idealistic approach focused on giving India a leadership position in nonalignment. He sought to build support among the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa in opposition to the two hostile superpowers contesting the Cold War. The war with China in 1962 caused a radical shift. After that he became more realistic and defense-minded.[146]

The Commonwealth

Queen Elizabeth II with Nehru and other Commonwealth leaders, taken at the 1960 Commonwealth Conference, Windsor Castle

After independence, Nehru wanted to maintain good relations with Britain and other British commonwealth countries and signed the London Declaration, under which India agreed that, when it becomes a republic in January 1950, it would join the Commonwealth of Nations and accept the British monarch as a "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth."[147][148] The other nations of the Commonwealth recognised India's continuing membership of the association. The reaction back home was favourable; only the far-left and the far-right criticised Nehru's decision.

Non-aligned movement

Nehru with North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi; 1954

Nehru with Gamal Abdel Nasser and Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1961

Nehru with Otto Grotewohl, the Prime Minister of East Germany

On the international scene, Nehru was an opponent of military action and of military alliances. He was a strong supporter of the United Nations, except when it tried to resolve the Kashmir question. He pioneered the policy of non-alignment and co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement of nations professing neutrality between the rival blocs of nations led by the US and the USSR. Recognising the People's Republic of China soon after its founding (while most of the Western bloc continued relations with Taiwan), Nehru argued for its inclusion in the United Nations and refused to brand the Chinese as the aggressors in their conflict with Korea.[149] He sought to establish warm and friendly relations with China in 1950, and hoped to act as an intermediary to bridge the gulf and tensions between the communist states and the Western bloc.

Nehru was a key organizer of the Bandung Conference of April 1955, which brought 29 newly independent nations together from Asia and Africa, and was designed to galvanize the nonalignment movement under Nehru's leadership. He envisioned it as his key leadership opportunity on the world stage, where he would bring together the emerging nations.[150] Instead, he was upstaged by the Chinese representative, Zhou Enlai, who downplayed revolutionary communism and acknowledged the right of all nations to choose their own economic and political systems, including even capitalism. Nehru and his top foreign-policy aide V.K. Krishna Menon by contrast gained an international reputation as rude and undiplomatic. Zhou said, "I've never met a more arrogant man than Mr. Nehru." A senior Indian foreign office official characterize Menon as "an outstanding world statesman but the world's worst diplomat," adding that he was often "overbearing, churlish and vindictive" [151]

Defence and nuclear policy

Nehru, while adverse to war, led the preparations and actual campaigns against Pakistan with regard to Kashmir. He used overwhelming military force to seize Hyderabad In 1948 and Goa In 1961. He was keenly sensitive regarding the geostrategic and military strengths and weaknesses of India in 1947. While laying the foundation stone of the National Defence Academy in 1949, he stated: "We, who for generations had talked about and attempted in everything a peaceful way and practised non-violence, should now be, in a sense, glorifying our army, navy and air force. It means a lot. Though it is odd, yet it simply reflects the oddness of life. Though life is logical, we have to face all contingencies, and unless we are prepared to face them, we will go under. There was no greater prince of peace and apostle of non-violence than Mahatma Gandhi...but yet, he said it was better to take the sword than to surrender, fail or run away. We cannot live carefree assuming that we are safe. Human nature is such. We cannot take the risks and risk our hard-won freedom. We have to be prepared with all modern defense methods and a well-equipped army, navy and air force."[152][153]

Nehru envisioned the development of nuclear weapons and established the Atomic Energy Commission of India in 1948.[154] Nehru also called Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, a nuclear physicist, who was entrusted with complete authority over all nuclear-related affairs and programs and answered only to Nehru himself.[154] Indian nuclear policy was set by unwritten personal understanding between Nehru and Bhabha.[154] Nehru famously said to Bhabha, "Professor Bhabha take care of Physics, leave international relation to me".[154] From the outset in 1948, Nehru had high ambition to develop this program to stand against the industrialised states, and to establish a nuclear weapons capability as part of India's regional superiority to other South-Asian states, most particularly Pakistan.[154] Nehru also told Bhabha, and later it was told by Bhabha to Raja Rammanna, that: "We must have the capability. We should first prove ourselves and then talk of Gandhi, non-violence and a world without nuclear weapons."[154]

Nehru was hailed by many for working to defuse global tensions and the threat of nuclear weapons after the Korean War (1950–1953).[155] He commissioned the first study of the effects of nuclear explosions on human health, and campaigned ceaselessly for the abolition of what he called "these frightful engines of destruction". He also had pragmatic reasons for promoting de-nuclearisation, fearing that a nuclear arms race would lead to over-militarisation that would be unaffordable for developing countries such as his own.[156]

Defending Kashmir

At Lord Mountbatten's urging Nehru had promised in 1948 to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir under the auspices of the UN.[157] Kashmir was a disputed territory between India and Pakistan, the two having gone to war with each other over the state in 1947. However, as Pakistan failed to pull back troops in accordance with the UN resolution, and as Nehru grew increasingly wary of the UN, he declined to hold a plebiscite in 1953. His policies on Kashmir and the integration of the state into India were frequently defended in front of the United Nations by his aide, V. K. Krishna Menon, who earned a reputation in India for his passionate speeches.[158]

Nehru orchestrated the ouster and arrest of Sheikh Abdullah, the then prime minister of Kashmir in 1953, whom he had previously supported but now suspected of harbouring separatist ambitions; Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad replaced him.[159][160]

In 1957, Menon was instructed to deliver an unprecedented eight-hour speech defending India's stand on Kashmir; to date, the speech is the longest ever delivered in the United Nations Security Council, covering five hours of the 762nd meeting on 23 January, and two hours and forty-eight minutes on the 24th, reportedly concluding with Menon's collapse on the Security Council floor.[158] During the filibuster, Nehru moved swiftly and successfully to consolidate Indian power in Kashmir (then under great unrest). Menon's passionate defence of Indian sovereignty in Kashmir enlarged his base of support in India, and led to the Indian press temporarily dubbing him the "Hero of Kashmir". Nehru was then at the peak of his popularity in India; the only (minor) criticism came from the far-right.[161][162]


Nehru and Mao Zedong in Beijing, China, October 1954

In 1954, Nehru signed with China the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in India as the Panchsheel (from the Sanskrit words, panch: five, sheel: virtues), a set of principles to govern relations between the two states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954 which recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.[163] They were enunciated in the preamble to the "Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India", which was signed at Peking on 29 April 1954. Negotiations took place in Delhi from December 1953 to April 1954 between the Delegation of the PRC Government and the Delegation of the Indian Government on the relations between the two countries with respect to the disputed territories of Aksai Chin and South Tibet. By 1957, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai had also succeeded in persuading Nehru to accept the Chinese position on Tibet, thus depriving Tibet of a possible ally, and of the possibility of receiving military aid from India.[164] The treaty was disregarded in the 1960s, but in the 1970s, the Five Principles again came to be seen as important in China–India relations, and more generally as norms of relations between states. They became widely recognised and accepted throughout the region during the premiership of Indira Gandhi and the 3-year rule of the Janata Party (1977–1980).[165] Although the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were the basis of the 1954 Sino-Indian border treaty, in later years, Nehru's foreign policy suffered from increasing Chinese assertiveness over border disputes and Nehru's decision to grant asylum to the 14th Dalai Lama.[166]

United States

Nehru receiving US President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Parliament House, 1959

In 1956, Nehru had criticised the joint invasion of the Suez Canal by the British, French and Israelis. The role of Nehru, both as Indian Prime Minister and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement was significant; he tried to be even-handed between the two sides, while denouncing Eden and co-sponsors of the invasion vigorously. Nehru had a powerful ally in the US president Dwight Eisenhower who, if relatively silent publicly, went to the extent of using America's clout in the International Monetary Fund to make Britain and France back down.During the Suez crisis, Nehru's right-hand man, Menon attempted to persuade a recalcitrant Gamal Nasser to compromise with the West, and was instrumental in moving Western powers towards an awareness that Nasser might prove willing to compromise.[167]

The US had hoped to court Nehru after its intervention in favour of Nasser during the Suez crisis. However, Cold War suspicions and the American distrust of Nehruvian socialism cooled relations between India and the US, which suspected Nehru of tacitly supporting the Soviet Union. Nehru maintained good relations with Britain even after the Suez Crisis. Nehru accepted the arbitration of the UK and World Bank, signing the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 with Pakistani ruler Ayub Khan to resolve long-standing disputes about sharing the resources of the major rivers of the Punjab region.[168]


After years of failed negotiations, Nehru authorised the Indian Army to invade Portuguese-controlled Goa in 1961, and then he formally annexed it to India. It increased his popularity in India, but he was criticised by the communist opposition in India for the use of military force.[169]

Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that while Nehru was superior from a moral point of view, Zhou Enlai was more skilled in realpolitik.[170]

Sino-Indian War of 1962

See also: Sino-Indian War

Prime Minister Nehru talks with United Nations General Assembly President Romulo (October 1949)

From 1959, in a process that accelerated in 1961, Nehru adopted the "Forward Policy" of setting up military outposts in disputed areas of the Sino-Indian border, including in 43 outposts in territory not previously controlled by India.[171] China attacked some of these outposts, and thus the Sino-Indian War began, which India lost, and China withdrew to pre-war lines in eastern zone at Tawang but retained Aksai Chin which was within British India and was handed over to India after independence. Later, Pakistan handed over some portion of Kashmir near Siachen controlled by Pakistan since 1948 to China. The war exposed the unpreparedness of India's military which could send only 14,000 troops to the war zone in opposition to the many times larger Chinese army, and Nehru was widely criticised for his government's insufficient attention to defence. In response, Nehru sacked the defence minister V. K. Krishna Menon and sought US military aid. Nehru's improved relations with the US under John F. Kennedy proved useful during the war, as in 1962, President of Pakistan (then closely aligned with the Americans) Ayub Khan was made to guarantee his neutrality in regards to India, who was threatened by "communist aggression from Red China".[172] The Indian relationship with the Soviet Union, criticised by right-wing groups supporting free-market policies was also seemingly validated. Nehru would continue to maintain his commitment to the non-aligned movement despite calls from some to settle down on one permanent ally.

The aftermath of the war saw sweeping changes in the Indian military to prepare it for similar conflicts in the future, and placed pressure on Nehru, who was seen as responsible for failing to anticipate the Chinese attack on India. Under American advice (by American envoy John Kenneth Galbraith who made and ran American policy on the war as all other top policy makers in the US were absorbed in coincident Cuban Missile Crisis) Nehru refrained, not according to the best choices available, from using the Indian air force to beat back the Chinese advances. The CIA later revealed that at that time the Chinese had neither the fuel nor runways long enough for using their air force effectively in Tibet. Indians, in general, became highly sceptical of China and its military. Many Indians view the war as a betrayal of India's attempts at establishing a long-standing peace with China and started to question Nehru's usage of the term "Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai" (meaning "Indians and Chinese are brothers"). The war also put an end to Nehru's earlier hopes that India and China would form a strong Asian Axis to counteract the increasing influence of the Cold War bloc superpowers.[173]

Map showing disputed territories of India

The unpreparedness of the army was blamed on Defence Minister Menon, who "resigned" his government post to allow for someone who might modernise India's military further. India's policy of weaponisation via indigenous sources and self-sufficiency began in earnest under Nehru, completed by his daughter Indira Gandhi, who later led India to a crushing military victory over rival Pakistan in 1971. Toward the end of the war India had increased her support for Tibetan refugees and revolutionaries, some of them having settled in India, as they were fighting the same common enemy in the region. Nehru ordered the raising of an elite Indian-trained "Tibetan Armed Force" composed of Tibetan refugees, which served with distinction in future wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.[174][175]

During the conflict, Nehru wrote two desperate letters to US President John F. Kennedy, requesting 12 squadrons of fighter jets and a modern radar system. These jets were seen as necessary to beef up Indian air strength so that air-to-air combat could be initiated safely from the Indian perspective (bombing troops was seen as unwise for fear of Chinese retaliatory action). Nehru also asked that these aircraft be manned by American pilots until Indian airmen were trained to replace them. These requests were rejected by the Kennedy Administration (which was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis during most of the Sino-Indian War), leading to a cool down in Indo-US relations. According to former Indian diplomat G Parthasarathy, "only after we got nothing from the US did arms supplies from the Soviet Union to India commence".[176] Per Time Magazine's 1962 editorial on the war, however, this may not have been the case. The editorial states, 'When Washington finally turned its attention to India, it honoured the ambassador's pledge, loaded 60 US planes with $5,000,000 worth of automatic weapons, heavy mortars and land mines. Twelve huge C-130 Hercules transports, complete with US crews and maintenance teams, took off for New Delhi to fly Indian troops and equipment to the battle zone. Britain weighed in with Bren and Sten guns, and airlifted 150 tons of arms to India. Canada prepared to ship six transport planes. Australia opened Indian credits for $1,800,000 worth of munitions'.[177]

Assassination attempts and security

There were four known assassination attempts on Nehru. The first attempt on his life was during partition in 1947 while he was visiting North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) in a car.[178] The second one was by a knife-wielding rickshaw-puller near Nagpur in 1955.[179][180][181][182] The third one happened in Bombay in 1956.[183][184] The fourth one was a failed bombing attempt on train tracks in Maharashtra in 1961.[185] Despite threats to his life, Nehru despised having too much security around him and did not like to disrupt traffic due to his movement.[186]


If any people choose to think of me, then I should like them to say: "This was the man who, with all his mind and heart, loved India and the Indian people. And they, in turn, were indulgent to him and gave him of their love most abundantly and extravagantly."

–- Jawaharlal Nehru[187][188][189]

Nehru's health began declining steadily after 1962, and he spent months recuperating in Kashmir through 1963. Some historians attribute this dramatic decline to his surprise and chagrin over the Sino-Indian War, which he perceived as a betrayal of trust.[190] Upon his return from Dehradun on 26 May 1964 he was feeling quite comfortable and went to bed at about 23:30 as usual, he had a restful night until about 06:30 soon after he returned from bathroom, Nehru complained of pain in the back. He spoke to the doctors who attended on him for a brief while and almost immediately Nehru collapsed. He remained unconscious until he died. His death was announced to Lok Sabha at 14:00 local time on 27 May 1964 (same day); cause of death is believed to be heart attack.[191] Draped in the Indian national Tri-colour flag the body of Jawaharlal Nehru was placed for public viewing. "Raghupati Raghava Rajaram" was chanted as the body was placed on the platform. On 28 May, Nehru was cremated in accordance with Hindu rites at the Shantivan on the banks of the Yamuna, witnessed by 1.5 million mourners who had flocked into the streets of Delhi and the cremation grounds.[192]

Nehru's death left India with no clear political heir to his leadership[193] (later Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as the Prime Minister). The death was announced to the Indian parliament in words similar to Nehru's own at the time of Gandhi's assassination: "The light is out."[188][194]

Key cabinet members and associates

Nehru served as the prime minister for eighteen years. During his tenure he had many ministers in his cabinet who were heavy weights in their own right. Key members from his first cabinet include Vallabhbhai Patel who oversaw the integration of princely states in the Indian union but was also his greatest rival in the Congress party, and B.R. Ambedkar, the law minister in the interim cabinet who also chaired the Constitution Drafting Committee.

Vallabhbhai Patel

Vallabhbhai Patel served as home minister in the interim government. He was instrumental in getting the Congress party working committee to vote for partition. He is also credited with integrating peacefully most of the princely states of India. Patel was a strong rival to Nehru but died in 1950, leaving Nehru as the unchallenged leader of India until his own death in 1964.[195]

Maulana Azad

Jagjivan Ram

Jagjivan Ram became the youngest minister in Nehru's Interim government of India a Labour Minister and also a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, where, as a member from the dalit caste, he ensured that social justice was enshrined in the Constitution. He went on to serve as a minister with various portfolios during Nehru's tenure and in Shastri and Indira Gandhi governments.

Morarji Desai

Govind Vallabh Pant

Govind Ballabh Pant (1887–1961) was a key figure in the Indian independence movement and later a pivotal figure in the politics of UP and later in the Indian Government. Pant served in Nehru's cabinet as Union Home Minister from 1955 until Pant's death in 1961.[196] As Home Minister, his chief achievement was the re-organisation of States along linguistic lines. He was also responsible for the establishment of Hindi as an official language of the central government and a few states.[197] During his tenure as the Home Minister, Pant was awarded the Bharat Ratna.[198]

CD Deshmukh

C.D. Deshmukh was one of 5 members of the Planning Commission when it was constituted in 1950 by a cabinet resolution.[199][200] Deshmukh succeeded John Mathai as the Union Finance Minister in 1950 after Mathai resigned in protest over the transfer of certain powers to the Planning Commission.[201] As Finance Minister, Deshmukh continued to remain a member of the Planning Commission.[202] Deshmukh's tenure – during which he delivered six budgets and an interim budget[203] – is noted for the effective management of the Indian economy and its steady growth which saw the economy recover from the impacts of the events of the 1940s.[204][205]

During Deshmukh's tenure the State Bank of India was formed in 1955 through the nationalisation and amalgamation of the Imperial Bank with several smaller banks.[206][207] The nationalisation of insurance companies and the formation of the Life Insurance Corporation of India was accomplished by him through the Life Insurance Corporation of India Act, 1956.[208][209]

Deshmukh resigned over the proposal of the Government of India to move a bill in Parliament bifurcating Bombay State into Gujarat and Maharashtra while designating the city of Bombay a Union Territory.[210][211]

Krishna Menon

Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon (1896–1974) was a close associate of Nehru, and had been described by some as the second most powerful man in India during Nehru's tenure as prime minister.Under Nehru, he served as India's high commissioner to UK, UN ambassador, and union minister of defence. He was forced to resign after the debacle of 1962 China war.[212][213][214]

Indira Gandhi

In the years following independence, Nehru frequently turned to his daughter Indira to look after him and manage his personal affairs. Indira moved into Nehru's official residence to attend to him and became his constant companion in his travels across India and the world. She would virtually become Nehru's chief of staff.[215] Indira was elected as Congress party President in 1959 which aroused criticism for alleged nepotism, although actually Nehru had disapproved of her election, partly because he considered that it smacked of "dynasticism"; he said, indeed it was "wholly undemocratic and an undesirable thing", and refused her a position in his cabinet.[216] Indira herself was at loggerheads with her father over policy; most notably, she used his oft-stated personal deference to the Congress Working Committee to push through the dismissal of the Communist Party of India government in the state of Kerala, over his own objections.[216] Nehru began to be frequently embarrassed by her ruthlessness and disregard for parliamentary tradition, and was "hurt" by what he saw as an assertiveness with no purpose other than to stake out an identity independent of her father.[217]
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Part 4 of 4

Personal life

Prime Minister Nehru with Edwina Mountbatten in 1951

Nehru married Kamala Kaul in 1916. Their only daughter Indira was born a year later in 1917. Kamala gave birth to a boy in November 1924, but he lived for only a week.[218] Indira married Feroze Gandhi in 1942. They had two sons – Rajiv (b. 1944) and Sanjay (b. 1946).

After Kamala's death in 1936, Nehru was rumoured to have relationships with several women. These included Shraddha Mata,[219] Padmaja Naidu[220][221] and Edwina Mountbatten.[222] Edwina's daughter Pamela acknowledged Nehru's platonic relationship with Edwina.[223] Nehru sent an Indian Navy frigate to the sea burial of Edwina Mountbatten in 1960.[224]

British historian Philip Ziegler, with access to the private letters and diaries, concludes the relationship:

was to endure until Edwina Mountbatten's death: intensely loving, romantic, trusting, generous, idealistic, even spiritual. If there was any physical element it can only have been of minor importance to either party. [India's Governor-General] Mountbatten's reaction was one of pleasure....He liked and admired Nehru, it was useful to him that the Prime Minister should find such attractions in the Governor-General's home, it was agreeable to find Edwina almost permanently in good temper: the advantages of the alliance were obvious. [225]

Nehru's sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit told Pupul Jayakar, Indira Gandhi's friend and biographer, that Padmaja Naidu and Nehru lived together for many years.[226][227]

During most of Nehru's tenure as the prime minister, Indira served her father unofficially as a personal assistant.[228] Towards the end of the 1950s, Indira Gandhi served as the President of the Congress. In that capacity, she was instrumental in getting the Communist led Kerala State Government dismissed in 1959.[229]

Religion and personal beliefs

Nehru distributes sweets among children at Nongpoh, Meghalaya

Described as Hindu Agnostic,[230] and styling himself as a "scientific humanist",[231] Nehru thought that religious taboos were preventing India from going forward and adapting to modern conditions: "No country or people who are slaves to dogma and dogmatic mentality can progress, and unhappily our country and people have become extraordinarily dogmatic and little-minded."[232]

The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.

— Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru (1936); pp. 240–241.[233]

In his autobiography, he analysed Christianity[234] and Islam,[235] and their impact on India. He wanted to model India as a secular country; his secularist policies remain a subject of debate.[236][237]


Further information: List of things named after Jawaharlal Nehru

Nehru was a great man... Nehru gave to Indians an image of themselves that I don't think others might have succeeded in doing. – Sir Isaiah Berlin[238]

Bust of Nehru at Aldwych, London

Statue of Nehru at Park Street, Kolkata

As India's first Prime minister and external affairs minister, Jawaharlal Nehru played a major role in shaping modern India's government and political culture along with sound foreign policy. He is praised for creating a system providing universal primary education,[239] reaching children in the farthest corners of rural India. Nehru's education policy is also credited for the development of world-class educational institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences,[240] Indian Institutes of Technology,[241] and the Indian Institutes of Management.

In addition, Nehru's stance as an unfailing nationalist led him to also implement policies which stressed commonality among Indians while still appreciating regional diversities. This proved particularly important as post-Independence differences surfaced since British withdrawal from the subcontinent prompted regional leaders to no longer relate to one another as allies against a common adversary. While differences of culture and, especially, language threatened the unity of the new nation, Nehru established programs such as the National Book Trust and the National Literary Academy which promoted the translation of regional literatures between languages and also organised the transfer of materials between regions. In pursuit of a single, unified India, Nehru warned, "Integrate or perish."[242]

Historian Ramachandra Guha writes, "[had] Nehru retired in 1958 he would be remembered as not just India's best prime minister, but as one of the great statesmen of the modern world."[243] Nehru, thus, left behind a disputed legacy, being "either adored or reviled for India's progress or lack of it".[244]


Jawaharlal Nehru on a 1989 USSR commemorative stamp

In his lifetime, Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed an iconic status in India and was widely admired across the world for his idealism and statesmanship.[245][246] His birthday, 14 November is celebrated in India as Bal Divas ("Children's Day") in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Children across India remember him as Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru).[247] Nehru remains a popular symbol of the Congress Party which frequently celebrates his memory. Congress leaders and activists often emulate his style of clothing, especially the Gandhi cap and the "Nehru jacket", and his mannerisms.[246] Nehru's ideals and policies continue to shape the Congress Party's manifesto and core political philosophy.[247] An emotional attachment to his legacy was instrumental in the rise of his daughter Indira to leadership of the Congress Party and the national government.

In 2012, Nehru was ranked number 4 in Outlook's poll of The Greatest Indian.[248]

Nehru's personal preference for the sherwani ensured that it continues to be considered formal wear in North India today; aside from lending his name to a kind of cap, the Nehru jacket is named in his honour because of his preference for that style.[249]

Numerous public institutions and memorials across India are dedicated to Nehru's memory. The Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi is among the most prestigious universities in India. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port near the city of Mumbai is a modern port and dock designed to handle a huge cargo and traffic load. Nehru's residence in Delhi is preserved as the Teen Murti House now has Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, and one of five Nehru Planetariums that were set in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Allahabad and Pune. The complex also houses the offices of the 'Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund', established in 1964 under the Chairmanship of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, then President of India. The foundation also gives away the prestigious 'Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fellowship', established in 1968.[250] The Nehru family homes at Anand Bhavan and Swaraj Bhavan are also preserved to commemorate Nehru and his family's legacy.

In popular culture

Many documentaries about Nehru's life have been produced. He has also been portrayed in fictionalised films. The canonical performance is probably that of Roshan Seth, who played him three times: in Richard Attenborough's 1982 film Gandhi, Shyam Benegal's 1988 television series Bharat Ek Khoj, based on Nehru's The Discovery of India, and in a 2007 TV film entitled The Last Days of the Raj.[251] In Ketan Mehta's film Sardar,[252] Nehru was portrayed by Benjamin Gilani. Girish Karnad's historical play, Tughlaq (1962) is an allegory about the Nehruvian era. It was staged by Ebrahim Alkazi with National School of Drama Repertory at Purana Qila, Delhi in the 1970s and later at the Festival of India, London in 1982.[253][254]


Nehru was a prolific writer in English and wrote a number of books, such as The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History, and his autobiography, Toward Freedom. He had written 30 letters to his daughter Indira Gandhi, when she was 10 years old and in a boarding school in Mussoorie, teaching about natural history and the story of civilisations. The collection of these letters was later published as a book Letters from a Father to His Daughter.[255]


In 1955, Nehru was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.[256] President Rajendra Prasad awarded him the honour without taking advice from the Prime Minister as would be the normal constitutional procedure.[257]

See also

• Biography portal
• Politics portal
• India portal
• List of political families
• Scientific temper, a system of scientific thinking introduced by Nehru


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Further reading

• Gopal, Sarvepalli. Jawaharlal Nehru;a Biography Volume 1 1889–1947 (1975); Jawaharlal Nehru Vol.2 1947–1956 (1979); Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography Volume 3 1956–1964 (2014)
• Frank Moraes (2007). Jawaharlal Nehru. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-817992695-6.
• Sankar Ghose (1993). Jawaharlal Nehru. Allied Publishers. ISBN 978-8170233695.
• Jeffrey Kopstein (2005). Comparative Politics: Interests, Identities, and Institutions in a Changing Global Order. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1139446044.
• A Tryst With Destiny historic speech made by Jawaharlal Nehru on 14 August 1947
• Nehru: The Invention of India by Shashi Tharoor (November 2003) Arcade Books ISBN 1-55970-697-X
• Jawaharlal Nehru (Edited by S. Gopal and Uma Iyengar) (July 2003) The Essential Writings of Jawaharlal NehruOxford University Press ISBN 0-19-565324-6
• Autobiography:Toward freedom, Oxford University Press
• Jawaharlal Nehru: Life and work by M. Chalapathi Rau, National Book Club (1 January 1966)
• Jawaharlal Nehru by M. Chalapathi Rau. [New Delhi] Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India [1973]
• Letters from a father to his daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru, Children's Book Trust
• Nehru: A Political Biography by Michael Brecher (1959). London:Oxford University Press.
• After Nehru, Who by Welles Hangen (1963). London: Rupert Hart-Davis.
• Nehru: The Years of Power by Geoffrey Tyson (1966). London: Pall Mall Press.
• Independence and After: A collection of the more important speeches of Jawaharlal Nehru from September 1946 to May 1949 (1949). Delhi: The Publications Division, Government of India.
• Joseph Stanislaw and Daniel A. Yergin (1988). "Commanding Heights" (PDF). New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
• "The Challenge to Indian Nationalism." by Selig S. Harrison Foreign Affairs vol. 34, no. 2 (1956): 620–636.
• "Nehru, Jawaharlal." by Ainslie T. Embree, ed., and the Asia Society. Encyclopedia of Asian History. Vol. 3. Charles Scribner's Sons. New York. (1988): 98–100.

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Data from Wikidata
• Profile of Nehru in India Today
• Nehru's legacy to India
• Nehru on Communalism
• Jawaharlal Nehru materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
• Jawaharlal Nehru on IMDb
• Newspaper clippings about Jawaharlal Nehru in the 20th Century Press Archives of th
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:42 pm

Revolution to ruins: The tragic fall of Bradlaugh Hall
by Aown Ali
PUBLISHED SEP 26, 2015 05:26PM

For the Bedis, finding a political home in Lahore was not straightforward -- nor was it their immediate priority. 'For the first year and a half, we worked in a very indirect way because it was essential to build up at least a minimum income on which to live,' Freda explained to Olive Chandler in December 1936, 'but for the last nine months we have been doing much more openly socialist work ... among the students and the peasants. Holding study circles, addressing meetings, and P.L. has been holding peasant schools in the villages to instill [sic] a spirit of rebellion into them all (adult schools). We have had inspiring conferences lately ... there is a storm of rebellion in the Sikh peasantry of the Punjab, at present just brewing, but ready for the bursting.'

For both, the introduction to political activity in Lahore was in the lecture hall. When early in 1936, a radical organisation in Lahore organised a series of lectures on 'The Great Contemporaries', Bedi addressed the inaugural session on 'Hitler in the Rebuilding of Germany'. Freda spoke at a later meeting about the Irish nationalist and republican Eamon de Valera, at that time head of government of the Irish Free State -- the comparisons with Indian nationalism were unstated but clear.

It was a big step for Freda to move from talking to relatively small groups much in the fashion of a college lecture to addressing mass meetings on contested political issues. Bedi was a natural orator, with a powerful voice, an ease with words and command of Punjabi as well as English. For Freda this was a skill she needed to develop. She recalled that her first big meeting was a student gathering at one of Lahore's principal nationalist venues, the Bradlaugh Hall:

B.P.L. said oh, you know, they want you to talk -- it's nothing, you just talk as you talk in a debating society at Oxford. And when I got there I was petrified to find that there were 24,000 people waiting, and this crowd of 24,000 had a very definite opinion about what it should listen to and what it shouldn't. And if it didn't like the speaker it would start beating the ground with sticks and the soles of the feet and making a noise so the speaker would have to go down.

Anyway, I decided that the reason they didn't like a number of speakers was that they couldn't hear them and the best thing would be to speak pretty loudly ... So I stood on the platform like a martyr awaiting execution and I suddenly began speaking -- I think it was about the proctorial system in Oxford or something like that, which they'd asked me to speak on -- in a very loud voice, and I can still feel the shock that went through the whole 24,000 heads when this slight western-looking person suddenly bellowed into the microphone, must have been out of sheer fright. And that established me as a speaker. I found I could go on speaking and not be drummed out of existence by the sticks and the feet.

Freda was in some demand to address these large meetings. She had a certain novelty value -- a white woman in her mid-twenties -- but she also had a natural authority and the ability to command an audience.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

The Bradlaugh Hall, a hallmark of the anti-colonial freedom movement in the subcontinent, is crumbling behind the district courts of Lahore. For almost half a century, the famous hall has served as the exclusive venue of notable political events in Lahore, but the historic building itself has been left to fend for itself against hazards, natural and man-made.

Built in the late 19th century on Rattigan Road Lahore, the Bradlaugh Hall would play host to almost all the notable leadership of India, particularly for political figures in Punjab.

Irrespective of clan, creed or even political ideologies, the hall was a famous rendezvous for Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs alike; they would organise political sessions, give receptions to visiting leaders, and hold literary sittings or mushairas (poetry recitings).

We find that Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Mian Ifthikhar uddin and Malik Barkat Ali are among the stalwarts of freedom who frequently visited and gave speeches at the Bradlaugh Hall.

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also delivered at least one speech here, on May 24, 1924, in a Khilafat Movement session.

Bradlaugh Hall on Rattigan Road in Lahore.

It was constructed in loving memory of Charles Bradlaugh, a British member of parliament and a great supporter of the Indian freedom movement.

The upper plaque is inscribed with a Quranic verse. The lower one reads 'National Technical Institute' (The hall was used for technical education after the partition).

The building seems to have been designed with British architectural elements but with local climate and requirements in view.

The front facade of the building.

It once used to host everything from theatre shows to political gatherings.

The Bradlaugh Hall was constructed by funds collected from the annual session of Indian National Congress held in Lahore in 1893, and was attributed to Mr Charles Bradlaugh, a British MP, who, for his utmost support of Indian self-rule, was greatly admired in Indian circles.

Actually, it was Sardar Dyal Singh who realised the need for a suitable public place to hold political events in Lahore.
At that time, there were only two halls in Lahore, the Town Hall of municipal office and Montgomery Hall in Lawrence Garden (Jinnah Garden). Both were owned by the government and not available for political events.

So the Indian Association, the earliest political organisation in Lahore, used to hold its meetings in the courtyard of The Tribune, a weekly newspaper run by Sardar Dyal Singh. He was a member and patron of the Indian association. No wonder he felt the need for a dedicated site for political purposes.

Singh was also very keen to have a session of the Indian National Congress held in Lahore. In 1888, at the Allahabad session, Punjab’s invitation was accepted and Congress agreed to meet in Lahore in December 1893.

Dyal Singh was elected chairman of the reception committee of the session, which was a great success. All the tickets sold out and after meeting all expenses, the Congress saved Rs10,000, which became the nucleus fund to construct the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore.

Charles Bradlaugh — the "Member for India"

Charles Bradlaugh was one of the notable liberals and freethinkers of Victorian England, and an early advocate for women's right to vote (a 'radical' stance at that time), birth control, republicanism, social reform and trade unionism. For his deep interest in the Indian freedom movement, Mr Bradlaugh was invited to the 5th annual session of the Congress, held in Bombay in December 1889.

Charles Bradlaugh (26 September 1833 – 30 January 1891) was a political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century. In 1866 he co-founded the National Secular Society, in which Annie Besant became his close associate.

The National Secular Society (NSS) is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism and the separation of church and state. It holds that no one should gain advantage or disadvantage because of their religion or lack of it. It was founded by Charles Bradlaugh in 1866 and is now a member organisation of Humanists International (formerly the International Humanist and Ethical Union), endorsing the Amsterdam Declaration 2002.

The NSS, whose motto is "Challenging religious privilege", campaigns for a secular state where there is no established state religion; where religion plays no role in state-funded education, does not interfere with the judicial process nor does it restrict freedom of expression; where the state does not intervene in matters of religious doctrine nor does it promote or fund religious activities, guaranteeing every citizen's freedom to believe, not to believe or to change religion.

Although the organisation was explicitly created for those who reject the supernatural, the NSS does not campaign to eradicate or prohibit religion, arguing that freedom of religion, as well as freedom from religion, is a human right and that state sponsorship of selected religions encroaches upon that right. It holds that belief should be a private matter for the home or place of worship and does not belong in the public sphere. In seeking to represent the interests and viewpoints of atheists, the NSS is often critical of what it sees as the damaging effects of religion.

-- National Secular Society, by Wikipedia

In one of his letters to A. P. Sinnett, Master K.H. [Koot Hoomi] wrote:

I am sorry you took the trouble of posting me about Bradlaugh. I know him and his partner well. There is more than one trait in his character I esteem and respect. He is not immoral; nor could anything that might be said against or for him by Mrs. K. [Anna Mary Kingsford] or even yourself, change or even influence my opinion of both himself and Mrs. Besant. Yet the book published by them —"The Fruits of Philosophy" is infamous and highly pernicious in its effects whatever and however beneficent and philanthropic the objects that led to the publication of the work. . . . I have not read the work — nor ever will; but I have its unclean spirit, its brutal aura before me, and I say again in my sight the advices offered in the work are abominable; they are the fruits of Sodom and Gommorah rather than of Philosophy, the very name of which it degrades. The sooner we leave the subject — the better.

-- Charles Bradlaugh, by Theosophy Wiki

Bradlaugh’s daughter Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner wrote his biography Charles Bradlaugh: A Record of His Life and Work:

“In India, he was joyfully called the "Member for India," and at home, his views on Indian matters were heard with growing respect. He took up the cause of India with no thought or prospect of personal gain; out of sheer zeal for justice and hatred of oppression.”

Charles Bradlaugh. —Wiki Commons

Regarding the said visit of India in 1889, Bradlaugh’s biographer further notes, “

Nothing could be more judicious and restrained than his brief address to the Congress on his brief visit to India after his dangerous illness of 1889.”

Bradlaugh’s speech concluded with following words:

“If I do rightly, you will be generous within your judgment; and that even if I do not always plead with the voice that you would speak with, you will believe that I have done my best. And that I meant my best to be the greater happiness for India's people, greater peace for Britain's rule, greater comfort for the whole of Britain's subjects.”

Annie Besant was a socialist, theosophist and a longtime colleague and partner of Mr Bradlaugh. For her theosophical work, she had travelled to India in the late 19th century, and went on to be elected as president of the Indian National Congress in 1917. Besant relates that the whole speech was punctuated with cheers.

“The speech concluded to tumultuous applause, his first speech in India, and alas his last,” she writes.

Thus, the Bradlaugh Hall, founded under the auspices of Congress, had become an epicentre of political gatherings in Lahore since its inauguration. In its early years, it helped facilitate the labour and peasants’ movement, especially the influential movement of the peasants (known as “Pagri Sambhal Jatta”) of Lyallpur (Faisalabad), in 1905.

National College — where Bhagat Singh turned revolutionary

Later, in 1915, the “Ghadar Party” also had its base in Bradlaugh Hall, Lahore. By the 1920s, it had become well-known across India as a prominent political hub.

That was the time when Lala Lajpat Rai founded the National College here. After the non-cooperation call of Mr Gandhi, the students of Lahore collected funds for setting up this college.

Bhagat Singh had also left his DAV School (now Government Muslim High School No. 2) and joined the National College. Here, he spent almost four years as a student (1922-26), an instrumental period which prepared him for the acts that would eventually make him a national hero.

At the National College, Bhagat Singh found revolutionary companions like Sukhdev, Yesh Pal, Ram Krishna and Bhagwati Charan Vohra. Here, these young patriots formed the “Naujawan Bharat Sabha” in March 1926. The objective was clear: to channelise the nationalist movement on ideological (resistant) lines.

Surendar Nath Banerji – one of the earliest Indian political leaders during the British Raj and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress – laid the plaque on October 30, 1900, at the inauguration of the Hall.

Bradlaugh Hall consists of numerous rooms, a pavilion and a vast area for public gatherings.

The entire building is covered with a metal roofing, like at railway stations.

The historic site is now wasting away in neglect.

Soon after the establishment of Sabha, its members observed the death anniversary of Kartar Singh Sarabha, a young revolutionary and leading luminary of the Ghadar Party who was executed in November 1915 for his role in the Ghadar Conspiracy Case (Lahore conspiracy case of 1914-15).

A portrait of Kartar Singh, covered with a white cloth, was kept in the Bradlaugh Hall. Durgawati Devi (wife of Bhagwati Charan) and Sushila Devi paid homage to the martyr by sprinkling blood from their fingers on to the white cloth.

Sabha did a great deal of work in politicising the middle class youth, students and peasantry. The revolutionary ideas of freedom, equality and economic emancipation stirred them to no end. By the end of 1929, the organisational units of Sabha had established in all major districts of Punjab, as well as in Sindh, UP and even in far-off cities like Bombay.

All these years, the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore had been the headquarters of Naujawan Bharat Sabha. After the arrest of its founder member, Bhagat Singh, and several others in April 1929, political activities gained more momentum at the Bradlaugh Hall.

But on 7 October 1930, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to death. As the Naujawan Bharat Sabha was declared illegal in June 1930, it was revived under the cover of “Bhagat Singh Appeal Committees”.

The legal defense for Bhagat was carried out at Sabha’s office in Bradlaugh Hall, as was Sardar Kishan Singh's appeal for his son, Bhagat. But the appeals were rejected, and on 23 March 1931, three young freedom fighters in their early 20s ended up sacrificing their precious lives.

A few leaders of the Sabha then planned to establish memorials for the three. On 28 April 1931, they met at the Bradlaugh Hall and formed a committee named “All India Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Memorial Committee”, but it could do nothing. Naujawan Bharat Sabha could no longer survive after 1931. Its strength and activities decreased and organisational network disrupted after the death of Bhagat and his companions.

That was also the end of a vibrant decade of the Bradlaugh Hall.

In 1956, the building was was allotted to some engineers who founded the 'Milli Techniki Idara' here.

Under the Milli Techniki Idara (National Technical Institute), land grabbing and illegal encroachments were rampant.

In the late '90s, the Milli Techniki Idara or National Technical Institute (which was allotted the building in 1956) ceased its educational activities and rented the building further to various tenants.

The teachers of nearby government high schools, who had taken possession of this historic property from the Milli Techniki Idara, used it as tuition centres (image taken in March 2008).

But now the Evacuee Trust Property Board has taken over the building and all the entry points are sealed.

Whereas previously, it was encroached upon, the hall is now wasting away in neglect.

Instead of keeping the buildings protected, the Evacuee Trust Board goes for the easier option of keeping it locked.

A forum for arts and literature

Apart from its political role, the Bradlaugh Hall was also a forum for activities related to literature, art and culture. Stage dramas, theatrical performances and mushairas were a common occurrence.

The Parsi Theatrical Companies of Cowasjee and Habib Seth were very popular, and both used to perform at the Bradlaugh Hall. In 1903, Narayan Prasad Betab’s drama Kasauti was played here.

In Abb Woh Lahore Kahan, F.E. Chaudhrya – the celebrated press photographer of Lahore – has discussed many such events in good detail. The book is based on his exclusive interviews with veteran journalist Muneer Ahmad Muneer.

In the preface, Muneer also touches upon the cultural aspects of Lahore and reminds us of the role of Bradlaugh in such activities, particularly the cherished details of the visit of the legendary singer and dancer Gauhar Jaan Kalkattewali, in 1912.

All the tickets sold out rapidly. The performance was held at the Bradlaugh Hall and all the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh upper class; including Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Qazalbash, Sir Umar Hayat Khan Tiwana, Sir Dia Kishan Kaul, Raja Narider Nath, Faqir Iftkhar uddin and Mian Saraj uddin, were among the audience of that concert.

F.E. Chaudhry also shares the details of a mushaira that was declared the largest mushaira of India. It was organised by the government in 1919 at Bradlaugh Hall as a World War-I victory ceremony. Here, Allama Iqbal recited his poem شعاع آفتاب (Shoa'a-e-Aftab or 'A sun ray').

Ramlila, the dramatic folk enactment of Rama and Ravan was another performing art show which was held every year for over 10 or more consecutive nights at Bradlaugh Hall.

In his book Lahore: A Sentimental Journey, Pran Nevile, an acclaimed author of Indian art, culture and history, says:

“As I was recalling my student days, I was reminded of the famous Bradlaugh Hall, where we used to gather for all kinds of meetings, especially those of a political nature connected with the national freedom movement. I still remember student leaders like Rajbans Krishan, Promod Chandra, Yash Pal, I.K. Gujral and Mazhar Ali addressing the student crowd at Bradlaugh Hall.”

But Nevile was probably talking about the early '40s. In the later years, things began changing rapidly, and the political scenario of the Indian subcontinent too. In the 1946 elections, Muslim League won the majority in Punjab, which marked the end of Congress in this province. Although the League was prevented from forming a coalition government by the Congress and the Unionists, the anti-League coalition collapsed soon.

As an active hub of political activities, Bradlaugh Hall was about to complete half a century. Actually, it had almost become the political epicentre in Lahore.

The handover to 'Milli Techniki Idara' and subsequent neglect

For a decade after independence, Bradlaugh Hall was used for various services; providing shelter to the migrants from Amritsar, as a warehouse for iron merchants and as a grain silo for the food department.

In 1956, Bradlaugh Hall and its adjoining area were flooded with heavy storm water. As the building became useless for food storage, the hall was allotted to “Milli Techniki Idara” (National Technical Institute). This institute of technical education was formed in 1953 by engineering graduates from Aligarh University.

Rafiq Chishti, a trustee of Milli Techniqui Idara, told me the story of this allotment some years ago.

In 1956, Muhammad Kibria, the head of “Milli Techniqui Idara” submitted an application to justice (r) Jamil Hussain Rizvi, the Minister for Law and Rehabilitation, for the allotment of a building. On his approval, secretary Evacuee Trust Property Board allotted Bradlaugh Hall to Kibria for 99 years. It was handed over to the Idara in 1957.

However, in the late '90s, Milli Techniqui Idara ceased its educational activities and the management rented the building to various persons, including the teachers of nearby government schools. Although Bradlaugh Hall housed the Milli Techniki Idara for about four decades, this was also the worst period for this historic building, as it was in this period that all the land grabbings and illegal interventions took place. And the trustees of the Idara can’t negate the fact that the area was being exploited all for personal and monetary interests.

The terrible conditions and signs of deliberate damage all around the hall.

The terrible conditions and signs of deliberate damage all around the hall.

All the windowpanes and doors are cracked and the iron roof is crumbling.

The wrecked state of the podium where the political leadership of the Indian subcontinent used to give out addresses. Below the pavilion, the gallery seats had been modified into rooms through partitions constructed by school teachers.

Another view of the hall interior.

(The above images are from March 2008. Now, the conditions are far worse.)

It was not possible to find an authentic source who covers the details of Bradlaugh Hall, especially ones regarding the designing and construction of this superb piece of architecture. Obviously, the building can be described as an architectural fantasy, and whoever designed it was, of course a trained architect, certainly impressed by British architecture, but fairly well-informed of local requirements and climate too.

The building bears the impression of architectural and ideological characteristics of Leicester Secular Hall, built in 1881 by the Leicester secular society, England. It may be pertinent to mention that Leicester Hall was proposed in 1872 after George Jacob Holyoake – a mentor of Bradlaugh and a secularist – was not allowed to use the public building for his lectures.

Bradlaugh Hall consists of numerous rooms, a pavilion and a vast area for public gatherings. The entire building is covered with an iron roof, like the railway stations. In the eastern side of the hall is a pavilion, which was used as stage and to reach staircases along both sides of the walls.

Since the Evacuee Trust Property Board took over the hall from Milli Techniki Idara a few years ago, all the entry points have been sealed. But I had managed to visit the hall and photograph it from the inside while the hall was still under the control of the tenants.

The interior was terrible damaged all around. The podium, where once, India's leading political figures used to give speeches from, was utterly wrecked. Below the pavilion, the gallery seats had been modified into rooms by constructing partitions. This destruction of property was caused by the teachers of nearby government high schools, who had taken possession of this historic property from Milli Techniki Idara, and used it for various purposes, including tuition centres.

On fantasised histories

Apart from the negligence, Bradlaugh Hall is also a victim of fake narratives and ignorance.

Historical events, personalities and places are routinely fantasised, and described more often than not under the influence of that fantasy. Something similar happened in the case of Bradlaugh Hall.

In dozens of web and newspaper articles and books (mostly in Urdu), authors have presumed that Mr Bradlaugh was awarded the contract for laying down railway tracks in western India, and that when the British government learned about his sympathy for the Indians, they cancelled his contract and ordered him to leave India.

Then, the clever Mr Bradlaugh took a boat and anchored in Ravi, indicating to the government that he was not on Indian land anymore. But the government forced him to leave the country. The story goes on to say that he had purchased some land in Lahore, where Bradlaugh Hall was constructed on his will.

However, none of the writers citing these stories actually bothered to find out who who Bradlaugh was in fact. His extensive biography, written by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner, his daughter and ideological successor, should definitely be regarded as an authentic source in this regard.

The biography tells us that Mr Bradlaugh had visited India only in December 1889 and it was also a brief trip as he returned from Bombay at the end of January 1890, mainly due to health issues. Mr. Bradlaugh actually wished to visit India; partially it was also a reason behind his joining the service of East India Company in 1851. But he was destined for home service and stationed in Dublin, Ireland.

Bradlaugh had also never been a railway contractor, after three years of military service almost all his life passed in learning, lecturing and in political struggle. It was really a rigorous life and he died poor and in debt.

But in case of history such assumption and fantasies mean nothing except pushing us away from the facts. And the fact here is simple: a building, a witness of history is crumbling; now the question is what should be our line of action?



• Charles Bradlaugh: A Record of His Life and Work by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner
• Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia as seen by his contemporaries. Edited by Ihsan H. Nadiem
• How India Wrought For Freedom: The Story of The National Congress by Annie Besant
• Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics: A Study of the Khilafat Movement, 1918-1924 by Naeem Qureshi
• Indian Muslims and Partition of India by S.M. Ikram
• Early Aryans to Swaraj (Vol 10, Modern India) by S.R. Bakshi, S.Gajrani, Hari Singh
• Abb Woh Lahore Kahan by Muneer Ahmad Muneer
• Lahore A Sentimental Journey by Pran Nevile
• Stages of Life: Indian Theatre Autobiographies by Kathryn Hansen

News articles and research papers:

• 'Punjab’s first freedom fighter: Remembering Dyal Singh, founder of The Tribune by Madan Gopal The Tribune, Chandigarh India
• 'Towards Independence and Socialist Republic: Naujawan Bharat Sabha' by Irfan Habib and S. K. Mittal. Social Scientist, vol 86, 87, Sept-Oct 1979

Aown Ali is a Lahore based photojournalist, particularly interested in documenting architecture worth historic significant.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:49 am

The Fruits of Philosophy (1832), by Charles Knowlton
by Caroline Meek, Claudia Nunez-Eddy
The Embryo Project Encyclopedia
Published: 2017-10-05

In 1832, Charles Knowlton published The Fruits of Philosophy, a pamphlet advocating for controlling reproduction and detailing methods for preventing pregnancy. Originally published anonymously in Massachusetts, The Fruits of Philosophy was an illegal book because United States law prohibited the publishing of immoral and obscene material, which included information about contraception. In The Fruits of Philosophy, Knowlton detailed recipes for contraceptives and advocated for controlling reproduction. In 1877 in Europe, social activists Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant republished the pamphlet in London, England. At that time, many governments, including the United Kingdom, still considered the book illegal material due to its discussion of contraception. The Fruits of Philosophy was one of the first publications detailing contraceptive methods for controlling reproduction and activists used it in some of the first attempts at repealing obscenity laws in the United States and Great Britain. Through their efforts, Knowlton and those who later republished the pamphlet increased knowledge of reproduction and awareness of methods of contraception. By challenging anti-obscenity laws, the author and activists also helped with the eventual weakening and dissolution of such law.

Knowlton, a physician practicing in the United States, originally wrote The Fruits of Philosophy, also titled The Private Companion of Young Married People and A Treatise on the Population Question. Knowlton studied medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in the 1820s. Following completion of his medical degree Knowlton moved to Ashfield, Massachusetts, where he practiced medicine and wrote the pamphlet. According to his autobiography, Knowlton wrote the short pamphlet-style guide to inform his patients about contraception and sex education. In 1932, Knowlton anonymously printed several copies of The Fruits of Philosophy and circulated them among his patients. That same year, Abner Kneeland, a theologian and social radical, republished The Fruits of Philosophy in Boston, Massachusetts with Knowlton’s name as the author on the cover, largely increasing circulation of the pamphlet. The government then charged Knowlton under the United States obscenity laws, which classified discussion of contraception as obscene. Knowlton was fined and imprisoned for three months in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following his release, The Fruits of Philosophy was published again and Mason Grosvenor, a minister in Ashfield, found the pamphlet and took legal action to prevent the circulation of the material. Knowlton was tried again on obscenity charges, but the charges were later dropped. The trials increased the book’s publicity and more than one million copies were sold in America.

Following Knowlton’s death in 1850, circulation of The Fruits of Philosophy continued worldwide. In the 1850s, freethought activist James Watson published The Fruits of Philosophy in London, England. For many years, the pamphlet was published and sold throughout London unchallenged. In the 1870s, following the arrest of several publishers associated with publishing obscene materials, social activists Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant republished The Fruits of Philosophy, to test the validity of the pamphlet under England’s obscenity laws. Knowlton’s original work, The Fruits of Philosophy, has been republished many times throughout the world, however, the most commonly available edition is that published by Bradlaugh and Besant. In their “Publishers’ Preface,” Bradlaugh and Besant state that there are very few changes made to Knowlton’s original pamphlet and that all changes are clearly marked as deviations from the original. In the “Publisher’s Preface,” Bradlaugh and Besant also detail the history of the publication and the need for controlling reproduction in the wake of fears surrounding overpopulation and poverty.

Knowlton’s pamphlet, The Fruits of Philosophy, begins with a section titled “Philosophical Proem,” in which Knowlton discusses the basis and links between consciousness, sensations, passions, and human nature. He argues that humans have the power to prevent any evils that may arise from gratifying sexual desires, such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. He argues that it is unreasonable to solely advocate for abstinence to prevent pregnancy because humans are not likely to easily limit sexual gratification. Knowlton states that it is the duty of physicians to inform their patients of these prevention methods. Following that brief introduction, the pamphlet is organized into four chapters. In chapter one, Knowlton argues that controlling reproduction, the idea of conceiving children intentionally instead of accidentally, can be done without challenging any reproductive instincts. He defines reproductive instincts as the urge people have to have sex and reproduce. In chapter two, Knowlton asserts that every person has the right to information on reproduction and pregnancy prevention. He argues that the average person knows too little about the physiology of conception and reproduction. To educate his patients, Knowlton includes detailed descriptions of the reproductive organs and the physiological method of conception. In chapter three, he discusses several methods of contraception including recipes for chemical vaginal washes. Finally, in chapter four, Knowlton discusses why people have sex and argues that reproductive health includes sexual education, which was not common at the time.

In chapter one, Knowlton first discusses the political aspects of reproduction. He starts by referencing Thomas Malthus’ theory on overpopulation and poverty. Malthus, an economist, observed that population growth was exponential, and that as populations increased the lower class suffered in poverty, famine, and disease. Malthus argued that the only way a society could escape this increasing poverty was to restrict population growth. Knowlton explains the Malthusian idea, and states that war, disease, and famine keep populations in check and prevent overpopulation. He questions whether there can be other means to prevent overpopulation. Malthus argued in his work that the only way to combat population growth was through late marriage and celibacy. However, Knowlton explains that the belief that men and women will remain celibate is foolish. Knowlton argues that promoting celibacy and late marriage would actually increase prostitution, and be destructive to physical and mental health.

Knowlton then addresses the social aspects of reproduction, categorizing individuals as either married or not. He asserts that married couples often have many more children than they desire. Knowlton specifically addresses the health and wellbeing of the woman, stating that often a woman’s health, comfort, happiness, and life are endangered by multiple pregnancies. He also argues that married couples who should not become parents reproduce, specifically citing those with hereditary diseases. Knowlton then addresses the social aspect of population control among unmarried youth. He asserts that young men often oppose early marriage, desiring first to make enough money to support a family. However, he argues that young men are unlikely to resist the temptation of sexual gratification and will instead resort to prostitution. To prevent sexual temptation outside of marriage, Knowlton states individuals should marry young and be provided with the knowledge and means to prevent having children early in marriage. Knowlton uses the first chapter to comment on the importance of having the knowledge and means to prevent pregnancy to live the happiest life.

In chapter two, Knowlton states his belief that all individuals have a human right to receive the knowledge of the facts and discoveries made by science, including those of reproduction. He argues that knowledge about reproduction is important because reproduction is very connected to the happiness of humankind, yet he acknowledges that public discussion and investigation of topics like sex are considered improper. He goes on to discuss how the average person’s understanding of conception is lacking, and he states that that lack motivated him to write The Fruits of Philosophy.

As chapter two continues, Knowlton provides detailed descriptions of the external and internal reproductive organs in both males and females. He uses both layman’s terms and medical terminology in his explanations of anatomy, as he designed the pamphlet to give practical information about reproduction to his patients. Following a discussion of reproductive anatomy, Knowlton addresses the mechanics of the conception, including information on the stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle, ovulation, properties of semen and sperm, fertilization, and pregnancy. He mentions some signs of pregnancy, including a decrease in appetite, vomiting and nausea in the morning, heartburn, and difficulty sleeping. Knowlton notes that pregnancy cannot be confirmed until about six weeks after conception and is done via a pelvic examination that reveals the woman’s uterus has descended lower in her body than it normally sits. He states that pregnancy is typically nine months, during which the fetus grows and develops in the uterus.

In the last part of chapter two, Knowlton states that at the time physicians still did not fully understand how the sperm reached the eggs in the ovaries leading to fertilization. He cites three hypotheses for the mechanism that leads to fertilization and states that he agrees most with physician William Potts Dewees from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dewees suggested that a set of vessels connected the surface of the vagina to the ovaries. During intercourse, a man’s semen was absorbed by those vessels on the surface of a woman’s vagina and allowed the sperm to flow into the fallopian tube to fertilize the woman’s egg. In a footnote from the publishers, Bradlaugh and Besant state that that view of fertilization is no longer accepted by the scientific community. Rather, they state that it has now been discovered that eggs or ova are discharged from the ovaries into the uterus during the menstrual cycle and independent of intercourse. Bradlaugh and Besant state that if intercourse and ejaculation of semen occurs when the ova is in the uterus, conception can take place.

In the third chapter of The Fruits of Philosophy, Knowlton highlights some methods of controlling and preventing conception. First, Knowlton asserts that conception will be difficult for women who do not menstruate regularly. He states that for a woman to conceive, a physician must first regulate the woman’s menstrual cycle. He then mentions that sterility can occur naturally, which he attributes to physiological inactivity and a weakness of the reproductive system. Knowlton then provides a remedy for that type of sterility: exercising in open air, eating nourishing food, wearing flannel clothing, and drinking a concoction of steel metal shavings and cider. He states that those activities heal the uterine system over the course of a few months. He includes other medical recipes for sterility such as Dewees’ Volatile Tincture of Guaiac, Gum Guaicaum, Spirits of Ammonia, and tincture of Spanish Flies, among others. Knowlton also discusses infertility and impotence among men, and often attributes it to alcohol or tobacco use, and general anxiety. Common treatments for male infertility include cold baths, cheerful company, change of scenery, regular exercise, and medical remedies such as cayenne and tincture of flies.

Knowlton goes on to discuss methods of preventing conception. First, he mentions withdrawal, or a man withdrawing his penis from a woman’s vagina before releasing any sperm. He also discusses the baudruche, also known as a condom, which covers the man’s penis and prevents both conception and venereal diseases. Knowlton argues the baudruche will likely not become popular. Then Knowlton discusses the use of a sponge moistened with water in the vagina to prevent sperm from traveling far enough to fertilize a woman’s egg. However, he argues that the ridges in the vagina could allow sperm to be dislodged when the sponge is removed, thus he does not recommend this method unless paired with some chemical liquid to destroy the sperm. He also adds that using a vaginal wash after sexual intercourse could chemically alter the sperm and prevent fertilization. For a vaginal wash, Knowlton recommends a solution of zinc, aluminum, pearl-ash, and a salt. Knowlton concludes the chapter by stating that it is important to have a safe, effective, and attainable method of contraception.

In the last chapter of the pamphlet, Knowlton discusses the reproductive instinct, which he states is the desire for sexual intercourse. He asserts that no other instinct has a greater impact on human happiness and satisfaction. However, he argues that too often the instinct is not controlled by reason and individuals act on the instinct in an improper manner. He argues that it is the duty of the physician to provide instruction in regards to the reproductive instinct, just as a physician would in regards to desires for eating, drinking, exercise, and more. He states that humans are likely to act on the instinct too early and at the wrong time, resulting in dissatisfaction within the family. He suggests that the proper age to have children is approximately seventeen years old for women and a few years older for men. He provides instances in which individuals should not gratify their sexual desires, including during menstruation because it can produce symptoms similar to syphilis and when a woman is far along in her pregnancy because it might impair the future offspring’s mental capacity. Knowlton also states that the effects of sex are much greater on men than women; he states that the male system is quickly exhausted by intercourse. He suggests that a protein rich diet will help men recover from intercourse, and a cold vegetable and milk diet will calm further sexual desires.

Knowlton concludes with a discussion of possible objections in the last section titled “Appendix.” He states that people may object to the knowledge of contraception as it may increase illegal sexual encounters such as prostitution, adultery, or intercourse outside of marriage. However, Knowlton counters by saying that prostitution occurs because there are so many young unmarried men and women. He continues by saying that young men and women don’t marry not because they don’t wish to marry young, but because they believe that when they marry they will have children and start a family. Knowlton argues that the spread of information on pregnancy prevention will lead to an increase in happy families and fewer poverty-stricken, overpopulated families.

After Besant and Bradlaugh republished Knowlton’s pamphlet, they were arrested for violating the Obscene Publications Act of 1857, which made the sale of obscene literature illegal in England. Bradlaugh and Besant were convicted and sentenced to jail. However, on appeal, their convictions were overturned. The trial of Bradlaugh and Besant was heavily publicized in the media and the number of copies of the pamphlet in circulation increased from 700 to 125,000 in the span of one year.


Chandrasekhar, Sripati. A Dirty Filthy Book. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981.
Dewees, William Potts. A Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children. Blanchard and Lea, 1858.
Knowlton, Charles. The Fruits of Philosophy: The Private Companion for Young Married People. London: James Watson, 1832.
Knowlton, Charles. “The Late Charles Knowlton, M.D.” The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 45 (1851): 109–20.
Knowlton, Charles. Fruits of Philosophy: A Treatise on the Population Question. Eds. Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant. San Francisco: The Reader’s Library, 1891. (Accessed August 17, 2017).
Malthus, Thomas. An Essay on the Principle of Population: Or A View of Its Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness with an Inquiry into our Prospects Respecting the Future Removal or Mitigation of the Evils which it Occasions. London: John Murray. Volume One. Sixth Edition, 1826.
Manvell, Roger. The Trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh. New York: Horizon Press, 1976.
Sappol, Michael. “The Odd Case of Charles Knowlton: Anatomical Performance, Medical Narrative, and Identity in Antebellum America.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 83 (2009): 460–98.
How to cite
Meek, Caroline,, Nunez-Eddy, Claudia, "The Fruits of Philosophy (1832), by Charles Knowlton". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2017-10-05). ISSN: 1940-5030
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Not to be confused with freedom of thought or free will.

Freethought (or free thought)[1] is an epistemological viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed only on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a freethinker is "a person who forms their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people, especially in religious teaching." In some contemporary thought in particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems.[1][2] The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".[1] Modern freethinkers consider freethought as a natural freedom from all negative and illusive thoughts acquired from the society.[3]

The term first came into use in the 17th century in order to indicate people who inquired into the basis of traditional religious beliefs. In practice, freethinking is most closely linked with secularism, atheism, agnosticism, anti-clericalism, and religious critique. The Oxford English Dictionary defines freethinking as, "The free exercise of reason in matters of religious belief, unrestrained by deference to authority; the adoption of the principles of a free-thinker." Freethinkers hold that knowledge should be grounded in facts, scientific inquiry, and logic. The skeptical application of science implies freedom from the intellectually limiting effects of confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, or sectarianism.[4]


Atheist author Adam Lee defines freethought as thinking which is independent of revelation, tradition, established belief, and authority,[5] and considers it as a "broader umbrella" than atheism "that embraces a rainbow of unorthodoxy, religious dissent, skepticism, and unconventional thinking."[6]

The basic summarizing statement of the essay The Ethics of Belief by the 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford is: "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."[7] The essay became a rallying cry for freethinkers when published in the 1870s, and has been described as a point when freethinkers grabbed the moral high ground.[8] Clifford was himself an organizer of freethought gatherings, the driving force behind the Congress of Liberal Thinkers held in 1878.

Regarding religion, freethinkers typically hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena.[9] According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, "No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth." and "Freethinkers are convinced that religious claims have not withstood the tests of reason. Not only is there nothing to be gained by believing an untruth, but there is everything to lose when we sacrifice the indispensable tool of reason on the altar of superstition. Most freethinkers consider religion to be not only untrue, but harmful."[10]

However, philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote the following in his 1944 essay "The Value of Free Thought:"

What makes a freethinker is not his beliefs but the way in which he holds them. If he holds them because his elders told him they were true when he was young, or if he holds them because if he did not he would be unhappy, his thought is not free; but if he holds them because, after careful thought he finds a balance of evidence in their favour, then his thought is free, however odd his conclusions may seem.

— Bertrand Russell, The Value of Free Thought. How to Become a Truth-Seeker and Break the Chains of Mental Slavery, from the first paragraph

The whole first paragraph of the essay makes it clear that a freethinker is not necessarily an atheist or an agnostic, as long as he or she satisfies this definition:

The person who is free in any respect is free from something; what is the free thinker free from? To be worthy of the name, he must be free of two things: the force of tradition, and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is completely free from either, but in the measure of a man's emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker.

— Bertrand Russell, The Value of Free Thought. How to Become a Truth-Seeker and Break the Chains of Mental Slavery, from the first paragraph

Fred Edwords, former executive of the American Humanist Association, suggests that by Russell's definition, liberal religionists who have challenged established orthodoxies can be considered freethinkers.[11]

On the other hand, according to Bertrand Russell, atheists and/or agnostics are not necessarily freethinkers. As an example, he mentions Stalin, whom he compares to a "pope":

what I am concerned with is the doctrine of the modern Communistic Party, and of the Russian Government to which it owes allegiance. According to this doctrine, the world develops on the lines of a Plan called Dialectical Materialism, first discovered by Karl Marx, embodied in the practice of a great state by Lenin, and now expounded from day to day by a Church of which Stalin is the Pope. […] Free discussion is to be prevented wherever the power to do so exists; […] If this doctrine and this organization prevail, free inquiry will become as impossible as it was in the middle ages, and the world will relapse into bigotry and obscurantism.

— Bertrand Russell, The Value of Free Thought. How to Become a Truth-Seeker and Break the Chains of Mental Slavery

In the 18th and 19th century, many thinkers regarded as freethinkers were deists, arguing that the nature of God can only be known from a study of nature rather than from religious revelation. In the 18th century, "deism" was as much of a 'dirty word' as "atheism", and deists were often stigmatized as either atheists or at least as freethinkers by their Christian opponents.[12][13] Deists today regard themselves as freethinkers, but are now arguably less prominent in the freethought movement than atheists.


Among freethinkers, for a notion to be considered true it must be testable, verifiable, and logical. Many freethinkers tend to be humanists, who base morality on human needs and would find meaning in human compassion, social progress, art, personal happiness, love, and the furtherance of knowledge. Generally, freethinkers like to think for themselves, tend to be skeptical, respect critical thinking and reason, remain open to new concepts, and are sometimes proud of their own individuality. They would determine truth for themselves – based upon knowledge they gain, answers they receive, experiences they have and the balance they thus acquire. Freethinkers reject conformity for the sake of conformity, whereby they create their own beliefs by considering the way the world around them works and would possess the intellectual integrity and courage to think outside of accepted norms, which may or may not lead them to believe in some higher power.[14]


The pansy, a symbol of freethought.

The pansy serves as the long-established and enduring symbol of freethought; literature of the American Secular Union inaugurated its usage in the late 1800s. The reasoning behind the pansy as the symbol of freethought lies both in the flower's name and in its appearance. The pansy derives its name from the French word pensée, which means "thought". It allegedly received this name because the flower is perceived by some to bear resemblance to a human face, and in mid-to-late summer it nods forward as if deep in thought.[15] Challenging Religious Dogma: A History of Free Thought, a pamphlet dating from the 1880s had this statement under the title "The Pansy Badge":[16]

There is . . . need of a badge which shall express at first glance, without complexity of detail, that basic principle of freedom of thought for which Liberals of all isms are contending. This need seems to have been met by the Freethinkers of France, Belgium, Spain and Sweden, who have adopted the pansy as their badge. We join with them in recommending this flower as a simple and inexpensive badge of Freethought...Let every patriot who is a Freethinker in this sense, adopt the pansy as his badge, to be worn at all times, as a silent and unobtrusive testimony of his principles. In this way we shall recognize our brethren in the cause, and the enthusiasm will spread; until, before long, the uplifted standard of the pansy, beneath the sheltering folds of the United States flag, shall everywhere thrill men's hearts as the symbol of religious liberty and freedom of conscience."


Pre-modern movement

Critical thought has flourished in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, in the repositories of knowledge and wisdom in Ireland and in the Iranian civilizations (for example in the era of Khayyam (1048–1131) and his unorthodox Sufi Rubaiyat poems), and in other civilizations, such as the Chinese (note for example the seafaring renaissance of the Southern Song dynasty of 420–479),[17] and on through heretical thinkers on esoteric alchemy or astrology, to the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.

French physician and writer Rabelais celebrated "rabelaisian" freedom as well as good feasting and drinking (an expression and a symbol of freedom of the mind) in defiance of the hypocrisies of conformist orthodoxy in his utopian Thelema Abbey (from θέλημα: free "will"), the device of which was Do What Thou Wilt:

So had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed, Do What Thou Wilt; because free people ... act virtuously and avoid vice. They call this honor.

When Rabelais's hero Pantagruel journeys to the "Oracle of The Div(in)e Bottle", he learns the lesson of life in one simple word: "Trinch!", Drink! Enjoy the simple life, learn wisdom and knowledge, as a free human. Beyond puns, irony, and satire, Gargantua's prologue-metaphor instructs the reader to "break the bone and suck out the substance-full marrow" ("la substantifique moëlle"), the core of wisdom.

Modern movements

Freethought logo

The year 1600 is considered a landmark in the era of modern freethought. It was the year of the execution in Italy of Giordano Bruno, a former Dominican friar, by the Inquisition.[18][19][20]


The term free-thinker emerged towards the end of the 17th century in England to describe those who stood in opposition to the institution of the Church, and the literal belief in the Bible. The beliefs of these individuals were centered on the concept that people could understand the world through consideration of nature. Such positions were formally documented for the first time in 1697 by William Molyneux in a widely publicized letter to John Locke, and more extensively in 1713, when Anthony Collins wrote his Discourse of Free-thinking, which gained substantial popularity. This essay attacks the clergy of all churches and it is a plea for deism.

The Freethinker magazine was first published in Britain in 1881.


In France, the concept first appeared in publication in 1765 when Denis Diderot, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, and Voltaire included an article on Liberté de penser in their Encyclopédie.[21] The European freethought concepts spread so widely that even places as remote as the Jotunheimen, in Norway, had well-known freethinkers such as Jo Gjende by the 19th century.[22]

François-Jean Lefebvre de la Barre (1745–1766) was a young French nobleman, famous for having been tortured and beheaded before his body was burnt on a pyre along with Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary. La Barre is often said to have been executed for not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession, but the elements of the case were far more complex.[23]

In France, Lefebvre de la Barre is widely regarded a symbol of the victims of Christian religious intolerance; La Barre along with Jean Calas and Pierre-Paul Sirven, was championed by Voltaire. A second replacement statue to de la Barre stands nearby the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris at the summit of the butte Montmartre (itself named from the Temple of Mars), the highest point in Paris and an 18th arrondissement street nearby the Sacré-Cœur is also named after Lefebvre de la Barre.


In Germany, during the period 1815–1848 and before the March Revolution, the resistance of citizens against the dogma of the church increased. In 1844, under the influence of Johannes Ronge and Robert Blum, belief in the rights of man, tolerance among men, and humanism grew, and by 1859 they had established the Bund Freireligiöser Gemeinden Deutschlands (literally Union of Free Religious Communities of Germany), an association of persons who consider themselves to be religious without adhering to any established and institutionalized church or sacerdotal cult. This union still exists today, and is included as a member in the umbrella organization of free humanists. In 1881 in Frankfurt am Main, Ludwig Büchner established the Deutscher Freidenkerbund (German Freethinkers League) as the first German organization for atheists and agnostics. In 1892 the Freidenker-Gesellschaft and in 1906 the Deutscher Monistenbund were formed.[24]

Freethought organizations developed the "Jugendweihe" (literally Youth consecration), a secular "confirmation" ceremony, and atheist funeral rites.[24][25] The Union of Freethinkers for Cremation was founded in 1905, and the Central Union of German Proletariat Freethinker in 1908. The two groups merged in 1927, becoming the German Freethinking Association in 1930.[26]

More "bourgeois" organizations declined after World War I, and "proletarian" Freethought groups proliferated, becoming an organization of socialist parties.[24][27] European socialist freethought groups formed the International of Proletarian Freethinkers (IPF) in 1925.[28] Activists agitated for Germans to disaffiliate from their respective Church and for seculari-zation of elementary schools; between 1919–21 and 1930–32 more than 2.5 million Germans, for the most part supporters of the Social Democratic and Communist parties, gave up church membership.[29] Conflict developed between radical forces including the Soviet League of the Militant Godless and Social Democratic forces in Western Europe led by Theodor Hartwig and Max Sievers.[28] In 1930 the Soviet and allied delegations, following a walk-out, took over the IPF and excluded the former leaders.[28] Following Hitler's rise to power in 1933, most freethought organizations were banned, though some right-wing groups that worked with so-called Völkische Bünde (literally "ethnic" associations with nationalist, xenophobic and very often racist ideology) were tolerated by the Nazis until the mid-1930s.[24][27]


Main article: Organized secularism

The Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, along with the two Circles of Free Inquiry (Dutch and French speaking), defend the freedom of critical thought, lay philosophy and ethics, while rejecting the argument of authority.


In the Netherlands, freethought has existed in organized form since the establishment of De Dageraad (now known as De Vrije Gedachte) in 1856. Among its most notable subscribing 19th century individuals were Johannes van Vloten, Multatuli, Adriaan Gerhard and Domela Nieuwenhuis.

In 2009, Frans van Dongen established the Atheist-Secular Party, which takes a considerably restrictive view of religion and public religious expressions.

Since the 19th century, Freethought in the Netherlands has become more well known as a political phenomenon through at least three currents: liberal freethinking, conservative freethinking, and classical freethinking. In other words, parties which identify as freethinking tend to favor non-doctrinal, rational approaches to their preferred ideologies, and arose as secular alternatives to both clerically aligned parties as well as labor-aligned parties. Common themes among freethinking political parties are "freedom", "liberty", and "individualism".


Main article: Freethinkers Association of Switzerland

With the introduction of cantonal church taxes in the 1870s, anti-clericals began to organise themselves. Around 1870, a "freethinkers club" was founded in Zürich. During the debate on the Zürich church law in 1883, professor Friedrich Salomon Vögelin and city council member Kunz proposed to separate church and state.[30]


In the last years of the Ottoman Empire, freethought made its voice heard by the works of distinguished people such as Ahmet Rıza, Tevfik Fikret, Abdullah Cevdet, Kılıçzade Hakkı, and Celal Nuri İleri. These intellectuals affected the early period of the Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk –field marshal, revolutionary statesman, author, and founder of the secular Turkish nation state, serving as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938– was the practitioner of their ideas. He made many reforms that modernized the country. Sources point out that Atatürk was a religious skeptic and a freethinker. He was a non-doctrinaire deist[31][32] or an atheist,[33][34][35] who was antireligious and anti-Islamic in general.[36][37] According to Atatürk, the Turkish people do not know what Islam really is and do not read the Quran. People are influenced by Arabic sentences that they do not understand, and because of their customs they go to mosques. When the Turks read the Quran and think about it, they will leave Islam.[38] Atatürk described Islam as the religion of the Arabs in his own work titled Vatandaş için Medeni Bilgiler by his own critical and nationalist views.[39]

Association of Atheism (Ateizm Derneği), the first official atheist organisation in Middle East and Caucasus, was founded in 2014.[40] It serves to support irreligious people and freethinkers in Turkey who are discriminated against based on their views. In 2018 it was reported in some media outlets that the Ateizm Derneği would close down because of the pressure on its members and attacks by pro-government media, but the association itself issued a clarification that this was not the case and that it was still active.[41]

United States

The Free Thought movement first organized itself in the United States as the "Free Press Association" in 1827 in defense of George Houston, publisher of The Correspondent, an early journal of Biblical criticism in an era when blasphemy convictions were still possible. Houston had helped found an Owenite community at Haverstraw, New York in 1826–27. The short-lived Correspondent was superseded by the Free Enquirer, the official organ of Robert Owen's New Harmony community in Indiana, edited by Robert Dale Owen and by Fanny Wright between 1828 and 1832 in New York. During this time Robert Dale Owen sought to introduce the philosophic skepticism of the Free Thought movement into the Workingmen's Party in New York City. The Free Enquirer's annual civic celebrations of Paine's birthday after 1825 finally coalesced in 1836 in the first national Free Thinkers organization, the "United States Moral and Philosophical Society for the General Diffusion of Useful Knowledge". It was founded on August 1, 1836, at a national convention at the Lyceum in Saratoga Springs with Isaac S. Smith of Buffalo, New York, as president. Smith was also the 1836 Equal Rights Party's candidate for Governor of New York and had also been the Workingmen's Party candidate for Lt. Governor of New York in 1830. The Moral and Philosophical Society published The Beacon, edited by Gilbert Vale.[42]

Robert G. Ingersoll[43]

Driven by the revolutions of 1848 in the German states, the 19th century saw an immigration of German freethinkers and anti-clericalists to the United States (see Forty-Eighters). In the United States, they hoped to be able to live by their principles, without interference from government and church authorities.[44]

Many Freethinkers settled in German immigrant strongholds, including St. Louis, Indianapolis, Wisconsin, and Texas, where they founded the town of Comfort, Texas, as well as others.[44]

These groups of German Freethinkers referred to their organizations as Freie Gemeinden, or "free congregations".[44] The first Freie Gemeinde was established in St. Louis in 1850.[45] Others followed in Pennsylvania, California, Washington, D.C., New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, and other states.[44][45]

Freethinkers tended to be liberal, espousing ideals such as racial, social, and sexual equality, and the abolition of slavery.[44]

The "Golden Age of Freethought" in the US came in the late 1800s. The dominant organization was the National Liberal League which formed in 1876 in Philadelphia. This group re-formed itself in 1885 as the American Secular Union under the leadership of the eminent agnostic orator Robert G. Ingersoll. Following Ingersoll's death in 1899 the organization declined, in part due to lack of effective leadership.[46]

Freethought in the United States declined in the early twentieth century. By the early twentieth century, most Freethought congregations had disbanded or joined other mainstream churches. The longest continuously operating Freethought congregation in America is the Free Congregation of Sauk County, Wisconsin, which was founded in 1852 and is still active as of 2020. It affiliated with the American Unitarian Association (now the Unitarian Universalist Association) in 1955.[47] D. M. Bennett was the founder and publisher of The Truth Seeker in 1873, a radical freethought and reform American periodical.

German Freethinker settlements were located in:

• Burlington, Racine County, Wisconsin[44]
• Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois
• Castell, Llano County, Texas
• Comfort, Kendall County, Texas
• Davenport, Scott County, Iowa[48]
• Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin[44]
• Frelsburg, Colorado County, Texas
• Hermann, Gasconade County, Missouri
• Jefferson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin[44]
• Indianapolis, Indiana[49]
• Latium, Washington County, Texas
• Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin[44]
• Meyersville, DeWitt County, Texas
• Milwaukee, Wisconsin[44]
• Millheim, Austin County, Texas
• Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin[44]
• Ratcliffe, DeWitt County, Texas
• Sauk City, Sauk County, Wisconsin[44][47]
• Shelby, Austin County, Texas
• Sisterdale, Kendall County, Texas
• St. Louis, Missouri
• Tusculum, Kendall County, Texas
• Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin[44]
• Watertown, Dodge County, Wisconsin[44]


In 1873 a handful of secularists founded the earliest known secular organization in English Canada, the Toronto Freethought Association. Reorganized in 1877 and again in 1881, when it was renamed the Toronto Secular Society, the group formed the nucleus of the Canadian Secular Union, established in 1884 to bring together freethinkers from across the country.[50]

A significant number of the early members appear to have come from the educated labour "aristocracy", including Alfred F. Jury, J. Ick Evans and J. I. Livingstone, all of whom were leading labour activists and secularists. The second president of the Toronto association, T. Phillips Thompson, became a central figure in the city's labour and social-reform movements during the 1880s and 1890s and arguably Canada's foremost late nineteenth-century labour intellectual. By the early 1880s scattered freethought organizations operated throughout southern Ontario and parts of Quebec, eliciting both urban and rural support.

The principal organ of the freethought movement in Canada was Secular Thought (Toronto, 1887–1911). Founded and edited during its first several years by English freethinker Charles Watts (1835–1906), it came under the editorship of Toronto printer and publisher James Spencer Ellis in 1891 when Watts returned to England. In 1968 the Humanist Association of Canada (HAC) formed to serve as an umbrella group for humanists, atheists, and freethinkers, and to champion social justice issues and oppose religious influence on public policy—most notably in the fight to make access to abortion free and legal in Canada.


In the United States of America,

"freethought was a basically anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement, whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide for himself on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both freethought and anarchism. The individualist anarchist George MacDonald was a co-editor of Freethought and, for a time, The Truth Seeker. E.C. Walker was co-editor of the freethought/free love journal Lucifer, the Light-Bearer."[51]

"Many of the anarchists were ardent freethinkers; reprints from freethought papers such as Lucifer, the Light-Bearer, Freethought and The Truth Seeker appeared in Liberty...The church was viewed as a common ally of the state and as a repressive force in and of itself."[51]

Lucifer was the title of a Theosophist journal published by Helena Blavatsky; the first issue appeared in London in September 1887.

The Light-Bearer is the Morning Star or Lucifer, and "Lucifer is no profane or Satanic title. It is the Latin Luciferus, the Light-Bringer, the Morning Star, Equivalent to the Greek [x] ... The Name of the Pure Pale Herald of Daylight." -- Yonge

-- Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Designed to "Bring to Light the Hidden Things of Darkness"

Lucifer the Lightbearer was the title of an individualist-anarchist journal published in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century [1886]. According to its publisher, Moses Harman, the name was chosen because "Lucifer, the ancient name of the Morning Star, now called Venus, seems to us unsurpassed as a cognomen for a journal whose mission is to bring light to the dwellers in darkness" (; accessed May 30, 2017).

-- Marcel Duchamp and the Art of Life, by Jacquelynn Baas

In Europe, a similar development occurred in French and Spanish individualist anarchist circles:

"Anticlericalism, just as in the rest of the libertarian movement, in another of the frequent elements which will gain relevance related to the measure in which the (French) Republic begins to have conflicts with the church...Anti-clerical discourse, frequently called for by the French individualist André Lorulot, will have its impacts in Estudios (a Spanish individualist anarchist publication). There will be an attack on institutionalized religion for the responsibility that it had in the past on negative developments, for its irrationality which makes it a counterpoint of philosophical and scientific progress. There will be a criticism of proselytism and ideological manipulation which happens on both believers and agnostics".[52]

These tendencies would continue in French individualist anarchism in the work and activism of Charles-Auguste Bontemps (1893-1981) and others. In the Spanish individualist anarchist magazines Ética and Iniciales

"there is a strong interest in publishing scientific news, usually linked to a certain atheist and anti-theist obsession, philosophy which will also work for pointing out the incompatibility between science and religion, faith, and reason. In this way there will be a lot of talk on Darwin's theories or on the negation of the existence of the soul".[53]

In 1901 the Catalan anarchist and freethinker Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia established "modern" or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church.[54] The schools had the stated goal to "educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting". Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in "freedom in education", education free from the authority of church and state.[55][failed verification] Ferrer's ideas, generally, formed the inspiration for a series of Modern Schools in the United States,[54] Cuba, South America and London. The first of these started in New York City in 1911. Ferrer also inspired the Italian newspaper Università popolare, founded in 1901.[54]

See also

Brights movement
• Critical rationalism
• Ethical movement
• Secular humanism
• Freedom of thought
• Freethought Association of Canada
• Freethought Day
• Golden Age of Freethought
• Individualism
• Objectivism
• Rationalism
• Religious skepticism
• Scientism
• Secular Thought
• Spiritual but not religious
• The Freethinker (journal)

Notes and references

1. "Freethinker – Definition of freethinker by Merriam-Webster". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
3. "Nontracts". Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
4. "who are the Freethinkers?". 2018-02-13. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
5. "What Is Freethought?". Daylight Atheism. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
6. Adam Lee (October 2012). "9 Great Freethinkers and Religious Dissenters in History". Big Think. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
7. William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief (1879 [1877]).
8. Becker, Lawrence and Charlotte (2013). Encyclopedia of Ethics (article on "agnosticism"). Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 9781135350963.
9. Hastings, James (2003-01-01). Encyclopedia of Religion. ISBN 9780766136830.
10. "What is a Freethinker? - Freedom From Religion Foundation". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
11. "Saga Of Freethought And Its Pioneers". American Humanist Association. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
12. James E. Force, Introduction (1990) to An Account of the Growth of Deism in England (1696) by William Stephens
13. Aveling, Francis, ed. (1908). "Deism". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-10-10. The deists were what nowadays would be called freethinkers, a name, indeed, by which they were not infrequently known; and they can only be classed together wholly in the main attitude that they adopted, viz. in agreeing to cast off the trammels of authoritative religious teaching in favour of a free and purely rationalistic speculation.... Deism, in its every manifestation was opposed to the current and traditional teaching of revealed religion.
14. A COMMON PLACE by Ruth Kelly and Liam Byrne
15. A Pansy For Your Thoughts, by Annie Laurie Gaylor, Freethought Today, June/July 1997
16. The Pansy of Freethought - Rediscovering A Forgotten Symbol Of Freethought by Annie Laurie Gaylor
17. Chinese History – Song Dynasty 宋 (
18. Gatti, Hilary (2002). Giordano Bruno and Renaissance Science: Broken Lives and Organizational Power. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0801487859. Retrieved 21 March 2014. For Bruno was claiming for the philosopher a principle of free thought and inquiry which implied an entirely new concept of authority: that of the individual intellect in its serious and continuing pursuit of an autonomous inquiry… It is impossible to understand the issue involved and to evaluate justly the stand made by Bruno with his life without appreciating the question of free thought and liberty of expression. His insistence on placing this issue at the center of both his work and of his defense is why Bruno remains so much a figure of the modern world. If there is, as many have argued, an intrinsic link between science and liberty of inquiry, then Bruno was among those who guaranteed the future of the newly emerging sciences, as well as claiming in wider terms a general principle of free thought and expression.
19. Montano, Aniello (24 November 2007). Antonio Gargano (ed.). Le deposizioni davanti al tribunale dell'Inquisizione. Napoli: La Città del Sole. p. 71. In Rome, Bruno was imprisoned for seven years and subjected to a difficult trial that analyzed, minutely, all his philosophical ideas. Bruno, who in Venice had been willing to recant some theses, become increasingly resolute and declared on 21 December 1599 that he 'did not wish to repent of having too little to repent, and in fact did not know what to repent.' Declared an unrepentant heretic and excommunicated, he was burned alive in the Campo dei Fiori in Rome on 17 February 1600. On the stake, along with Bruno, burned the hopes of many, including philosophers and scientists of good faith like Galileo, who thought they could reconcile religious faith and scientific research, while belonging to an ecclesiastical organization declaring itself to be the custodian of absolute truth and maintaining a cultural militancy requiring continual commitment and suspicion.
20. Birx, James (11 November 1997). "Giordano Bruno". Mobile Alabama Harbinger. Retrieved 28 April 2014. To me, Bruno is the supreme martyr for both free thought and critical inquiry… Bruno's critical writings, which pointed out the hypocrisy and bigotry within the Church, along with his tempestuous personality and undisciplined behavior, easily made him a victim of the religious and philosophical intolerance of the 16th century. Bruno was excommunicated by the Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist Churches for his heretical beliefs. The Catholic hierarchy found him guilty of infidelity and many errors, as well as serious crimes of heresy… Bruno was burned to death at the stake for his pantheistic stance and cosmic perspective.
21. "ARTFL Encyclopédie Search Results". 1751–1772. p. 472. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
22. "Gjendesheim". MEMIM. 2016. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
23. Gregory, Mary Efrosini (2008). Evolutionism in Eighteenth-century French Thought. Peter Lang. p. 192. ISBN 9781433103735. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
24. Bock, Heike (2006). "Secularization of the modern conduct of life? Reflections on the religiousness of early modern Europe". In Hanne May (ed.). Religiosität in der säkularisierten Welt. VS Verlag fnr Sozialw. p. 157. ISBN 978-3-8100-4039-8.
25. Reese, Dagmar (2006). Growing up female in Nazi Germany. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-472-06938-5.
26. Reinhalter, Helmut (1999). "Freethinkers". In Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Fahlbusch, Erwin (eds.). The encyclopedia of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-90-04-11695-5.
27. Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph (2003). Christel Gärtner (ed.). Atheismus und religiöse Indifferenz. Organisierter Atheismus. VS Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8100-3639-1.
28. Peris, Daniel (1998). Storming the heavens: the Soviet League of the Militant Godless. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press. pp. 110–11. ISBN 978-0-8014-3485-3.
29. Lamberti, Marjorie (2004). Politics Of Education: Teachers and School Reform in Weimar Germany (Monographs in German History). Providence: Berghahn Books. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-57181-299-5.
30. "Geschichte der Freidenker". FAS website (in German). Retrieved 10 May 2016.
31. Reşat Kasaba, "Atatürk", The Cambridge history of Turkey: Volume 4: Turkey in the Modern World, Cambridge University Press, 2008; ISBN 978-0-521-62096-3 p. 163; accessed 27 March 2015.
32. Political Islam in Turkey by Gareth Jenkins, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, p. 84; ISBN 0230612458
33. Atheism, Brief Insights Series by Julian Baggini, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009; ISBN 1402768826, p. 106.
34. Islamism: A Documentary and Reference Guide, John Calvert John, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008; ISBN 0313338566, p. 19.
35. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic said: "I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea..." The Antipodean Philosopher: Interviews on Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand, Graham Oppy, Lexington Books, 2011, ISBN 0739167936, p. 146.
36. Phil Zuckerman, John R. Shook, The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, Oxford University Press, 2017, ISBN 0199988455, p. 167.
37. Tariq Ramadan, Islam and the Arab Awakening, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 0199933731, p. 76.
38. Atatürk İslam için ne düşünüyordu?
“ Even before accepting the religion of the Arabs, the Turks were a great nation. After accepting the religion of the Arabs, this religion, didn't effect to combine the Arabs, the Persians and Egyptians with the Turks to constitute a nation. (This religion) rather, loosened the national nexus of Turkish nation, got national excitement numb. This was very natural. Because the purpose of the religion founded by Muhammad, over all nations, was to drag to an including Arab national politics. (Afet İnan, Medenî Bilgiler ve M. Kemal Atatürk'ün El Yazıları, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1998, p. 364.) ”
40. "The first Atheist Association in Turkey is founded". Retrieved 2 April 2017. External link in |website= (help)
41. "Turkey's Atheism Association threatened by hostility and lack of interest | Ahval". Ahval. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
42. Hugins, Walter (1960). Jacksonian Democracy and the Working Class: A Study of the New York Workingmen's Movement 1829–1837. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 36–48.
43. Brandt, Eric T., and Timothy Larsen (2011). "The Old Atheism Revisited: Robert G. Ingersoll and the Bible". Journal of the Historical Society. 11 (2): 211–38. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2011.00330.x.
44. "Freethinkers in Wisconsin". Dictionary of Wisconsin History. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
45. Demerath, N. J. III and Victor Thiessen, "On Spitting Against the Wind: Organizational Precariousness and American Irreligion," The American Journal of Sociology, 71: 6 (May, 1966), 674–87.
46. "National Liberal League". The Freethought Trail. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
47. "History of the Free Congregation of Sauk County: The "Freethinkers" Story". Free Congregation of Sauk County. April 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
48. William Roba; Fredrick I. Anderson (ed.) (1982). Joined by a River: Quad Cities. Davenport: Lee Enterprises. p. 73.
49. "The Turners, Forty-eighters and Freethinkers". Freedom from Religion Foundation. July 2002. Archived from the originalon 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
50. *Ramsay Cook, The Regenerators: Social Criticism in Late Victorian English Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), pp. 46–64.
51. "The Journal of Libertarian Studies" (PDF). Mises Institute. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
52. Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923–1939) Virus Editorial. 2007. p. 143
53. Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923–1939) Virus Editorial. 2007. p. 152
54. Geoffrey C. Fidler (Spring–Summer 1985). "The Escuela Moderna Movement of Francisco Ferrer: "Por la Verdad y la Justicia"". History of Education Quarterly. 25 (1/2): 103–32. doi:10.2307/368893. JSTOR 368893.
55. * "Francisco Ferrer's Modern School". Archived from the original on 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2010-09-20.

Further reading

• Alexander, Nathan G. (2019). Race in a Godless World: Atheism, Race, and Civilization, 1850-1914. New York/Manchester: New York University Press/Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-1526142375
• Alexander Nathan G. "Unclasping the Eagle's Talons: Mark Twain, American Freethought, and the Responses to Imperialism." The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 17, no. 3 (2018): 524–545.
• Bury, John Bagnell. (1913). A History of Freedom of Thought. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
• Jacoby, Susan. (2004). Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-7442-2
• Putnam, Samuel Porter. (1894). Four Hundred Years of Freethought. New York: Truth Seeker Company.
• Royle, Edward. (1974). Victorian Infidels: The Origins of the British Secularist Movement, 1791–1866. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0557-4
• Royle, Edward. (1980). Radicals, Secularists and Republicans: popular freethought in Britain, 1866–1915. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0783-6
• Tribe, David. (1967). 100 Years of Freethought. London: Elek Books.

External links

• Freethinker Indonesia
• A History of Freethought
• Young Freethought
• "Freethinker" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
• Philosophy portal
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:36 am

Moses Harman
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/20

(Redirected from Lucifer, the Light-Bearer)

Moses Harman
Born October 12, 1830
Pendleton County, West Virginia, US
Died January 30, 1910 (aged 79)
Los Angeles, California, US
Nationality American
Occupation Schoolteacher, publisher
Known for Anarchism, women’s rights

Lucifer the Lightbearer cover header

Moses Harman (October 12, 1830 – January 30, 1910) was an American schoolteacher and publisher notable for his staunch support for women's rights. He was prosecuted under the Comstock Law for content published in his anarchist periodical Lucifer the Lightbearer. He was arrested and jailed multiple times for publishing allegedly obscene material. His daughter, Lillian Harman, was also a notable anarchist.


Moses Harman was born on October 12, 1830 in Pendleton County, West Virginia[1] to Job and Nancy Harman. Their family later moved to Crawford County, Missouri. Harman taught subscription school courses and attended Arcadia College. After completing his schoolwork, Harman worked as a Methodist circuit rider and teacher.[2]

Harman married Susan Scheuck in 1866. Although they had several children, only two survived and Susan died in childbirth in 1877. Harman left the ministry and began his involvement with eugenics and social reform following Susan's death. In 1881, Harman edited the Kansas Liberal newspaper in Valley Falls, Kansas.[2]

Harman has been credited as one of the founders of what became the eugenics movement. "He gave the spur and start to this effort. Through his journals, Lucifer, the Light Bearer, later renamed The Eugenic Magazine, encouraged by a small circle of earnest men and women, he dug down below the surface endeavoring to bring forth a stronger and better type of men".[3]

In 1881, Harman co-edited the Valley Falls Liberal, and eventually became the editor. On August 24, 1883, Harman changed the name of the publication to Lucifer, the Light Bearer. He moved the location of the newspaper several times for financial and philosophical reasons: to Topeka, Kansas in 1890, to Chicago in 1896, and to Los Angeles in 1908. The name of the paper also changed to The American Journal of Eugenics in 1906.[1]

The American Journal of Eugenics was published from 1907-1910 by Moses Harman. 500 Fulton Street, Chicago, IL.

This periodical is made available courtesy of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

Due to licensing restrictions from Primary Source Media, the creator and copyright holder of the files that make up this digital collection, this periodical is limited to the Cornell Community, only.

-- The American Journal of Eugenics, by Cornell University Library

Articles published in Lucifer discussed topics such as religion, relationships, and raising children.[2] Through his work, Harman rejected all forms of religion and government, including marriage, and promoted freedom, love, wisdom, and the use of knowledge.
Due to the radical nature of his views and publication, Harman constantly dealt with lawsuits, charges of immorality, ridicule, and issues with mailing what was considered obscene material through the United States Postal Service. Consequently, Harman was sentenced and released by courts several times in the 1890s.[1]

Lucifer was the title of a Theosophist journal published by Helena Blavatsky; the first issue appeared in London in September 1887.

The Light-Bearer is the Morning Star or Lucifer, and "Lucifer is no profane or Satanic title. It is the Latin Luciferus, the Light-Bringer, the Morning Star, Equivalent to the Greek [x] ... The Name of the Pure Pale Herald of Daylight." -- Yonge

-- Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Designed to "Bring to Light the Hidden Things of Darkness"

Lucifer the Lightbearer was the title of an individualist-anarchist journal published in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century [1886]. According to its publisher, Moses Harman, the name was chosen because "Lucifer, the ancient name of the Morning Star, now called Venus, seems to us unsurpassed as a cognomen for a journal whose mission is to bring light to the dwellers in darkness" (; accessed May 30, 2017).

-- Marcel Duchamp and the Art of Life, by Jacquelynn Baas

He died on January 30, 1910, aged 79, in Los Angeles.[4]


1. "Moses Harman". Kansapedia. Kansas Historical Society. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
2. "C3802 Harman, Moses (1830-1910), Papers, 1858-1984" (PDF). The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
3. The Naturopath and Herald of Health, March 1914
4. "Dagger In heart, Last Will". Chicago Tribune. January 31, 1910. Moses Harman Dies in Los Angeles at the Age of Nearly 80. ... Moses Harman, one of the pioneers of the eugenics movement in America, died yesterday in Los ...

Further reading

• Herrada, Julie (2007). "Harman, Moses". In Dawkins, Richard (ed.). The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Prometheus Books. pp. 378–379. ISBN 978-1-61592-280-2.
• West, William Lemore (Spring 1971). "The Moses Harman Story". Kansas History. 37 (1): 41–63.

External links

• Works by or about Moses Harman at Internet Archive
• Moses Harman: A Kansas Portrait from the Kansas State Historical Society
• Moses Harman: The Paradigm of A Male Feminist by Wendy McElroy
• Sex Slavery by Voltairine de Cleyre, an 1890 essay supporting Harman and attacking the institution of marriage
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:56 am

Lucifer: The Light-Bearer
Edited by Moses Harman, Edward C. Walker, and occasionally, during Harman's imprisonments, Lillian Harman, Lois Waisbrooker, et al.

Lucifer was the title of a Theosophist journal published by Helena Blavatsky; the first issue appeared in London in September 1887.

The Light-Bearer is the Morning Star or Lucifer, and "Lucifer is no profane or Satanic title. It is the Latin Luciferus, the Light-Bringer, the Morning Star, Equivalent to the Greek [x] ... The Name of the Pure Pale Herald of Daylight." -- Yonge

-- Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Designed to "Bring to Light the Hidden Things of Darkness"

Lucifer the Lightbearer was the title of an individualist-anarchist journal published in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century [1886]. According to its publisher, Moses Harman, the name was chosen because "Lucifer, the ancient name of the Morning Star, now called Venus, seems to us unsurpassed as a cognomen for a journal whose mission is to bring light to the dwellers in darkness" (; accessed May 30, 2017).

-- Marcel Duchamp and the Art of Life, by Jacquelynn Baas


From Pat Deveney's database:

Lucifer. The Light-Bearer. A Journal of Investigation and Reform, Justice and Liberty. Devoted to the Emancipation of Women from Sexual Slavery / Son of the Morning. A Fortnightly of Radical Thought, Devoted Mainly to the Emancipation of Womanhood from Sex Slavery, and to the Rights of the Child to be Born Well.

1883-1907 Weekly Valley Falls, then Topeka, KS, and then Chicago, IL. Editor: Moses Harman, Edward C. Walker, and occasionally, during Harman's imprisonments, Lillian Harman, Lois Waisbrooker, et al.
Succeeds: The Valley Falls Liberal-->The Kansas Liberal (1881-1883) Succeeded by: American Journal of Eugenics 1/1, August 1883-1907. 13 x 20. 4 pp., $1.25 a year.

The issues were dated with the standard month and day but gave the years as "E.M.," the "Era of Man," calculated from the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600. The journal from the first issue labeled itself as "n.s.," but the reference was to earlier journals under different names. It was put out by Harman and his children and the layout, orthography and condition of the type reflect its origin as a labor of love rather than a commercial venture. A third series was started in 1897 in Chicago.

Harman (1830-1910) was a former teacher and Methodist minister who turned his stubbornness and effort first to abolition and then to free thought, individual sovereignty (anarchy), and marriage reform ("free love," as its more socially acceptable version was then known). Lucifer was one of he cornerstones of American liberalism's long fight against Anthony Comstock and the obscenity laws. It began in 1880 as The Valley Falls (Kansas) Liberal, the organ of the local Liberal League, with Harman as one of the editors, and the next year was transformed into the Kansas Liberal which Harman edited with Annie L. Diggs, a noted populist. The name was changed to Lucifer in 1883. There followed 10 years of arrests, indictments, appeals, and jailings before Harman moved the journal to Chicago in 1896 -- where he was again imprisoned in 1905. On his release he changed the journal's name to The American Journal of Eugenics and turned his attention exclusively to eugenics as the path to social betterment--though for Harman the term eugenics also included elements of libertinism which increasingly alienated Harman from more doctrinaire feminists. On Harman, see Hal D. Sears, The Sex Radicals: Free Love in High Victorian America (Lawrence, KS: Regents' Press, 1977). For a period in the 1890s the journal had as a sister-publication in Wichita Lois Waisbrooker's Foundation Principles, and Waisbrooker helped publish Lucifer during one of Harman's stints in jail, only to be arrested herself for her work on the journal. Lillian Harman, Moses's daughter, split off from Lucifer in 1888 and started Fair Play with her husband. Harman regarded himself as a "tough materialist" but the journal carried regular correspondence on the troubled relationship between spiritualism and free thought mentioned some spiritualists (Moses Hull, Lois Waisbrooker, et al.) who were found acceptable. Kansas Historical Society; Harvard University; University of Wisconsin; etc.


Lucifer V2 2 Apr 27 1888
Lucifer V3 N40 Jan 1 1886
Lucifer V3 N41 Jan 8 1886
Lucifer V3 N42 Jan 15 1886
Lucifer V3 N42 Jan 15 1886 Ver 2
Lucifer V3 N43 Jan 22 1886
Lucifer V3 N44 Jan 29 1886
Lucifer V3 N45 Feb 5 1886
Lucifer V3 N46 Feb 12 1886
Lucifer V3 N47 Feb 19 1886
Lucifer V3 N48 Feb 26 1886
Lucifer V3 N51 Mar 19 1886
Lucifer V3 N52 Mar 26 1886
Lucifer V4 N2 Apr 9 1886
Lucifer V4 N3 Apr 16 1886
Lucifer V4 N4 Apr 26 1886
Lucifer V4 N5 Apr 30 1886
Lucifer V4 N6 May 7 1886
Lucifer V4 N7 May 14 1886
Lucifer V4 N9 May 29 1886
Lucifer V4 N10 Jun 4 1886
Lucifer V4 N11 Jun 11 1886
Lucifer V4 N13 Jun 25 1886
Lucifer V4 N14 Jul 2 1886
Lucifer V4 N15 Jul 9 1886
Lucifer V4 N17 Jul 23 1886
Lucifer V4 N19 Aug 6 1886
Lucifer V4 N20 Aug 13 1886
Lucifer V4 N21 Aug 20 1886
Lucifer V4 N22 Aug 27 1886
Lucifer V4 N23 Sep 3 1886
Lucifer V4 N24 Sep 10 1886
Lucifer V4 N25 Sep 17 1886
Lucifer V4 N26 Sep 21 1886
Lucifer V4 N27 Oct 1 1886
Lucifer V4 N29 Oct 15 1886
Lucifer V4 N30 Oct 22 1886
Lucifer V4 N31 Oct 29 1886
Lucifer V4 N32 Nov 5 1886
Lucifer V4 N36 Dec 10 1886
Lucifer V4 N37 Dec 17 1886
Lucifer V4 N38 Dec 24 1886
Lucifer V4 N39 Dec 31 1886
Lucifer V4 N40 Jan 14 1887
Lucifer V4 N41 Jan 28 1887
Lucifer V4 N42 Feb 4 1887
Lucifer V4 N43 Feb 11 1887
Lucifer V4 N44 Feb 18 1887
Lucifer V4 N46 Mar 4 1887
Lucifer V4 N47 Mar 11 1887
Lucifer V4 N48 Mar 18 1887
Lucifer V4 N49 Mar 25 1887
Lucifer V4 N50 Apr 1 1887
Lucifer V4 N51 Apr 8 1887
Lucifer V4 N52 Apr15 1887
Lucifer V5 N6 May 27 1887
Lucifer V5 N7 Jun 3 1887
Lucifer V5 N8 Jun 10 1887
Lucifer V5 N9 Jun 17 1887
Lucifer V5 N11 Jul 1 1887.
Lucifer V5 N12 Jul 8 1887
Lucifer V5 N13 Jul 15 1887
Lucifer V5 N14 Jul 22 1887
Lucifer V5 N15 Jul 29 1887
Lucifer V5 N16 Aug 5 1887
Lucifer V5 N17 Aug 12 1887
Lucifer V5 N19 Aug 29 1887
Lucifer V5 N20 Sep 2 1887
Lucifer V5 N21 Sep 9 1887
Lucifer V5 N22 Sep 16 1887
Lucifer V5 N23 Nsep 23 1887
Lucifer V5 N24 Sep 30 1887
Lucifer V5 N25 Oct 7 1887
Lucifer V5 N26 Oct 14 1887
Lucifer V5 N27 Oct 21 1887
Lucifer V5 N28 Oct 28 1887
Lucifer V5 N29 Nov 4 1887
Lucifer V5 N30 Nov 11 1887
Lucifer V5 N31 Nov 18 1887
Lucifer V6 N10 Jun 22 1888
Lucifer V6 N17 Aug 10 1888
Lucifer V6 N17 Aug 1888 Ver 2
Lucifer V6 N21 Sep 14 1888
Lucifer V6 V34 Dec 14 1888
Lucifer V6 N35 Dec 21 1888
Lucifer V6 N36 Dec 28 1888
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V1 1897
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V2 1898
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V3 1899
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V4 1900
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V5 1901
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V6 1902
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V7 1903
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V8 1904
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V9 1905
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V10 1906
Lucifer The Lightbearer 3s V11 1907
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