Not So with My Mother
“Though my admiration and affection for him (his father) remained as strong as ever, fear formed part of them. Not so with my mother. I had no fear of her, for I knew that she would condone everything I did, and because of her excessive and indiscriminating love for me, I tried to dominate over her a little. I saw much more of her than I did of father.”
Above given are the thoughts of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, as expressed in his autobiography, Toward Freedom.
The Nehru family has been a dominant name in the history of India since forever. Jawaharlal Nehru was a man of invincible strength and valour who played a magnificent role in India’s struggle for independence.
It is often said that ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’.
In Nehru’s case there were two women who were the source of his strength and happiness. They were the ones who never let him break down at any point in spite of all obstacles.
A mother is an institution of love, knowledge and power. Swarup Rani Nehru was no less than the pillar of strength in Nehru’s life. From his very childhood, Nehru shared a close bonding with his mother. She was his comfort zone and confidante. She was a brave and well read lady, who raised Nehru with a vision. She played a vital role in moulding her young son into a leader and freedom fighter.
Swarup Rani included the Indian epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat in Nehru’s curriculum and always emphasized on the triumph of truth over evil. The teachings of the epics set the foundation for the future victories of her son at an early age.
After completing his higher studies in London, Nehru expressed his urge to join the freedom struggle after returning to India. During that time Mahatma Gandhi was emerging as a dominant political figure in India which strongly influenced him to be a part of the ongoing movement.
Senior Nehru – Motilal Nehru – father of Jawaharlal Nehru was a man of wisdom. He knew very well about the hardships of the political arena that would bestow upon his son, hence was apprehensive on his son’s decision of joining the freedom movement.
Even after multiple restraints from his father, Nehru joined the freedom movement with the trust and support of his wife Kamala Nehru. She stood by his decision and offered her whole hearted support. Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru later said:
“When my father wanted to join Gandhiji and to change the whole way of life, to change our luxurious living, to give up his practice, the whole family was against it. It was only my mother’s courageous and persistent support and encouragement which enabled him to take this big step which made such a difference not only to our family but to the history of modern India.”
Apart from being a dutiful wife, with time Kamala Nehru also emerged as a strong mother to her daughter. Initially, she was shy and apprehensive, but transformed into an efficient wife and mother as time and situation demanded. She followed the footsteps of her mother-in-law in setting a glowing example of an influential mother child relationship. Indira, who was crowned as the third prime minister of India always looked up to her mother as a courageous lady.
Being born into a politically active family, Indira have had the first-hand experiences of the challenges and toil of a freedom fighter, yet never stepped back from playing her part. As her husband was mostly busy participating in the activities of the nation, Kamala Nehru never left her daughter’s side. She made sure to infuse the spirit of love and responsibility towards her country in Indira. It became a major driving force for her to work selflessly for her people and nation.
Gradually, Indira Gandhi came to light as an eminent political leader and thinker in India. A big part of her success goes to her mother- the source of all inspiration.
Motherhood undoubtedly is one of the most joyous phases in a woman’s life, but it does come with its own challenges and responsibilities. Being the first institution of learning for her child, it is a mother’s responsibility to enlighten and introduce the child to their share of responsibilities.
Real love is the liberating force that enables the other person to outgrow all pains and prejudices. The same is true with regard to a mother’s love too. Great mother’s like Swarup Rani Nehru and Kamala Nehru are indeed glaring examples of such strong and compassionate motherly affection. After all, it takes powerful mothers to create powerful personalities!
As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day on 15th August 2021, Books33 salutes the contributions of all great mothers of our motherland.