Born In: 1899
Born In: Delhi, India
Died On: February 28, 1936
Kamala Nehru was the wife of one of the most notable political figures in India and the world, Jawaharlal Nehru. As the wife of one of the key figures in India's path to freedom and later the first Prime Minister of India, Kamala Nehru too had an important role to play in maintaining India's relations with the British and opposing the wrongdoings of the colonial rulers. Though brought up in a conservative family, Kamala Nehru held her own ground after she entered the Nehru family and soon emerged as a force to reckon with in the national struggle for independence.
Kamala Nehru was born in the year 1899 in a family of Kashmiri Brahmins residing in Delhi. According to records in history, Kamala Nehru was a very shy and quiet girl, largely because of the fact that she hailed from a very simple family and was brought up in a conservative atmosphere. Though the westernized Nehru family was a culture shock to Kamala Nehru, the sense of alienation was soon replaced by one of motivation to work for the freedom of India. Kamala Nehru married Jawaharlal Nehru on February 7, 1916 in an arranged traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. Jawaharlal Nehru was then the leader of the Indian National Congress. Her total Indian background meant that Kamala Nehru could not even speak the English language at the time of her marriage to Jawaharlal Nehru.
Family and Friends
Kamala Nehru was the eldest daughter of Rajpati and Jawaharmal Mull Atal-Kaul. She had three siblings, brothers Chand Bahadur Kaul and agricultural scientist Kailas Nath Kaul and a sister Swaroop Kathju. After her marriage to Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1916, Kamala Nehru gave birth to her first child daughter Indira Nehru on November 19, 1917. Her second child, a son was born in November 1924. However the baby was born premature and died two days after birth. Kamala Nehru shared a close bonding with Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's wife and also stayed at her ashram for some time. It was in this ashram that Kamala Nehru developed a strong friendship with Prabhavati Devi, the freedom fighter from Bihar.
Fight in Indian Freedom Movement
It was after her marriage to Jawaharlal Nehru in February 1916 that Kamala Nehru took an understanding to the national struggle which had engulfed India and the politics that her husband was an integral part of. Shedding all her inhibitions, Kamala Nehru emerged as a strong woman to provide leadership in the fight for freedom. The Non Cooperation Movement of 1921 saw Kamala Nehru's entry into the freedom struggle. She convinced a large number of women in Allahabad to join hands with her in picketing shops in the city that were selling foreign cloth and liquor. After Jawaharlal Nehru was put behind bars for not cooperating with the British government and planning to deliver a public speech aimed to malign the colonial rulers, it was Kamala Nehru who took the public podium in her husband's place and read out the entire speech that Jawaharlal Nehru was supposed to deliver. Such was the change after marriage in a girl who even a few years back was not only shy but also lacked basic knowledge in the English language. The British soon realized the threat that Kamala Nehru posed to them and how popular she had become with women groups all over India. She was thus arrested on two occasions for involvement in freedom struggle activities.
Death and Commemorations
Kamala Nehru breathed her last on February 28, 1936. She had been suffering from tuberculosis for a long time, the cause of her untimely death. Kamala Nehru was at the Nehru home in Lausanne, Switzerland at the time of her death. Her daughter Indira Nehru, husband Jawaharlal Nehru, mother in law and several other members of the Nehru family were present by her side at the time of death. Kamala Nehru was cremated at the Lasagna Crematorium. Till today her contributions to the Indian Freedom Movement are recognized and appreciated. A large number of institutions and places of public interest in Delhi have been named after Kamala Nehru to recognize her contribution in the well being of independent India. The Kamala Nehru College in the University of Delhi, the Kamala Nehru Hospital and the Kamala Nehru Park are some of the institutions built in memory of Kamala Nehru.
1899: Kamala Nehru is born in Delhi.
1916: Married Jawaharlal Nehru on February 7.
1917: Gave birth to first child Indira Nehru on November 19.
1921: Took part in the Non Cooperation Movement.
1924: Gave birth to second child who died two days later.
1936: Died of tuberculosis on February 28.