Home >> India Information >> Great Indians >> Freedom Fighters
 Register Now 

Motilal Nehru

Motilal Nehru was an early Indian freedom fighter and leader of the Indian National Congress. He was also the patriarch of India's most powerful political family. Motilal Nehru was born in Delhi, to a Kashmiri Brahmin family. By coincidence Rabindranath Tagore was also born on that day. He became one of the first generation of young Indians to receive Western-style college education. He attended Muir College at Agra, but failed to appear for the final year B.A examinations. He then enlisted as a lawyer in the English courts. Nehru became a barrister and settled in the city of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Many of Motilal's suits involved civil cases and soon he made a mark for himself in the legal profession of Allahabad. With the success of his practice, he bought a large family home in the Civil lanes of the city and aptly christened the house as Anand Bhavan or Abode of happiness. In 1909 he reached the pinnacle of his legal career by gaining the approval to appear in the Privy Council of Great Britain. His frequent visits to Europe, angered the Kashmiri Brahmin community as he refused to perform the traditional "prayachit" or reformation ceremony. In the 1910s, Nehru was a man of many elitist habits and attitudes, and a Westernized lifestyle, and one of the moderate, wealthy leaders of the Indian National Congress. With the ascent of Mahatma Gandhi in 1918, Nehru was one of the first to transform his life (and considering his age, wealth and long-time Anglicized habits, a quite remarkable achievement) to exclude western clothes and material goods, and adopt a more native Indian lifestyle. To meet the expenses of his large family and large family homes (he built Swaraj Bhavan later), Nehru had to occasionally return to his practice of law. Motilal Nehru twice served as President of the Congress Party. He was also arrested during the Non-Cooperation Movement. Although initially close to Gandhi, he openly criticized Gandhi's suspension of civil resistance in 1922 due to the murder of policemen by a nationalist mob in Chauri Chaura. Motital joined the Swaraj Party, which sought to enter the British-sponsored councils, if only in order to wreck the government. The party failed however, and Motilal returned to the Congress. The entry of Motilal's glamorous, highly-educated young son Jawaharlal Nehru into politics in 1916, created a celebrative atmosphere, giving birth to the most powerful and influential Indian political dynasties. When in 1929, Nehru handed over the Congress presidency to Jawaharlal (Jawaharlal was elected, with Gandhi's backing), it greatly pleased Motilal and Nehru family admirers to see the son take over from his father. Jawaharlal had opposed his father's favor for dominion status, and had himself not left the Congress Party when Motilal helped found the Swaraj Party. Motilal Nehru chaired the famous Nehru Commission in 1928, that was a counter to the all-British Simon Commission. Nehru's Report, the first constitution written by Indians only, conceived a dominion status for India within the Empire, akin to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It was endorsed by the Congress Party, but rejected by more radical Indians who sought complete independence, and by many Muslims who didn't feel their interests, concerns and rights were properly represented. Motilal Nehru's age and declining health kept him out of the historic events of 1929-1931, when the Congress adopted complete independence as its goal and when Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha. He was arrested in 1930, however, after his son was arrested, but was released shortly due to his failing health. He died on February 6, 1931. Nehru is largely remembered for being the patriarch of India's most powerful political family that has produced three Prime Ministers and still controls the Congress Party.

Date of Birth May 6, 1861
Date of Death Feb 6, 1931
Place of Birth Delhi

Family and descendants

Nehru has the following descandants, most of whom played an active role in the Politics of India:

Jawaharlal Nehru (Son of Motilal - late Prime Minister of India)

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Daughter of Motilal)

Indira Gandhi (Daughter of Jawahar - late Prime Minister of India)

Feroze Gandhi (Husband of Indira)

Rajiv Gandhi (Son of Indira - late Prime Minister of India)

Sanjay Gandhi(Son of Indira)

Sonia Gandhi (Wife of Rajiv )

Rahul Gandhi (Son of Rajiv)

Priyanka Gandhi (Daughter of Rajiv)

Varun Gandhi (Son of Sanjay)

Maneka Gandhi (wife of Sanjay)

Google ADVT.