Tuesday, June 2, 2020


                                            ( Ashok Kumar Nehru with his wife )
      (Nand Lal Nehru grandfather of BK. He resigned as Dewan of Khetri and returned to Allahabad where practised Law.)
                                                     (Brijlal Nehru. Father of BK)
                                                              ( B K with Shoba )
  ( The marriage photo .. Shoba wears the traditiional Kashmiri Dejjhur or Managalsutra )
                                                                ( BK and Shoba )
                                        ( Shoba sometime  before her death )

(BK with John F. Kennedy)

(Front row: sitting Jawaharlal,Middle row in chairs: Lado Rani Zutshi, Motilal, Swarup Rani,
Last row standing : Rameshwari Nehru, her husband Brijlal Nehru and Lillian Hooper, the Nehru girls English Governess. Nehrus lived in a big joint family.)

                                     (Rameshwari Raina Nehru..Mother of BK)
                           (Shoba ( Fori ) with JF Kennedy and Indira Gandhi. year 1962.)


Braj Kumar Nehru (ICS) was known for his exposure to world politics, elegance and Track ll diplomatic skills. He was royal in his dealings and temperament. He was a well-respected diplomat and ambassador of India to the United States where he developed a personal bond with Kennedys. He has been associated with some of the greatest people of our time. He was also the high commissioner for India in London. He remained governor of Gujrat, Assam, Nagaland and J&K. Between 1949 and 1954 he worked as Executive Director in the World Bank.

Khushwant Singh once wrote,"' In his house, there is no shortage of good manners, good taste, good food and good wine." 
In the civil service, B K Nehru blossomed into an economic administrator. His mettle was tested when he was appointed commissioner-general, in which capacity he secured large support from the West for our economy and development plans. He was also responsible for getting 14 million tonnes of American wheat for India.
And about him, J.K. Galbraith has said, " No man except BK has moved more gold from one continent to another since Genghis Khan." 
Once BK nearly succeeded in becoming secretary General of the United Nations. He was seriously sounded for the post of UN Secretary-general after Dag Hammarskjold's death. But Krishna Menon scotched it by telling Adlai Stevenson that he was not acceptable to the Government of India. U. Thant got the job. This is what he writes in his autobiography.
BK was one of the defenders of the Emergency. He felt convinced that Indira Gandhi had no other alternative in the face of Jayaprakash Narayan's call to the military to revolt. According to him, her mistake was to prolong the Emergency and hand over governance to the "wayward, uneducated, inexperienced boy".
Born to Brijlal Nehru and Rameshwari Nehru from Allahabad's Nehru clan, BK Nehru was a nephew of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His father, Brijlal Nehru was the son of Nand Lal Nehru, the elder brother Moti Lal Nehru. Brijlal Nehru served as Dewan of Datia state. Brijlal Nehru had studied at Oxford in order to compete for the ICS. .Later he joined as a senior officer of the Audit and Accounts Service. He also served the State of Jammu And Kashmir as finance minister during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh.
Nand Lal Nehru (father of Brijlal Nehru and grandfather of BK ) served as Dewan of Khetri, Rajasthan. BK's mother, Rameshwari belonged to Raina family of Lahore. She edited Stree Darpan, the first Hindi magazine published from Allahabad. She worked closely with Gandhi Ji. She was a freedom fighter who devoted her entire life towards the upliftment of women, marginalised and poor. She headed many international organizations and was awarded coveted Lenin Peace Prize and Padma Bhushan. She was a great orator.
BK spent his childhood in Anand Bhawan with his patriarchal granduncle, Motilal, and the uncle he adored, Jawaharlal.
According to BK, Jawahar Lal Nehru had his temper. At Anand Bhawan, Jawahar Lal once hurled a jar at the wall because it contained jam, not marmalade.
To know more about him and his interesting assignments, better read his autobiography 'Nice Guys Finish Second.'
In the family tradition, BK Nehru went to England for higher education - at the London School of Economics, not Oxford. The first thing he did in London was to get a suit made by Henry Poole.
In 1935, he married a Hungarian Jewish girl, Magdolna Friedmann and named her Shoba. They had met as students at the London School of Economics. She was also known by her Hungarian name Fori. Shoba adopted Indian culture and Indian way of life lock, stock and barrel. And in due course, Shoba or Hori transformed herself into a complete Kashmiri Panditain.
Shoba or Fori Nehru enjoyed a special relationship with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. During the Partition riots , she played an active role in securing Muslim women and in the rehabilitation of Hindu and Sikh women refugees pouring in from West Punjab. For the newly arrived refugees, she began an employment campaign, opening a shop to sell the handicrafts of refugee women that grew into a vast network, the Central Cottage Industries Emporium.
In the seventies, Indo-US relations reached a low when President Nixon and Kissinger chose to twist the arm of Indira Gandhi by rushing the US Seventh Fleet to the Indian Ocean. But Kissinger remained friendly with BK Nehru with whom he is believed to have engaged in a Track II diplomacy.
There is the endearing story of President Lyndon Johnson dropping in at the Indian Ambassador’s house unannounced on the day the Nehrus were hosting a dinner for Indira Gandhi who was visiting. While dinner time approached, the US President refused to leave. It was heading towards a protocol crisis because the President was not invited when Shoba Nehru rescued the situation by requesting the President to join them for dinner. The President readily agreed and one of the guests was hurriedly dropped to make space for the President at the table. Braj and Shoba remained close to the Kennedy family and so many world leaders.
Birju or BK, as he was known to his friends got sidelined during Mrs Gandhi's rule possibly because he and his wife opposed the emergence of Sanjay Gandhi. He died in 2001. He was 97.
Shoba died in 2017 at an advanced age of 108 years in Kasauli. She was living with her son Ashok Kumar Nehru. Ashok is also married to a girl of Kashmiri background. Shoba ji was well looked after by her caring children. In addition to her son Ashok, Shoba is survived by two other sons, Aditya and Anil; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. 
(Avtar Mota)

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.