(Last Updated on : 06/09/2012)
Kamala Nehru was the wife of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
and the mother of Indira Gandhi
. Kamala was known as "the Delhi beauty". She was deeply sincere, highly patriotic, serous minded and sensitive. When she died Gandhiji wrote to Indira, "Kamala had virtues which are not commonly found in ordinary women". She was a social worker who was keenly interested in promoting women's rights. During the fight for freedom she was busy picketing foreign shops and leading processions. She said that her happiest days were in prison fighting for the cause of Indians. She had great will power and determination that even while on sickbed she tried to learn Urdu language
Life if Kamala Nehru
Kamala was the daughter of an orthodox Kashmiri Pandit. She belonged to a traditional middle class family. All her schooling had been at home, under the guidance of a Pandit and a Maulvi. She was married at the young age of 17 to Nehru, who was nine years older to her. Kamala gave birth to a girl child named Indira Gandhi.
In her twenties Kamala contacted TB and became an invalid. A long period of separation from her husband and the uncongenial atmosphere at Nehru's home worsened her condition further. In her letters to Jawaharlal, when he was in jail, Kamala expressed her unhappiness at the way she was treated at his home. She craved to be by the side of her husband in the struggle but she was imprisoned and was sentenced for two months. She was released after twenty-six days because Motilal Nehru
lay on his death-bed.
Social Works of Kamala Nehru
Kamala helped to set up a hospital in the premises of Swaraj
Bhavan, Nehru's family mansion. She persuaded women to come out and join the struggle for Independence. They hawked khadi and made bonfires of imported goods. As a member of the Desh Sevika Sangh, she joined other members in picketing foreign cloth shops.
Kamala Nehru was attracted by Gandhiji's teachings and came under thesis powerful influence. She took his call for self-sacrifice seriously and encouraged Jawaharlal not only to throw himself entirely into the freedom movement, but and to change his way of life. Thus the appearance of Westernization chipped off from the Nehru family. Khadi dhotis
were used instead of Silks and suits. Jail life separated Kamala and Jawaharlal for long months and even years. Jawaharlal had to spend more than 350 days in jail.
By the end of 1931, Kamala's health worsened. Still, she was active in politics. She participated in the Civil Disobedience movement
. In July 1934, she suffered a severe attack of pleurisy. During that time Jawaharlal was in jail. For eleven days he was released to be at the bedside of his sick wife. Kamala suffered from tuberculosis
. Doctors advised that she should be shifted to a hospital in Bhowali
. Her health improved after a two-month stay at the hospital. Further she was advised to go to Europe for treatment. The four years from 1931 to 1934 saw a sharp decline in Kamala's health. During these years she witnessed a very lonely life. She became deeply religious, taking initiation at the Ramakrishna Mission
. As her condition worsened she was taken to the Bhowali Sanitorium for treatment while Jawaharlal was in jail. Kamala Nehru, at the prime age of 37, died.