Life of Kamala Nehru
Kamala Nehru 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 years to Jawaharlal Nehru, who was 9 years older to her. Kamala Nehru gave birth to a girl child named Indira Gandhi.
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. She also organised no-tax campaigns along with other women volunteers including Durgabai Deshmukh and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. In the Non Co-operation Movement of 1921, she organized groups of women in Allahabad and picketed shops selling foreign cloth and liquor. When her husband was arrested to prevent him delivering a ‘seditious’ public speech, she went in his place to read it out. She was twice arrested by British authorities. Jail life separated Kamala and Jawaharlal for long months and even years. Kamala Nehru also participated in the Civil Disobedience movement. During the last years of her life, she witnessed a very lonely life. She became deeply religious, taking initiation at the Ramakrishna Mission.
Mahatma Gandhi’s influence on Kamala Nehru
Kamala Nehru was attracted by Gandhiji’s teachings and came under his powerful influence. She spent some time at Mahatma Gandhi's ashram with Kasturba Gandhi where she built a close friendship with Prabhavati Devi. She took his call for self-sacrifice seriously and encouraged Jawaharlal Nehru not only to throw himself entirely into the freedom movement, but to change his way of life. Thus the appearance of Westernization chipped off from the Nehru family. Khadi dhotis and kurtas were used instead of Silks and suits.
Death of Kamala Nehru
In July 1934, Kamala Nehru suffered a severe attack of pleurisy. She died from tuberculosis at the age of 37 on 28th February 1936. When she died Gandhiji wrote to Indira, "Kamala had virtues which are not commonly found in ordinary women".
Although Kamala Nehru did not play a major role in India’s freedom movement, a number of institutions in India, such as Kamala Nehru College and Kamala Nehru Park are named after her.
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