Excommunicated into elitism: Moti Lal Nehru makes big strides


You can read the preceding article in this series HERE 

Squandering his university degree could never be an easy decision for someone like Moti Lal Nehru

who forgets to see, was born in misery, three months after his father’s death. He, in fact, had not even seen his family’s fortunes dwindling from a Jagir (estate) in Delhi to being a refugee surviving massacre to their efforts of staying afloat, just afloat. Though both of his enterprising elder brothers have brought the family to a sense of stability, it was not an invincible stability. 

Playing with his education in these circumstances was playing with his life and reducing it to the misery of living a nobody’s life. Moti Lal, however, was made for bigger things. He got his act together in no time and decided to take up legal profession. For sure, his brother Nand Lal having achieved moderate success must have played a role in the decision. 

This time he worked hard, giving him, perhaps, the foundation to be at the top in a profession that required burning midnight oil to just stay afloat. He topped the Vakil (lawyer) examination and started working as a junior lawyer under Pandit Prithinath, a senior lawyer and a friend of

the family, in 1883. For trivia, there is a college named after Pandit Pritinath in Kanpur and affiliated with Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur even today. 

By the way, this also demolishes the whatsapp university fakery about the roots of the family. As we have seen till now, and would keep seeing, most of the filial and friendly relationships the family has had were rooted in Brahmin caste for a long time. The tradition would finally be broken by Jawaharlal’s daughter Indira and, ironically, his own sister Krishna. More than half a century later, they would both marry outside the community- Krishna aka Betty as her governess called her would marry a Jain- Gunottam (Raja) Hutheesing, best remembered for the famous Hutheesing Jain Temple his family had built in Ahmedabad in 1848. Indira gandhi would follow suit and marry Feroze Jehangir Ghandy, a Parsi and a freedom fighter who would letter be known as Feroze Gandhi.  

They would also follow similar journeys. Krishna, herself a freedom fighter who spent a lot of time in jails just like his brother Jawaharlal, would get estranged with him in the 1950s and would join Raja Gopalachari in the formation of Swatantra Party. Indira, on her part, would slowly get estranged with Feroze and eventually break the Indian National Congress forming her own party which would slowly become the real Indian National Congress. Both would be gifted just like their father and brother, Krishna would write several books chronicling the journey of her family and herself- Shadows On the Wall, The Story of Gandhiji, 1949, We Nehrus, with Alden Hatch 1967, Dear to Behold: An Intimate Portrait of Indira Gandhi, 1969, With No Regrets - An Autobiography  2007. Those really interested in busting the RSS fake news can go through them- a sister turned bitter critic’s account. 

Back to Moti Lal, the young lawyer making a name of himself in Kanpur in 1883 soon realised that Kanpur was too small a place for his wings. He decided to move to Allahabad, the seat of the High Court where his brother was already established.

The news exhilarated Nand Lal who, in the great tradition of Indian joint families- perhaps only one of its positive qualities despite its heavily feudal and misogynist character, welcomed him with open arms. Moti Lal moved into his accommodation, big enough to accommodate both family in Meergunj area of old Allahabad, just a few kilometers away in distance but centuries in culture and facilities from Civil Lines and Cantonment, the chosen abode of the British colonialists and Eurasian families. 

Moti Lal was not to stay there for long though. He would soon break the first barricade, kind of excommuniting himself from the shackles of Old Allahabad. He would move into the open and airy Civil Lines, a not so successful attempt by the British to replicate British towns across India and other colonies.

This post is part of #BlogchatterA2Z

This post is also part of the global Blogging from A to Z 2021