An incisive new biography of the great secularist who —alongside his spiritual father, Mahatma Gandhi— led the movement for India’s independence from British rule and ushered his newly independent country into the modern world.
The man who would one day help topple British rule and become India’s first prime minister started out as a surprisingly unremarkable student. Born into a wealthy, politically influential Indian family in the waning years of the Raj, Jawaharlal Nehru was raised on Western secularism and the humanist ideas of the Enlightenment under his father’s careful guidance. Once he met Gandhi in 1916, Nehru threw himself into the nonviolent struggle for India’s independence, a struggle that wasn’t won until 1947. India had found a perfect political compliment to her more spiritual advocate, but neither Nehru nor Gandhi could prevent the horrific price for independence: Partition. Then followed a challenging 17 years as India's first prime Minister, building a nation on the pillars of democracy, secularism, socialism and non-alignment, an astonishing triumph that culminated in the tragic defeat by China in the 1962 war.
In this fascinating biography, Tharoor, author of India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond, casts an unflinching eye on Nehru’s heroic efforts for, and stewardship of, independent India and gives us a careful appraisal of his legacy to the world.