Nehru: A Tryst with Destiny

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Premiers ministres - Inde - Biographies - 546 pages
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Jawaharlal Nehru was India's royal figure, its matinee idol, its most gifted prime minister. He combined a unique array of talents: compelling oratory, a brilliant mind, good looks, a keen political sense, but he also suffered from brooding isolation. He left an indelible mark on both the country he led to independence, and the world in which he lived. Yet even though Nehru wrote more about himself than did any other modern Indian, "Panditji's" true face has always remained veiled.
Following Nehru from childhood, through his Harrow and Cambridge education, to his years as nationalist leader and Prime Minister of India, Stanley Wolpert's compelling, authoritative biography strips Nehru of his many cloaks and covers, removing the public masks he fashioned for himself throughout his mature life. With a subtle analysis of the various influences on Nehru's intellectual and political life--including the early homosexual influences, his conflict with his father, his close relationship with Mahatma Gandhi, his English education, and the years of periodic and sometimes prolonged imprisonment--Wolpert lays open to the reader the most nuanced, insightful rendering of Nehru's life yet written.
Wolpert describes Nehru's brief career as a barrister, and his devotion to India's struggle for freedom, following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi to the dust and poverty of India's villages. The book traces Jawaharlal's swift rise to the presidency of India's National Congress, revealing how his radical ideas and fearless leadership of Congress's left wing soon won him the martyrdom of long years behind British bars for conducting civil disobedience campaigns. After his release in 1945, Nehru met Lord Mountbatten, with whom he was destined to negotiate the independence and partition of British India into the nation states of India and Pakistan in 1947. Nehru then went on to become India's immensely popular Prime Minister for almost two decades.
Wolpert brings Nehru's complex personality to life against a vividly portrayed picture of India's fascinating history throughout its most turbulent century. He shows how India's own destiny was intimately wrapped up in the destiny of Nehru, a charismatic leader who stands among the twentieth century's foremost statesmen.

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Nehru: a tryst with destinty

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Though Wolpert is well known both for his histories of India and his biographies of Jinnah and Bhutto of Pakistan, (e.g., Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan, LJ 5/1/93), this book is unsatisfactory in several ... Read full review

Contents

Tryst with Destiny 18891905
3
Reluctant Reentry 19121917
28
In and Out of Prison 19211922
47
Copyright

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About the author (1996)


About the Author:
Stanley Wolpert, Distinguished Professor of Indian History at the University of California, Los Angeles, first met Nehru in 1957-1958 when he lived in India for a year as a Ford Foundation Fellow working on his Ph.D. dissertation, published as the comparative biography, Tilak and Gokhale. Wolpert's more recent biographies include Jinnah of Pakistan and Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan. His A New History of India will appear this year in its fifth edition.

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