Date: 4/25/2001


The Mystery Of Nehru's Birthplace


The contents of the ensuing write up have been extracted from an article just received from a reader of the Sword of Truth web magazine. Some elements of the article are already known to our readers thanks to past displays on the subject, on our web magazine, but not all. However, when going through the material, we believe that our readers will clearly perceive the inordinate endeavor that has been applied by our rulers to keep much of the contents hidden from our countrymen. Verily, India seems to be the only country, where the rulers are bent upon constantly fooling their own countrymen. The right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is up to!

In this expose, we have deleted several paragraphs which are redundant and do not add to our readers' knowledge. Attempt has been made to keep the new material to its minimum for brevity.

The article is titled The Mystery of Nehru's Birthplace, first published in the English Weekly SUNDAY of Calcutta, dated Aug. 31, 1980.

Nehru's Birthplace

On 16 October 1962 an American scholar, Melvin E. Levision, associate professor of education at Brooklyn College, New York, addressed a questionnaire to Jawaharlal Nehru. One question asked was whether there was any written description of the house, the grounds and the environment of the residence in Allahabad's Mirganj Chowk where Nehru was born on 14 November 1889. Nehru gave a short reply: "I do not know of any special description. The Mirganj house is no more. It was pulled down for some city improvement." This exchange, contained in one of the numerous files of the Teen Murti Bhavan record room, had apparently not been taken note of by those MPs who had raised a storm in the Lok Sabha on 4 August by saying that a portion of the house in which Nehru was born was now being used as a brothel.

Significantly, the two members who raised the matter during the question hour, did not belong to Parties ideologically opposed to Nehru's. The matter had been initially raised by Ram Nihore Rakesh, the member from Chail, a suburb of Allahabad, who belonged to Mr. H.N. Bahuguna's Nehru-loving Democratic Socialist Front (DSF). The cue was immediately taken by Arif Mohammad Khan, who represented Kanpur and was one of the joint secretaries of the AICC(I)...

In 1948, an exhibition was held on the Kayastha Pathshala grounds in Allahabad in which verious aspects of the freedom struggle were depicted. The students of Allahabad's government carpentry school, relying on a certain photograph of Jawaharlal's birthplace, 77 Mirganj, had constructed a wooden model of the house and displayed it at the swadeshi exhibition. In 1950 this model had been presented by the headmaster of the carpentry school to the Allahabad Museum and the museum authorities, who enjoyed tremendous patronage of Nehru during his lifetime (according to the museum's former director, Dr. S.C. Kala, Nehru sanctioned Rs. 66 lakhs for the museum and gifted it many precious family heirlooms and personal documents), put the model on display without bothering to verify its authenticity. It is this model which has been relied upon by various agencies in recent years in their bids to prove that the house where the Nehru family lived in 1889 was now a brothel....

Mirganj is situated in the heart of Allahabad, hardly a stone's throw from the main business center of the city, the Chowk. Mirganj is in fact a part of the commercial district of the city. Apart from being a red-light area, it is the main center for the trade in silver, cotton, ghee, sugar, gur (or jaggery) and, particularly, gold. It adjoins the Sabzi Mandi of Allahabad....

The family stayed in the Mirganj house for about three years after Nehru's birth...By nine in the morning, rows of prostitutes stand near the doors of the ground floors of the houses on both sides of the congested, narrow lanes which criss-cross the area off the Zero Road near the Rupabani cinema. As you enter the red-light area, the first thing that you notice is a small temple, built years ago, and the signboard of the local police outpost - Naka Badshahi Mandi, Thana Kotwali. Both god and the police seem to stand guard at the entrance of the red-light area of Mirganj. The narrow lane takes a right turn within ten yards of the entrance of the red-light district and it is at this corner that the controversial(?) birthplace of Jawaharlal Nehru is supposed to be. (It may be advisable for our readers to visit the place during a trip to India, as there cannot be any better substitute for a direct and personal visit.)...

Nehru on Prostitution

(On 10 June 1923 Nehru wrote a note entitled "On the treatment of prostitutes" (reproduced on pages 14-16 of Selected Works of Nehru, volume 11, Orient Longmans) which read: "The question of the residence of prostitutes has been before the board for many years. I have purposely headed this note differently. I want the question to be considered in its broader aspects and not merely on the narrow ground of place or residence...Last year the board made a brave effort to abolish prostitution by passing a resolution and appointing a committee. The effort was foredoomed to failure. The world would be a very different place if we could abolish prostitution and lying and cruelty and oppression and the thousand and one ills that flesh is heir to by passing resolutions...

"Prostitution, it is well known, is largely due to two causes - the economic and the human. If we could raise the status of women and afford them honorable careers we would do more toward the lessening of the evil than by any number of bylaws. The human factor is more difficult to deal with, but everything that makes for social betterment and for equality between the sexes helps in the solution of the problem. We are scandalised at the residence of prostitutes in our midst. But prostitutes do not carry on their ancient trade by themselves. They are only one party to the transaction. I seldom hear anything against the other party, the man who exploits the poor woman and casts all the blame on her. The proper way to deal with the question of prostitution is to make it as dishonorable for a man as for a woman to help in it...

"I do not believe in issuing a fiat that prostitutes must not live in any part of the city of Allahabad except a remote corner. If this is done I would think it equally reasonable to reserve another part of Allahabad for the men who exploit women and because of whom prostitution flourishes."

In this note Nehru had made certain suggestions for dealing with prostitution. They included proposals for setting up homes for these unfortunate women where they could be taught some useful trade, educating people about the harmfulness of venereal diseases, and amending the law to raise the age of consent and imposing "extreme penalties on persons exploiting young girls and living on their earnings."

On 14 October 1958, Nehru wrote a letter to V.R. Krishna Iyer (a Supreme Court judge), on the subject: "This is of course, a major social problem, and I wish you succeed in your efforts to deal with it. I confess, however, that I have long felt that the type of efforts that are made usually meet with little success. I remember that, nearly thirty-five years ago, when I was the chairman of the Allahabad Municipality, I tried to deal with this problem and wrote a long note on the subject. I did not succeed to any marked extent. The problem is so much connected with other economic and social aspects of our life that it is a little difficult to separate it. Anyhow, it is good to do something about it."


And to think that even a man like Nehru failed in his endeavor for as every one knows that eventually, the grandson of Ganga Dhar, the son of Moti Lal, the father of 'Indira is India', the grand-father of Rajiv Roberto Nehru Gandhi and finally the great-grand father of Priyanka, the vibrant disco-lady, finally died of venereal disease himself!