Will And Testament Of Jawaharlal Nehru
The following is the exact copy of India's past Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru's Will and Testament. The Will, other than giving out the mundane information of who to inherit what, also tells us the testator's reasoning for making out the Will the way it had been made out. This enables us to look into the mind of Nehru and understand him a little better, without always agreeing with him. That is important, although rather late; that insight enables us to understand better why many of the things were done by him the way he had done them. Not everything is above board; for instance there is no mention at all of Netaji's Treasure Chest that the Pandit had swindled. I believe that certain clarifications are called for on this man, an impostor in large measure, for a better understanding of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. One such thing is Nehru's never having undergone the Yajnopaveet ceremony and he had never carried the janeo on his body, neither did he ever deny that he was NOT a qualified Kashmiri Brahmin. Verily, he was perhaps the only Kashmiri who passed off as a Brahmin while having been legally circumcised as a Muslim baby-boy in his infancy and that in the palace of the Nawab of Oudh. Also, Nehru could not read or write Sanskrit, as most Brahmins of his age could do in that era, but surprisingly, he never confirmed such inability in public. Our readers will judge if there was an element of deception in this conduct of his leaving us wondering, how far did indeed his deception go, vis a vis his Hindu subjects! I have dealt with the subject in the AFTERWORD section.
1. I, Jawaharlal Nehru, of Anand Bhawan, Allahabad, am desirous of making my Will and indicating in it how I wish my property and assets to be disposed of after my death. The circumstances of my life have been and are so uncertain that I do not know if there will be anything at all to dispose of it at the time of my death. The assets which I had inherited from my father, and for which he had taken steps with loving foresight and care to protect for me, have been largely spent by me. The capital at my disposal has progressively diminished, in spite of my income from royalties, on books and other writings, which have been considerable. I have not had much of a property sense and the idea of adding to my possessions has almost seemed to me an addition to the burdens I had to carry. The kind of journey through life I had undertaken long ago required as few encumbrances as possible. Also, believing in my capacity to add to my income if I chose to do so, I was not interested in making financial provision for the future. For this reason also I did not at any time insure my life.
2. Because of this and other reasons, it is exceedingly difficult for me to make any detailed provision for the future. I did not think it even necessary to make any kind of a Will as I doubted that I would have anything to dispose of in this way. In the normal course, I thought, that my daughter Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, would inherit such property or assets that I might leave, as she was my natural and obvious heir.
3. When I was in Ahmednagar Fort prison and had leisure to think about the future, it struck me that it would be desirable to make some kind of a Will. The news of the sudden death of my brother-in-law, Ranjit Sitaram Pandit came as a great shock to me and induced me to think again of making a Will. I could not take any formal steps in prison though in December 1943, while still in Ahmednagar, I made a draft of a Will and Testament.
4. I was released from prison in the summer of 1945 and since then have had little leisure to think of personal matters. So, the draft has remained with me for over ten years now. These ten years have seen many changes in my life and the old draft is out of date. As a matter of fact, such assets as I possessed even ten years ago have largely vanished during this period. Since I became Prime Minister, I have been unable to add to my income by any fresh writing and I have had to draw repeatedly on what capital I possessed because my salary as a Prime Minister was not adequate for my needs, limited as they were. Nevertheless, I consider it necessary to make this Will now and so dispose of a matter which has been at the back of my mind for a number of years.
5. My daughter and only child, Indira Priyadarshini, married to Feroze Gandhi, is my only heir, and I bequeath to her all my property, assets and belongings, subject to such provision as may be hereinafter provided for.
6. My property at present consists of my house, Anand Bhawan, in Allahabad, with the land and buildings attached to it, and the furniture, books and other appurtenants thereto. I have also books, papers and personal belongings at present in the Prime Minister's house, New Delhi. I own a few securities, investments and shares and some cash in current and fixed deposits accounts in banks, though most of these securities and investments have already been transferred in favor of my daughter or have been otherwise disposed of. I have an uncertain and varying income also from royalties on the old books I have written. All these assets, that is, the house, Anand Bhawan, with all that appertains to it, and all my securities, investments and shares, cash in current and fixed deposit accounts, wherever they might be, and income from royalties on books, and any other property or assets belonging to me not herein mentioned, will be inherited by, and will belong after my death to, my daughter, Indira Priyadarshini, and she shall have full authority over them and can deal with them in any manner she chooses.
7. In the event of my daughter, Indira Priyadarshini, pre- deceasing me, her two sons, my grand sons, Rajivratna Nehru Gandhi and Sanjay Nehru Gandhi, will be my heirs, and all my property and assets will be inherited by them absolutely in equal shares, which they may hold jointly or otherwise, as they choose.
8. In the course of a life which has had its share of trial and difficulty, the love and tender care for me of both my sisters, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and Krishna Hutheesing, have been of the greatest solace to me. I can give nothing to balance this except my own love and affection which they have in full measure.
9. Any of my father's or mother's personalia, still in my possession or in Anand Bhawan, will be given to my sisters for they will have a prior right to these than anyone else can have. They can share or divide these articles among themselves as they choose.
10. I have, by the above mentioned clauses, bequeathed Anand Bhawan, and such other property as I might possess, absolutely to my daughter and her children, as the case may be and she or they will have full proprietary rights over it, including rights of alienation and disposition of every kind. This house, Anand Bhawan, has become for us and others a symbol of much that we value in life. It is far more than a structure of brick and concrete, more than a private possession. It is connected intimately with our national struggle for freedom, and within its walls great events have happened and great decisions have been reached. It is my wish, and I am sure it is my daughter's wish also, that whoever lives in Anand Bhawan must always remember this and must not do anything contrary to that tradition. This wish of mine, as well as other wishes to which I refer in subsequent clauses, are not intended to be in any way a restriction on the proprietary rights conferred upon my daughter.
11. I should like my daughter, her husband Feroze Gandhi and their children to make Anand Bhawan their home, and, if owing to any reasons, they do not find it possible to do so, to visit Anand Bhawan frequently.
12. Our house, Anand Bhawan, in Allahabad, should always be open to my sisters, their children as well as my brother-in-law, Raja Hutheesing, and they should be made to feel that it continues to be their home where they are ever welcome. They can stay there whenever they like and for as long as they like. I should like them to pay periodic visits to the house and to keep fresh and strong the bonds that tie them to their old home.
13. Our house, Anand Bhawan, has drawn many people to it from all parts of the country during past years, when my father was alive and subsequently. More especially, poor folk, peasants and others, from the surrounding districts and from more distant parts of India have come there for advice and help or solace, in their life-long suffering. I hope the doors of Anand Bhawan will ever be open to these countrymen of ours and every courtesy will be shown to them. It is a matter of deep regret to me that because of my duties and responsibilities as Prime Minister, I have been unable to visit our home, except rarely.
14. I should not like the house to be rented out to strangers. If my daughter or her children do not find it convenient to maintain Anand Bhawan as a family residence, they should use it or dedicate it for a public purpose. This may be in connection with the Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital or the proposed Children's Home that is likely to be put up nearby or any like purpose.
15. I have collected a considerable number of papers and letters of national and historical interest. Many of these connected with various phases of our national struggle for freedom were unfortunately destroyed or mislaid during the long years when we were in prison. Still some remain. There are other papers and documents as well as letters relating to the subsequent period after I took office, which have also considerable historical value. All such important papers and documents and letters should be offered to the national Library or the National Archives.
16. I have from time to time given various articles, which had been presented to me, to public museums. I shall continue to do so. In case any remain, which are worthy of public display, these should be presented to the National Museum. Some of them may be kept in the Prime Minister's house which itself is a public building.
17. I have received so much love and affection from the Indian people that nothing that I can do can repay even a small fraction of it, and indeed there can be no repayment of so precious a thing as affection. Many have been admired, some have been revered, but the affection of all classes of the Indian people has come to me in such abundant measure that I have been overwhelmed by it. I can only express the hope that in the remaining years I may live, I shall not be unworthy of my people and their affection.
18. To my innumerable comrades and colleagues, I owe an even deeper debt of gratitude. We have been joint partners in great undertakings and have shared the triumphs and sorrows which inevitably accompany them.
19. Many of those who served my father or me faithfully and with affection have passed away. A few remain. They have been parts of our household and I should like them to be considered as such so long as they are alive. I cannot mention them all here, but I should particularly like to mention Shiv Dutt Upadhyaya, M.O. Mathai and Harilal.
20. I wish to declare with all earnestness that I do not want any religious ceremonies performed for me after my death. I do not believe in any such ceremonies and to submit to them, even as a matter of form, would be hypocrisy and an attempt to delude ourselves and others.
21. When I die, I should like my body to be cremated. If I die in a foreign country, my body should be cremated there and my ashes sent to Allahabad. A small handful of these ashes should be thrown in the Ganga and the major portion of them disposed of in the manner indicated below. No part of these ashes should be retained or preserved.
22. My desire to have a handful of my ashes thrown in the Ganga at Allahabad has no religious significance, so far as I am concerned. I have no religious sentiment in the matter. I have been attached to the Ganga and the Jumna rivers in Allahabad ever since my childhood and, as I have grown older, this attachment has also grown. I have watched their varying moods as the seasons changed, and have often thought of the history and myth and tradition and song and story that have become attached to them through the long ages and become part of the flowing waters. The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever-changing, ever-flowing and ever the same Ganga. She reminds me of the snow-covered peaks and the deep valleys of the Himalayas, which I have loved so much, and of the rich and vast plains below, where my life and work have been cast. Smiling and dancing in the morning sunlight, and dark and gloomy and full of mystery as the evening shadows fall; a narrow, slow and graceful stream in winter, and a vast roaring thing during the monsoon, broad-bosomed almost as the sea, and with something of the sea's power to destroy, the Ganga has been to me a symbol and a memory of the past of India, running into the present, and flowing on to the great ocean of the future. And though I have discarded much of past tradition and custom, and am anxious that India should rid herself of all shackles that bind and constrain her and divide her people, and suppress vast numbers of them, and prevent the free development of the body and the spirit; though I seek all this, yet I do not wish to cut myself off from that past completely. I am proud of that great inheritance that has been, and is, ours, and I am conscious that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back in the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India. That chain I would not break, for I treasure it and seek inspiration from it. And, as witness of this desire of mine and as my last homage to the great ocean that washes India's shores.
23. The major portion of my ashes should, however, be disposed of otherwise. I want these to be carried high up into the air in an aeroplane and scattered from that height over the fields where the peasants of India toil, so that they might mingle with the dust and soil of India and become an indistinguishable part of India.
I have written this Will and Testament in New Delhi on the twenty-first day of June in the year Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-four.
Signed/ Jawaharlal Nehru 21 June, 1954 Attestor 1: Kailas Nath Katju Attestor 2: N.R. Pillai
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