27th May 2017 marks the 53rd Death Anniversary of the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. He remained in Office from 15 August 1947 – 27 May 1964 spanning a period of around 17 years.
Grandfather of Jawaharlal Nehru was last Kotwal of Delhi. Gangadhar Pandit joined as kotwal before 1857 war and later he moved to Agra with family in 1861.
Like Gandhi, Nehru too was popular and held with high respect. He was nominated 11 times for the Nobel Prize mostly for Peace during 1950-1955 but didn’t receive one.
Nehru was fond of smoking. His favourite brand was 555 Cigarette. It is believed that, once, he was on a visit to Bhopal but he forgot to bring his cigarettes with him. He couldn’t find his brand in Bhopal Market. Then he had to send an aeroplane to bring his brand from Bhopal to Indore. The Plane returned after sending some packets at the airport.
Nehru’s health began declining steadily after 1962, and he spent months recuperating in Kashmir through 1963. Some historians attribute this dramatic decline to his surprise and chagrin over the Sino-Indian War, which he perceived as a betrayal of trust.
Upon his return from Dehradun on 26 May 1964 he was feeling quite comfortable and went to bed at about 23:30 as usual, he had a restful night till about 06:30 soon after he returned from the bathroom, Nehru complained of pain in the back. He spoke to the doctors who attended on him for a brief while and almost immediately Nehru collapsed.
He remained unconscious until he died. His death was announced to Lok Sabha at 14:00 local time on 27 May 1964; cause of death is believed to be a heart attack (dissecting aneurysm of the aorta).
Draped in the Indian national Tricolour flag the body of Jawaharlal Nehru was placed for public viewing. “Raghupati Raghava Rajaram” was chanted as the body was placed on the platform.
On 28 May, Nehru was cremated in accordance with Hindu rites at the Shantivan on the banks of the Yamuna River, witnessed by 1.5 million mourners who had flocked into the streets of Delhi and the cremation grounds.
Nehru, the man and politician made such a powerful imprint on India that his death on 27 May 1964, left India with no clear political heir to his leadership. The death was announced to the Indian parliament in words similar to Nehru’s own at the time of Gandhi’s assassination: “The light is out.”