Tag Archives: Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s First Prime Minister, Died This Day 53-Years Ago; May 27, 1964.

by Anura Guruge

23 October 1962, in Ceylon, with ‘Aunty’ Bandaranaike, the world’s FIRST ever elected Head of State. [Yes, I knew her, well, and, yes, I did call her ‘Aunty’.] Quite the picture. Next to ‘Aunty’ B., on the right in Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi who would also go on to be a Prime Minister. The young man, I am sure, is my namesake Anura B. — while the two young ladies are Mrs. B’s daughters — and one of them would go onto be President. QUITE THE PICTURE.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawaharlal_Nehru

He was quite the man. So pivotal a figure.

I got to meet him, in October 1962. See picture above. He came to our house for dinner! Kid you not. Yes, my adoptive father was a VIP and a ‘big shot’ in the Government. I think he (my adoptive father), as one of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s most trusted collaborators, might have been in charge of organizing that visit.

I still remember it in my mind’s eye. He was late coming. The house was packed with guests. There was an excited hum of anticipation.

He was tall, v. tall. I was 9 years old, so not that tall. He HAD PRESENCE. He glowed white! Yes, he, per his trademark, was dressed head-to-toe in brilliant, white. He bent down to shake my hand. He autographed a brand new autograph book (that had been made for me, for the occasion, by my adoptive father’s brother, Edward, a very talented bookbinder). I still have it.

OK, I will confess. Meeting and shaking Yuri Gagarin’s hand, also in Ceylon, thanks to my adoptive father, was a bigger thrill. BUT, Nehru, I still recall had this ethereal presence.

Wow. I never realized he died so soon afterwards.

What a legacy. What a man. My type of guy. {SMILE}

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by Anura Guruge

Royal Baby, George Alexander Louis. I Had A Hunch About ‘Louis’. I Am Delighted. Another Of My Heroes.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

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>> The Royal Baby … — July 24, 2013.

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From my all time favorite newspaper, the one and only, the great, U.K. Daily Mail. Click to access Daily Mail original.

Click to access U.K. Daily Mail pictures and story.

I had an inkling that ‘Louis’ was going to be in there in some way.

I like the whole name, but am very gratified by the ‘Louis’ part. Yes, most Americans don’t know him though he was, of course, Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (1943-1946).

One of my heroes, alongside the likes of Churchill, Mandela, Tutu, Montgomery et. al.

Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten,
1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma,

I never met him though we both lived in the same state, Hampshire, prior to his tragic assassination by the cowardly, dastardly IRA.

There is a Ceylon connection. He moved the South East Asia Command headquarters to Ceylon (Kandy) in August 1944. 

He used to stay at this hotel, Mount Lavinia, just south of Colombo, on the coast.

He used to stay at this hotel, Mount Lavinia, just south of Colombo, on the coast.

Obviously, if you know your history, he was the Viceroy and Governor General of India during the period of Independence. He is the one who created Pakistan. Yes, it is also true (and I have never been able to reconcile this) that it was during this time that my other hero (and dinner guest at our house), Jawaharlal Nehru, was having a very open affair with his wife.

The Mountbattens with Gandhi, 1947.

The absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, Mountbatten Estate, in Romsey, Hampshire — just 4 miles from Hursley (where I worked for IBM). One of my favorite destinations.

As We Now Wait For The Inevitable, Think About Reading Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography ‘Long Walk To Freedom’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related Post:
>> South Africa going the extra mile for Nelson — June 18, 2013.

Click to access this CNN story from today, with some good historic pictures.

Click to access this CNN story from today, with some good historic pictures.

I was dreading turning on the TV this morning. I had read the news reports before I had gone to bed at 1 am.

I was glad that there was no news about Nelson Mandela.

But, things aren’t looking good and despite all those years in prison, he has had a good innings. For that I am glad.

I didn’t really get to know the man until the mid-1980s, though I did sign the obligatory ‘Free Mandela‘ petitions when I was doing my Master’s during 1978 – 1979. If I remember right, there was even a movement to have him elected, in absentia, as the President of the University of London. Yes, I voted ‘yes’ on that. I think we also tried to get him, unrealistic as it may have been, to be the ‘Presenter’ at one of our graduation ceremonies.

I still remember the day he walked out of prison. It was a Saturday. I watched all of it. I cried.

I bought ‘Long Walk …’ more or less when it came out and consumed it with gusto. Good book. Very thought provoking and inspirational. I have also read a couple of other books about this amazing man.

He has definitely been an inspiration for me.

Gandhi was before my time, though I did get to meet and shake hands with Jawaharlal Nehru when he visited Ceylon in October 1962. Actually he came to our house for dinner! That was quite an occasion. I still remember it. I would have been 9. There were lots of people (not that that per se was unusual). It was dark and I think getting late. He finally arrived. To me he seemed SO TALL. As ever he was dressed in all white. That is what I still remember the most. This tall, kind of shimmering figure in white who bent down and shook my hand. He also signed, on the first page, my brand new autograph book that one of my uncle’s had put together for me, just for this occasion. I still have it. It is always close to me. It now lies open as I write this. He dated it: 15. 10. 62. October 15, 1962. He was a great man too, but Mr. Mandela has meant more to me.