A commemorative postage stamp on the 75th Birth Anniversary of Kamala Kaul Nehru, wife of 1st Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru :
Issued on Aug 1, 1974
Issued for : The P & T Department feels honoured to bring out a commemorative postage stamp on the occasion of the 75th Birth Anniversary of this heroic woman.
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi-colour
Denomination : 25 Paise
Overall Size : 4.06 x 4.06 cms.
Printing Size : 3.70 x 3.70 cms.
Perforation : 14½ x 14½
Watermark : Unwatermarked H–2 P.G. coated paper
Number printed : 30,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 25
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printed at : India Security Press
Name : Kamala Kaul Nehru
Born on Aug 1, 1899 at Delhi, India
Died on Feb 28, 1936 at Lausanne, Switzerland
- The seventy-fifth birth anniversary of Kamala Nehru is a befitting occasion to recall the valuable contribution of a brave and sensitive fighter for India freedom.
- Born on August 1, 1899, she had only a brief span of 36 years and died eleven years before India attained independence. Despite ill-health – which dogged her from the time when she was in her twenties until she died on February 28, 1936 – Kamala Nehru played a heroic role which left an indelible imprint on the nationalist movement. Daughter of Jawaharmal Kaul, a businessman of Delhi, Kamala was married at the age of seventeen on February 8, 1916, the Vasant Panchami day, to Jawaharlal Nehru, then a young barrister in Allahabad. Her father-in-law, Motilal Nehru, was in the forefront of the Allahabad Bar, the Nehrus were among the most fashionable and forward-looking families in the country, and Jawaharlal was one of the most eligible young men. Kamala could well have looked forward to a life of ease and comfort. But this was not to be. Within three years of marriage Jawaharlal came under the spell of Mahatma Gandhi and plunged into the non-co-operation movement which brought about a metamorphosis in the life-style of the family. Jawaharlal became wholly absorbed in the movement, and as he wrote later in his autobiography “almost forgot my family, my wife, my daughter.“ Henceforth, he practically spent his time addressing public meetings or travelling in trains if he was not in prison. Recurrent imprisonment or the immense of imprisonment of her husband could not but be a sore trial for Kamala especially when her own health had begun to give way. However, the tensions and trials she had to undergo brought out the best in her. The new austerity which the Mahatma inspired in the Nehru household evoked a ready response in her. The freedom struggle also gave scope to the qualities which she possessed in an abundant measure – sincerity, courage, determination and the spirit of self-sacrifice. At first her great contribution was the moral support and encouragement she gave to her husband in his head-on collision with imperialism. Later, oblivious of her own delicate health, she threw herself into the civil disobedience campaign in the wake of the Mahatma‘s historic Dandi March in 1930. Kamala was in the van of the Salt Satyagraha in Allahabad, picketing foreign cloth and liquor shops, leading processions and demonstrations, addressing meetings and facing lathi charges by the police. She served as a member of U.P. Congress Committee. She even briefly became a member of Congress Working Committee when that body was declared unlawful and arrested en bloc and substitute members was appointed. She was spared arrest at that juncture but provoked the authorities by reading out at a public meeting the very speech of making which her husband was convicted. On January 1, 1931, she was arrested and lodged in Lucknow Central Jail. Asked by a pressman for a message on her arrest she said, “I am happy beyond measure and proud to follow in the footsteps of my husband. I hope people will keep the flag flying.“ After Kamala Nehru‘s arrest, when practically all Congress leaders were in jail, a “resolution of remembrance” was passed on January 26, 1931, and read at thousands of meetings all over India. It referred to Indian women’s heroic role in freedom struggle. In the words of Jawaharlal Nehru : “In this upheaval Kamala played a brave and notable part…..“
- The life of Kamala Nehru was an epitome of the idealism, courage and sacrifice which the struggle for political liberation, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, evoked among Indian womanhood. Those were the days when nationalist India had dared to challenge the might of British Empire, when victory seemed distant, if not uncertain. Kamala Nehru had in her all too short life more than her share of physical suffering and nervous strain. But she exhibited remarkable blend of outward gentleness and a rock-like inner strength. She was doubtless inspired by the teachings of Gandhi and by the example of her husband, but she had a mind and a will of her own. It is significant that she did not confirm to the dictates of the traditional culture in which she had grown up as a child, nor to the anglicised pattern of her husband’s home in pre-Gandhian days. She acquired an independent and refreshingly modern outlook on life. She was free from the prejudices of caste and creed and the lifeless rituals of formalistic religion. She was a staunch champion of secularism, but she had also a deep spiritual streak which probably gave her the remarkable inner strength and serenity which impressed those who came in contact with her. A devoted wife and mother, Kamala Nehru was also an ardent feminist. Some of the questions which the “Women’s liberation” movements in different parts of the world are debating today – the sharing of household chores and equality of sexes – find mention in her letters. She felt deeply the injustice of unequal treatment meted out to Indian women who were kept in purdah, denied education and economic independence.
- She was profoundly influenced by the Bhagvad Gita and by the lives and teachings of Ramakrishna Parmahansa and Swami Vivekananda. She was also drawn to Ma Anandmayeeji. Full of compassion, her heart went out in sympathy to the poor and down-trodden. Regardless of her own falling health, she worked hard to keep running the charitable hospital in Swaraj Bhawan in Allahabad.
- Dr. B.C. Roy, a friend as well as the physician of the Nehru family, recalled that Kamala Nehru had “a frail constitution but an indomitable spirit. Brought up in luxury and comfort, she faced with cheerfulness the difficulties and discomforts of a public worker in India and she identified herself with the humblest among the sufferers in this land.“ Perhaps the best tribute to Kamala Nehru was paid by Mahatma Gandhi, who said, : “I have not known a truer, braver and more–god–fearing woman.“