ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mystery of the Roots of Jwaharlal Nehru: Was he of Muslim Origin

Updated on December 12, 2017

Jwaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was born in 1889 and died in 1964. Nehru was an intellectual who strode on the Indian political stage for close to five decades. This was the period when momentous changes took place in India. The British Raj which was firmly established at the turn of the last century received a knock out blow with the defeat of Hitler and the end of World war II. The victory under Churchill turned out to be Pyrrhic and within 2 years of the end of the war, the British had to go home, leaving India the " brightest jewel " in the British empire.

This was also the period when Nehru joined the Congress party as a successor to the politics of his father Motilal Nehru. Motilal had been a staunch Congressman and was twice the President of the Congress party.

The dominant figure in the Congress party at that time was MK Gandhi, a self-styled " Mahatma" who started his own method of nonviolence and satyagraha against the British rule. Gandhi had some hold over the Indian masses and Nehru decided that he would be better off if he followed Gandhi.He supported Gandhi and won his confidence. During the 1938 crises when Subhas Bose defeated the nominee of Gandhi to the post of Congress president, Nehru sided with Gandhi against Bose and worked to isolate him.Thus, when the British left India, Nehru was the choice of Gandhi to be prime minister. He remained prime minister for 17 years and despite his failures, he left behind the edifice of a democratic setup.

Nehru with Lady Pamela Mountbatton
Nehru with Lady Pamela Mountbatton
Nehru and Bose
Nehru and Bose

Jawaharlal Nehru was the son of Motilal Nehru. Many lurid tales surround Motilal, who was obviously a man who believed in the good things of life. Jawaharlal was his only son, though he had 2 daughters. By all accounts, Motilal was a Hindu, but many rumors surround his life. It is possible that they may not be true, but again there is no smoke without fire. Rumours abound that Motilal had a Muslim wife as well from whom he had 2 sons, one of who was Sheikh Abdullah. There is no corroborative evidence of this.

Jawaharlal was born a Hindu, but one of his statements makes a strange reading. He is reported to have said, " By education and thinking, I am an Englishman, by culture a Muslim and only by birth a Hindu".

This statement is indeed strange and shows that Nehru was not a believer in classical Hinduism. No wonder he was deadly opposed to the RSS and wanted the home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel to ban it. His actions over a period of time can be seen to be pro Muslim. A glaring example is his failure to enforce a uniform civil and marriage code. He wanted and was vociferous to reform Hindu personal law, but allowed Muslims to carry on their personal law of 4 wives, triple talaq and other rights as per Sharia.

Was Jwaharlal Nehru More Muslim than Hindu in thought

See results

Facts from History

The Moghul rulers kept meticulous details of appointments and these are available. There is no mention of a Hindu kotwal in the court of Bahadur Shah.

Nehru's Grandfather

The Nehru family lineage can be traced to the Mughal period. The last Mutual emperor was Bahadur Shah. He was a titular head, interested only in poetry and women. He had a large harem of young girls. The emperor was made the head of the 1857 uprising and after the crushing of the mutiny, the British were gunning for him.

He was captured from his palace in the Red Fort and deported to Rangoon in 1858. It is known that Jawaharlal's grandfather worked as Kotwal in the court of Bahadur Shah. A kotwal is a police officer and has some importance in India.This word though archaic is still used.

It must be mentioned here that under Muslim rule, generally Kotwals were appointed only from among Muslims. Thus, Bahadur Shah, a Muslim was unlikely to appoint a Hindu as Kotwal. Jawaharlal himself mentions that he saw a painting of his grandfather and he felt he looked like a Muslim. The painting of Jawaharlal Nehru's grandfather is available. Though it is faded, yet one can see that the man was a Muslim, replete with Muslim beard and headdress. His name was Ghaisuddin and he was a marked man after the British took Delhi and stormed the Red Fort.

The British at that time were looking for all relations and associates of Bahadurshah. All who were caught were summarily executed. Ghaisuddin feared capture and execution. He escaped from Delhi, changed his name to a Hindu name and thus escaped the clutches of the English. Jawaharlal Nehru's grandfather was in all probability a Muslim. It appears that he died soon after the birth of his son Motilal. Thus Motilal never saw his father in flesh and blood.

The evidence of all this is scanty and one can only make deductions. This tale of Nehru's grandfather cannot be verified as no records are available.

Painting Nehru Grandfather
Painting Nehru Grandfather

Nehru Family in Indian Polity

The Nehru family has a deep hold on the Indian psyche. As the majority of India is Hindu, the family takes some pains to show their Hindu credentials. Jawaharlal's daughter Indira married a Muslim, his name was changed to Gandhi. Nehru's grandson Rajiv converted to Christianity but had a Hindu funeral. The family also keeps the origin and ancestry under wraps. They claim that Nehru's grandfather was a Hindu and worked in the Moghul court.

All this is only of academic interest as India has moved forward and voted the Nehru dynasty out of power. But perhaps the later actions of Jawaharlal Nehru has something to do with his ancestry.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you lions44. I agree, Nehru was a complex character. Maybe it had something to do with his origin. Later Edwina was a big factor in his life

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Fascinating article. Nehru was a complicated figure who I always thought was misunderstood by the West, the U.S. in particular. That's what drove him towards the Soviets (nominally speaking). Your work reminds us that India is an enormously complicated place in terms of religion, culture and race.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)