Dr. Rakesh Ravi's Evaluation of Jawaharlal Nehru as a Prose Writer

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Jawaharlal Nehru was the 1st Prime Minister of India. He was born on 14 November 1889 at  Allahabad, U. P. India. Jawaharlal Nehru was a political leader of the Indian National Congress, and a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement. When India got freedom, he became the first Prime Minister of Independent India. In International politics in the post-war period, he became the founder of the non-alignment movement. Jawaharlal was a great writer, scholar and historian. Mahatma Gandhi's most beloved pupil was Nehru. He served as Congress President for many years before independence. He is remembered as a visionary of modern India. Nehru died on May 27, 1964.

His Contribution to English Prose—Jawaharlal Nehru was a great scholar and thinker. In his prose these two factors play a vital role. He is the first person who gave great scholarship to his daughter through letters in Letters from a Father to His Daughter. In 1930, these letters were published in a book form. His Glimpse of World History were published in two volumes. The first volume was published in 1934, and the second in1935. In 1936, he published An Autobiography and in 1946 came the great work: The Discovery of India. His speeches too were published in three volumes: Speeches (1946-49), Speeches (1949-53), Speeches (1953-57).

His Prose Style—Jawaharlal's prose style may be divided into two categories– scholarly style and poetic style. When he discusses ordinary things his language remains simple and he makes direct expressions. To support his view point he refers to many places and people. He puts stress on thought element. But when he gets emotional, his style becomes poetic. He uses imagery and sensuous word pictures.

Scholarly Style—Jawaharlal's scholarly style has two basic qualities: comprehensiveness and classification. This style is well exposed in his great books. Jawaharlal's 'The Discovery of India' is one of the most popular books in English. It was written in Ahmadnagar Fort prison between Aprils to September 1944. The book is divided into ten chapters. The present essay is an extract of the third chapter of the book. The chapter is entitled 'The Quest'. The chapter too is divided into ten parts and the opening part is The Panorama of India's Past. Besides, he uses direct and simple expressions. In the essay, The Panorama of India's Past, he tells about his visits to many places in a direct and simple language.

I visited old monuments and ruins and ancient sculptures and frescoes-Ajanta, Ellora, the Elephanta Caves, and other places—and I also saw the lovely buildings of a later age in Agra and Delhi, where every stone told its story of India's past:

Poetic Style—Jawaharlal's expressions become highly imaginative at many places. He makes myth of ordinary things. He writes prose in the style of verse while talking about Sarnath, Benares, Buddha and Ashoka.

At Sarnath, near Benares, I would almost see the Buddha preaching his first sermon, and some of his recorded words would come like a distant echo to me through two thousand five hundred years. Ashoka's pillars of stone with their inscriptions would speak to me in their magnificent language and tell me of a man who, though an emperor, was greater than any king or emperor.

In the following lines he refers to India's main rivers in a poetic style.

The mighty rivers of India that flow from this great mountain barrier into the plains of India attracted me and reminded me of innumerable phases of our history. ……….. the Jumna, round which cluster so many legends of dance and fun and play; and the Ganges, above all the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history.

Conclusion—Thus, Jawaharlal is a great prose writer. His prose style is scholarly and poetic.
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