The official version of Jawaharlal Nehru’s death is Cerebral Thrombosis, although he was the target of assassination since at-least 1947 with no less than 7 attempts on his life including a bomb-blast to blow-up a train he was traveling in.
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- 1 First attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 1947
- 2 Second attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – July 1948
- 3 Third attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 4th May 1953
- 4 Fourth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 12th March 1955
- 5 Fifth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 4th June 1956
- 6 Sixth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 1960
- 7 Seventh attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 30th September 1961
- 8 British Intelligence and Assassination of Indian Leaders
- 9 When Nehru almost broke the United Nations
First attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 1947
The first attempt on Jawaharlal Nehru’s life was during partition in 1947 while he was visiting North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) in a car. In his memoirs Reminiscences of the Nehru Age, Nehru’s aide M. O. Mathai writes:
The Maulana has praised Nehru for dropping the case against the political officer in Malakand, North- West Frontier Province. This official acted in an unabashed manner as, the virtual agent of the Muslim League by instigating tribesmen to stage demonstrations against Nehru during his visit to that area in the middle of October 1946 and to fire at him and his party. Nehru and Khan Sahib were in the first car. I was following in the second car with a couple of senior police officers, Nehru’s car was hit by a bullet. We all got down. A bullet whistled past me almost touching my nose. For the first time I felt content that I did not have a pronounced nose.
On return to Delhi, Nehru took up the question on disciplinary action against the criminally erring official. Viceroy, Lord Wavell did everything to frustrate it. It dragged on and Nehru finally let it slide in disgust. He made no secret of his displeasure. The Maulana’s conception of magnanimity to an official charged with criminal misconduct is absurd.
Second attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – July 1948
Another plot to kill Nehru was reported in July 1948. According to the report, three alleged gang members who were on their way to Delhi with a plan to kill Nehru were arrested at a dharamsala in Lakhisarai, Bihar. A member of the same gang informed the president of Monghyr (Munger) Town Congress Committee about the plot. He said that three persons with two pistols, two revolvers, a few rifles and country-made bombs were in Delhi for the hit job. (‘Alleged Plot to Kill Leaders: Three Arrested in Bihar’, The Times of India, 31 July 1948, P1).
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Sardar Patel, the home minister, was responsible for providing security to Nehru. While meeting Pakistan’s premier Liaquat Ali Khan during his visit to India in April 1950, Sardar Patel expressed concern over Nehru’s security. “Jawaharlal is exerting night and day for Muslim rights. I lie awake at night worrying that what happened to Gandhiji might happen to him.” (Patel: A Life, P498, Rajmohan Gandhi has quoted these lines from Sardar’s daughter-cum-secretary Maniben’s diary entry dated 5 April 1950).
Later in the same year, Sardar disclosed in Parliament that “Pandit Nehru was intended to be the next target of that group of people who were responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi”. (‘Govt. Determined to Meet All Challenges: Sardar’s Statement in Parliament’, The Times of India, 3 August 1950, P1).
According to another news report, Sardar said, “L.P. Bhopatkar, former president of All India (Hindu) Mahasabha, a Hindu militant body, had confessed to a plot to kill the premier last spring at the time of the disorders in Eastern Pakistan”. (‘Patel Charges Hindus Plotted To Kill Nehru’, The Washington Post, 3 August 1950, P1).
Third attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 4th May 1953
Another attempt to ‘blow up train’ in which Nehru was travelling was foiled by ‘timely discovery of bombs on track’ on 4 May 1953. According to a news report, “A police constable guarding the central railway track near Kalyan opened fire on two men crouching suspiciously in the darkness in the early hours of Monday. There were then only ten minutes for the Amritsar Express, in which Mr Jawaharlal Nehru was traveling to Bombay.” (‘Prime Minister Has Narrow Escape’, The Times of India, 5 May 1953, P1). “Two conical objects” were found from the tracks, the report said.
The New York Times covered ‘Policeman foils attempt to bomb Nehru’s train’ on its page 6, with news of Ernest Hemingway winning Pulitzer Prize for Old Man and the Sea on its front page. (NYT, 5 May 1953). It was reported later that the objects were “no more than a harmless cracker” and “the object of the miscreants was to create a sensation, rather than to cause any mischief, but the hunt for the miscreants was by no means given up”. (‘Object on Rail Line near Kalyan was Big Cracker’, The Times of India, 6 May 1953, P1).
Fourth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 12th March 1955
M.O. Mathai, private secretary to Nehru, noted an incident in Nagpur wherein a rickshaw-puller “made an attempt on Nehru’s life with a knife”. The alleged attacker was “some sort of a political thinker”, was annoyed with the Congress rule and “wanted to remove the root cause of the Congress majority”. (My Days with Nehru, P135).
News reporting of the incident was subdued at first. Nehru himself, perhaps not aware of the full gravity of the situation, issued a statement saying “not to exaggerate” the incident and termed it as “an individual case of a cranky person and (that) not much significance should be attached to it” (‘Nehru’s Car Halted’, The Times of India, 13 March 1955, P1). Nehru dismissed the knife as “very small and not at all dangerous” and said, “I would have myself taken it but in the meantime the Military Secretary and the police seized him”.
In later reports, the accused, Baburao Laxman Kochale, a resident of Satara district, told the police that his “only grouse was that he was falsely implicated in a riot case in Ahmedabad in which he was discharged”. (‘Nagpur Rickshaw-Puller Remanded’, The Times of India, 14 March 1955, P7), and that he wanted to inquire about the letters he wrote to the PM in this matter. The accused requested that the Prime Minister be called as a witness, but the magistrate dismissed the plea (‘Examination of Mr Nehru: Court Rejects Plea’, The Times of India, 7 May 1955, P5).
Thirty five prosecution witnesses were examined, including “Mr Nehru, who was examined by commission in New Delhi”. After witness accounts and the doctor’s opinion that “the knife could cause a fatal injury in the circumstances of the incident”, he was sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment by the jury. The district and sessions judge accepted the jury’s verdict. (‘Baburao Sentenced to Six Years’ R.I.’, The Times of India, 29 July 1955, P7).
Fifth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 4th June 1956
Bombay Police thwarted an attempt to assassinate then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in June 1956 when he was the target of a stone-throwing mob at a public gathering. Police arrested more than a 1,000 demonstrators and received a tip that a bomb would be thrown at Nehru when he addressed an outdoor meeting. Stringent security precautions were taken and Nehru was unscathed.
Sixth attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 1960
General Indar Jit Rikhye served in Gaza as part of the initial deployment and then returned in 1966 to lead it till the 1967 Six Day War. India’s then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru came to visit the Indian and other UN troops in Gaza in 1960. After his visit, he boarded a UN aircraft to fly him to Beirut. As his aircraft took off, two Israeli fighter jets came alongside and began aggressive maneuvers against the UN plane.
In Beirut, Nehru visited the American University, where he was received with open arms. At AUB, Nehru didn’t say anything about what had happened over the skies of Gaza. He held his tongue till he returned to the Indian Parliament. It was there that he made his official statement.
Nehru told the Indian Parliament part of the story on 1 August 1960. He said that the Israeli action was ‘unwarranted’ and that the Israeli authorities had ‘prior knowledge of his intended visit to Gaza’. Fortunately for Nehru, his UN pilot held his nerve and got the Prime Minister to Beirut. Excerpts from the report, When Israel Tried To Assassinate Nehru.
Seventh attempt of Assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru – 30th September 1961
On the night of 30th September 1961, a teeming quarter of Old Delhi was suddenly darkened and a bomb explosion rang out in the street just after then Prime Minister Nehru motored by on his way home from a Gandhi ceremony. Severals persons were injured.
Police declined to speculate that an assassination had been attempted. Delhi’s Chief Magistrate Bose Mullick said, “I cannot venture any opinion yet. But this much I can say – it was planned by mischief makers.”
After an examination of matter from the site by police explosives experts, a police official said, “It was a locally made small crude bomb.” Police disclosed Mr. Nehru’s route back to New Delhi had been changed at the last minute for security reasons.
British Intelligence and Assassination of Indian Leaders
Jawaharlal Nehru’s shift from being pro-British to anti-British resulted from the knowledge Nehru received about the manipulations of the British Intelligence using Indian right (as well as left) wing groups in the assassinations of the Indian leaders, starting from the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose. Nehru was also outraged with the cynical attitude of the American Foreign Policy establishment under Allen Dulles who openly advocated Christian proselytization and aid as a hidden agenda of the American Foreign Policy especially in the Asian Countries.
When Nehru almost broke the United Nations
During the United Nations proceedings on the Suez Crisis, India had taken a stand that was absolutely anti-Imperialist and anti-British, vociferously demanding that Britain be declared a terrorist state – a position not lost on the Russian observers. But yet it is to Nehru’s credit that he never courted Russians, and did not allow India to drift into the Russian camp because he realized that the Communism and the use-misuse-abuse of Marx by the Russians is only a reaction by the Russians to the Western oppression, rather than being based on sound ideological foundation. Jawaharlal Nehru chose instead to set a course for India independent of two opposite warring Christian camps, masquerading under various names and terms, currently as Communism and Capitalism.
The Non-Aligned Movement was showing greater success than the United Nations in dealing with many international issues, and in-fact, the Non-Aligned Movement was even able to censure the major powers for the injustices perpetuated by them.
The first test of the United Nations as an international semi-legal body came when the Suez Crisis was brewing. The proceedings that took place in the United Nations showed clearly to the World in general but to Jawaharlal Nehru and V. K. Krishna Menon in particular, that the UN is merely a tool of the West and it has no interest in solving the problems of the newly formed nations. To the absolute shock and surprise of the Russians, and against the oppressive policies of British and the Americans, India under Nehru had proposed three motions to censure Britain as a terrorist state and banish it from United Nations. India also threatened to pull out of the UN altogether.
But then came the response from the rulers of the United Nations to whom this was not acceptable. The strike came from Israel who tried to assassinate Nehru in the 60s. Although the assassination attempt failed as were 6 others attempts before it, Nehru’s fate was sealed.
The official version of Jawaharlal Nehru’s death is Cerebral Thrombosis, but the fact is that he was assassinated because the British calculated that since Nehru realized that the Chinese were played by the British, he would go on to break the United Nations (which at the time was only just in its formative stages) and push the Non-Aligned Movement as the leading world body and keep all the oppressors in check. In addition to this, the Nehruvian drive to make India self-sufficient was moving it away from the Commonwealth. If India could have achieved this complete economic freedom and stand on her own efforts instead of having to rely on FDI and foreign help, this would have served as a role-model for all the other nations that had just got free from colonial rule.