“By education I’am an Englishman, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim and Hindu only by accident of birth- Jawaharlal Nehru”. This quotation attributed to India’s first Prime Minister was printed by the Deccan Chronicle in its Hyderabad edition on November 19, 2018.

The quote was printed on top of page 12 of the newspaper. This is a quote which has been used numerous times by several commentators on Nehru. Expectedly, political opponents of the Nehru-Gandhi family too have latched on to this purported statement, criticizing Nehru for being at the very least apathetic to Hindus and Hinduism. The fact of the matter however is that Jawaharlal Nehru had never made such a statement.

Statement originally made by Hindu Mahasabha leader

Alt News had, in an earlier article established how this quote attributed to Nehru is false. These words first made their appearance in an article titled ‘The Angry Aristocrat’, written by N B Khare in 1959, a Hindu Mahasabha leader and staunch critic of Jawaharlal Nehru. The article was part of a volume on Nehru with commentaries by numerous political personalities, called A Study of Nehru.

Source: A Study of Nehru (1959)

Interestingly, Khare had claimed in this article that it was Nehru who had described himself thus in his autobiography, calling himself Hindu merely by ascription, but professing to be Muslim by culture and an Englishman by education.

Source: A Study of Nehru (1959)

However, Alt News could not find any reference to this statement in the autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru. It was N B Khare himself who had first made a reference to this alleged remark by Nehru. This quote famously ascribed to Nehru has become a legend, used by all and sundry, and Deccan Chronicle is no exception. It seems to matter little that no record exists of Nehru ever having written or said these words about himself.

About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.