“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play is free will.”
–Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian Prime Minister 1889-1964
I thought of this quote when reading a thoughtful post written by the wonderful writer and photographer Desley at Musings of a Frequent Flyer Scientist. She pondered about the commonly used phrase “Life gets in the way”, and subtly concluded on the need to find ‘what we really want to do and be’ – in face of our demanding routines – if we don’t want to allow life to get in the way of our dreams and purpose.
I am joining Silver Threading event Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Check her blog and join in. Besides posting a quote, he asks us to give insights about the author.
Here is a summary of the biography of this quote’s author.
Nehru was an Indian nationalist leader and statesman who became the first prime minister of independent India in 1947.
Jawaharlal Nehru was born in Allahabad, the son of a lawyer whose family was originally from Kashmir. He was educated in England, at Harrow School, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge. He studied law at the Inner Temple in London. He returned to India in 1912 and practised law for some years. In 1916, he married Kamala Kaul and the following year they had a daughter, Indira.
In 1919, Nehru joined the Indian National Congress which was fighting for greater autonomy from the British. He was heavily influenced by the organisation’s leader Mohandas Gandhi. During the 1920s and 1930s Nehru was repeatedly imprisoned by the British for civil disobedience. In 1928, he was elected president of the Congress.
By the end of World War Two, Nehru was recognised as Gandhi’s successor. He played a central role in the negotiations over Indian independence. He opposed the Muslim League’s insistence on the division of India on the basis of religion. Louis Mountbatten, the last British viceroy, advocated the division as the fastest and most workable solution and Nehru reluctantly agreed.
On 15 August 1947, Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India. He held the post until his death in 1964. He implemented moderate socialist economic reforms and committed India to a policy of industrialisation.
Nehru also served as foreign minister of India. In October 1947, he faced conflict with Pakistan over the state of Kashmir, which was disputed at independence. Nehru sent troops into the state to support India’s claim. A United Nations ceasefire was negotiated, but Kashmir remains deeply unstable to this day.
Against the background of the Cold War, Nehru developed a policy of ‘positive neutrality’ for India. He became one of the key spokesmen for the non-aligned countries of Africa and Asia, many of which were former colonies that wanted to avoid dependence on any major power.
Despite efforts at cooperation by both countries, Indian-Chinese border disputes escalated into war in 1962 and Indian forces were decisively beaten. This had a significant impact on Nehru’s declining health. He died on 27 May 1964.
Two years later Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, became prime minister. With an interruption of only three years, she held the post until her assassination in 1984. Her son Rajiv was prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989, but he too was assassinated.
This photo is from the House of Cards artwork in light installation, as part of the Amsterdam Light Festival. You can see here the other works on another post Festival of Light Amsterdam.