"Jawaharlal Nehru wrote with self- scrutiny and self- criticism, but no self- pity."  Discuss with reference to Nehru's An Autobiography.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the most part, I think that the statement is valid.  When Nehru writes his work in 1936, it is done to explain to his father, a prominent lawyer, why he is where he is.  Namely, to explain Nehru's role as part of the Indian independence movement, a follower of Gandhian non- violence, as well as his own condition as an intellectually and spiritually mature human being.  This perspective is done through a sense of scrutiny as Nehru assesses his own genealogical background, like his ancestors' fleeing Kashmir out of political rights violations.  It is also done with a sense of self- criticism, as Nehru has to assess why his own past has inextricably led him to this point.  Both are done and seen throughout the work.  Yet, there is nothing that indicates that Nehru pities his own condition and his own path that led him to such a point.  Nehru is writing to explore how his current predicament is more of a logical and historical inevitability from his own past and there is little to show any pity or resentment of this condition.  Nehru lacks pity in his narrative because he does not feel pity towards his own embrace of independence ideals for India.  In this, I feel the statement is quite valid.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India from 1947-1964 was a man who looked at the world with clear eyes.  He was often critical of himself and how successful he was at changing the caste system, promoting education for all as he saw an educated nation as critical to India's future, and the continual struggle with independence and all it required of India to change.  He saw no place for self-pity because that did not accomplish anything positive, and he was above all things, someone who wanted to move India forward.  In his book, An Autobiography, he tells the world that he wanted to accomplish more, that he did not bring India far enough, but again, he does not indulge in self-pity that he did not get as far as he wished.  His daughter Indira was also a prime minister of India.

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