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Fake Claims About Former PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s Lineage Go Viral on Social Media

Historical evidence suggests that former PM Jawaharlal Nehru came from a family of Kashmiri Pandits.

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Fake Claims About Former PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s Lineage Go Viral on Social Media
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Two posts which question the lineage of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru are going extremely viral on the internet with several users taking a dig at the former PM.

What are users claiming?: Those sharing the posts have claimed that Nehru actually belonged to the Muslim community and his mother's name was Thussu Rahman Bai.

  • In the first claim, which shows a young picture of Nehru with his mother, people have also claimed that Nehru's grandfather's real name was Giazuddin Ghazi.

  • The user gives MO Mathai's autobiography as the source in the second claim.

(Swipe right to view all claims.)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="" rel="nofollow"><a href="" rel="nofollow">here</a></a>.</p></div>

    An archive of the post can be found here.

    (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p></div>

    An archive of the post can be found here.

    (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

We received a query about the viral claim on our WhatsApp tipline. (Archives of similar claims can be found here and here.)

Are these claims true?: No, as per historical evidence, Nehru belonged to a family of Kashmiri Pandits and his mother was named Swarup Rani Nehru.

  • Nehru's grandfather was named Ganga Dhar Nehru, who was a police officer in Delhi who had to flee with his wife and children during the 1857 mutiny.

  • We did not find the claims made in the viral posts in MO Mathai books.

The Viral Picture and About Nehru’s Lineage

On performing a Google Lens search on the viral picture, we found the same image uploaded on Getty Images.

  • Its caption mentioned, "Circa 1891; Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) with his mother Swaroop Rani Nehru (Thussu), 1868-1938. Wife of Motilal Nehru."

The image was created on 31 December 1890.

(Source: Getty Images/Screenshot)

BR Nanda in his book The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawarhal described how Nehru's ancestor Raj Kaul migrated to Delhi and was granted a house near a canal (nahar).

  • Nanda mentioned that since Kaul used to live on the bank of the canal, his descendants came to be known in the Kashmiri community as 'Nehrus' or 'Kaul-Nehrus'.

An excerpt from the book which narrates the migration of Nehru's ancestor.

(Source: The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawarhal/Screenshot)

  • Nehru, in his autography, also narrated a similar story about his ancestor and explained how his family came to be known as 'Nehrus'.

The text can be read on page 20 of the book.

(Source: An Autobiography: Jawaharlal Nehru/Screenshot)

  • It should be noted that it was Jawaharlal Nehru's ancestor who got the title 'Nehru' added to the family line and not his grandfather as claimed in the viral claim.

Who Were Nehru’s Grandfather and Mother?

In his book called Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, Sarvepalli Gopal identified Nehru's grandfather as Ganga Dhar Nehru who was "a minor police official."

The excerpt can be read on page 20 of the book.

(Source:  Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography/Screenshot)

  • Nanda mentioned in his book that one of the families who were fleeing Delhi during the time of the mutiny in 1857 were Ganga Dhar Nehru's.

  • Ganga Dhar Nehru along with his family left for Agra and not Kashmir as claimed in the viral post. He died in 1861 at the age of 34. Three months later, his wife gave birth to Motilal on 6 May 1861.

The text is available on page 21 of the book.

(Source: The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawarhal/Screenshot)

  • Gopal's book mentioned how Motilal Nehru lost his first wife as well as the child that was born to the couple.

  • Years later on 14 November 1889, Jawaharlal was born to Motilal Nehru and his second wife.

  • Jawaharlal's mother was identified as Swarup Rani Nehru.

It also mentions how Jawaharlal remained an only for eleven years.

(Source: Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography/Screenshot)

  • BR Nanda's book further mentioned that Swarup Rani was from Kashmir and her family, the Thussus, had recently migrated to the plains.

The text can be seen on page 24 in the book.

(Source: The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawarhal/Screenshot) 

The family tree details five generations of the Nehru family.

(Source: Nehru: The Invention of India/Screenshot)

Are MO Mathai Books the Source?

Half the claims in the second viral post questioned the lineage of Jawaharlal Nehru and termed him as a Muslim. However, neither do Mathai's books mention anything remotely similar nor do historical evidence support the same.

It should be noted that Mathai authored two books - Reminiscences of the Nehru Age and My Days with Nehru.

  • While Mathai's book Reminiscences of the Nehru Age mentioned about Feroze Gandhi, it did not contain any information about him being a Muslim.

  • Mathai described Gandhi as "Son of a Parsi liquor and provision merchant of Allahabad."

  • Mathai did not mention any Muslim names of former PM Indira Gandhi's children.

The book did not carry information about Feroze Gandhi changing his name.

(Source: Reminiscences of the Nehru Age/Screenshot)

The viral post also claims that Sheikh Abdullah, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Jawaharlal Nehru were inter-related as per Mathai's books. It said that Jinnah's and Abdullah's mothers were married to Motilal. However, Mathai's books do not mention anything of this sort.

  • According to a document available on Parliament Digital Library, Abdullah was born on 5 December 1905 to a middle class family.

  • His father was Sheikh Mohammad Ibrahim who passed away two months before Abdullah's birth.

  • Abdullah was raised by his mother and elder brothers. He later went to dominate the political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir for more than five decades.

Sheikh Abdullah was the youngest in his family.

(Source: Parliament Digital Library/Screenshot)

  • As per Pakistan government's website, Jinnahbhai Poonja was the father of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

  • Poonja was married to a girl named Mithibai and Jinnah was the couple's first child.

Jinnah was the first of seven children born to his parents.

(Source: Pakistan government website/Screenshot)

Conclusion: It is clear that several fake and misleading claims about former PM Jawaharlal Nehru are being shared to take a dig at the leader. Historical evidence proves that Nehru was from a Kashmiri Pandit family.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Jawaharlal Nehru   Fact Check   Webqoof 

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