Anand Bhawan: In the history of India, the Nehru-Gandhi family has the most illustrious position. The fact that they assisted India in achieving independence demonstrates how powerful and important they have been to the country. They are among the wealthiest people in the country, with a rich historical background and education. They are also the ones about whom numerous articles and books have been published.
Anand Bhawan, located in Allahabad (Prayagraj), is a very significant place owned by the Nehru-Gandhi family. The monument is now a museum showcasing the artifacts and life histories of the Nehru-Gandhi families.
History and Significance:
- Motilal Nehru, a lawyer who also happened to be a nationalist leader, built Anand Bhawan as a wedding gift for his son Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter-in-law Kamala Nehru in 1927.
- The home was the headquarters of the Indian National Congress before Independence, and it played an essential part in the freedom struggle.
- Indira Gandhi (known as Indira Priyadarshini before marriage) was born in Allahabad on November 19, 1917 and her childhood was spent at the Anand Bhawan. Interestingly, the ‘Priyadarshini‘ surname was given by the great Rabindranath Tagore to her.
- From Anand Bhawan, Indira Gandhi used to write letters to her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was imprisoned at Naini Central Jail, Allahabad. All the father-Daughter letters have been showcased here in the museum. (For reference, read Book: Letters from a Father to His Daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru).
- Kamala Nehru and Indira Gandhi, among other women activists in Allahabad, founded the Vanar Sena (Monkeys Army), a section of the Congress Freedom Fighters, in 1930.
- Indira Gandhi was mostly home schooled and her matriculation till 1934 in Allahabad.
- She was married to Feroze Gandhi at Anand Bhawan on 26th March 1942, one of the most controversial marriages between a Parsi-Hindu of that time. Feroze Gandhi shifted to Allahabad after his father’s death in the early 1920s and like Indira Gandhi attended Ewing Christian College, where they both met for the first time.
- Mahatma Gandhi used to stay at Anand Bhawan a lot. When you visit Anand Bhawan, you will be able to see a room where Bapu stayed and his belongings are also kept there for an exhibit. Also, there is a balcony, which was his favourite place to work.
- Jawaharlal Nehru’s death occurred in New Delhi on May 27, 1964, from a heart attack. Before being immersed in the Sangam, his ashes were kept at Anand Bhawan.
- Another place of attraction on the premises of Anand Bhawan is the Jawahar Planetarium. The planetarium has been opened to the public to encourage a scientific mindset among people through its astronomy and science sky shows.
- Indira Gandhi donated the house to Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund in 1970.
Three Indian Prime Ministers have called Anand Bhawan their home (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi). The place attracts tourists from across the world and has played a crucial role in showing how Nehru-Gandhi families had great taste and vision that helped them become who they are today.
The importance of Anand Bhawan can be understood by the inscriptions on the stone at the entrance of the building, “This house is more than a structure connected with our national struggle for freedom. And within its walls, great decisions were taken and great events happened.”
The place justifies the name given to it with greenery as far as the eye can see and the house is not just a house, it’s a palace. The moment you enter you get intrigued by the histories, the positive vibes and how the values of families that have been beautifully portrayed and preserved here. This place shows how such big freedom fighters were like us and started from a commonplace but they didn’t forget their roots. The place is truly a Bhawan of Anand (an Abode of Joy to visit).