Whenever we see the photos of Nehru with the Mountbatten, we often see a lady who apparently seemed more close to Nehru than Mountbatten himself. She is none other than Mountbatten’s wife well known as Lady Mountbatten or Edwina.
There are many stories as to why was Nehru so close with the wife of Mountbatten?! Not many would know that Nehru did not have a very happy married life. His marriage with Kamala Nehru faced severe crisis. Nehru’s niece Nayantara Sahgal had once said that the marriage with Nehru and Kamala Nehru was “a grievous mistake for two profoundly different people”.
On the other hand, Edwinaa’s marriage with Dickey Mountbatten had also resulted in crisis and Edwina had lot of pre and post marriage affairs. On October 1926, the San Francisco Chronicle had released an article on Lady Mountbatten “A Royal ‘Spanking’ for Gay Lady Mountbatten.” Lady Mountbatten is said to have threatened Mountbatten of a divorce. In one of the letters Mountbatten had written “I wish I knew how to flirt with other women, and especially with my wife. I wish I’d sown more wild oats in my youth, and could excite more than I fear I do. I wish I wasn’t in the Navy and had to drag you out to Malta. I wish I had an equal share of the money so that I could give you far handsomer presents than I can really at present honestly manage. In other words, I’d like to feel that I was really worthy of your love.”
Kamala Nehru was very young when she was on her death bed, Nehru who visited her in the hospital had noticed that she no longer felt the closeness with him and had said that she would like to spend a peaceful spiritual life and was no longer interested in sexual relationship. She was just 37 when she passed away. Nehru had quoted this in his personal dairy saying “I felt there was a psychological change. She seemed reserved.”
S S Pirzada, the late foreign minister of Pakistan had said that Jinnah had collected many letters written by Nehru and Edwinaa. In one of the letter, Edwina writes, “Dickie will be out tonight—come after 10:00 o’clock,”. In another letter, she says “You forgot your handkerchief and before Dickie could spot it I covered it up.” The third letter says, “I have fond memories of Simla—riding and your touch.”
Nayantara Pandit who spent a lot of time with Nehru had said that her uncle (Nehru) and Edwina had a very good understanding and were very much in love with each other, there is no doubt about that. Nehru’s younger sister Betty also had said, “In those days of tension, and later when she (Edwinaa) came to stay with my brother after he became Prime Minister of the Republic of India, she was one of the few people left who could break his somber moods.When she was there, Bhai’s laughter would ring through the house as it used to when we were young”
Mountbatten’s daughter Pamala also had said “I’ve often been asked whether I think Nehru and my mother were in love. The answer undoubtedly is yes, they were.”
After India got Independence, Mountbatten had hosted a last dinner party for all the delegates in which Nehru was to give speech. Nehru was uncomfortable since Edwina was leaving the country very soon. He in his speech had openly had disclosed his feeling for her
“The gods or some good fairy gave you beauty and high intelligence, and grace and charm and vitality—great gifts—and she who possesses them is a great lady wherever she goes. But unto those who have, even more shall be given: and they gave you something that was even rarer than those gifts—the human touch, the love of humanity, the urge to serve those who suffer and who are in distress. And this amazing mixture of qualities results in a radiant personality and in the healer’s touch. Wherever you have gone you have brought solace, and you have brought hope and encouragement. Is it surprising, therefore, that the people of India should love you and look up to you as one of themselves and should grieve that you are going? Hundreds of thousands have seen you personally in various camps and other places and in hospitals, and hundreds of thousands will be sorrowful at the news that you have gone.”
Nehru continued to write to Edwina even after she left India, but she never hid these letters from her husband. On the day of her death, she had a pile of old letters next to her, some of the letters were torn by her just before she could die, the doctors recovered all letters and handed them over to Mountbatten. They all were letters written by Nehru.
Although Mountbatten knew about Nehru and his wife he pretended to be ignorant and he turned a blind eye to all events around him. The reason was rather simple that he wanted to keep smooth relation with Nehru since he wanted to implement many policies of British Raj into India, which he even succeeded in doing.
Nehru was set to be a high class modern man who did not mind having a relation with a other man’ wife. Many theories also suggest that Edwina with her charm and made sure many decisions in the government were made in favour of the British even after we achieved independence. Nehru was so blinded in his relation that he had numerous blunders like electing Maj. Lockhart, a British man as the first army chief instead of an Indian.
Congress party always hide the real facts about Nehru to attract rural votes. They projected him as a Gentleman to India. Many people had in fact called him a womanizer.
If he did not have to worry about votes, maybe he would have gifted British Chachi to India!