Jawaharlal Nehru never said “I am English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu by accident”

Time and again Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, has been vilified on social media and fake quotes and photoshopped images of him have been shared to malign his image. Once again, a quote, which was never spoken by him, has been attributed to him, and which has been doing rounds on social media since a long time.

“I am English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu merely by accident,” is a quote ascribed to Pandit Nehru by many, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell Amit Malviya. Malviya had tweeted this in 2015.

In September 2018, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had also made the same claim in a debate on Republic TV.

Alt News searched for this quote and found an article done by the fake news website Postcard News. The article, which was published on February 25, 2018, used the quote as the article’s title itself.

Further probe into the same brought Alt News to a book The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawaharlal by B R Nanda where this quote has been referred to. According to Nanda, this remark was made by Hindu Mahasabha leader N.B. Khare. According to Nanda, Khare had described Nehru as “English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu by an accident of birth.”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in his book Nehru: The Invention of India also quoted Khare as saying this.

Alt News also quoted former Union Minister MJ Akbar as saying, “The president of Hindu Mahasabha in 1950, NB Khare was only repeating an old story when he called Jawaharlal Nehru “English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu by accident.”

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This quote erupted first in Rafiq Zakaria’s A Study of Nehru, published in 1959. One of the contributors to it was Khare. In his write-up, Khare had claimed that Nehru, in his autobiography, had said he (Nehru) is English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu by an accident of birth.

The above sources prove that the quote was actually made by NB Khare and not Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nehru is the favourite target of the right-wing and thus, every now and then, history is distorted to bring disrepute to him. However, one should verify the source of news every time before believing it.

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