Chronicling Pt Nehru's twelve visits to Bhopal, his special connection with the City
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
BHOPAL: The first Prime Minister of India, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru had a special connection with Bhopal.
Nehru came to the city on twelve occasions and each visit had a special significance. Heritage conservationist and history enthusiast SM Husain has chronicled all these visits over a period of nearly three decades.
Nehru's first visit to Bhopal was on September 11, 1929. He had arrived on the special invitation of Nawab Hamidullah Khan, then. However, his next visit was much later, on April 22, 1945. On this occasion, he had stayed at Rahat Manzil in Ahmedabad locality of Bhopal.
Also, he had stayed at Chiklod Kothi for a while. After independence, he again came to Bhopal in 1951--the date was September 3. Along with Indira Gandhi, he arrived and was accorded a warm welcome at the airport. Then, he travelled in Rolls Royce with Nawab Hamidullah Khan.
At Qasr-e-Sultani, he addressed Congress workers. The next visit was on November 30, 1952. After arriving in Bhopal, he went to Sanchi and participated in an international conference on Buddhism. Also, he had inaugurated the museum. Nawab Hamidullah Khan had also donated a huge amount for the Buddh Vihara.
Then, Nehru came to Bhopal on June 1, 1954. On this occasion, he laid foundation stone of Agriculture College and Sehore. Also, he made the famous statement that whenever he thinks of development of the country, Bhopal occupies a high place in my mind, recalls SM Husain.
Husain has recorded all other visits including the later ones, when he arrived in 1958 and laid foundation stone of Vallabh Bhawan, then for inauguration of the work for construction of New Bhopal at TT Nagar the same year, and later in 1960 on the demise of Nawab Hamidullah Khan.
"Panditji went to grave and offered wreaths as a token of affection. Nehruji’s ninth visit to Bhopal when he was accompanied with Lal Bahadur Shastri and laid the foundation stone of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Bhopal. He also laid the foundation stone of Motilal Nehru Science College, Bhopal, now known as MVM.
The tenth visit was for visit of Chambal project in April 1961, eleventh for an election campaign and twelfth--the final visit on March 13, 1963. "On this visit he also went to meet Aabru Begum, the sister of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He visited tomb of his old friend Nawab Hamidullah Khan as well", Khan recalls. "Nehru was a great visionary, architect of modern India and it is important to recall and document all his visits", he futher adds.