I love letters. They are a throwback to a now-forgotten world and have a unique charm and romance of their own. They are often about the mundane things in life, day to day news from a common man. But some letters, that we are fortunate to have preserved till today, see history pass through them. This book is one such treasure.
Letters From A Father to His Daughter is an enchanting collection of letters written by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to his daughter Indira when she was 10. Through these letters, Nehru talks to his daughter about the story of the earth, civilizations, nature, history, race, languages, early man, tribes and much more.
Written in a style that is beautifully simple and delightfully thought-provoking, Letters From A Father To His Daughter is a must-read for everyone, especially children. This is one of those books I wish I had read as a child. It will open a child's eyes to the beauty of the world around him. As for adults, it is a wonderful flashback of things we learnt a long time ago; things that were never quite this succinctly put.
Nehru was a multi-faceted personality and his books are a joy to read. This book is so simply woven with timeless ideas that every child must be taught from a very young age. His concise writing in these letters are an obvious, marked departure from the metaphor-laden, almost lyrically beautiful works like The Discovery of India.
For me, who has read several biographies about Nehru, this book was another opportunity to know more about the man. And sure enough, there were several lines that marked his dislike of the caste system, nepotism, his leaning towards socialism, his love of nature, his anger against landlordism ( which he later abolished ) among others. There is even a separate chapter called 'India and China' - one foreign relation exercise where his policies were a failure.
But what captivated me most was his love for people. Not just his own people, but for people everywhere who deserved a good life of peace and happiness. He tells his daughter Indira:
'As Indians we have to live in India and work for India. But we must not forget that we belong to the larger family of the world and the people living in other countries are after all our cousins. It would be such an excellent thing if all the people in the world were happy and contented. We have therefore to try to make the whole world a happier place to live in'
Those are wonderful words that will remain with the reader long after they are done reading the book. The illustrations in this book are eye-catching and will add to the reading experience. I highly recommend this book to all; it is timeless and the values that Nehru writes about, are universal.