Justice Katju: A historical incident involving Nehru, Azad, Rajaji and my grandfather

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

This incident was told to me by my aunt (daughter of my grandfather, the late Dr Kailas Nath Katju, who was Governor of Odisha and West Bengal, Union Home and Law Minister of India in Pt. Nehru’s cabinet and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh) who is alive and about 90 years old.

Before Independence and Partition in 1947, once two top Congress party leaders, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad or Maulana Azad (who later became India’s Education Minister) and C. Rajagopalchari (known as Rajaji, who later became the Governor General of India) were in Allahabad and staying in the home of Jawahar Lal Nehru (who later became India’s Prime Minister) called Anand Bhawan.

My grandfather was then a top lawyer at Allahabad High Court, and was an active member of the Congress party. He had a huge house in Allahabad on Edmonstone Road, now Tashkent Marg (where I too spent my youth).

Late one night Dr Katju received a telephone call from a frantic Pandit Nehru. He told Dr Katju that there had been a heated argument between Maulana Azad (who strongly opposed) and Rajaji (who strongly supported) over Congress agreeing to India’s partition.

The argument became so bitter that they told Nehru that they could not spend the night under the same roof. For this reason, Pt Nehru asked Dr Katju whether he could accommodate Rajaji at his house for the night.

Dr Katju readily agreed and that is how Rajaji spent the night in Dr Katju‘s house.

Today one can understand the wisdom of Maulana Azad. India’s partition was a British swindle based on the bogus two-nation theory, and many of the problems of the subcontinent even today stem from it.


In fact, India and Pakistan are really one country, sharing the same culture, and were one since Mughal times. We are bound to reunite, like West and East Germany, though it will take time.

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