July 17, 2007

Edwina-Nehru’s Love Was ‘Platonic’ Asserts Pamela Mountbatten


Kaveetaa Kaul


Perhaps one of the rarest accounts of a vicariously described relationship is that of Pamela Mountbatten’s depiction of her mother Edwina, wife of Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy of India and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehrus ‘love affair’ in her book India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power. A daughter looking back at her mothers life with candid honesty and mature ponderings does astonish one, followed by a sense of admiration at the candor of her approach.

What is ‘platonic love’?”The term amor platonicus was coined as early as the 15th Century by the Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino as a synonym for “amor socraticus”. Both expressions signify a love focused on the beauty of a person’s character and intelligence rather than on their physical charms.”

In light of the said connotation of the term the Edwina Nehru ‘affair’ if one refers to it so, intrigues and enchants you with details as elucidated in the links provided.

Love oftentimes is considered quixotic, if not unabashedly uncaring of consequences. However the relationship as described by Pamela between Edwina and Pandit Nehru seemed to have settled into a recumbent zone of ease despite there being three in the relationship. While this led to tragedy for Lady Diana, as personally verbalised by her in an exclusive interview, where she said simply ( reproduced from memory..excuse inaccuracies) ” there were three of us in this relationship and it was uncomfortable”.

Arrant surnames, careers at nadir can create situations which lead to loneliness. At one such juncture Edwina Mountbatten and Pandit Nehru found perfect soulmates in each other. Nehru was a widower and Indira Gandhi his daughter was married and at the time living with her husband. India in the throes of the Independence struggle, with Nehru almost at the helm of affairs must have been excuse for turbulence in the mind then finding solace in a relationship which ‘supposedly’ crossed levels of the physical and transcended into something greater.

“I mean a very deep love, the kind of love that the knights of old…esoteric love really, nowadays everybody assumes that it has to be a carnal love, but you can just have as deep and emotional love with two like souls in a way, people who really grow to understand each other, and be able to listen to each other and to complement each other and find solace in each other.” described Pamela.

There could have been all reason to look askance at this relationship and doubt the assertions of ‘platonic Love’ made with such fervour by Pamela, but for once, doubt does not creep in. Admittedly personal ideas of romanticism, propound the possibility of a love ligatured with pristine sentiments. (more…)

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