November 14 was the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister and the architect of modern India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
There is an interesting story about how the Kauls of Kashmir adopted Nehru as their surname. The Nehrus were initially the Kauls of Kashmir, invited to Delhi in the year 1716 by the Mughal King Farrukh Siyar who was fond of poets and writers.
The Nehru’s forefather, Pandit Raj Narayan Kaul, in 1710, published a book on the history of Kashmir “Tariqui Kashmir” which was considered as a pioneering work of that era. It was said to have impressed Farrukh Siyar and he invited Kaul to live in Delhi, even though Kaul was hesitant to leave Kashmir, but the invitation from the king was, in effect, an order. Farrukh Siyar granted Kaul ‘Jagir’ (fiefdom) of some villages and a Haveli (bungalow) in Chandni Chowk(present-day Old Delhi).
The haveli stood by a canal which was to play an important role in the future history of their family. The Persian word for a canal is ‘Nahar‘, and in Urdu ‘Nehar‘. Thus, the local people addressed Pandit Kaul as the one who lived by the canal, hence, Nehru.
This is how a canal made the Kauls, Nehru!