Anand Bhawan Prayagraj

Located opposite to Bharadwaj Ashram , Anand Bhawan , a house of recent historical significance, owned by Motilal Nehru, father of India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Now a national property, the house bears the memory of many momentous events of the decades before India achieved freedom. The previous owner of Swaraj Bhawan was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The house had been constructed by the British and handed over to him. His descendant Justice Mahmud sold the house to Motilal Nehru. It is ironic that a house constructed by the British became the centre of anti-British activities and Justice Mahmud, at one stage, delivered a judgement against the British rule. One of the famous tourist attractions in Prayagraj , Anand Bhawan -Swaraj Bhawan complex continues to attract lakhs of visitors from across the country and abroad the year round as living monuments of the freedom movement. Within the four-walls of Anand Bhawan many decisions affecting destiny of the nation were taken. In views of many tourists, Prayagraj tour is incomplete without a visit to this complex. Pilgrims from south India mostly visit Anand Bhawan. For years, it is generating in abundance a fund of goodwill for the Nehru family for its role to the national cause.

The huge complex of Anand Bhawan-Swaraj Bhawan in Prayagraj is managed by Jawahar Lai Nehru Memorial Fund since 1970. This trust was created by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The JLNM Fund Administration carries out sound and light shows on the Nehru family and the freedom movement. Besides, astronomical shows in Jawahar Planetarium, there is a picture gallery of all national leaders who had been associated with the freedom movement. This home of the Nehru family is associated with three Prime Ministers-Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. The original Anand Bhawan is known as Swaraj Bhawan, since it was dedicated to the nation by Jawahar Lai Nehru on November 24, 1931 by executing a deed of trust. Prior to this, Swaraj Bhawan had been handed over to the Indian National Congress by Motilal Nehru, for the freedom movement. This building was called the Anand Bhawan till 1927, when the family moved to the adjacent, newly-constructed building which was then named Anand Bhawan.

A joint strategy to fight the British was finalised in Anand Bhawan in 1916 by the Congress and Muslim League leaders. It was in this house that the Indian Home Rule League, U P Branch, was founded in 1917 by Motilal Nehru as its President and Jawaharlal Nehru as its Joint Secretary. Mahatma Gandhi stayed in Anand Bhawan for the first time in 1919, when he discussed with Motilal Nehru a program to oppose the Rowlatt Act. In 1920, the All India Central Khilafat Committee met in Anand Bhawan to chalk out a program to oppose the British designs in India and Turkey. It was in this house Mahatma Gandhi addressed a public meeting explaining the non-cooperation movement. At this stage, Motilal Nehru felt that it was necessary to enter the legislature, to wreck the British rule from within and in 1922 he resigned from the general secretary-ship of the Congress and founded the Swaraj Party along with Chit Ranjan Das. The first distribution of party tickets for the Constituent Assembly took place in this house. It was from this house that the opposition to the Simon Commission was masterminded and executed in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) and Lucknow. All parties had decided to boycott it and a drafting committee under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru was appointed. The committee met several times in Anand Bhawan to debate and deliberate on constitutional points. The Congress Working Committee met in 1929 in Anand Bhawan to decide its strategy and declare complete Independence, if the British Government failed to take note of the Nehru report. When the British Government came to terms with the Congress, the Parliamentary Board met here to decide distribution of party tickets. It was herein this house that Nehru and his friends decided to support the candidature of Subhash Chandra Bose for Congress Presidentship.

Anand Bhawan has been a witness to several historical incidents and meeting related to Indian freedom struggle. Many important events that took place in Anand Bhawan include the Congress Working Committee meeting in 1936, Subhash Chandra Bose discussing with Mahatma Gandhi political matters from April 26 to April 30, 1937, Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Azad discussing political matters in March 1939. In 1942, C Rajagopalachari came to Anand Bhawan to stay with Jawaharlal Nehru. Sadiq Ali, Dr Syed Mahmud, Acharya J B Kripalani, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr Rajendra Prasad, B Pattabhi Sitarammaiya, J M Sengupta, Vallabh Bhai Patel occasionally came to stay in Anand Bhawan. The first four stayed almost permanently in Anand Bhawan for several years. Swaraj Bhawan was the headquarters of the AICC till the country won freedom. A Congress dispensary used to be run in Swaraj Bhawan for child care, education and extra-curricular activities.

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