Brilliant lawyer with an incisive intellect, ready wit, and a combative spirit, Pandit Motilal Nehru not only distinguished himself as a lawyer but also as a member of the Central Legislative Assembly. He presided over the Congress at its session in Amritsar, 1919 and in Calcutta in 1920. Along with Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das, he founded the Swaraj party in 1923. When the Simon Commission was appointed in 1927, Motilal Nehru was asked to draw up a draft constitution for free India. The constitution, drawn up by him, assumed that India would remain a Dominion of the British Empire. The radical wing of the Congress, which included his own son, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subash Chandra Bose, reacted violently against the proposal to keep India a Dominion. A split in the Congress was averted by the timely intervention of Gandhiji.
The Nehrus originally hailed from Kashmir. Motilal Nehru was born of Gangadhar and Jeo Rani. Motilal Nehru had his education in Kanpur and Allahabad. Starting his practice at the Allahabad High Court, Motilal Nehru became one of the most prosperous lawyers of his time. Though he had taken to the western style of living, Motilal gave it up without hesitation at the call of freedom.
Motilal Nehru was the only front rank leader to give his support to the non-cooperation idea at the Calcutta Congress session in September, 1920. From 1921, both father and son were arrested and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. He was not initially very much enthusiastic about the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930.
He passed away on February 6, 1931 with Jawaharlal and Gandhiji attending to him.
Motilal Nehru had a rational, robust, secular and fearless outlook on life. He distinguished as a parliamentarian and organizer. He was one of the most notable and attractive figures of Indian nationalism in the Gandhian era.