Prime-Minister-Nehru

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Sammy Davis Jr. in the Nehru jacket, 1960s

The Nehru jacket was first popularized in India in the 1940s, named after Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (who never wore it). It then became a fashionable menswear item in the US and Europe in the late 1960s, worn most notably by The Beatles. A lifetime lover of clothes noted for his “loud” tastes, Davis wore Nehru jackets frequently around this time period, taking on a style rarely worn by men of his age or his crowd of show business. Though he was sometimes mocked for it, Davis happily sported many new fashions that came directly out of youth culture and counterculture.

INDIA, Amritsar : An Indian schoolboy ® cries and he and schoolmates, dressed up as India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, pose during a photo event for Children’s Day celebrations at a school in Amritsar, India’s northwestern state of Punjab, on November 14, 2014. The celebration of Children’s Day falls on November 14, coinciding with the birth anniversary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Despite a ban on children’s labour imposed under the 1986 Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act which took effect 10 October, millions of Indian children still have to work for a living to support their families, missing out on primary education. AFP PHOTO/NARINDER NANU

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Day 26: Eleanor Roosevelt in India

In 1952 Eleanor made a significant trip to Asia – a month of which was spent in India. Having been invited by Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Eleanor chronicled her trip through her “My Day” columns and later in her book India and the Awakening East. Through her writings she worked on educating Americans on what was a little-known country at the time.

Her “My Day” column from March 3, 1952 talks about her excitement at finally visiting India:

It is very exciting to be in India after reading my father’s letters of many years ago, which told of his trip under very different circumstances 89 years ago. Meeting people from here and reading books about it are not quite the same as seeing with one’s own eyes. It is really a joy to feel that I have accomplished something I have talked about and hoped for, but really did not ever expect to see. My impressions are becoming very well crystallized in my mind as I go forward on this trip, and it is certainly most interesting to see the difference that a landscape takes on when it is peopled by so many more inhabitants than one would see at home in the same area of space.