Nehru and Jinnah’s Star-Crossed Bromance

History leads us to believe that Partition alone drove apart two friends who sought Indian independence. That’s not the whole story.

nehru/jinnah feature
"Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru & Mr M.A. Jinnah [walking together in the grounds of Viceregal Lodge, Simla.]" (1946, British Library)

Mehr Singh


August 17, 2023


9 min

In 1895, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, then 19, became the first Indian to be called to the England bar. He would turn heads in the over 200 bespoke suits he purchased over the years from London’s Savile Row. Jinnah would go on to lead the All-India Muslim League, and take on titles such as Qaid-i-Azam, or “Great Leader,” of Pakistan.

Fourteen years later, in 1909, Jawaharlal Nehru, then 20, would traverse the same London streets as a law student at the Inner Temple Inn. He lived in the city’s posh Notting Hill neighborhood. He would go on to become the first prime minister of India.

With their pointed noses and British law degrees, the two powerful orators and headstrong leaders have even led netizens to ask whether they were brothers or stepbrothers. The duo spoke with near-identical lilts, and their rhetoric had the same shade of socialist fervor. Given the likeness between the two, it’s easy to see why history often paints them as revolutionary brothers in arms, whom Partition drove apart. But in reality, their story was far more complex.

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