JAWAHARLAL NEHRU. By Denis Judd. GPC Books, Cardiff, 1993. Pp. 97. £ 15.95 (hardback), £ 7.95 (paperback). 'Political Portraits' are a series of essays designed to introduce decisive figures of British politics to the general reader and to the student. To include Jawaharlal Nehru is a more than daunting prospect because, although his working life intertwined with British politics for many years, he was primarily one of Asia's leading political figures and a major player in the history of twentieth-century India, perhaps second only to Gandhi in the foundation of India as an independent and democratic nation state. But Denis Judd has succeeded in under one hundred pages in producing possibly the best available introductory sketch of Nehru in English, although perhaps inevitably at times the reader feels he is being offered more a potted narrative of Indian politics than an introduction to the man himself. Judd takes us chronologically through the major stages of Nehru's life, beginning with his privileged background, his British education, and his lack of an obvious role in personal and political terms until he met Mahatma Gandhi, who became his mentor and his bridge into the politics of the Indian National Congress just when in 1920 it began to engage in mass non-violent resistance to British rule. Then comes the period when the younger man began to emerge as one deeply committed to Indian independence and also to socialism and internationalism, whose ideals caused fear and resentment in Congress, whose dominant presence was only insured by the ambiguous alliance he had forged with the Mahatma. Nehru only really emerged from the shadow of Gandhi in the 1940s, when he was one of the small group of key players in Congress, in contestation with both the British and the Muslim League for the post-war future of India. Finally came the period of his undoubted dominance in Indian political life, as prime minister, a period whose promise gave way beneath accumulating domestic and international problems and Nehru's own failing health. A historian whose brief is to investigate the prominent individual faces acute dilemmas of balance between his subject and the social, political and economic background, and between his chosen figure and the numerous other forces and personalities at work in the political arena. This portrait errs in the direction of underestimating the need to provide some understanding of the society and political environment in which Nehru operated. Too often he appears like an actor on the domestic British political stage; while the Congress is assumed to be like other political parties familiar to English-speaking readers. There is no hint of the assumptions, compulsions and constraints arising out of the specifically Indian background; and, of course, this is a tempting omission because Nehru looked and spoke so often like a British Fabian. However, those formidable Indian pressures helped to explain the limitations of Nehru's ability to achieve the major changes he hoped for in India after independence, despite his great standing in politics and in public perception. Furthermore, there is no discussion of the nature and the ambiguities of Indian 'nationalism', and the great variety of political attitudes and activities triggered off by the British Imperial presence in India: this too would have explained the dilemmas of the 1950s and 1960s, and the profound difficulties Nehru encountered in the