A recently-discovered letter from the then future Prime Minister of India to his father is all the proof we’ll ever need that men’s struggles with hair loss
are something that have been going on for centuries.
The letter, recently posted on Reddit and which you can read in full below, was purportedly written by Jawaharlal Nehru in September 1911; then 21 years old the student would go on to become India’s first Prime Minister. Addressed to his father in London’s Gloucester Terrace when the younger Nehru was studying at the Inns of Court School of Law near Chancery Lane, the letter highlights the future PM’s anguish at his thinning hair
“The state of my head has certainly not improved of late,” he writes. “I think it is a little worse… I don’t suppose there is any chance of my getting back any of my lost hair.”
According to the India Express newspaper, Nehru - who was known for his quirks - had an 'obsession with looking prim and proper', which he passed on to his daughter, Indira Gandi - India's only female Prime Minister to date.
Keen to find magic cure
It appears from the letter that Nehru was as keen as many millions of men before and after him to try and find a cure for his hair thinning, which would almost certainly have been caused by the genetic hair loss condition Male Pattern Baldness
. He writes that the oils his father had been sending him were ineffective, and adds that the “particular treatment” devised by an acquaintance named Kishan Bhai “did not do me much good.”
He sums up that “the amount of time and money I have spent on it might have been utilised in a much better manner.” Continues below
While poignant and rather sad to be losing hair to MPB at 21 would undoubtedly have been distressing is it also quite amusing to note how some of the future-politician’s words echo those still heard on hair loss forums around the world today. In desperation, men often try everything from onion juice
to not washing their hair, wrongly believing that doing so will stop their hair falling out.
Hair loss solutions now available
The biggest change to the choices available since Jawaharlal Nehru was a young man is that there are now two clinically-proven hair loss treatments
which are both MHRA licensed and FDA approved for use on male pattern baldness.
These topical and oral medications have been shown to inhibit the testosterone by-product (DHT
) which causes follicles to shrink, leading to hair thinning and often eventual baldness, and to promote hair growth, respectively. They can be used simultaneously or individually and can be further supplemented with additional hair growth supporting products
What is important for these treatments to be effective, however, is that the hair follicles are still functioning. If baldness - where the scalp takes on a smooth, shiny appearance - has set in, this is a sign that the follicles are no longer capable of producing hair. This echoes part of what Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in this letter all those years ago and remains true to this day: "Nothing in the world will make hair grow if there are no roots left."
Had this type of male hair loss treatment course
been available to Jawaharlal Nehru when he was in his twenties, there’s a very good chance he would have kept his hair and perhaps been photographed wearing far fewer hats later in life. Nehru was Prime Minister of India from 1947-64, a period spanning his late 50s through to the time of his death, aged 74, and for most of this period he wore a white hat, often referred to as a Ghandi Cap.