Ad Here  
August
September
October
November
December
January
 
 
Editor unplugged Modi sells a Dream? People vs. Collins The broken window The KING is a fugitive Being taken for a ride WAR-MONGERING and a national pastime Walking into the sunset Sehwag...No soft edges FITTING farewell Brick gets pricked PM Watch End of the world and the moving finger... the lost generation... Odd-Even Plan Two leaves merged? The flawed “Pakistan policy” Flight into danger The death of cash Resolving disputes: Scotland, Ajit, Dhoni Nitish swords Modi Britain lobs a bomb. But it won’t explode. Two more for Modi The case of the suspicious husband Throwing ink is fine From Gungi Gudiya to Iron Lady Educational shame The car dealer and the cabbie stories… Privatise the Railways The curious case of the missing maid Of mercy petition and mercy killing The fight along the border A troubled fortnight Why we get a compromised deal 500/500 The right to reject Lovely Banking experience Psephologists fail the wisdom of crowds A ride around the city The loser is … CRICKET The future is here A judgment that shocked a nation’s conscience Greater than the greatest ? Culture of suave, gentle and British becoming extinct... The return of the muffler man Waylaid on the National Highway Of discrimination and rights The other side of the Olympic divide Cracking the CA code Noise on Social Networks RaGa bowls a decent over The wily old fox What a judgment Sir-ji Bleeding Blue Rajiv killers escape the gallows
 
From Gungi Gudiya to Iron Lady

This year, on 19 November, had she been alive, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi would have been 100. The day was conspicuous by the remarkable silence of the Congress, which feeds on the Nehru-Gandhi clan and by the complete absence of any celebration nationwide. 

I was never a fan of Mrs. Gandhi. She was brash, arrogant and dictatorial. Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha had unseated her on the equivalent of a minor traffic offence and despite my dislike for the lady, I thought if she had stepped down and fought the case in a higher court, she would have won accolades.  That she didn’t, upset my generation’s understanding of politics and democracy.

Today, when you look back, you understand her better.  She had got into the prime minister’s saddle not because she was a Nehru, but because the squabbling old men in the Congress thought she would be a gungi gudiya and act to their bidding.  Little did they realise that she was her woman. She broke tradition, asking parliamentarians to vote for Giri against the official presidential candidate Sanjeeva Reddy!  

 

Closest to a dictator...

She had contempt for the opposition, for inner-party democracy, and was the closest to India being led by a dictator.  She masterminded the idea of a ‘committed civil servant,’ and later of the ‘committed judiciary.’ In a silent coup, she began the destruction of institutions; a practice perfected in later years and continued to date.   Her decision to declare Emergency will forever remain a black mark, and her over-dependence on Sanjay Gandhi as an extra-constitutional authority was insulting. But then everyone needs a sidekick. 

She had her pluses. Her way of getting things done may have been inappropriate, but there was no denying she was patriotic. India worked better with a stick and she administered it with aplomb. She had a finger on the pulse of the people. She won the Bangladesh war. Vajpayee, a later day prime minister, called her Goddess Durga.  Mrs. Gandhi was fearless. She could see Uncle Sam eye-to-eye, and shielded India from US pressure. President Richard Nixon disliked her, but she didn’t care a hoot. Pokhran 1 was an act of courage coming as it did at the time when India was mostly a dependent economy.  Under her, India became self-sufficient in food and made serious progress in space-related programmes. It took gumption to send the army into the Golden Temple to flush out extremists. She knew she was signing her death warrant but didn’t mind it. 

Mrs. Gandhi was truly secular. Days before her assassination when Intelligence suggested that she remove her Sikh security guards, she refused.  She paid for it with her life. In the land of the Mahatma, a frail woman shot from point-blank range by security guards whose job was to protect her is a picture that will stay entrenched in people’s mind forever.

That the birth centenary of arguably one of India’s tallest prime ministers went unnoticed is unfortunate. 

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
RELATED NEWS
ABOUT IE
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
 
PRIVACY POLICY
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
 
CONTACT US
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Guindy,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236
EMAIL: indecom1968@gmail.com