Sonia Gandhi had a mother in-law. Her name was Indira Gandhi. We grew up when the mother in-law was the queen of India.
Actually, she was not the queen. She was what we called the prime minister. But in all her acts and actions, she was no less than a queen.
She walked on this mortal earth like a queen. She rode her limousine like a queen. She lived in her maximum-security castle like a queen. She drank like a queen. She spoke her speeches like a queen. She smiled like a queen. She even sobbed like a queen.
Rumor has it that once she went to see the devastating floods in the state of Gujarat, flew over it in her royal airplane…and sobbed. Our poet Sunil Ganguly wrote a poem about it. You can visit my translation here.
She was even a college dropout like a queen. Rumor has it that our Nobel poet Rabindranath Tagore asked her father Nehru — then prime minister of India — to take her away from his abode of peace university Shantiniketan. Tagore said Indira Gandhi was too much of a burden — an un-peace — with her lifestyle and lack of studies.
Rumor has it that Indira Gandhi married Feroze Khan aka Gandhi, quasi-adopted son of Mahatma Gandhi, and later divorced him. Rumor has it that she converted to Islam to marry Feroze. But that didn’t go well with Nehru and his wife Kamala. So, upon royal dictates, Feroze Khan became Feroze Gandhi, without converting to Hinduism. And Indira kept her husband’s adopted title — a title that goes well in Indian politics.
(Okay, I’m not entirely sure if this is true: that Feroze was a Muslim and Indira converted to Islam. Some say Feroze was a Persee: a sect that practices religion similar to Jews. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course, I have NO problems if Feroze or Indira was a Muslim either. That is not the point here. The point is Indira Gandhi, her family and their royal, dictatorial lives and politics. You can read the rest of this post without this one paragraph. IN FACT, IF IT IS A RUMOR, THEN I AM READY TO APOLOGIZE FOR IT. BUT THE REST OF THE ARTICLE IS STILL VALID.)
They had two sons — Rajiv and Sanjiv. The sons also grew up as Indian princes with their lifestyles, lack of studies and lackadaisical attitude toward their country people. Sanjiv was the younger son and slowly turned to politics. Then he became a tyrant. He took advantage his royal dynasty, and chopped heads left and right. He became a household name in India not for his benevolence or kindness, but for his dictatorship and cruelty.
Rajiv Gandhi, meanwhile, showed lack of interest in politics and went to Italy working as a pilot. There he met Sonia, originally Edvige Antonia Albina Maino, fell in love, and married her. After Sanjay Gandhi, groomed by Indira as the crown prince, died in a plane crash (he was piloting it), Indira forced a reluctant Rajiv to join politics. Indian media suddenly found great praise for Rajiv’s functioning styles and friendly smiles.
(This was around the time when Indira imposed an emergency rule to stay in power changing the constitution, put a blanket press censorship, and imprisoned all the opposition leaders and thousands of grassroots activists. I know: I was involved with the anti-emergency movement.)
It all paid off. When Indira was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, after a bloody anti-Sikh carnage by the ruling Congress Party thugs (nobody was ever punished for the mass murder, and Western media is silent about it, hypocritically), Rajiv was put on the Indian throne without any scrutiny. Rajiv, a political neophyte, opened the Indian economy — a largely semi-socialistic, somewhat pro-poor system — to foreign corporations with help from his finance minister Manmohan Singh, and India was sold out ever since to IMF, World Bank and Wall Street.
Rajiv Gandhi was killed by Tamil extremists. Later, Manmohan Singh became prime minister, and opened the floodgates. In ten years of Singh’s rule, India completely deregulated its economy, devalued its currency by more than two hundred percent, and killed most of the pro-poor economic safeguards. Corruption is historic. India is now perhaps the most rich-poor-divided country, perhaps right next to the United States.
Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s two children — Rahul and Priyanka — also grew up as royal babies. Indian media never scrutinized their lack of education or political acumen, let alone compassion, and automatically projected Rahul as the next prime minister. Meanwhile, Priyanka with her husband Robert Vadra, along with the rest of the dynasty, amassed unbelievable extra-constitutional power and reportedly, Swiss Bank wealth. Robert reportedly killed opposition too, just like Sanjay did.
Bengali author S. Wajed Ali had once said: “The tradition is on in India — without any change.”
BY THE WAY, I DO NOT SUPPORT EITHER A CORRUPT AND VIOLENT CONGRESS PARTY OR A BIGOTED AND VIOLENT BJP, IF IT MATTERS TO YOU.
Sharing History — Honestly,
Brooklyn, New York