Is India a Dynastic Monarchy or Dynastic Republic?
10 February, 2015
Tavleen Singh, a prominent Punjabi born journalist of Indian press and media, has revealed some of the astonishing facts about Indira Gandhi and her successors, which I think that every Indian who has a passion towards evolution of Indian politics must read. I would like to congratulate her for bringing out this startling book of her career as a journalist cum political analyst.
The book opens with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the last Prime Minister of the Congress party from the Gandhi dynasty and ends with the same. All the events that pre-existed before this assassination right from the start of his mother, Indira Gandhi, taking over as prime minister of India, were efficiently narrated in the best possible chronological order. The iron hand politics of Indira Gandhi and her dictatorial thought policy about the Indian mentality has been clearly elicited in her actions with respect to the declaration of Emergency in 1975, usage of Income tax raids over all those who acted against her Government, her cunning actions against the Muslims at the same time protecting her vote bank in the disguise of secularism, and finally bringing in the dynastic culture to Indian politics. Her inefficiencies with respect to handling Hindu-Muslim divide, Kashmir issue, Punjab terrorism and North East imbroglio was well highlighted with real facts. The way Indira Gandhi exploited the Indian masses through her charm and family history can never be forgiven. A similar kind of treatment from her son Rajiv Gandhi after her assassination has kept Indian economy and development much below world standards mainly due to his incapacity to understand what India wants and heavy reliance on his closed and inexperienced peers from higher echelons. His poor foreign policy and ineffective Government measures failed to eradicate poverty and raise the literacy levels to desired standards even after having kept the political power with their family for almost thirty years, after Independence. His assassination came as a surprise to the world and continued the passing over of the throne to his subtle and equally inefficient foreigner wife, Sonia Gandhi. Wonder when we Indians would stop worshiping the so-called dynasties of the royal class with white skins and start encouraging those amongst our own color and talents!
Pros: The tough life of a passionate political journalist is the strength of this work.This book brought out many facts and figures about how the Nehruvian socialistic ideas have been implemented in the worst possible ways, mainly due to short-sighted approach and inefficiency of his successors. Poor literacy levels, absence of free media, rampant caste divisions, huge rich-poor gap, central control of economic activity, heavy reliance on peer groups who are close to the family but with minimum practical approach and lack of cultural understanding about the different ethnicities prevailing in India were some of the reasons why the Gandhi family had failed to bring about the desired economic and social development of the country. On top of all these factors, the major demonic culture of “dynastic inheritance” introduced by Indira Gandhi is said to be the main concern of today’s india, which spread to each and every corner of the country and even the lowest administrative units, like a dangerous virus.
Cons: This book seems to have been written from the critical point of view on the Indira Gandhi family. Though there were many facts about the ills of her administration, there were also some popular welfare policies which have created lasting impressions in the minds of Indian masses. The author’s tone seems to be carrying some kind of affinity towards her Punjabi background and the injustice that she felt when her State’s problem was dealt by the Gandhi family, in a way not acceptable to her. Apart from the above, there should have been some mention about Indira Gandhi’s husband and how she rose to be the Prime Minister of India after Jawaharlal Nehru.
My favorite quote in the book:
“There are political families in other democracies but outside the Indian subcontinent the widow or the children of a political leader do not automatically claim the dead man’s legacy as if it were their birthright.”
My rating is 3.5 out of 5
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