In the beginning was a foreigner. He founded the
Then, no one did anything till the Nehru-Nehru
(Father and Son) Family stepped forth. They firmly stamped the
history of India with the twin features that characterise it in the
first half of the 20th century: everything they did was a sacrifice,
no one else made any sacrifices.
With the passing of the Father, the Son became the
Father, and with the coming of the Daughter, the Nehru-Nehru Family
came to be known as the Nehru-Gandhi Family. But it continued the
noble tradition: everything they did was a sacrifice, no one else
made any sacrifices.
Soon enough the country's interest demanded that
the secret plans of the new Viceroy and his co-plotters be ferreted
out. The Father therefore sacrificed that one thing to which he was
so attached -- the sacred memory of his dear wife, who, having
joined the Nehru-Nehru Family had already made the Supreme Sacrifice
-- and let the Viceroy's wife fall for him.
Time flew yet again, and the cares of office began
to weigh Father down. As president of the Congress and because of
his own scholarship, he was of course aware of historical precedents
of our rulers marrying foreign women to manage the household while
they attended to affairs of State. But so as not to further disturb
a people that had been so recently devastated, he sacrificed his
love of history and its mores, and continued to live alone. That
only weighed him down further.
Therefore, while her dear husband was busy in
various adventures in Lucknow and Allahabad, the Daughter, Indira
Gandhi, chose to stay in Delhi. Soon, she too sacrificed her
marriage to devote herself to the one thing that was so necessary
for our poor country -- the well-being of Father.
Then, as Father aged (as the original Father had
before him), she sacrificed her devotion to housework and his care,
and agreed to take over the presidentship of the Congress.
And then, she sacrificed her deep devotion to this
hoary party, split it and threw out the blackguards -- all so as to
free it, and therefore the country, from the clutches of The
And then, she sacrificed her respect for the
elderly, and threw Morarji out -- so as to save the country from The
Return of Reaction.
And then, out of her infinite love for the poor,
and because of her exemplary fealty to the memory and inclinations
of her father, she sacrificed her own pragmatism, and embraced
And then, seeing how those old stuck-in-the-muds,
the judges, were going to impede the great things which were being
done for the poor, she sacrificed her deep love for propriety,
superseded three of them, and made yet another original, sterling
contribution to world thought, the concept of a Committed
And then, as the wretches had still not stopped
howling, she sacrificed her new love -- socialism -- for pragmatism;
and thus we got the justly fabled "Twenty Point Programme" which, as
everyone knows, catapulted our country to the very limits of
And then, as she was being attacked from all sides
and being asked to resign just because some high court judge had
found her guilty of electoral fraud, her devoted son, Sanjay
sacrificed his love of automobiles, and stepped forth to protect her
from these evil machinations and conspiracies. And then, as
misguided students, and their misguides -- JP and the rest started
demanding that corruption and inefficiency be checked, she and
Sanjay standing together sacrificed their deep attachment to probity
and excellence, stood firm, refused to mend matters under duress,
and thereby saved the country from extra-constitutional anarchy.
And then, as the bureaucratic machinery had become
moribund, as the political leaders had become limp, she sacrificed
her deep aesthetic love for consistency, and allowed Sanjay to
station himself as The Unconstitutional Authority par excellence so
as to kick-start the merely constitutional authorities.
And then, as the senile fools still did not abandon
their unconstitutional ways, she sacrificed her deep commitment to
democracy, and with the utmost reluctance so touching a
characteristic of The Family -- and only to save the country from
The Foreign Hand -- threw the entire oppositions as well as over a
lakh of people into jail, and suspended the Constitution.
And then, so as to create an example that would
inspire all budding entrepreneurs and thereby lift the country to
ever greater heights, she sacrificed her own good name and ensured
all official and non-official encouragement to Sanjay's dream
project, the Maruti.
And then, precisely when she had acquired complete
mastery over the entire country and everyone was ever so full of joy
at the trains running on time, precisely when a great scholar, the
then Congress president, had proclaimed, "Indira is India, India is
Indira", she sacrificed her unrivaled, unquestioned position. and
And then, just because the people had wiped her out
and her party, she sacrificed even her prime ministership and agreed
to go along with the verdict of the ignorant people -- a verdict she
knew the blockheads would soon rue.
And then, as the Janata government floundered, she
sacrificed the well-deserved peace and quiet she had at last got
after so many years of travail, and agreed to take on the bother of
once again ruling this wretched country.
And then, because his dear brother had sacrificed
his very life for that ancient love of the Nehrus -- aviation, Rajiv
sacrificed his quiet family life, his love of the skies, his
blossoming career in aviation and stepped forth to help Mummy -- so
beleaguered and alone at the pinnacle.
And then, to save her beloved Punjab from the
communal Akalis, she sacrificed her unshakable commitment to
secularism, and put up Bhindranwale.
And then, when those foolish young students in
Assam began demanding that foreigners not be smuggled on to
electoral lists -- as the local Congress leaders were doing so as to
enrich our culture through cross-fertilisation she sacrificed her
deep love and compassion for all living beings; and let the forces
shoot down 800 of them.
And then, when the damned students still did not
listen, she sacrificed her undying love and commitment to the
country's unity, and directed her minions to encourage the Bodo
militants after all, how could mere students be allowed to decide
what was good for the country; after all, how could mere students be
allowed to challenge the decisions of Delhi?
And then, when Farooq and NTR would not see reason
and submit to her, she sacrificed her unshakable commitment to the
Constitution and, with the same pain and reluctance that we have
encountered earlier, dismissed their elected governments -- she had
nothing to gain from the step, she had everything to lose, but she
knew that the country had to be made safe for the Constitution.
And then, as courts, legislatures, civil services
with their interminable forms and procedures, were all standing in
the way of the poor, she sacrificed her devotion to everything her
father had helped construct, and, by skillful undermining, she put
all institutions out of harm's way.
Unfortunately -- and this tragic thing happens so
often in the case of the Nehru-Gandhi Family -- the followers of
Bhindranwale did not see that Bhindranwale did not see that
Bhindranwale would have never attained the heights he did it not
been for her. They, therefore, sacrificed her life to their
And then, though the Mummy he had stepped forth to
help had been taken away, Rajiv, disregarding the entreaties of his
wife, sacrificed the easy-relaxed life of a mere MP, and became PM:
for the earth which was quaking as the giant tree had fallen had to
And then, to safeguard the country, he sacrificed
his commitment and that of Olof Palme to the cause they had met to
discuss, disarmament, and swiftly concluded the Bofors deal.
And then, he sacrificed his longing to spend time
in India, and travelled incessantly all over the world to solve the
problems which were buffeting it from all sides.
And then, on his visits to his beloved India, he
sacrificed all his waking hours to solve its myriad
And then, though he had not had anything to do with
any of those things -- Bofors, the Airbus purchases, the settling of
the HDW matter -- he sacrificed the good name of generations of the
Nehru-Gandhi family, and, Shiva-like, took and held the entire
poison of calumny himself: for, steeped as he was in the
Nehru-Gandhi Family tradition, he saw that justice had to be done,
and the middlemen, who after being abolished had only taken fees for
"genuine industrial espionage," had to be protected from the hounds
out to destabilise the country.
And then, moved to compassion by the plight of
Tamils across the seas, he sacrificed his natural attachment to the
principle which was a family heirloom, his own grandfather having
invented it -- that of non-interference in the internal affairs of
other countries -- and opened training camps for Prabhakaran and his
And then, as those unthinking judges gave a
judgment which hurt the sentiments of the Muslims, he sacrificed his
dedication to another of the Family's principles, secularism -- a
principle which would not even have been in the Constitution but for
his mother -- and passed a law to overturn the judgment.
And then, the effect this had on the sentiments of
the Hindus moved him once again to compassion, and so he sacrificed
his and the Nehru-Gandhi family's' unyielding devotion to the
sentiments of Muslims, and had the locks to the Ram temple
And then, his wife learnt that the Father
(originally the Son) had been sacrificing his sleep to write every
night to the Viceroy's wife. So as to spare the simple people of our
country any trauma, and so as to protect the one institution which
held the country together -- namely, the Nehru-Gandhi Family -- she
sacrificed the pile of royalties she could have made, and, having
kept them in her personal custody for long, refused to allow their
And then, as Prabhakaran's followers turned out to
be as ungrateful as those of Lt Bhindranwale, they too sacrificed
his life to ingratitude.
And then, his wife, so as to prevent the rich of
the country from squandering their money on worthless pursuits and
so as to do good to which the Nehru-Gandhi Family has always been
committed, sacrificed the good name of the Family once again, she
sacrificed her own peace and quiet, and established The
Today it is this noble lady, who has sacrificed the
comforts of foreign climes, who continues the noble tradition of The
Family. As she has said again and again, as she has shown again and
again Shrimati Soniaji Gandhi is not interested in any post -- nor
should too much be read into the "for now" she has used of late: she
is just sacrificing her natural dislike for office to keep up our
hopes by keeping alive the prospect of her taking on the reins.
She has stepped forth with the same great
reluctance which has been a mark of the Nehru-Gandhi family as much
as aviation. She has, like Rajiv before her, who had like his mother
before him, done so only to save the country. And what reassurance
she provides, the reassurance of things continuing: "The time has
come," she told the people in her opening speech, "when I feel
compelled to put aside my own inclinations and step forward. I am
here not to seek political office or position but to share my
concern over the country's future. We do not want our society to be
broken into fragments" -- the same touching reluctance of the
Nehru-Gandhi Family, the same putting aside of personal interest,
the same disregarding of ones own inclination, the same devotion to
our poor country. Reading it, citizens were thrilled, they felt 30
years younger, back in 1969 -- Mrs Gandhi, the Daughter, was alive
and back in Mrs Gandhi, the Daughter-in-Law, and the entire reign
lay before us again.
The first and second halves of the 20th century
hold three lessons. These are: all the sacrifices made were made by
the Nehru-Gandhi Family, and it is because of those sacrifices that
the country has risen to the heights it has, second, that no one
else has made or makes sacrifices, and that is why the country is on
the verge of breaking into fragments. Third, and most important for
the future, that everything the Nehru-Gandhi Family does is a
sacrifice. If they do not accept the prime ministership, they are
sacrificing the comforts, the pomp and show that go with the highest
office. If they do accept it, they are sacrificing their own
inclinations, they are sacrificing their personal interests and
promising careers. If they accept security, they are sacrificing
their privacy. If they do not, they are sacrificing their lives. If
they keep rotten, minority governments in place, they are
sacrificing what no one else ever sacrifices, power and its pelf. If
they bring them down, they are sacrificing the comforts of back-seat
driving. If they eat European food, they are sacrificing the food of
the country they love so that our hungry millions may have more. If
they eat Indian food, they are sacrificing the joys of their
childhood. If they eat at all, they are sacrificing their vow to
fast. If they fast, they are sacrificing food...
Question in BA Exam: Resolve the following paradox
-- as The Foreign Hand has been so vital to our survival, the
Congress having been founded by and then brought back to life by it,
why did Indira Gandhiji accustom the country to looking upon The
Foreign Hand with suspicion?
Model answer in Key: As Comrade Surjeet will soon
explain, "Arey bhai, had not Comrade Lenin explained long
ago? "There is Foreign Hand and there is Foreign Hand" The
Italian Hand is very different from the American Hand The Italian
Hand when it installs a government that might be in my hand is very
different from the Italian Hand that removes a government that was