Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Had our ex-CJI, Mr. Dipak Misra read "My husband raped me", "Husband stitch" "Frigid "and other stories in the book "THE ROCK THAT WAS NOT",  he wouldn't have made the alarming remark that "Marital rape needn’t be an offence",  I believe.

I earnestly wish and recommend all men, irrespective of their educational and official status, read this book, for then they can have a minimum level of understanding about  how a woman feels. It's not that all men are beastly, but we have to accept that such men and ruthless  women  called mother in law and sister in law who back these men in hurting women, do exist in our society.

I would like to specially appreciate the author  Githanjali (Penname of Dr.Bharathi  MS, a Doctor, Sexologist and Psychotherapist by profession) for being bold enough  to choose such a challenging subject,  a burning issue which really exists but is connived at conveniently  by our society. The book is truly content rich and It explores the day to day issues in a woman's life which are neither talked about nor discussed. Some of them fight it out, of course after suffering  for long and become independent while some succumb to their ill -fate. As truly said in the introduction, "these are the stories of resistance, protest and  transformation."

The translator Dr Suneetha Rani, Professor at the centre for women's studies, Hyderabad also has done an excellent job of converting Telugu into simple and beautiful English, enabling an effortless reading as though  you are reading in your mother tongue! As she acknowledges in the book, this surely is her "intervention in the field of women's/feminist/ sexuality studies."

I have read  a good lot of English as well as Malayalam short stories including classics so far, but haven't ever come across this horrifying subject of sexual violence and related miseries in our households in any of those. When you read through, you will feel as if you are seeing somebody's life just in front of you.  Most of these must be true life incidents just spiced with imagination, I guess.
The language conveys easily but the subject being heavy,  it is not an easy or light read at all. The  stories will haunt you, make you miserable,  suffocate, weep and what not.  It will really be a heart breaking experience  to realise how cruel  this patriarchal society is towards our fellow women!  The societal conditioning as well as stigma being that severe, many of these  women themselves choose to remain in the trap of never ending misery, knowingly succumbing to all the atrocities towards them silently. Malanbi of story 'Offering'  is such a helpless human being. Suffering, endless suffering, is that the plight of women in an average Indian household?

After reading the book, I have developed a strong detest for the so called 'sacred nupital thread', because it is this thread that gives a man the license to beastly rape a lady, if he so desires. There are a good lot of Malayalam TV serials (Soap operas I mean) woven  around the theme of 'sacred'  nupital thread even now!

"The fall of man" tells us about Darshita, who  "could not bear the wounds that he caused by raping her under the license of scared thread."  Do you know why she chose to join gender studies course? Just "to understand the source of her husband's authority that gave him license to assault her."
I too have been wondering where the fault lies exactly, like the foetus that tells us her mother's misery – "From six to sixty, women are being victimized by the demonic lust of male beasts….are women 's bodies easily available commodities to fulfil men's shameless lust? Where did the fault lie- in men's thoughts or women's bodies?" (The swish of the world).

"…what he did is licensed atrocity in the name of marriage. Marital rapes within the four walls have societal acceptance. It's the man's right." (Frigid)

While the  story 'The rock that was not'  exposed me to  silicone implantation done for flat chested women,  'Husband stitch' threw light on  that extra stitch done in a woman's vagina  to increase her husband's pleasure.  I was terrified while reading the women's plight, and the hardships which they had to face later.

'My husband raped me' ends thus " ...Satvika (hardly 17 years old) said (to the sub-Inspector) 'My husband raped me'. I (Doctor) stepped out of the room. Women, pregnant women were waiting for me with reports in their hands and grief in their eyes."

A chill ran through my spine while reading  'Stone' which tells the story of the 17 year old girl Asra who  was being continuously abused and raped by her biological father from the age of 7 Years! My eyes welled up while reading the story of Kasturi in 'Frigid' who was abused terribly by her paternal uncle and later in life by her own husband.   

 Here goes the musing of Tapasvi, an young wife, from the story 'Kiss': "Did good mean just being six feet tall and fair, having a bank job and owning a house and a car?" I could imagine how disastrous it is when one is forced to live with a man who does 'emotional adultery' to his wife.
Each of the 12 stories are different, and include all classes of society, rich and poor, educated and uneducated. And it deals with only one class - the universal class called women!

And I would like to thank Ratna Books for the translation series, as otherwise I would not have been able to read Marathi, Assamese , Telugu and other Indian language books. So also, as an woman, I'm especially grateful  to publishing a series itself on feminist issues.  The book has excellent hard cover, good paper quality and printing with not a single printer's devil to spot out.  As a reader, I feel honoured to have such a quality book, both in appearance as well as contents. As a translator, I'm overwhelmed to see equal importance being granted to the translator also along with original author.   

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Joseph wept

Jayakanthan (1934-2015) is one of my favorite Tamil novelists. I like his simple straightforward narrative styles and simple themes without twists and turns which make readers tense. But the smooth flowing style makes you read this small  book to its last page in a stretch. Jayakanthan magic, lemme say.

'Joseph wept' is the translation of his Tamil novella 'Yarukkaka Azhuthan ' which got published in the prestigious Tamil weekly 'Anantha Vikatan' during 1960. While finishing the novel I was all for Joseph, who taught me the greatness of forgiving. Many a times have I felt that the act of forgiving is a form of weakness when you are too timid to react. But in this novel, the ignorant, illiterate Joseph, who respectfully slauted everybody a 'my Lord, ' who was considered a fool by his colleagues, who was addressed as 'rogue-eyed', and who could not weep at all, rises to the so called Godliness, through his simple acts. His explanations on why he silently bore the insults, amazed me like anything.

Eventhough I had read the Malayalam translations of his novels, I had never bothered to find out anything about the novelist so far. My admiration knew no bounds when I happened to read more about Jayakanthan. Quoting Hindustan times,

"The ten-year-old boy who ran away from home to Madras and lived in a workers' `commune' affiliated to the Communist Party of India; the teenager who spent his days and nights among Chennai's underclass; the young man who was inspired by Bharathi's vision of modernity as well as the great tradition of Tamil poetry going back to the sangam period; and the self-made writer who, after small beginnings in party journals, burst into the mainstream with a string of coruscating stories in Ananda Vikatan over a period of several years.The rest, they say ,is history ."

Joseph weeps is also a famous biblical story, the author must have chosen the title because of that, I presume-anybody can presume anything while reading, right?  

The book is translated into English by A.A.Hakim, and was published by The Christian Literature Society, Chennai. I do not know whether it's available in print now. Mine is a very old copy, originally possessed by my parents

Here is the link on my write up-and not review, mind you- in Malayalam on two of his novels, for those who are interested.  


Monday, May 4, 2015

Phatik Chand

Phatik Chand is a celebrated Bengali Novel, or children's novel to be precise, penned by Satyajit Ray and translated by Lila Ray. It has been translated into English by Lila Ray. It was filmed in the year 1983,the directorial debut of his only son Sandip Ray. Stills from the film are included in the book.

While I started reading, I was not much impressed, but when I read on, my dislike got quickly transformed into deep 'likes', and I became all for Bablu and Harun da.What a lovely relationship is it! It reminded me of Tagore's Kabulivala and Mini.

The book is widely read and reviewed , so I don't attempt to elaborate. However, let me jot down the  lines from the book, as is my practise:

"This earth is ours now.What's it but a ball? So are the planets all of them,Jupiter, Mars, Mercury,Venus, Saturn.They spin around the Sun and the moon spins around the earth. But they never bump into each other.Think of of it. Is there a bigger juggling act than that? Look at the night sky and you'll see what I mean.Remember this when you take these balls in your hands." Harun the juggler to Bablu.

" Do you think you can't be an artist living in a big house and going to school? It's balls I juggle.You can try juggling with words,colors, with tunes!Think of that!You'll have something worth juggling with and you'll know what kind of an artist you can become."Again Harun to Bablu.

I couldn't find who Lila Ray was. Initially I thought she is Satyajit Ray's wife, but his wife's name is Bijoya Ray  as per wiki.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Villa

‘The Villa’ written by Rosanna Ley , published in 2012 by Quercus Books, London, is the story of three women who belong to three generations. A slightly chick lit type novel, so to say, but very much readable and is recommended for light reading. I used to read it at bedtime. 

The author has worked as a tutor in creative writing and has given a reading guide at the end. The writing tips given were of course interesting and useful. 

Somebody inheriting a dilapidated but gorgeous house abroad (at Sicily) is not something logical or believable, but it is a story, know? Out of the three women, I love the Grandmother Flavia, the best.  Of course her daughter Tess Angel and teen aged granddaughter Ginny are also portrayed well but Flavia is the most impressive character in the sense that she has an identity of her own. 

The only one point which I didn’t like or rather couldn’t digest about her, is her frequent visits to her ailing old love, Peter, and that too without letting her husband know of it. According to her, it was strictly her personal affair and none of her husband’s business! Later, she realized that he was very much aware of it, but simply chose not to interfere at all! It must be my Indian commonplace mind which resisted such moves, I think.

Flavia, the “self-trained observer" as the author describes, was also ”too stubborn for words" that she didn’t like revealing anything to her daughter about Sicily, her native place. Instead she started narrating the story in her notebook. But Flavia’s memoirs are fully printed  in Italics and this appeared slightly strenuous to my eyes.  

The author’s description of Sicily and the life there is quite vivid. The family feuds and the unveiling of the suspense behind the treasure is also well-drawn. Foodies can have a lot of Italian recipes of Flavia too! 

Flavia’s and later Tess’s description of Sicilian women filled my mind with pity and sympathy. I don’t know why but whenever I came across the words Italy, Italian, Sicily etc Mrs.Sonia Rajiv Gandhi’s profile used to come to mind’s frame. May be because she is the only Italian I knowJ.        

Some quotes which I like-

-......(Sicilian) women mostly dressed in black and mostly bent-with a lifetime of drudgery...
 -Personally, she didn’t understand why it was necessary to tell dozen’s of acquaintances the minutiae of one’s life...(Tess’s thoughts about facebook)....But she knew she was in a minority”Yes, in fact Tess reflected my own thoughts about fb!

-The women(of Paris) were smarter, more colourful...these women looked as if they had some life, some purpose other than home...(Flavia’s observation at a Paris railway station).

-No one prepared you for these things when you decided to have a baby. Or when-like Tess- you were propelled into motherhood without really thinking about it at all. No one warned you that your daughter would one day become an adolescent-whom you would irritate beyond belief every time you so much as opened your mouth.... But it would pass.(Tess thinking about her teenage daughter Ginny)

-At the end of the day, she(Ginny)realised, although he(Ben, her boyfriend) had been her first, she had invested the virginity thing with a significance it didn’t really have.

-It’s easy to let the opportunity go by. (Ginny’s Dad’s confession to her).And there’s a point where it seems as if it might be too late. Unless you feel you can do something...I buggered off when your mom needed me most.

- Her God has not given her what she wanted most in the world...And she wasn’t entirely sure that she even believed in him anymore. But the sense of God was a comfort to her;it seemed to give her strength.    

-She(Flavia) was too ambitious;she had never wanted the Sicilian way of womanhood-house and children.

-what love really is, caring for another human being, living with them through good and the bad,working with them, wanting to grow with them.That’s true love.Not hearts and flowers and romantic dreams.

-For every recipe there is a reason. Trade, social change, the season, the weather.Food is warmth.Food is identity.

-time when she was struggling for life, the sort of time when revelations sometimes occur. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Indira Nehru Gandhi -Part VIII

The Nehrus and Gandhis, an Indian Dynasty-Part I Part II 
Part III Part IV Part V Part VI  Part VII  

Indira Nehru Gandhi 

When I read about her lonely childhood, nomadic education due to her family’s involvement in Nationalist movements, I felt sorry for her. When I read about her boldness, her decision to marry an outstanding personality from a common place family, her first public meeting in India in UP on a chilly early morning, her left without a house soon after her reversal from power, I was all for her. But I could in no way tolerate her declaring emergency, playing communal cards in politics, puppetting to the tunes of Sanjay Gandhi and other numerous  sycophants and the like. Now, setting aside my likes and dislikes which are totally irrelevant, let me quote the relevant points of the book.

-Indira’s  childhood was coloured by her never-ending visits to prison to see her father and grandfather, then her mother and she had finally spent some time inside herself.
Indira had a nomadic existence due to her circumstances, about which her father was really concerned. It’s his guilty feeling which turned out to be the fantastic 200 letters to his daughter on World history.

-Indira’s attitude to her own education was somewhat cavalier. The constant moves from one place to another had, with the exception of Geneva and Santhiniketan, made her feel that it was a waste of time. She genuinely believed that she had learned more about the real world from her father’s letters than at t Somerville College Oxford.
Her first public appearance was made at London under the insistence of V.K.Krishna Menon, who was a Labour party activist there. She too was a member of Labour Party for a time. She was too terrified to speak out; And a drunk from the audience remarked “She does not speak, she squeaks.” The audience were in fits of laughter”, as she remembered it in a BBC interview.

-“I just felt hungry and asked for a piece of toast. As I was eating, Rajiv came out!I was so sorry I couldn’t finish my toast!“ said Indira to her colleague about her first delivery.
Motilal and Jawaharlal were very short tempered, but Indira was much controlled but. According to the author,she harboured grudges for longer than the men.
Indira was a very bold lady as everybody knows. But here is an incident as remembered by her son Rajiv. Indira and the two children happened to make a train journey from Mussoorie to Delhi by train during the communal riots of 1947.

-At a Delhi suburb, Shahdra, communal mobs were preparing to lynch a Muslim on the platform. Indira was outraged. Her Nehru temper became uncontrollable. Leaving her petrified sons in the train, she jumped out of the compartment and silenced the crowd by an effective display of oratory. The victim was saved and the train moved on.
Indira’s  grooming into a political leader must have taken shape with her triple fold duties while at Teen Murthi Bhavan, viz playing the mistress, accompanying PM during his foreign travels, protecting Nehru from the constant demand for interviews.

-In 1946, Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant, a senior Congress leader, recognizing her political capacities, suggested that she should stand for Paliament, but she turned the offer down... Later, she told everyone that the she saw her main political task as ensuring an easy life for her father at home. Nonetheless, she was asked to stand in for Jawaharlal at some meetings and she did.

Such experiences gave her confidence and she accepted pleas of Congress president U.N.Dhebar and Lal Bahadur Sasthri to contest and thus got elected to Congress Working Committee. But she refused to be typecast as from the Women’s department.

-All India’s leading political parties had special sections for women, but these were in reality designed to hive women off and keep them busy elsewhere, while men ran the ‘real thing‘. This situation remains unaltered to this day.” 30 years have passed after T.Ali’s observation and it is still the same, I feel!

Indira was instrumental in bringing communal forces in Kerala into political fray to overthrow the elected Communist Govt in Kerala. Ie Just as like Muhammadali Jinnah, she too played the Muslim card and thus the congress made alliances with Muslim league to defeat Communists. Thus Communists failed and Communalism won. The model was followed in other States too making unholy alliances with communal parties and the practise follows tiil day.

-This was a classic case of pragmatism before principles. Once it is accepted that power is to be held at all costs, then it becomes impossible to defend any basic principle. Secularism remains a paper pledge and communalism walks in through a backdoor deliberately left unlocked.
Yes, it so happened that the daughter herself overthrew her father’s secular approach.
-Indira was forty seven when she became a minister in LB Sastri’s cabinet. At her age Nehru was in prison.

Subsequent to Sastri’s death, she became the PM of India. It, of course, had not been an easy walk over. She had to face umpteen manipulations, criticisms and opposition from the groups which were waiting to stab her in the back, even after becoming the PM. She was well aware of the situation and reacted to Times of India on Christmas day 1966 thus-
“There is a question of whom the party wants and whom the people want.“  

Congress of 1972-In a number of towns, politics became a business, business became politics and Gangsterism overwhelmed both big business and big politics. Political, business and criminal mafias began to amalgamate.

-Soon after her reversal, Indira Gandhi had to vacate 1, Safdarjung Road. Anand Bhavan in Allahabad had been donated to the nation, and she found herself without a house for the first time in her life. An old family friend, Mohammed Yunus, a veteran Pathan Congressman from the frontier province, now in Pakistan, immediately vacated his house in Willingdon Crescent in New Delhi. Yunus was one of the few Muslims(If not the only one) who had actually forsaken his home and moved to India in protest against the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

-“No, those for whom something was done, are nowhere to be seen.”Indira to an  American couple during her Willingdon Crescent exile

-The constant fear of Indira Gandhi had become a hallmark of Janata years.It was the threat of Mrs.Gandhi’s return that had kept the motley collection together.

-“They(The Janata Party) had their chance and what did they do?They made a big mess.The people voted us back into power with big majority.” Indira to the author. But the fact is that people were left with no choice.

If Nehru was not in favour of dynastical rule, Indira very much wanted to make Sanjay her “crown prince." This is precisely the reason why she insisted Rajiv to take the place of Sanjay. And why did Sanjay become important to her? Rajiv was away as a pilot. There was no one in her team other than Narasimha Rao, whom she could trust.

-Rajiv was needed for strictly dynastic purposes. She felt that she needed a Nehru-Gandhi by her side.

There are still many interesting anecdotes and other unknown facts in the book left unsaid in this scribbling of mine; I have developed a keen interest in Sikhism from what I read in the book; Just like Nehru, we will also be taken aback when we come to know that Mao Tsedung, who burnt all old books for 'ideological unity' had an obsession with the old emperors of China! I also joined Delhi school children in their affectionate recital of "A,B,C,D,E,F,G, Ismein nikhalay Panditji (Out of this came Panditji) on Nehru's obsession to English language!

I assure that whoever decides to read the book, she/he will not have to close it halfway! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

India's Partition-Part VII

The Nehrus and the Gandhis-Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Muslim league, India’s partition and beyond:

Our views, vision and opinions will definitely change with time, but when such changes in the attitudes of a leader takes a negative course, it may affect the fate of a nation. Yes, the change in the attitudes of Jinnah, the brilliant lawyer, together with the then political situation, had ultimately led to the partition of India.

 -Sarojini Naidu had once called him “the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity“ in 1916....Once he had said that all the religious community could live in peace in one India.

-But now (1930’s onwards) the old ambassador had other dreams. Now he stressed the divisions between Hindu and Islam...“The Hindus worship the cow, “he had shouted.”We eat it.” Evil winds had begun to blow in northern India.

-The league was a motley collection of small landlords, would be entrepreneurs, city lawyers and bandwagon petit bourgeois. It had been set up on a British initiative in 1906 and its founders had pledged their unswerving loyalty to the empire.

-The Muslim league leader was not a religious leader. For him Islam was a useful weapon with which he could carve out an independent political base for his followers.

-Jinnah told the Muslim peasants that in Hindu dominated India, they would be eaten alive by the Hindu money lenders; he told the Muslim Landlords that without British protection they would be overwhelmed by the Hindu Capitalists; he told the Muslim Merchants and traders that they needed a Muslim chamber of commerce or else the competition with the Hindus would destroy them completely.

When Nehru saw in the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow’s  statement a “divide and rule” psychology, he pleaded( a very touching letter indeed) to Jinnah not to succumb to this, but to no avail.
-Jinnah was cool and unresponsive. For him the Congress’s difficulties were the League’s opportunities. When Gandhi appealed to him a few months later for a united effort on behalf of India against the British, Jinnah replied that there were two nations in India, one Hindu and one Muslim.

The Congress ministers resigned in protest to the Viceroy’s divide and rule policy; The League’s newspaper ‘Dawn’, was funded by the British during this period.

-The job of unifying India was the dream of every nationalist. At the time when it appeared to be nearing fulfilment, the British authorities decided to play the Muslim card. 
-On 16th August 1946, 5000 people died in Calcutta as a result of the Muslim League’s ‘Direct Action Day.’

-The blood that has been spilt had made an early reconciliation between the Muslim League and Congress impossible. The Muslim Congress men, men of the calibre of Abul kalam Azad( a distinguished theologian and scholar who understood more about Islam than Jinnah ever would) Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and others were, opposed to any deals with league.

-(After partition) Abul Kalam Azad had appealed to Delhi Muslims not to flee to Pakistan. He had spoken in chaste and simple Urdu, appealing to the traditions of old Delhi, reminding them of Akbar’s reign, pleading with them not to leave their homes and telling them that, he Azad, would never leave Chandni Chowk for any so-called paradise(Pakistan).

-Reluctantly and with great sadness, Gandhi and Nehru had agreed to the partition. Very few believed that it would actually come to true.

-Even Jinnah had remained confused seeing the division as a separation rather than a divorce. He told his friends that he still hoped to spend some time every year in his favorite Indian city, Bombay. He had conceived of Pakistan as a mini-India with a sizable minority of Hindus and Sikhs.

-Mountbatten later recalled: Jinnah produced the strongest arguments why these provinces-Punjab and Bengal- should not be partitioned. He said they had national Characteristics and the partition would be disastrous. I agreed, but I said how much more must I now feel that the same considerations applied to portioning the whole of India....Finally he realised that either he could have a united  India with an unpartitioned Punjab and Bengal or a divided India with a partitioned P &B and he finally accepted the latter situation.

-Jinnah had brought religion into politics in an opportunist fashion, but he alone could not be held responsible for the debacle: he had merely taken advantage of the existing situations. Congress could not be absolved, for it had played its part in creating the overall situation.


Feroze Gandhi and Indira Nehru-Part VI

The Nehrus and the Gandhis-Part I  Part II Part III Part IV Part V 

Kamala was extremely fond of Feroze and she had been instrumental in bringing him to the nationalist movement. Indira had first met him at Allahabad when he joined the nationalist movement.

-Feroze had been a great admirer of Kamala Nehru who had inspired him by her Congress activities to join the nationalist movement. He had been in and out of Anand Bhavan, ready to do whatever work was needed for Kamala, and he had visited her regularly in Europe when she was dying. It was obvious that he had fallen in love with her Indu, and Kamala strongly approved, despite the fact he was not a Hindu, but a Parsi.......Jawaharlal was not particularly keen on the young man, though not for religious reasons. He had no real reason for his disapproval, except a father’s natural caution and over-protectiveness towards his daughter’s first suitor.

-Indira’s friendship with Feroze had grown in Britain. He was a face from home.
Indira said yes to Feroze’s proposal on the steps of Montmartre at Paris.

- “I don’t like Feroze, but I love  him.”-Indira’s confession to her friends.

-There was a certain class difference between them. She came from a wealthy urban background; He was from a petit bourgeois family. His sister Tehmina was a personal assistant to a school inspectress. Feroze never attempted to hide his origins, nor was he ashamed of them.

Even though both Indira’s aunts had married outside Kashmiri Brahmin sect and two of her cousins got married to Muslim & Jew, there was no disapproval from the family. But when it came to Indira, there was strong objection from her aunts and family. The only one reason was that Feroze came from a lower social class. But her granny, Kamala’s mother had no objections.  

When Nehru tried to gently dissuade Indira from this marriage, her indignant reply was that shortage of money didn’t matter as their politics were similar!
As mentioned elsewhere, Gandhiji and Nehru had to issue public letters on why they supported the Hindu-Parsi  marriage.

-DO NOT HURRY BACK.LIVE IN BEAUTY WHILE YOU MAY”. Nehru’s telegram to Indira during her honeymoon at Kashmir. But it didn’t last long due to quit India movement.

In London Feroze had worked with Indian communists to fight with fascism and unemployment. But during 1942, the communists favoured the British, to defend Soviet Union from Hitler’s attack. It seemed that the defence of Russia became more important to communists than India’s freedom. As a result, many including Feroze broke up with them. Both Feroze and Indira supported   Nehru’s analysis of the situation that free India would fight against Hitler alongside Britain and USSR .
Jawaharlal, Vijayaleksmi, Feroze & Indira,were among the one lakh nationalists who were arrested during the quit India movement.The shortest term was for Indira- 9 months and she was released on health grounds.

-Personal matters took a secondary place ( to them).

Mother Indira did her duties perfectly well without entrusting her sons to servants. But since they were settled at Lucknow and she had to commute between Delhi and Lucknow quite frequently that finally she decided to settle at Delhi with her father, who was virtually left alone.

Why did Indira decide to go back to her father?
-Feroze was caring, but too much of an extrovert, and she felt that he could manage for himself far more easily than her father....She respected her father’s politics. She was helping the country’s foremost politician, who also happened to be the Prime Minister. The thought of him on his own at Delhi, dependant simply on civil servants, without any love or family life was unbearable to her.

After Gandhiji’s assassination, -she was convinced that her father needed her more than ever before.

So that explains everything, it was not because he wanted to break up with Feroze. But the decision definitely hurt Feroze. But he could understand that she had no choice.

-Jawaharlal always treated Feroze correctly, but there was an unspoken tension between the two men.....Feroze could never relax in the great man’s presence (to which Indira couldn’t do much).

-Jawaharlal’s domestic style was very much coloured by Harrow and Cambridge. His table manners were exquisite, didn’t talk during his meals and he hated vulgarity in any form. Feroze’s eating habits were by contrast loud and he had an enormous reserve of off-colour jokes. He found the atmosphere at Teen Murthi house stifling and his visits decreased.

-Indira was caught in crossfire between the two men.

Feroze contested election and won at Rae Bareily. Instead of settling at PM’s house, he accepted a small bungalow provided to MP.

-At a Congress gathering, Nehru, with Indira sitting next to him on the dias, rebuked the delegates who had brought along their entire families. Feroze, who was seated amongst the delegates, remarked in a very loud voice:  “I did not bring my wife!”

Feroze was very much against overthrowing the elected communist Govt in Kerala-of course under the auspices of his wife- and he sharply denounced the leadership for this.

-Feroze was a progressive Congress man, strongly committed to the state sector, and an able and effective Member of Parliament.

It was a time when corruption was beginning to grow and Feroze uncovered a corruption scandal which led to a public inquiry and finally to the resignation of Finance Minister K.K.Krishnamachari, a favourite of Nehru. Result was that Feroze became extremely popular throughout the country.

Feroze suffered his second heart attack in 1960 while Indira was in Kerala. She rushed back to Feroze and sat by him all night. He died early morning. He was only 48 then.

- Indira was shattered. She had neglected Feroze in the belief that that they had their lives ahead of them and that after Jawaharlal died, she and Feroze would be alone.

-“It upset my whole being for years, he was  very, very ill and I should have expected that he would die. However, it was not just a mental shock, but it was as though somebody had cut me into two.”-Indira on Feroze’s death.

-Thousands of people had spontaneously lined up the route of his funeral and their grief was real.

-Feroze had never sunk to the level of an ordinary politician. That was the reason for his popularity.

If he had not died that early, India’s political fate would have been different from what it is now, I believe.