New Indira Gandhi biography casts light on life, politics


New Delhi: A new biography of India’s late prime minister Indira Gandhi tries to throw candid light on her personality against the backdrop of her family and politics.

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“Indira Gandhi: Revolution in Restraint” by Uma Vasudev chronicles Gandhi’s life as a politician in context of her grandfather Motilal Nehru’s fortunes and the early beginnings of India’s struggle for independence, the plunge of the Nehru family into politics, the change in personal and political values induced by Mahatma Gandhi, the influence of her father Jawaharlal Nehru, and her emergence as a political being.

The writer has used unpublished correspondence from the Nehru Papers to unearth little-known facts about Gandhi, a statement by the publisher said. The book, published by Subhi Publications, has over 150 photographs.

According to Vasudev, the biography is based on personal interviews with Indira Gandhi, her prominent political colleagues, and her relatives and close friends.

Indira Gandhi twice served as prime minister 1966-77 and 1980-4. She was assassinated in 1984.

Still an enigma for many, while she was perhaps the most progressive leader who took bold steps to ensure progress of the nation, her decision to promulgate an emergency in June 1975 took many by surprise – a fact that the book tries to explore.

The book narrates her personal story, her relations with her mother and father, her relatives, her wedding, her husband’s death, her attitudes and tastes, gradual shedding of her personal life and the near total politicisation of her time and inclination is interwoven with external events that frame the political history of modern India, the publisher said.

Freelance columnist and writer Uma Vasudev, who has authored three political biographies of Indira Gandhi, explores a wide range from history to fiction.

The book will be released by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Nov 14 at the India International Centre here.

The launch will be accompanied by a discussion presided by M.G.K Menon. The speakers will include Congress leader Karan Singh, former diplomat Chinmaya S. Gharekhan, author Inder Malhotra, politician Bhishma Narain Singh, Culture Secretary Jawahar Sircar and Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid.