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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently , the first Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate.
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Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal

Kamala Nehru married Jawaharlal at the young age of In Allahabad, she played a key role in organizing protests against stores selling foreign fabric and liquor. The first and, to date, the only woman to have served as prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi is a controversial figure to national historians. She served two terms as head of state — and An authoritarian rule and the imposition of a lengthy period of emergency saw her voted out in Re-elected three years later, she was assassinated by Sikh bodyguards and her death led to prolonged and violent anti-Sikh riots.

A politician and journalist, he married Indira Gandhi in March , after a nine-year courtship. His speech in the Parliament led to the resignation of T. Krishnamachari, who was the finance minster. Unfortunately, in , like his mother, Rajiv Gandhi too was assassinated - at a public meeting in Sriperumbudur.


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The two wed three years later and had two children — a son, Rahul, and a daughter, Priyanka. She entered active politics in , when she became president of the Indian National Congress. She led the party to victory in the general election but refused to take charge as prime minister, suggesting, instead, that Manmohan Singh take the post. The longest-serving president of the party, she resigned in , making way for Rahul. He is also a member of parliament, representing the constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh; he first won the seat and retained it in and The couple has two children — a son, Raihan, and a daughter, Miraya.

Although she is a member of one of the most politically active and influential families in the country, Priyanka Gandhi has yet to enter active politics.

Instead, she has focused on helping her mother, Sonia, and brother, Rahul, in their campaigns, and working directly with the people of the constituencies represented by the two — Rae Bareli and Amethi. However, his early death — he died in an aviation accident — catapulted his older brother into the limelight. Sanjay was appointed Secretary General of the party a month before his death. She has served as a minister in four governments and has been elected from the Pilibhit constituency in Uttar Pradesh six times; twice with the Janata Dal and twice with the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP.

He won the Pilibhit seat in , beating the nearest candidate, V. Singh, by nearly , votes.

GANDHI-NEHRU Correspondence

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Before dismissing the suggestion as ludicrous, consider its logic. A hereditary monarch provides the comfort of continuity against a backdrop of rapid economic and social change. The best ones also take over the brunt of ceremonial duties at both home and abroad, allowing the executive to focus on governance.

In many of the other parliamentary democracies cleaved from the Empire, Queen Elizabeth II still acts as head of state. This is probably a nonstarter for India, which is proud of its independence struggle and wary of foreign influence. Who needs to import a royal family when you have a perfectly serviceable one of your own?

Indeed, in India, the transition to monarchy would be virtually seamless. Many Indians, from captains of industry, to normally hard-bitten journalists, to star-struck society hostesses, already treat the Nehru-Gandhis like royalty. A cabal of courtiers and party officials zealously guards their privacy and shapes their public image. The family itself acts like royalty, gently floating above the rough and tumble of national discourse.

But just as John F.

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But things would likely have turned out differently had independence movement leader Mohandas K. Gandhi not taken a shine to the articulate and energetic Jawaharlal. From the s onward, Gandhi transformed Congress from a party of petition posting lawyers to a mass movement. At independence in , the Mahatma backed Nehru to become prime minister over Sardar Patel, a leader better known for organizational skills than charisma.

Nehru ruled until his death in According to Ramachandra Guha , whose magisterial India After Gandhi is the go-to work on post-Independence history, Nehru "had no hope or desire that his daughter would succeed him.

Not Rajiv but Nehru started tradition of using Navy warships for vacationing in 1950

She served her first term as Congress president in while her father was prime minister. Indira — whose legendary imperiousness earned her the moniker "the Empress" — acquired her last name through marriage to Feroze Gandhi , a minor freedom fighter unrelated to the father of the nation. But in a poor land with widespread illiteracy, the coincidence of her famous last name could not have hurt her political prospects.

When her favored younger son, Sanjay, died in a plane crash in , his older brother, Rajiv, took his place as heir apparent. Rajiv succeeded his mother, and served one term as prime minister In , a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber assassinated him on the campaign trail as he sought a comeback two years after losing an election.

For seven years, his Italian-born widow, Sonia Gandhi, stayed out of active politics before taking over the party in It took another six years before she led Congress to a shock victory over the right-of-center National Democratic Alliance in Likely fearing a backlash over her foreign origin and lack of policy smarts, Sonia handed over the reins of government to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

But from her perch as party leader, she nonetheless occupies the same substantive position as Rajiv, Indira, and Nehru before her: the most powerful politician in India. Key cabinet appointments, and even some senior bureaucrats, trace their authority to Gandhi — not Singh. To make sense of this, let us imagine the Nehru-Gandhis as monarchs rather than modern politicians.

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India already treats the family like royalty. Quite simply, the subject is taboo. Or how about the fact that even though he has been a member of Parliament for eight years, nobody is quite sure what Rahul Gandhi stands for. Is the Maoist insurgency active in large swathes of central and eastern India an existential threat to the nation or an exaggerated one? Since ideology in a family-based party is whatever the family thinks, this matters. In an unusual burst of candor earlier this month, senior Congress Party leader and Law Minister Salman Khurshid declared that "we need an ideology to be given by our next generation leader Rahul Gandhi to move forward.

But if they were titular rulers, such reticence would be par for the course. No Briton has to worry that an unelected cabal around the Queen will suddenly rejigger the National Health Service or decide that everyone deserves a lifetime supply of free fish and chips. Quite simply, for all its drawbacks, the family would do a better job than most recent Indian presidents.

Mrs Gandhi India's Choice (1966)

Thanks to generations of marriage outside their small Kashmiri Brahmin community and a long stint in the public eye, the Nehru-Gandhis are pan-Indian figures, not closely identified with any particular region or caste. Abdul Kalam, a Tamil Muslim, etc. As power devolves to the states, regional identities rise to the fore, and integration into the global economy causes social dislocation, a pan-Indian monarch with instant name recognition may have a calming presence. Thanks to a quirk of history, and their own clever exertions over the decades, no other family in India is nearly as qualified to perform this role as the Nehru-Gandhis.