H C Singh

Shashi Tharoor on Indira Gandhi

As a realist, Shashi Tharoor seems to be having more criticism than praise for Indira Gandhi, particularly because for virtually no reason she imposed state of Emergency in 1971 for the first time in India since independence. Ordinarily if an ordinary and unknown judge of Allahabad had ‘convicted’ her on technical ground for electoral malpractice. She could ordinarily appeal against this Judgement in the higher Court, even, if need be in Supreme Court and waited for final order of the higher or highest court. But it was not to be, Indira Gandhi was impatient, hungry for power even by undemocratic means as has been quoted by Guha in the following passage: which proves glaring undemocratic feeling and action by Congress under Indira Gandhi.

“During 1972 elections congress won in 13 states including Bihar MP and Maharashtra. However in West Bengal Congress used all undemocratic means to come to power “mixture of terror intimidation and fraud. Gangs of hooligans stuffed ballot boxes with the police idly looking on. There was mass scale rigging in Calcutta—goondas paid by the congress told voters assembled outside polling stations that they might as well go home, since they had already cast all the registered votes” (Quoted by Guha from eye witness account)

Shashi Tharoor, too, thinks of Indira Gandhi, skilled in acquisition of “power by all means, fair and foul. She could not bear or stomach defeat,” in Shashi Tharoor’s own words.

“Mrs. Gandhi was skilled at the acquisition and maintenance of power, but hopeless at the wielding of it for larger purposes. She had no real vision or program beyond the expedient campaign; “remove poverty” was a mantra without a method.

In a very brief account of Operation Blue Star and with no mention at all of Rajiv Gandhi’s indirect collusion with massacre of Sikhs for four days since he was sworn in as PM, and not ad-hoc PM like Gulzari Lal Nanda, immediately after Indira’s assassination, Rajiv Gandhi did not call the Army nor instruct the senior congressmen to stop the onslaught on Sikhs. About Indira Gandhi, Tharoor says “Mrs Indira Gandhi never understood the extent to which so many Sikhs saw ‘Blue Star’ as a betrayal” in the horror of anti-Sikh riots that followed it, which saw whole families burned alive for the Sin of sharing the religion of her assassins.

On Mrs Gandhi’s encouragement and reported financing of Bhinderan-wale

Tharoor writes:

As the murders mounted, Mrs Gandhi had little choice but to destroy the monster( Bhinderan-wale) she herself spawned and finally violated a basic tenet of Indian state by sending armed troops into a place of worship, the historic Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out the terrorists holed up there………. But her real fault lay in having created the problem in the first place and in letting it mount to the point where destructive force of ‘Operation Blue Star seemed the only solution.’

The assault on Golden Temple alienated many Sikhs like eminent writer and journalist, Khushwant Singh whose patriotism was unquestionable. However Indira Gandhi’s assassination was unfortunate though it was a reaction to attack on Golden Temple, the most sacred Gurdwara worshiped by the Sikhs all over the world. Though she had been advised or warned by her own intelligence to remove her Sikh body guards as they feared that as Dyer who ordered Jallianwala Bagh massacre was killed by Udham Singh, something like that may happen to her. But Indira Gandhi did not accept their advice. Had she accepted this advice many feel that she might not have been assassinated and thousands of more Sikhs might not have lost their lives in the first week of November 1984.

December 17, 2009 - Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics, Shashi Tharoor, Terrorism, World History | , , , , ,

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