Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi

Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi

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by Pranay Gupte
     
 

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This is a sweeping biography of the life of Indira Gandhi, one of the great leaders of the twentieth century. It is the story of a remarkable woman who rose to become prime minister of a troubled India, an India of more than 900 million people. The daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, himself a prime minister before her, she grew up in a household fiercely dedicated to… See more details below

Overview

This is a sweeping biography of the life of Indira Gandhi, one of the great leaders of the twentieth century. It is the story of a remarkable woman who rose to become prime minister of a troubled India, an India of more than 900 million people. The daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, himself a prime minister before her, she grew up in a household fiercely dedicated to independence from England. Her parents spent much of their time as political prisoners. Indira spent much of her time in school or alone. When she was still a teenager, she raised money for the freedom movement and organized rallies; and although she studied at Oxford, she never doubted that she would devote her life to her country. With her mother dead, she accompanied Nehru on all of his state visits. It was her initiation into a political career of her own. As prime minister, Mrs. Gandhi wielded great power. She struggled ceaselessly to bring India into the modern world; she committed herself to programs to better the life of the people; she tirelessly promoted nonalignment and nuclear disarmament. But she was continually beleaguered by conflicts with the Muslims of Pakistan and the Sikhs of Punjab. As Pranay Gupte vividly recounts, these difficulties made Mrs. Gandhi more militant and more eager for control. She became self-interested, let corruption seep into her government, promised much, and delivered little. In the end, she made scores of enemies, and on October 31, 1984, she was assassinated by two bodyguards in her garden. In this stunning portrait, we have a trenchant analysis of a shrewd and deft political figure - a genius in her own right, bitterly opposed by many, but for millions of the masses she was always "Mother India," the embodiment of a thousand goddesses, "the symbol of shakti, or divine strength."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A bountiful mother figure to her legions of admirers, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) is unsparingly portrayed as an arrogant ruler enamored of her celebrity status and a key cause of her country's woes in this acerbic, compulsively readable political biography. According to Gupte, a columnist for International Newsweek who was born and raised in India, Gandhi substituted vague socialist ``mantras'' for concerted economic transformation and looked the other way when her close associates engaged in wholesale corruption. Her ``paranoid attachment to power'' is held responsible for the fissure in 1969 of her Congress Party, which led to the disintegration of secular, centralist politics in India. Blending lively firsthand reportage with astute political analysis, Gupte draws up a useful scorecard of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's missed opportunities for increasing productivity, distributing income and trimming a gargantuan bureaucracy. The book is also critical of Rajiv Gandhi's vacillating reign hobbled by corruption and maladministration. Photos. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Intended as both a political biography of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and a 20th-century history of India, this journalistic work falls dreadfully short of the mark on each point. The results encompass a biography lacking focus and analysis and a contemporary history possessing a few cobbled-together facts, many of which are dead wrong. Drifting through a poorly organized text are personal comments on the author's response to events, which contain little meaning or purpose. On too many occasions Gupte's few significant remarks on Indira's corruption or Rajiv's administrative shallowness are buried in tons of trivialities. Mother India is not recommended; readers will be better served by the crisp, focused, factual work of Inder Malhotra's Indira Gandhi ( LJ 3/15/91).-- John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Booknews
A rivetting biography of the remarkable woman who rose to become Prime Minister of a troubled India of more than 900 million people, and also a history of 20th-century India and a political assessment of its present prospects. Includes 16 pages of photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143068266
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/25/2012
Pages:
660
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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