Rajiv Gandhi and Rama's Kingdomby Ved Mehta
Pub. Date: 09/28/1996
Publisher: Yale University Press
Mehta begins by describing the politics that swirled around Indira Gandhi during the last two years of her life - in particular, the growing hostility among Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims. He tells of the Sikhs' demand for special status, their uprising against the Hindus in the Punjab, the government's retaliation, the murder of Mrs. Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards,… See more details below
Mehta begins by describing the politics that swirled around Indira Gandhi during the last two years of her life - in particular, the growing hostility among Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims. He tells of the Sikhs' demand for special status, their uprising against the Hindus in the Punjab, the government's retaliation, the murder of Mrs. Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards, and the anti-Sikh rioting that followed. He goes on to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding Rajiv's election as his mother's successor; the change in atmosphere from optimism to disenchantment as Rajiv's government became mired in a kickback scandal; Rajiv's loss of office to V. P. Singh in the 1989 election; and his murder by a secessionist Tamil group from Sri Lanka in 1991. Throughout, Mehta provides vivid details of aspects of Indian history and culture, such as the impact of the accident at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, the debate between the judiciary and Muslim clerics over economic support of divorced Muslim women, the peculiarities of the Indian telephone system, and the effect of television and movies on Hindu revivalism. His lucid and incisive book is mandatory reading for those who wish to understand India today.
- Yale University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.43(w) x 8.14(h) x 0.61(d)
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Rajiv Gandhi, a scion to the world¿s most populous democratic monarchy was condemned, not by ambition but by circumstances, to be the ultimate prime minister of Independent India following the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi. As a prime minister he was a naïve politician, of course not efficient in the games of diplomacy as his mother was, and by the time he was contesting the general elections of 1991, he had very much become a power hungry status seeking politician, whose reputation was by then already tarnished by allegations of corruption, and mistrust within his own immediate political circle. But this book is not just about Rajiv Gandhi. It is also a book documenting the life of Indian politics from 1983-1993, which was an extremely important yet turbulent decade in the history of Independent India. The book begins with the infamous Indira Gandhi-Maneka Gandhi episode, the ostentatious 1982 Asian Games burkha veiled above the ugly face of Indian poverty, the government-led Operation Bluestar, and the retaliatory assassination of Mrs. Gandhi followed by the Hindu-Sikh riots running collaterally with the Sikh secessionist movements. The book also documents two important landmark judgments ¿ the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and the Shah Bano case ¿ laying a comprehensible background of the circumstances in which these cases occurred and the extent of unforeseeable repercussions that they generated having a substantial impact on Mr. Gandhi¿s governance and his Prime-Ministership. The book devotes some space to inform the reader of the Congress¿s precipitous decline in power resulting primarily from the blame attached to Mr. Gandhi and other Congress politicians in the Bofors scandal and the role of V. P. Singh in the uncovering of such a concealed scandal. Some episodes in the book are remote in the context of Rajiv Gandhi and his role as the head of government, but they are nonetheless important as they introduce the reader to some of the obscure challenges that India had faced and still continues to face as a `functioning democratic anarchy¿. The last chapters of the book focus on the rise of Hindu extremism and the Hindu revivalist movements and the much controversial Ayodhya issue. Throughout the entire text, the author stays objective in his perspective, which makes this book a good informative study.