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25 years later

The article “Twenty-five years later” by Pranay Gupte (Oct. 31) was moving. Indira Gandhi was an outstanding Prime Minister. The goongi gudia, as she was initially described, became a force to reckon with when she nationalised major banks in one stroke, and stuck to the decision against stiff opposition from some of her own party colleagues. The country’s progress had a second start from this one act — the first after Independence. Her decision to come to the rescue of the Bengalis in East Pakistan, notwithstanding American pressure, was a bold one. She had great respect for traditional values, which was evident from many of her actions.

S. Chidambaresa Iyer,

Chennai

* * *

Twenty-five years have passed far too quickly since the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards, and the subsequent massacre of Sikhs. She was variously described as a steely woman, iron lady, authoritarian ruler, the only man in her Cabinet, butcher of democracy and so on. The judgment of her legacy still defies unanimity.

As the daughter of India’s first Prime Minister and then as Prime Minister in her own right, she dominated the country’s political scene for over 35 years. The country she so loved has forgiven her failings.

G. David Milton,

Maruthancode

* * *

Indira Gandhi’s reign was significant in many respects. It saw the government nationalising banks and some other vital sectors. The much-touted ‘garibi hatao’ scheme was launched amid great publicity and fanfare but it did nothing except creating vote banks. Corruption became rampant. The generous loan melas created a feeling among many that loans were never to be repaid. Most important, Indira Gandhi never concealed her determination to keep power to herself, and this led to sycophancy and favouritism assuming new dimensions in the power corridors of Delhi and other Congress-ruled States. The legacy continues to date.

K. Muralidharan,

Palakkad

* * *

The political scenario has seen several upheavals and changes since Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. The opposition parties have brought up the issue of dynastic rule in the Congress in every election.

But the leanings towards the “First Family” have only strengthened the Congress and kept away internal bickering. Indira Gandhi was a popular and charismatic world leader who ruled with an iron-fist. She owned the Congress during her time.

Sunil P. Shenoy,

Mangalore

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