Feroze Gandhi: The Forgotten Gandhi

Feroze Gandhi (1912 – 1960) is often remembered as Indira Gandhi’s husband and Jawaharlal Nehru’s son-in-law. But who was Feroze Gandhi? A Congress worker, a young freedom fighter, a parliamentarian, or just another Gandhi?

Diving into the history of the Nehru–Gandhi family, the Swedish journalist Bertil Falk brings together his 40-year old research in this biography of Feroze Gandhi. Including some rare photographs, first-hand interviews of people close to Feroze and personal experiences of the author, this volume brings to light his significant, yet unrecognized, role as a parliamentarian, in cases such as the Mundhra case, Life Insurance and Freedom of Press Bill. It also busts some myths about Feroze’s controversial origin, his personal life, his importance as a politician and his relationship with the Nehrus.

With interesting details about Feroze as a young boy in Allahabad, to his years as a freedom fighter, journalist, Congressman and a politician, this volume examines the chronology of events that shaped the life of Feroze.

Feroze with younger son Sanjay, born in December 1946. Both Rajiv and Sanjay loved spending time with their father building models of planes, ships and toys. Courtesy NMML, New Delhi

Feroze and Indira Nehru on their way back to India from Europe. It was after her return that Indira first spoke to Nehru about her decision to marry Feroze. Courtesy NMML, New Delhi

A note from the author, Bertil Falk –

The struggle for freedom of speech continues eternally. This is also the case in India, which its turbulent history from 1947 and beyond the Emergency of 1975 shows. One important problem, even long before Independence, was related to greater access to information, namely, the right to report the goings-on in different legislatures without running the risk of reprisals. On the floor, anything could be said in the Parliament, but if a newspaper quoted an accusation conveyed on the floor of, for example, the Lok Sabha, the responsible editor could be sued.’

‘The situation has changed now. There is transparency. The political as well as the technical evolution has transcended the visions of Feroze Gandhi – I imagine far beyond his wildest dreams. Not only is the Freedom of Information Act 2002, a fact, the right to report what has been said in the Parliament is realized to the extent that the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha debates are being televised. But even before that evolution, the Indian press was powerful and some of the newspapers and magazines produced in India belong to the best in the world. In this sense, the democratic legacy of Feroze Gandhi for sure transcends the legacy of his wife, Indira Gandhi.’

Bertil Falk and Indira Gandhi. Photo – Katrina Falk

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