The third generation f the Nehru family is beginning to make its mark in Indian politics.
The third generation f the Nehru family is beginning to make its mark in Indian politics. Mr. Sanjay Gendhi is emerging as a youth leader in his own right. He is the son of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gendhi, and grandson of India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Throughout the seventeen years of his premiership, Mr. Nehru was a widower; and his daughter Indira became a familiar figure in the world's capitals, accompanying her father on his foreign visits and acting as his hostess at official functions at home. She was not chosen as Mr. Nehru's immediate successor when he died in May, 1964 But when Lal Behadur Shastri died suddenly in Tashkent less than two years later, Mrs. Gandhi became Prime Minister. She has recently completed ten continuous years in office.
Mrs. Gandhi is a widow -- her husband, Feroze Gandhi, a newspaper editor, died in 1960. She has sons. Sanjay, who is 29, is the younger. His elder brother, Rajiv, who is 31, is a pilot with India Airlines, the country's domestic carrier, and is not active in politics.
Sanjay Gandhi was 18 when his grandfather died, and the duty fell to him to light the funeral pyre on which Nehru's body was created. In the years since then, he has been mainly engaged in a commercial enterprise---designing and producing a small popular car, the Maruti (the "Tempest"). This brought some unfavourable publicity on both him and Mrs. Gandhi, as opposition politicians alleged that he had improperly received preferential treatment in getting a license for its manufacture Though critics demanded that Mrs. Gandhi should dissociate herself more clearly from her son's business activities, he continued to accompany her on a number of public and official occasions.
In the past year, Sanjay Gendhi has begun to build a considerable reputation in politics. In January, he was elected to the executive committee of the youth wing of the ruling Congress Party. He is in demand as a public speaker. With his famous name, he is sometimes greeted by the crowds with shouts of "Sanjay Gandhi zindabad" ("Long live Sanjay Gandhi") -- the sort of greeting usually accorded only to national leaders.
Recently, he has been on a speaking tour of India's largest state, Vttar Pradesh, and wherever he went, vast crowds turned out to cheer him. His main object was to mobilise support among the young people for Mrs. Gandhi's 20-point economic programme, which she introduced with the state of emergency last summer. But he also has a four-point programme of his own. This calls on the people to clean up the towns and villages; each plant a tree every year; for the abolition of the dowry for brides; and for family planning. His slogan for controlling the birthrate is "Two is Enough".
SYNOPSIS: A relative newcomer to the political scene in India, but both the son and grandson of Prime Ministers: that's Sanjay Gandhi. His mother is the present Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. His grandfather was the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
When Nehru paid official visits abroad, he often took his daughter, Mrs. Gandhi, with him -- as he did when he went to the United States in President Kennedy's time. Nehru was then a widower. His daughter was his close companion and acted as his hostess at home.
Nehru died in May, 1964, and his body was cremated with traditional Hindu ceremony. Sanjay Gandhi, who was eighteen, had the duty of lighting his grandfather's funeral pyre. For a short time, with his passing, the family were out of the centre of the political stage in India. But within two years, his successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, had also died, and Mrs. Gandhi became Prime Minister. She has held the office ever since.
Sanjay often accompanies her on public occasions -- as when they went to pay tribute to her father's memory. He has also brought criticism on her. It was alleged that he was favoured in obtaining a manufacturing license.
Sanjay Gandhi, who is 29, is now emerging as a political figure in his own right. Three months ago, he was elected to the executive committee of the youthwing of the ruling Congress Party.
He is popular as a public speaker, and with his famous name of ten gets the sort of reception more appropriate to a national leader.
The object of his tour, early this month, of Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India, was to mobilise the support of the young people for his mother's 20-point economic programme. This was introduced when the state of emergency was proclaimed last June.
But he also has a four-point programme of his own. He says: clean up the towns and villages; plant a tree every year; abolish the dowry for brides; and limit the size of families. His slogan for family planning is: "Two is Enough".