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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

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A Gandhi Worth Remembering.

If there was ever a Gandhi from the Nehru-Gandhi clan who could stand against what’s wrong and who expressed views uninfluenced by the greed for power and who upheld what was right and just even though it was against his own kith and kin.  This Gandhi we are talking here is not the Gandhi who wanted power and who was capable of doing everything possible to retain it, this is also not the Gandhi who won the highest ever majority in the parliament and could still not bring the revolution from paper to reality and it is not even the Gandhi who in the disguise of sacrifice runs a pseudo government. This Gandhi in discussion is Feroze Gandhi, a man worth remembering.

    On December 16, 1957, to be exact — there took place in the Lok Sabha one of those memorable debates that have, alas, become a thing of the past. A young man stood up in the Lok Sabha and started speaking, better to say roaring. He was exposing out the first scam in the parliamentary democracy of India, though he belong to the Treasury bench. His father-in-law, the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru was hearing the thundering words. Nothing prevented Feroze Gandhi from exposing corruptions. The scam in question here is touted as the first ever financial and corruption scandal of Independent India which is known as 'Mundhra Scandal'.  In June 1957 the public-sector Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) had bought 1.24 crore, or 12.4 million rupees, worth of fraudulent stock in six companies owned by Haridas Mundhra, a Calcutta-based businessman. The investment was the largest that LIC had made in its short history, but contrary to regulations, its investment committee had not been consulted on the decision. Ostensibly, the shares were purchased by LIC to stabilize the market; in reality, they had the effect of bailing out a suspect businessman, and the puzzling order to do so seemed to have come from within the highest reaches of government. The crusade to demand an explanation for LIC’s decision was led, in an odd soap-operatic twist, by Feroze Gandhi, son-in-law to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In his speeches in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Gandhi charged that the principal finance secretary, H.M. Patel, and the finance minister, Mr. Krishnamachari, had pushed LIC’s investment through.
   Feroze Gandhi was quoted saying in the house, "Mr. Speaker, there is going to be some sharp shooting and hard hitting in the House today, because when I hit I hit hard and expect to be hit harder. I am fully conscious that the other side is also equipped with plentiful supplies of TNT."  The hit was so hard that it resulted in the resignation of finance minister, termination of finance secretary and imprisonment of Mundhra.  This glimpse of Feroze Gandhi’s life shows an exemplary example of being a Parliamentarian in true spirit and fight against injustice and corruption inspite of the fact that it is against one’s own party or family.
   It is indeed a sad situation that this man today stands as a forgotten Gandhi inspite of the fact that he was one Gandhi who could not reconcile with injustice and corruption which in the present day are associated with the family and party that he once belonged to. He never took the pride in being the son-in-law of prime minister unlike the Gandhi's today who are said to have excellent credentials only based on their legacies.  According to Chalapathi Rao, a well known journalist and friend of Feroze "He was a bundle of impulses but bound together by idealism". So let's remember this Gandhi who is worth remembering for the kind of standards that he has set in being a parliamentarian and not taking pride in legacies.

   



About The Author:-

    Manoj Reddy 
   3rd Year, BBA-LLB (Hons.)
   FOL, IFHE Hyderabad

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