The Italian Queen of Congress Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi recently shrugged off PM Narendra Modi as incomparable with her Mother-in-law Indira Gandhi. It was her ‘Interview of the decade’ with her pet Rajdeep Sardesai last year in November. A cozy tittle-tattle between Madame and her servant! Now, we can’t brush aside her claim in an off-handed way! After all Sonia has made a mark in Politics by being world’s fourth richest politician without holding any office! Let’s explore and compare the different aspects of these two tall leaders of the Indian Politics in the most unbiased way. Here goes PM Modi vs Indira Gandhi….
Education– Indira Gandhi was a disaster in studies and couldn’t pass any exam beyond Matriculation. Her rich father gave her undeserved opportunities in academics including the admission in Oxford University. But she came out shining as a ‘Dropout’ from all the Academic Institutions.
PM Modi is a Post Graduate. In 1978 Modi received a degree in Political Science through distance education course from Delhi University. And in 1982, he received a Masters of Arts degree in Political Science from Gujarat University.
A rich spoilt brat messing all the opportunities of academics in the World’s best Institutes and a tea vendor’s son completing his post-graduation against all odds…incomparable! Sonia was right!
Let’s move on.
Political Career– Indira’s main accomplishment in life was her ‘Birth’ in the Dynasty family of Congress Party. Prime Ministership was offered to her on a silver platter after the death of her father, Nehru. All the Congress slaves were at her feet as the successor of the Dynasty.
Unlike this ‘fairy tale’, PM Modi’s political journey is rather unglamorous. He had to sweat it out to climb the ladder of his political career. At the age of 21, he became a full time worker of RSS. During Emergency, Modi too was forced to go in hiding like all the non-Congress politicians. In 1985, RSS assigned him to BJP. For the next sixteen years, he raised in the party hierarchy step by step. In 2001, he became the General Secretary of BJP. In the same year, he became Gujarat Chief Minister. From 2001 to 2014, he won all the state assembly elections of Gujarat. In 2014 he won the Loksabha elections with thumping majority to become the Prime Minister of India!
A woman who became the PM due to her ‘Birth’ in a particular family and a poor tea seller rising from ground level with extreme hard work to become the PM …incomparable! Sonia was so right again!
Let’s move on.
Personal Character– Biographies of tall leaders are a source of inspiration for all. Let’s uncover the personal lives of these two leaders.
PM Modi ‘s personal life is an open book. Though forced into a child marriage, PM Modi did not consummate the marriage with Jasodaben as he wanted to dedicate his life for the nation. This sacrifice on the part of both has not been gone waste as we have the most hard-working and dedicated PM today. How so much the Media and the Opposition may wish to rake up some controversy about his personal life, they face disappointment.
Indira Gandhi’s life, on the other hand has been like an adult sex movie. A young Indira had a fling with her German teacher at Shanti Niketan which forced Ravindranath Tagore to drive her out of Shanti-Niketan. Later she fell in love with Feroze Khan/Ghandy and married him in London after converting to Islam. The marriage was unsuccessful one. She was unofficially separated from him after the birth of her first son, Rajiv. Her second son Sanjay was born out of her extramarital affair with Mohammad Yunus. Later she had one abortion from M O Mathai during their decade-long affair. Yoga guru, Dhirendra Brahmachari was the successor to Mathai. Her last sizzling affair was with her Foreign Minister, Dinesh Singh. (Source- ‘Nehru Dynasty’ by K N Rao, ‘The life of Indira Nehru Gandhi’ by Katherine Frank)
Personal character need not be necessarily the measure of Political prowess. Yet, one of them has sacrificed his personal happiness and dedicated his whole life for the politics while the other got entangled in numerous romantic affiliations with her colleagues…Well, it can’t be compared! Sonia was so very right!
Blemishes on the Political Career– Indira Gandhi has an unbeatable record in this category. ‘Emergency’ is the darkest period of Indian Democracy. Till date, Congressmen hang their heads in shame whenever ‘Emergency’ is mentioned. Indira’s another folly was ‘The Shimla agreement’. She wasted the golden opportunity after 1971 war to end the Kashmir crisis once and for all. She agreed to let 93000 Prisoners of War go back to Pakistan with the light promise from their side to work on the border issue. The controversial ‘Operation Bluestar’ was another ugly scar on her career wherein she ordered a deadly attack against Sikh separatists in the sacred Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1984. As far as Economy was concerned, Nehru and Indira halted the economic growth of the country and infected it with Licence Raj, corruption and bureaucracy over 4 decades. During her rule, she destroyed the structure of the Congress Party and centralized all the powers to herself. Her son Sanjay Gandhi pressurized her to exercise his whims in the politics. Mass forceful sterilization initiated by Sanjay Gandhi during Emergency is another big blot on Indira’s career.
PM Modi’s career is totally stain-free. Halfway through the term, PM Modi has exercised full transparency in the working of his Government. For the first time in the Indian History, there is a corruption-free top-level government. Unable to nail PM Modi in any case, the journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai always rake up 2002 riots of Gujarat when PM Modi was the CM of Gujarat. It’s another matter that Supreme Court has given PM Modi a clean chit in the issue. The opposition is so clueless that they attack PM Modi on insignificant issues like his ‘Foreign Trips’ and ‘Suit-boot’ and his ‘Degree’.
Positive Contribution – Indira Gandhi must be given credit for her step of Nationalizing the banks and General Insurance. This move helped common people to get loan facility from the banks. 1971 war against Pakistan and India’s early support to Bangladesh weakened Pakistan and helped India with secure borders.
PM Modi, in his short span of two and half years tenure, has achieved great heights. His Foreign policy and ‘Make in India’ Mission has attracted Foreign investment significantly. His Jan-Dhan Yojna has facilitated the poor people to connect with the bank. The e-Auction of Coal Blocks helped the Modi Government a profit of 2 Lakh Crore, just after UPA’s Coalgate scam of 1.82 Lakh Crore. PM Modi’s historic move of Demonetization has destroyed all the fake currency as well as stashed Black money in India. The Surgical Strike conducted by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has not just boosted the morale of Indians but also has put a scare in Pakistan. PM Modi has made the whole world stand with him against the terrorism of Pakistan. India is thankful to PM Modi for ‘World Yoga Day’. These are the few noticeable positive changes under Modi Government.
Now, the comparison between 16 years of Indira’s rule and just a half term of PM Modi is very unjustified. And yet, there doesn’t seem any comparison. Agree with Sonia!
Media Management– PM Narendra Modi is the only Prime Minister who has been most critically analyzed by the Media. The majority of Print and Mainstream Media has been abusing its lost and found ‘Freedom of Press’ fanatically since the day PM Modi was sworn in! The Paid Media paints PM Modi as the culprit for anything and everything! Be it a lynching of a minority person in Akhilesh’s government, be it a dalit’s suicide or be it a fake church attack. All the prominent journalists like Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai make no pretence of unbiased journalism and peddle their hate news against PM Modi.
Contrary to the present wayward ways of Media, Indira Gandhi had killed the ‘freedom of press’ not just during Emergency but throughout her rule! In fact, then I & B Minister I K Gujral had orders from PM Indira Gandhi that all the scripts of TV and Radio News Bulletins should be brought to her for glancing before the telecast. The media had become a puppet in the hands of Indira. During emergency, all the journalists who had previously written negative reviews about Indira were arrested and jailed.
An autocrat PM who controlled and used the media as her mouthpiece and a democratic PM who allows the media the rant lies against him 24/7………Totally incomparable! Sonia was right after all!
There are many aspects of comparison untouched in the write-up. The list is never-ending. Let me wind up here for the time being! We conclude with the assertion that there is no comparison between Indira Gandhi and PM Modi. Sonia was absolutely right!
Jyothi Suparna Chincholi**