About Feroze Gandhi
Feroze Gandhi (12 September 1912 – 8 September 1960) was an Indian politician and journalist, and publisher of the The National Herald and 'The Navjivan' newspapers from Lucknow.
He became the member of the provincial parliament (1950—52), and later a member of the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of India's parliament. In 1942 he married Indira Nehru (later Prime Minister of India) and they had two sons Rajiv Gandhi (also later a Prime Minister) and Sanjay Gandhi, and thus became part of the Nehru dynasty.
Feroze Gandhi was born in Bombay, to a Parsi family from Gujarat. He was the youngest child among four siblings, with father Jehangir Faredoon , a marine engineer and mother Rattimai. His family had migrated to Bombay from Bharuch in South Gujarat, where his ancestral home which belonged to his grandfather, still exists in Kotpariwad, city’s Parsi neighbourhood.
His family was not related to that of Mahatma Gandhi.:p93
In early 1920s, with his father Jehangir Faredoon dead, he and his mother Rattimai Faredoon moved to Allahabad to live with their unmarried aunt, Dr. Shirin Commissariat, a well known surgeon at city's Lady Dufferin Hospital. He attended the Vidya Mandir High School, and then graduated from the British-staffed Ewing Christian College. Later, he was to study at the London School of Economics.
In March 1930, the youth wing of Congress Freedom fighters, the Vanar Sena was formed, subsequently Feroze first met Kamala Nehru and Indira at women demonstrators picketing outside his college, Ewing Christian College, Allahabad, it so happened that under the mid-day sun Kamala fainted and young Feroze who was watching the demonstrators along with his friends rushed to comfort her. The next day, he abandoned his studies in 1930 to join the Indian independence movement. He was imprisoned in 1930, along with Lal Bahadur Shastri, head of Allahabad District Congress Committee, and lodged in Faizabad Jail for nineteen months. Soon after his release, he going agrarian no-rent campaign in the United Province (Uttar Pradesh) and thus was imprisoned twice in 1932 and 1933, while working closely with Nehru.
Feroze grew close to the Nehru family, especially Indira's mother Kamala Nehru and Indira herself. He even accompanied ailing Kamala Nehru to the TB Sanatorium at Bhowali in 1934 and was visited by both Indira and Nehru (from Almora Jail) in December, and seeing his devotion to Kamala, Nehru was deeply impressed. Feroze stayed with Kamala till she left Europe when her condition worsened in April 1935, never to return as she eventually died in 1936 in Laussane, Switzerland. In the following years, Indira and Feroze grew further closer to each other while in England. They married in March 1942 according to Hindu rituals.
His father-in-law was strongly opposed to his marriage with the young Indira and even approached Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to dissuade the young couple, but to no avail. However, over the years, father-in-law and son-in-law resolved their differences, especially with Feroze adopting Gandhiji's ideology. The couple were arrested and jailed in August 1942, during the Quit India Movement less than six months after their marriage, he was imprisoned for a year in Allahabad's Naini Central Prison. The coming five years were of comfortable domestic life and the couple had two sons, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, born in 1944 and 1946 respectively.
After independence, Jawaharlal became the first Prime Minister of India. Feroze and Indira settled in Allahabad with their two young children, and Feroze became Managing Director of The National Herald, a newspaper founded by his father-in-law. He was also the first chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Limited.
After remaining a member of the provincial parliament (1950-1952), Feroze Gandhi contested independent India's first general elections in 1952, from Rae Bareli constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Indira came down from Delhi and worked as his campaign organizer, and he won. Feroze soon became a prominent force in his own right, criticizing the Government of his father-in-law and beginning a tirade against corruption.
In the years after independence, many Indian business houses had become close to the political leaders, and now some of them started various financial irregularities. In a case exposed by Feroze in Dec 1955, he revealed how Ram Kishan Dalmia, as chairman of a bank and an insurance company, used these companies to fund his takeover of Bennett and Coleman started transferring money illegally from publicly-held companies for their own benefit.
In 1957, he was re-elected from Rae Bareli. In the parliament in 1958, he raised the Haridas Mundhra scandal involving the government controlled LIC insurance company. This was a huge embarrassment to the clean image of Nehru's government and eventually led to the resignation of the Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari. His rift with Indira had also become public knowledge by then, and added to the media interest in the matter.
Feroze also initiated a number of nationalization drives, starting with the Life Insurance Corporation. At one point he also suggested that Telco be nationalized since they were charging nearly double the price of a Japanese Railway engine. This raised a stir in the Parsi community since the Tatas were also Parsi. He continued challenging the government on a number of other issues, and emerged as a parliamentarian well-respected on both sides of the bench.
Feroze suffered his first heart attack in 1958. Indira who stayed with her father at Teen Murti House, the official Prime ministers residence, was away with her father on state visit to Bhutan rushed back and took him to recuperate in Kashmir, where with their young boys, they were together again. However, Feroze died in 1960 of a second heart attack at the Willingdon Hospital, now Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Delhi. He was later cremated and his ashes interred at the Parsi cemetery in Allahabad, the town where his eldest brother Fardiun's son, Rustom Gandhi's family still lives.
His Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency seat, is now being held by his daughter-in-law, and wife of Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandh
Feroze Gandhi's Timeline
September 12, 1912
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Feroze Gandhi : The Forgotten Gandhi of India
More than fifty years ago, a young elegant 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.
He started: “A mutiny in my mind has compelled me to raise this debate. When things of such magnitude, as I shall describe to you later, occur, silence became a crime…..”
It went on, when with several counter arguments with the then Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari, while the Lok Sabha heard it with pin drop silence. Indian democracy was first experiencing this shocking situation. “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,” continues Feroze
‘Feroze Gandhi – The Political Biography’, the recently released book by veteran parliamentarian Shashi Bhushan is a real tribute to the ‘forgotten’ Gandhi of Indian politics. The book enumerates the struggles lead by Feroze Gandhi and his bombarding speeches in Lok Sabha against the corruption.
The speeches of Feroze on the corruption against the Dalmia – Jain gives the outline of how the corporate men grow over public money. It is unthinkable for a politician to bring the corruption charges against media barons. Feroze exposed Dalmia- Jain’s take over of Bennett and Colman by siphoning the funds of Gwalior Bank and Bharat Insurance. They were the directors of these banking and insurance companies and transferred the money for their own company, which lead to the immediate collapse of the public institutions.
No corporate men saved from Feroze’s hard hitting against corruption. Birlas, Goenka (“not the one running a newspaper, this is another Goenka running banks,” Feroze once clarified”) were exposed by Feroze for using public money by running banks and insurance companies and transferring it to their own business.
When some alleged that Feroze was doing these all for Tata’s, as bother were parzis, next came against Tata. Feroze found Telco was making money from railways by supplying locomotive engines at an exorbitant rate. With evidence Feroze exposed Telco for charging more than double for an engine to railways, which lead to exit for Tata and formation of locomotive workshops in public sector.
While immersed in the political crusades and fight against the post-independence monopoly of corporates, he continued his association with journalism as a Managing Director of National Herald and also associated with the Indian Express editorial team.
As a true socialist, Feroze was the mentor of most of the public sector undertakings in India, including the nationalization of LIC, Indian Oil. Born in a rich family, he went to jail at the age of 18. he can’t be a mute spectator, when freedom struggles were going outside the fortress of his bungalow. The young revolutionary was ‘nuisance’ to his aunt, who was the head of the medical services in Allahabad. She has to file apologies to British government, as and when the nephew was caught.
Fed up with the son’s activities, mother met Gandhiji and requested to advice feroze to concentrate on studies. Hearing the complaints, Gandhiji said : “Your son is a revolutionary. If I get seven persons like him, India would be free in seven days”.
The author Shashi Bhushan made a good effort to bring out the political biography of a person who was son-in-law, husband, and father of three prime minister’s of India. The 230-page book dedicated to Rajiv Gandhi is mainly focusing on the political life of the real young turk of India. It had only few pages on the controversial personal and married life of Feroze Gandhi and it completely in a gazette nature.
Describing the jovial mood of the marriage ceremony, author end the chapter abruptly :
But a mention by Jawaharlal Nehru is enough for the reader to assess the personal life of Feroze, who passed away in 1960 at the age of 48. Seeing the huge crowd, assembled for cremation, Nehru said : “I did not know that Feroze was so popular”
London, United Kingdom
GANDHI’S FAMILY TREE WORTH SPENDING 15 MINUTES TO READ
August 20, 1944
December 14, 1946
September 8, 1960
New Delhi, Delhi, India
September 10, 1960
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India