Banu Jahangir'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”