Author: Katherine Frank
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0002556464
In this beautifully written and engaging biography, Katherine Frank explores the personal and political fate of the leader of the world's largest democracy - ma woman who played a dominant role in the history of the twentieth century, and when it ended, was voted Woman of the Millennium.
On the morning of 31 October 1984, as she walked through her garden, smiling, hands raised and palms pressed together in the traditional Indian namaste greeting, Indira Nehru Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards. She died as she had lived, surrounded by men, yet isolated. It was a violent end to a life of epic drama.
Brought up during an era which saw the rise of Indian nationalism, she was raised to be what her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, called ' a child of the revolution' - strong in body and mind, destined to play a political role in the creation and governing of an independent India. Despite her early reluctance to embrace this role, and despite, too, ill-health and a shy, self-contained personality, Indira would become one of history's most powerful and significant leaders, presiding over a huge, complex, religiously-riven and male-dominated country.
Indira was India. Throughout childhood, love, marriage, imprisonment, mother-hood and a sequence of personal and family tragedies, her personal hopes and desires would be continually subsumed by the historical and political imperatives of her country.
This engrossing biography captures the longings and loneliness of Mrs. G. . . It takes a biographer like Katherine Frank to redeem Mrs. G from the cloud of myth. And as she sets off to paraphrase the life of one of the 20th century's engrossingly enigmatic women, what emerges is a multidimensional story of power and paranoia, of love and longing, of suppressed sighs and unsolicited martyrdom. From day one, hers wasn't a normal life and it would remain so till the day the assassin's bullets put an end to it. The blossoming of Mrs. G, the headline-catching Empress of India, is still green in the collective memory of India. And therein lies a story of dynasty and dictatorship, of overwhelming charisma and national catharsis. ---INDIA TODAY
It's a brave biographer who will take on the subject of Indira Gandhi's sex life. ... The new biography is indeed a remarkable story of the woman in Indira, controversially focusing on her intimate side - from her first love, a German teacher at Shantiniketan, to her long pre-marital relationship with Feroz Gandhi and then Mathai, Dinesh Singh and Dhirendra Brahmachari.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
Katherine Frank's biography is worthy of her subject. . well written, generous, perceptive, and unsentimental.
This is a biography that rests on the virtues of immaculate scholarship and fluent prose. ----NEW STATESMAN & SOCIETY
Frank's composed prose is always a pleasure, her empathy with her subject deep and moving.----GUARDIAN
EXTRACT FROM INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:
Writing a biography is an art but it's also a moral activity. We can't invent and aren't free agents like novelist are... Indira's life was inherently dramatic (and sometimes melodramatic). It didn't require embellishment. What I tried to do was to recount it as vividly as I could.
List of Illustrations
PART ONE INDIRA NEHRU
Descent from Kashmir
Breathing with Her Heels
In the Black Forest
A Veteran at Parting
The Magic Mountain
PART TWO INDIRA GANDHI
Not a Normal, Banal, Boring Life
Things Fall Apart
Towards a Hat Trick
PART THREE PRIME MINISTER GANDHI
I am the Issue
No Further Growing
Drastic, Emergent Action
The Rising Son
31 October 1984