Around Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday, those of us who worked closely with him can’t but be nostalgic and recall his work. In his lifetime itself, his adversaries had unleashed a malignant personal attack on him. ‘Baba-log government’, they sneered; ‘Rajiv Gandhi & his Dosco friends’, they alleged; and when this made no dent in people’s esteem for him, they chanted ‘Gali gali mein shor hai...’.
In their rule, the NDA government worked devilishly hard to teach our school children a new version of history. Bapu, Nehru and that entire generation of freedom fighters must be forgotten; Nehru’s socialism, Indira’s Emergency and Rajiv’s naivete as prime ministers had to be blamed for India’s ills and misery. During the last election, the spirited ferocity of democracy disposed of these evil designs. As Talleyrand said, if people had always understood the lessons of history, there would be no history.