'The Man Who Gets Things Done'

Khushwant Singh has just entered his 100th year. Time to recall an essay detailing why he once extolled Sanjay Gandhi, just the way a brash, bullying politician is currently being saluted
'The Man Who Gets Things Done'
'The Man Who Gets Things Done'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

Fourteen years ago, I published an essay in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on Khushwant Singh’s admiration for the personality and methods of Sanjay Gandhi. The essay seems worth recalling now, for at least three reasons. One is that Khushwant himself has just entered his 100th year, which I hope he will complete. Another is that some editors (and proprietors) are currently extolling another brash, bullying politician who they salute—as Khushwant saluted Sanjay—as ‘The Man Who Gets Things Done’. A third is that if that politician becomes our next Prime Minister, Sanjay Gandhi’s wife, and possibly also Sanjay’s son, will be Ministers in his Cabinet. 

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In the summer of 1970, Khushwant Singh took a month's leave from editing the Illustrated Weekly Of India. He had been awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation, to be spent in the estate they own on a hill overlooking Lake Como in northern Italy. The Vila Serbelloni, as those who have been there know, is a sensuously beautiful place to live a month in. Or a week, or a day. The food is good, the wine better, the views out of this world. Between meals, one might walk through the pines, or admire the garden, or drink coffee in a cafe by the waterfront. When the Foundation invites a writer here he is not even expected to write.

The one thing the estate lacks is a tennis court. For Khushwant Singh, who had played two sets in a colonial club every morning of his life, this was a real, and unanticipated, hassle. Reluctantly, he decided to make do with a daily swim instead. Clad only in the mandatory kachchha, he would, after an early breakfast, walk down the hill and breast his way across the lake. Then, his abundant hair hung out to dry, his kada glistening in the mid-morning sun, he would climb the hill on the other side. In time he would return, get into the water once more, and swim back to the Villa Serbelloni.

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This daily ritual was followed, with increasingly awed fascination, by the residents of the far shore. Back in the 1970s this part of Italy had some peasants, real peasants, who cultivated fields and reared sheep on the slopes around Lake Como. Nothing in their culture or folklore had prepared them for the sight of a Sardar after his swim. The lord who once lived in the manor house had been seen, if at all, only atop a horse. Of the Americans who later patronised the place, the odd fellow might have entered the water, sometimes, but then he was coloured white, had close cropped hair and was clean shaven besides.

A week passed, and still the Sardar came, every morning. Another week and the peasants had convinced themselves that this was a saint, il santo. By the end of his stay he had been elevated further still, to the rank of "great saint", or il santo grande. So epochal was Khushwant Singh's holiday in the Como hills that to this day local history is marked by reference to it. Do you not remember the murder of that inn-keeper, an old man will say, it happened the winter following the visit of il santo grande.

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II

The story of Khushwant Singh's beatification was told to me by the philosopher Ninian Smart, whose wife is Italian, and who owns a little cottage in the hills abutting Lake Como. The Sardar does not, I believe, know of his elevation at all. Were he to be told the tale he would have a hearty chuckle. Heartier still would be the chuckles of the hundreds of thousands of Indians who read him. For these have been brought up to understand that the Sardar is an authentic anti-saint, who has malice towards all and whose worldly ways would make Mahatma Gandhi weep. Was not one of his books called Not A Nice Man To Know? And another advertised as Sex, Scotch And Scholarship, the order indicating that the third item would be seriously contaminated by the first two?

Khushwant Singh has indeed drunk much Scotch in his time. True, only a chotta peg or two every morning, but then he started early and has (bless him) lived long. The sex, or at any rate much of it, has taken place in the mind. But contrary to what he says, and contrary to what his readers think, his claims to sainthood shall not be seriously challenged by his personal habits. Certainly the peasants of Lake Como would make light of them. The holy men of Italy, like the functional Don Camillo, have liked their wine and their illegally shot game, and their women too. This is well known to and easily forgiven by their lay followers.

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In Italy and in India, Khushwant Singh's claims to sainthood shall be challenged not by Sex or Scotch, but by Sanjay. It is that other S that lies like a dark shadow behind his reputation as writer and citizen. I recall a conversation in 1978 with a mutual friend who had had a book dedicated to her by Khushwant Singh. When I reminded her of this, she quickly explained: "It was in his pre-Sanjay days." But time heals, and ordinary Indians are amnesiac anyway. The Sardar has written a great deal after Sanjay Gandhi's death, some of it hackwork, but much of it good, wise and generous. His literary reputation stays high. His recent fiction may be ordinary, but his fine early novels and stories and the outstanding History Of The Sikhs remain in print. His reach and readership are greater, by far, than that of any other Indian writer. His weekly column is syndicated to 24— or perhaps 224— publications. Meanwhile, his political reputation has steadily climbed. He has associated with no would-be-dictator since. He came out against the Sikh extremist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, which was brave, because as a Sikh himself he could so easily have been bumped off. He has come out against the Hindu chauvinists, which is braver still, because it is men of that tendency who are now in power.

But he did once support a half-educated lout named Sanjay Gandhi. Why?

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III

This June marks the 25th anniversary [1] of the declaration of the Emergency. The back issues of the Illustrated Weekly Of India provide an indispensable window to the events of the time. Let us begin wit the issue of April 6, 1975, and its cover story entitled "Total Revolution". This eight-page illustrated article examined the movement against the ruling Congress(I) led by Jayaprakash Narayan. The editor, whose byline accompanied the piece, made clear his personal admiration for Narayan. Jayaprakash, he wrote, was "a great and good man", a "man of courage who has often championed unpopular causes", the "most spectacular figure in the 1942 'Quit India' movement", who "more than any other person or voluntary organisation staved off death from hunger in the Bihar famine of 1967". J.P.'s current ideology, of 'Total Revolution', was, however, a bundle of contradictions— he has been talking and acting as if he is Garibaldi, Lenin and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled in one. JP's current followers were a band of opportunists united only by their hatred of the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Their agitation sought to undermine established procedures and elected governments. "Once a person is fairly elected," wrote Khushwant, no pressure must be brought on him to prevent him from discharging his duties as the representative of his people themselves decide at the end of his term to replace him. This fundamental to the working of democracy. This is what J.P.'s movement seeks to destroy.

The balance with which the essay on J.P. was written is not visible in a laudatory article published, a month later, on Sanjay Gandhi. This focussed on his Maruti car project, then under attack for violating established procedures and for being granted government favours out of turn. Khushwant Singh presented a vigorous brief on behalf of an entrepreneur who was yet to enter politics. The project, he wrote, was wholly indigenous. Its cars would cost of Rs. 5,000 - Rs.6,000 less than the other cars in the Indian market and would run 18 kilometres to the litre. The peasants whose land had been acquired, claimed the editor, were paid in excess of market price. Indeed, "far from causing hardship, Maruti has opened up avenues of employment to hundreds of families of unemployed Punjabi refugees who live in and around Gurgaon". The journalist's defence of Sanjay Gandhi was unqualified. He made the scarcely credible claim that far from being helped by government officials, Sanjay's project was "overscrutinised", with permissions "grudgingly given" because he was the Prime Minister's son. Anyway, the criticisms would be answered by deeds, for in four years time, Sanjay's factory would roll out 50,000 cars a year. "Soon little Marutis should be seen on the roads of Haryana and Delhi; and a month or two later they will be running between Kalimpong and Kanyakumari".

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(The little Marutis that now run on Indian roads, [2] one needs to state for the benefit of the younger reader, have nothing at all to do with Sanjay Gandhi's project. After his death, his family, then in power, appropriated the name Maruti and attached it to the Japanese design and production of a standard Suzuki vehicle. Sanjay's own factory did not produce a single roadworthy car.)

Khushwant Singh's essay on Maruti marks the beginning of his professional interest in Sanjay Gandhi. The Emergency was declared in the last week of June 1975, and at first the son stayed with his prototypes. In a few months he had begun moving into politics, his moves followed with interest by the Illustrated Weekly Of India. The issue of January 25, 1976 carried an "exclusive interview" with Sanjay (the interviewer's name is not mentioned), where he defended censorship. ('Slander was the order of the day in the Indian Press... Censorship was the only way to put an end to this), and where in answer to the question. "What has the country gained in the six months of the Emergency? And what has it lost?" he remarked

The greatest gain is a sense of discipline and the speeding up of work. I could give a long list of figures of the achievements on all points— from the lowering of prices to increase in production. This rate of progress was unimaginable a year ago.

Sanjay continued:

What has the country lost? Smuggling, blackmarketing, hoarding, bus burning and the habit of coming late to office.

Once more, we must remind ourselves of some too-easily forgotten facts—namely, that Sanjay Gandhi was not a Member of Parliament, or of the civil service, or an office-bearer of the ruling Congress(I)—he was simply the younger son of a Prime Minister who had locked up opposition politicians and concentrated powers in her hands. These powers were taken away from institutions such as Parliament and the Cabinet, and were being shared with Sanjay, who had become an illegitimate second- in-command, more important now than any other minister of the Government of India. The sole concession to form was Sanjay's membership of the Youth Congress, a veneer of legitimacy to cloak what was so evidently a family affair.

The Weekly's approval of the impostor was wholehearted. The Independence Day issue of the magazine carried a cover story on "The Man who Gets Things Done", with its centrepiece, an essay-interview by the editor. The interview was odd, as these things go, for Khushwant Singh appears to have done most of the talking. A list of leading questions were met by unhelpful answers. Asked of his grandfather's impact on him, Sanjay answered, "I cannot recall any specific way in which he influenced me". "What about books?" the editor persisted: "Any book influenced you particularly?" "I cannot think of any," was the response. The words were (slightly) more forthcoming when it came to politics. "Why don't you stand for the Presidentship of the Congress(I)?" asked the editor. Sanjay answered that the thought had not entered his head, but added that the Congress(I) did need vitalising. When asked whether he had seen the article in the Weekly on changes in the Constitution, Sanjay answered: "Yes, I saw it but I didn't read it". He did, however, express his preference for a Presidential system of government. And he did support compulsory sterilisation.

The interview was accompanied by a long biographical sketch. The editor had talked to Sanjay's friends, to officials who had worked in the Prime Minister's household, and to other interested parties. One interviewee remarked that "all my other friends are dull compared to Sanjay". Another said "Sanjay has a real spirit of adventure". A third added: "Sanjay does not know the meaning of the word 'fear'". Others spoke of his "sense of justice". Notably, the editor was now on the defensive as regards the Maruti project. "The only valid criticism that could be made against Maruti," he wrote, "is that the production is well behind schedule and although considerably cheaper than other makes, it will not be a people's car". Sanjay Gandhi could not run a factory but, it appears, he might yet successfully run a country. This is how the article ended:

Sanjay Gandhi has many more critics than his mother. "On whose authority is Sanjay doing what he is doing?" they ask. I would like to put to them a lot of questions in return. 'Do you agree that what Sanjay is doing is for the good of the common people and therefore of the nation? Didn't our slums need clearing? Didn't our population need to be controlled? Didn't our forests need to be saved? Wasn't corruption to be rooted out?' Why cavil about someone who is at long last getting all this done?

Sanjay has taken a heavy load on his young shoulders. He has a long and arduous road ahead of him. Do not strew banana skins on his path. Help him to reach his goal of a prosperous and happy India. We, of the older generation, can only dream dreams. Let our young men see visions and make those visions a reality.

This last paragraph was set in bold black type. Any further reservations about Sanjay's ascendancy were, one supposes, to be quelled by the invocation of his horoscope:

For you, sporty, flight, frank but philosophical Sagittarius, top-notch achievements will be registered in 1976. At the same time wagging tongues could land you in a legal case, or slander. However, you can take it in your stride (Bejan Daruwalla—Orient Paperback).

Three months later, in its issue of October 14, 1976, the Weekly ran two pages of photographs under the overall caption: "Sanjay, Maneka Conquer Maharashtra". The photos showed Sanjay addressing Congress(I) workers, visiting slums, and having his marriage to the 19-year-old Maneka Anand, freshly solemnised by Sikh rites at the great gurudwara in Nanded. The head-text said: "Sanjay won over Maharashtra with his candour and his forthright and down-to- earth talk. Maneka did so with her quiet charm and pleasing personality". In this "Editor's Page", Khushwant Singh wrote admiringly of the couple's visit. Sanjay Gandhi had "added an new dimension to political leadership", he remarked, for he has no truck with shady characters or sycophants; he is a tetotaller, he lives a simple life, he speaks little, he speaks in an honest and forthright manner, his words are not hot air but charged with action. He has done excellent work in Delhi. He has electrified the country's young people and channelised their energies into constructive work. He has awakened all Congressmen every where and put them into action. His Youth Congress has done more work in these two years than the main Congress (I) could do in the last five years. Above all he is the first Congress leader who had taken on himself the unpleasant task of cleaning and purging the party of its ills. More power to Sanjay!

Soon, the editor could test how widely his sentiments were shared. In January 1977, Mrs. Gandhi announced elections. Her now-freed opponents came together to form the Janata Party. The January 23 issue of the Illustrated Weekly Of India, meanwhile, carried the news that Sanjay Gandhi had been voted by its readers as the "Indian of the Year '76". But as the campaigning got under way, it became clear that the Weekly's readership was not a reliable cross-section of the people of India. In Delhi, the slum clearance programmes initiated by Sanjay Gandhi had caused great resentment. Across northern India, the Sanjay-inspired campaign of compulsory sterilisation had become the key election issue. Democrats and civil libertarians everywhere targeted the son as being responsible for the spread of fear and the absence of freedom.

In its issue of February 20, 1977, the Weekly ran a long story on "Youth Congress Power". The pictures showed Sanjay in various appealing poses: riding in an open jeep doing namastes to cheering crowds, being formally introduced to his mother at a Youth Congress meeting, speaking from a podium himself. The accompanying article was by the editor. "Since Sanjay is one of the main issues over which the elections will be fought", he remarked, "it is best to clear the cobwebs of prejudice created by wholly unsubstantiated gossip of his style of functioning and ask ourselves honestly: do we or do we not need Sanjay Gandhi?"

Khushwant Singh's answer was to outline what he thought Sanjay Gandhi had accomplished. Sanjay, he said, had taken in hand the most critical of all India's problems - population control. The case was made with eloquence and skill:

We've had Health Ministers like the spinster Rajkumari Amrit Kaur peddling coloured bead rosaries, Chandrasekhar with his cafeteria approach, transistor radios and prizes and statistics to bamboozle us; we have Karan Singh with his stale witticisms and more statistics. Precious little did all this add up to. The spiral of births continued in its dizzy climb upwards. And suddenly, last year, it was checked; family planning was converted from a plan into an actuality. It was done by Sanjay Gandhi. He may not have had any authority to do it, but he did it.

The editor rejected all talk of wrong doing:

You will have heard a lot of stories about how it was done. Old women's tales of how men and women too old to procreate were sterilised; how boys and girls too young to copulate were deprived of their legitimate right to raise a small family. Check on them carefully and you will discover that there is no truth in them; they gained currency because it is human nature to circulate tales without checking their veracity. Pressure there certainly was but no violence or intimidation. Pressure there must be; in fact it should be increased: no licenses for driving, no ration cards, no jobs or promotions or cheap housing for those who refuse to fulfil their duty to society.

Sanjay Gandhi's other programmes were likewise whitewashed. "There was a lot of claptrap about the use of bulldozers", claimed the editor. In any case the cities had been beautified, the slums removed and the stench cleared. "All this was done by Sanjay Gandhi. He may not have had any authority to do it, but he did it". Smugglers and tax evaders had been brought to book or put in gaol. "Sanjay Gandhi had a big hand in clearing out these people. He may not have had any authority to do it, but he did it".

Alas, there were people who had seen the bulldozers (even made way for them), people who could certify to the truth of the sterilisation horror stores, people who would less impatiently ask questions about means and ends and about authority and responsibility. The elections were, as Khushwant Singh recognised, to be a verdict on Sanjay Gandhi. As it turned out it was not the verdict he wanted. Sanjay lost the seat he contested, as did his mother, while the Congress(I) as a whole was comprehensively routed.

IV

We have seen how a popular and respected editor made his journal a mouthpiece for Sanjay Gandhi. Why? There are six possible explanations.

Consider, first, the influence of culture. The fact of Sanjay Gandhi having married a Sikh would have mattered somewhat to a man who has been loyal to his community, and been its historian too. To the man whose father, Sir Sobha Singh, built much of New Delhi, and who had spent much of his own life there, the fact of Sanjay cleaning up the capital would have mattered more still.

Second, there is the affinity of ideology. Khushwant is a lover of nature, knowledgeable about trees and about birds. This aspect of Sanjay's programme, one so grossly neglected by other politicians, appealed to him. So did the focus on population control, which like many other Indians he thought the most pressing question of all.

Third, there is the personal element. Sanjay and Maneka cultivated the editor, and like most men out of power he was prone to flattery from those in it. Khushwant, moreover, is a man of spontaneous generosity, always willing to believe the best, to trust and to publicise the work of those he knows and likes, and of some he does not know either. Years ago, he gifted his typewriter to the impecunious Nirad Chaudhuri, and defended the Bengali writer from his critics. His columns are filled with recommendations for books he had been gifted (but not necessarily read) and for causes and groups he could not possibly know much about. Till very recently, a new book by Arun Shourie was guaranteed a boost by Khushwant, one presumes because he knew the author from his days in short pants (alerted by other people's criticisms, at last the Sardar began to read what Shourie wrote, and was rightly appalled.) This trait explains why once Sanjay befriended him he would back him to the end.

Fourth, there is the psychological attraction of the young for the middle-aged. For what one cannot, by reason of circumstance or temperament, achieve oneself might yet be accomplished by the young. "Despite the receding hairline he is an incredibly handsome young man", wrote Khushwant of the Man who Gets Things Done: "he has dark, fiercely intense and honest eyes". I might, just a little fancifully, suggest that the editor saw himself as a father-figure, with Sanjay the substitute son, the "doer" who would efficiently execute the wishes of the parent who merely wrote.

When the Emergency was declared Khushwant Singh was already past 60. His own late-life crisis had merged with the mid-life crisis of the nation. Khushwant had witnessed the partition of his beloved Punjab, then worked to build Jawaharlal Nehru's India (to begin with, as a diplomat and, later, as editor of the Planning Commission's journal Yojana). After Nehru's death he had, with other decent folks of his generation, seen a collective dream disintegrate due to corruption, sectarianism, and the erosion of public institutions. With every passing year, the aging patriot grew ever more desperate about the fate of his land: "We, of the older generation, can only dream dreams. Let out young men see visions and make those visions a reality".

Another explanation would invoke the peculiar frailties of the professional writer, the all-too-striking similarities between Khushwant's defence of Sanjay Gandhi and the submission to authoritarian rulers of other wordsmiths down the ages. Thus Graham Greene's admiration for the Panamanian dictator, General Omar Trujillo, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's support for the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. How does one reconcile either with the writer's own intelligence and his otherwise well-established love of liberty? By underlining, perhaps, the writer's susceptibility to flattery from above, and the writer's fascinated envy of the man of action.

In the early 1980s, Salman Rushdie wrote a public relations tract on behalf of the ruling Sandinistas of Nicaragua, called The Jaguar Smile. In this book, Rushdie placed his great gifts at the service of an authoritarian state. This, in his view, was justified by the Cold War, by the threat to the Sandinistas from the even uglier men supported by the Americans. But then the Cold War ended, and The Jaguar Smile was withdrawn. It no longer forms part of the novelist's up-to-date curriculum vitae. But one day an opportunistic biographer will dig out the book and do to Rushdie what I have done here to Khushwant Singh.

Finally, and in fairness to Khushwant, it must be said that sycophancy comes easily to Indians. We submit totally to people in power, and reject them totally when out of power. A Secretary to Government does not have to check the calendar to know when he is to retire: he can monitor the time remaining in office by the ever less-extended bows from the chaprassi, the babu, the chauffeur and (of course) the Additional Secretary.

So long as Sanjay Gandhi was in power, the deference towards him, of millions of people, was unquestioned. Narayan Dutt Tewari, the Chief Minister of India's most populous state, once carried his slippers.

The seniormost of the Congress(I) Cabinet Ministers, Jagjivan Ram, sucked up to Sanjay till the day elections were announced, but defected from the Congress(I) when his spies told him that the Opposition would win.

As for Khushwant, with his old-fashioned sense of loyalty he stayed with the ship until it sank. After the Congress(I) and Sanjay lost, the owners of the Illustrated Weekly Of India sought to curry favour with the new rulers by sacking the most successful editor the journal had ever had. But Khushwant did not abandon his friend, and lived to see him win a seat to Parliament in January 1980, when the Congress returned to power in New Delhi. Six months later, Sanjay died in an air crash.

Khushwant, who was now editor of The Hindustan Times, wrote an emotional tribute. "The only possible inheritor of the Sanjay cult figure", he remarked, "is Maneka. She is like her late husband, utterly fearless when aroused, the every reincarnation of Durga astride a tiger". In light of what Sanjay and Maneka were known to have done during the Emergency, this was both colossally stupid and touchingly loyal.

V

Khushwant Singh's support to the Emergency and Sanjay Gandhi was somewhat redeemed by his simultaneous support to free speech. To the extent allowed by the censor, he allowed dissident voices to speak in the Illustrated Weekly Of India. In October 1975 he printed an article by his Assistant Editor, R. Gopalkrishnan, entitled "Sakti or Woman Power", which artfully and allusively pleaded for a restoration of democracy. "There is today a great demonstration of woman power in India", wrote "RGK".

Some people believe that, astride on her lion, the Goddess Durga isriding again in our midst. But all are not agreed about who the demons are that she should destroy. Also, most of us wish that the Devi will send her awesome form and appear again as the loving Ambika or the Mother Goddess.

When, in May 1976, Vinoba Bhave expressed his support to the Emergency, Khushwant published an essay of dissent by an old Gandhian, Sriman Narayan. Inspired by Bhave, Indira Gandhi had spoken, in a public forum in Nagpur, of how "all talk of satyagraha has no place in the new India we are trying to build". Gandhiji's satyagrahas, she said, were aimed at an external, colonial power— but now India had a government of its own. Sriman Narayan, who had a rather more extensive knowledge of the Mahatma, then provided chapter-and-verse to show that the old man believed that Satyagraha was the "inherent right of the citizen", and that one should certainly protest against an unjust state rule by one's own countrymen.

In August 1976, Khushwant used his editor's page to complain of the continuing censorship. He had heard Indira Gandhi's customary Red Fort Speech, he said, in the hope that "the 30th Independence Day celebrations would be ushered in with a proclamation that the Emergency was being lifted, the members of the Opposition having realised the folly of trying to subvert democratic institutions were being released, freedom was being restored to the press and a date set for the General Elections". Indira Gandhi spoke, alas, of other things. The editor, an "incorrigible optimist", now hoped that the list of freedoms he had prayed for would be announced on "Bapu's next birthday anniversary, failing that, Nehru's, Indira Gandhi's and the next Republic Day".

Above all, Khushwant Singh used the correspondence columns of his journal— the columns read least attentively by the censor— to express the diversity of Indian opinion. Thus on February 22, 1976 the Weekly printed an article by S.N. Agarwal entitled "Make Sterlisation Compulsory—Now!" Subsequent issues carried letters explaining precisely what that might mean. M. Iyengar, writing from Madhupur, described a vasectomy camp he had attended:

Razor blades straight from the market were being used while doctors smoked and chewed paan. Not surprisingly, a near fatal accident took place. And how many infected wounds will have to be nursed in the days to come is anyone's guess.

Dr. Jagjit, writing from Bombay, accepted the importance of birth control, but asked how, in a democracy, a man can be dragged out of his house against his will and have a part of him cut off - which is what compulsory sterilisation amounts to.

Sanjay Gandhi did not of course read these letters, and perhaps the editor thought them to be old wives' tales himself. But, to this credit, he printed them. Later in 1976, after the publication of his own celebratory cover story on Sanjay Gandhi, some readers wrote in to cautiously praise the editor and his hero. Others wrote to criticise and condemn. S.C. Suri of Poona suggested changing the name of the journal to "The Illustrated Weekly of Indi(r)a and Sanjay". Saeed Muhammad of Madras remarked that he had previously heard of "journalists being chamchas of the powers-that-be. But you have taken a step further and gone in for projecting the power-to-be - a new dimension to sycophantic journalism". Best of all was a communication from Satyanarain Singh of Bombay, printed as the lead letter in the issue of September 12, 1976. "Since your homily to Sanjay Gandhi", wrote this reader, "butter has become scarce and its price has gone up".

The editor of the Illustrated Weekly Of India had lost his ability to reason and his sense of proportion but not, thank goodness, his sense of humour.


[1] This essay was first published on Sunday, June 25, 2000, under the title "A hammerblow to democracy: Why Khushwant Singh followed Sanjay Gandhi." It was later reproduced in Guha's An Anthropologist Among the Marxists and other essays (2001), under the title, "The Editor and the Son: Khushwant Singh and Sanjay Gandhi"

[2] Fortuitously, the Maruti 800 model has been discontinued with effect from 18 January 2013

 

Copyright ©:Ramachandra Guha

 

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