Uttar Pradesh Congress ropes in JNU professors to tell party workers about Indira Gandhi | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh Congress ropes in JNU professors to tell party workers about Indira Gandhi

The Uttar Pradesh Congress roped in professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and senior party leaders to educate its cadres about the life, struggle and contribution of former Prime Minister the late Indira Gandhi.

lucknow Updated: Sep 14, 2017 16:23 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Artist AS Gulati painting a sketch of Indira Gandhi on the occasion.
Artist AS Gulati painting a sketch of Indira Gandhi on the occasion.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The Uttar Pradesh Congress roped in professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and senior party leaders to educate its cadres about the life, struggle and contribution of former Prime Minister the late Indira Gandhi.

Professor Mridula Mukherjee and Professor Aditya Mukherjee of JNU and senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, who worked closely with her and the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, spoke at length about her journey from being called ‘goongi guriya’ to ‘Durga’ and the iron lady.

“Indira had very clear views about her ideology and the fight against communalism. She never had any confusion about this,” said Mridula Mukherjee, describing the former PM as a front- ranking world leader.

Mukherjee recollected Indira Gandhi’s journey on elephant, tractor and jeep to Belchhi (Bihar) in 1977 to make her point that she was a strong fighter.

It was on the basis of her strengths that she returned to power in 1980 within two and a half years of losing the Lok Sabha election.

Aiyar said conspiracies were hatched against Indira at the outset as her own party leaders wanted her to be a puppet in their hands. But she never made compromises and stood strong, enunciating India’s independent policies at international forums.

“India faced the worst drought when Indira Gandhi became prime minister. She had to get wheat arranged from the USA as India faced a shortage of food grains. Indira Gandhi went to the USA to meet the then US President Lyndon B Johnson. The US President had come to know from a magazine article that Indira did not like to be addressed as Madam. The White House got in touch with Indian diplomats to know how the President should address the PM. An Indian diplomat and a relative of Indira Gandhi went to ask her (before the meeting with Johnson) about how the President should address her…. Indira Gandhi told BK Nehru the President could address her as sir as more than half her cabinet colleagues had been doing,” said Aiyar amid peals of laughter in the audience.

Professor Aditya Mukherjee spoke about the economic policies, including nationalisation of banks, and said the strong structure built by her up to 1980 laid the foundation for economic liberalisation that Manmohan Singh rolled out during his tenure as finance minister later in 1991.

Congress general secretary (incharge UP) Ghulam Nabi Azad said:

“As our focus remains politics, we politicians often remain ignorant about various facets of great leaders. Professors do study and consult books to speak about them.”

“This is the time to fight an ideological war and we need to further strengthen the ideology the Congress leaders have cherished over the years,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar set the tone and tenor for the seminar, saying there was a fight between the “desh bhaktas” (patriots) and the so called “Rashtra Bhaktas” (nationalists) and attempts were being made to belittle sacrifices of those who laid down their lives for the country.

“This was the first of 10 seminars the Congress will hold across the state in coming days. Nine more seminars will be organised with the last one proposed in Allahabad on November 17 (Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary),” said party MLA and media coordinator for the seminars Aradhana Mishra.