The author, an IPS officer, singles out the events that took place during the time of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi till the time of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao as he believes that political developments in India have a bearing on political values, morality and ethics.
He says that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a dutiful daughter, affectionate mother who clinged to social and moral values but once she stepped into politics, ?she deviated from political values and principles, morality and probity.? He praises her for her initial actions when she ?ably galvanised foreign policy, refurbished India'sprestige and image vis-?-vis the western world. Her treaty with the Soviet Union to isolate Pakistan and her patrons was a laudable masterstroke. She successfully salvaged the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, carrying cudgels for them for formation of an independent and sovereign country in the sub-continent.?
He concedes that Smt. Gandhi was at the ?zenith of her popularity? with nationalisation of banks, abolition of privy purses, Garibi Hatao campaign to remove poverty, inclination towards socialism and strong steps to corner the old guards in the party?the measures that put her on the higher pedestal. In the international field she succeeded in projecting India'simage as a strong power in South Asia. But the subsequent period saw meagre economic progress, growing discontentment, widespread unrest followed by declaration of Emergency which allowed ?excesses and high-handedness of the extra-constitutional authority.?
The author has devoted a number of pages to Sanjay Gandhi'snegative role throughout the period and how he (the author) had to chalk out strategies to neutralise Sanjay Gandhi'sinsolent lieutenants and ?not only this, even prosecution of the CBI officers and their resistance?.
On reading this book, one gets to know that the author fervently believes that with Smt Indira Gandhi'sentry into politics, moral and ethical values declined, trickling down to the social order. ?The prodigious tradition of the country, its glorious past tampered with spiritualism and the object of value-based life, plain living and high thinking were badly bruised,? he concludes.
In short, a somewhat outdated and oft-repeated topic to discuss or read.
(Satyapath O Sadachari, BF-112, Salt Lake, Kolkata-700 064.)