Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Return of the Nehrists. The NY Times has the story. Absolutely extraordinary. Just as some background, Sonia Ghandi is the Italian-born wife of Rajiv Ghandi, who was the Indian Prime Minister until he was assassinated around two decades ago. Rajiv's mother, Indira Ghandi, was a very popular and powerful Prime Minister in the '60s and '70s until she self-destructed, enacting martial law at one point and brutally putting down a Sik (pronounced "seek", I'm not sure how its spelled) uprising. She was assassinated by her own bodyguards. Her father was Jawaharal Nehru, Mahatma Ghandi's right-hand man and India's David Ben-Gurion. He was the principle driving force/ ideologist behind the Non-Aligned Movement. Essentially, he created the Third World. This included, among many admirable aspects, a disturbing sympathy towards communism and a tendancy to excuse and/or support any radical movement, however violent, that proved suitably post-colonialist. This, coupled with Nehru's closeness to Gamal Abdel Nasser, is why his dynasty has also tended to be extremely anti-Zionist and pro-Arab throughout the history of the conflict.

An extraordinary story and an extraordinary family, no question about it. And now returned to power in the world's biggest democracy. This should be interesting.


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