Book Discussion by Bertil Falk, a Swedish author, on his book ‘Feroze: The Forgotten Gandhi’
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A round table talk with Bertil Falk was organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), on Oct 6, 2017, on his book ‘Feroze: The Forgotten Gandhi’. The author Bertil Folk is a Swedish author whose book was released last year. The talk was presided over by the VIF Director Dr. Arvind Gupta and attended by the members of VIF.

While introducing the author Dr. A Suryaprakash, Chairman of Prasar Bharti and a Distinguished Fellow at the VIF, lauded Feroze Gandhi and said that he was a different type of politician of Nehruvian era who was not only a democrat and investigative parliamentarian but a whistle blower too. Shri Suryaprakash appreciated the work of Bertil Falk and praised him for taking up the case of that politician who has been completely forgotten.

The author, Bertil Falk, while talking about book said that during Nehruvian era there was almost absence of opposition and in such circumstances, Feroze Gandhi even being member of treasury bench dared to raise questions against the government and fought against corruption successfully. He said that Feroze was a socialist and his crusade was for down trodden. He was a remarkable parliamentarian, a whistle blower and his speeches should be included in text books. Feroze Gandhi always favoured Journalists and he brought a private bill to protect their rights. After 15 years, his private bill was dumped to dustbin by Smt Indira Gandhi which was later brought back after Emergency. Feroze favoured freedom of speech and he preferred to talk to down trodden and ordinary people of the society.

The author said that while Feroze was a socialist, his wife Smt Indira Gandhi was an authoritarian. Indira though favoured unity but was opposed to Federalism. Feroze remained close to Indira Gandhi till 1930s. But no sooner she started gaining prominence in the Congress party, a sign of separation started getting in and it took almost a final shape when she became part of the Congress leadership in 1953. He lived separately and accused Smt Indira Gandhi of being a fascist. Feroze condemned the behavior of his wife when she being the President of the Congress party manipulated to dismiss the elected government of the communist party in Kerala and imposed President’s Rule there in 1959. He had warned the Congress party to keep it away from communal politics and had criticized it when Congress formed government in Kerala in alliance with the Muslim League.

The author felt sorry that a democratic parliamentarian like Feroze Gandhi had not only been marginalized by the Congress party but was ignored by opposition too. Feroze was careless of his health, he was a heavy smoker and died of heart attack. There are only a few people in the country who have kept his memory alive. Feroze loved people and till his last he did not forget his parliamentary constituency Rai Bareilly.

After author’s talk, Shri A Suryaprakash lamented Feroze’s marginalization and hoped that now time had come to revive the memory of this parliamentarian and recognize his contribution. The talk ended with question—answer session. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, thanked Bertil Falk for his frank description of Feroze Gandhi, who favoured democratic institutions and free speech.

Event Date: 
October 6, 2017