Indira Gandhi and India’s lurch to the left
Indira Gandhi's admiration for the Soviet model of political centralization and planned economy postponed India's tryst with economic freedom by a couple of decades
Indira Gandhi’s 100th birth anniversary is coming up on 19 November. Her long and eventful stint as India’s prime minister—barring a three-year gap between 1977 and 1980, she served continuously from 1966-84—has ensured that a lot of current debates continue to be informed by her policy choices. But any attempt at a dispassionate analysis of Gandhi’s legacy is immensely difficult given the polarizing figure that she was. The highs of the 1971 military victory over Pakistan have to be reconciled with the lows of the Emergency. Her various other moves like bank nationalization and Operation Blue Star continue to evoke strong views.