Feroze Gandhi

From Academic Kids

Feroze Gandhi (12 August 1912 - 8 September 1960) was an Indian politician and journalist. He was born Feroze Khan, but changed his name to Feroze Gandhi before marrying Indira Nehru (later Indira Gandhi), the daughter of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Ferozeís motherís family name was Ghandy, often associated with Parsis and this was changed to Gandhi, sometime before his wedding with Indira, via an affidavit.

He was born to a Muslim gentleman from the Junagadh area of Gujarat - Nawab Khan who had married a Parsi woman after converting her to Islam. Nawab Khan is a family grocer to Nehru's. The grocer supplied wines, etc. to Anand Bhavan, previously known as Ishrat Manzil, which once belonged to a Moslem lawyer named Mobarak Ali. He was educated at the City Anglo-Vernacular High School and Ewing Christian College, followed by the London School of Economics. He abandoned his studies in 1930 to join the struggle for Indian independence.

When Indira Priyadarshini was sent out of the Shantiniketan University by Gurudev Rabindranath himself for misdemeanor, the lonely girl was all by herself, while father Jawaharlal was busy with politics & women; while Kamla Nehru was in hospital. Feroze Khan, the grocerís son was then in England and he was quite sympathetic to Indira. Indira changed her religion, became a Moslem woman and married Feroze Khan in a London mosque. When news of the marriage reached Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, he called Jawaharlal Nehru and practically ordered him to ask the young-man to change his name from Khan to Gandhi. It had nothing to do with change of religion, from Islam to Hinduism for instance. It was just a case of a change of name by an affidavit. And so Feroze Khan became Feroze Gandhi. However, Gandhi did not mention this in his autobiography titled the 'Story Of My Experiments With Truth'. Feroze married Indira on 26 March 1942 at Anand Bhawan, the Nehrus' home. On this subject, writes M.O.Mathai (a long time Private Secretary of Nehru) in his renowned (but now suppressed by the GOI) Reminiscences of the Nehru Age on page 94, second paragraph: ďFor some inexplicable reason, Nehru allowed the marriage to be performed according to Vedic rites in 1942. An inter-religious and inter-caste marriage under Vedic rites at that time was not valid in law. To be legal, it had to be a civil marriage.Ē

Arrested and jailed for nationalist activities less than six months after their marriage, he was imprisoned for a year in Allahabad's Naini Central Prison. In 1946 Feroze became editor of The National Herald, a newspaper founded by his father-in-law.

However, as a politician in the 1950s, he was often at odds with Nehru's policies. He was considered "the unofficial leader of the opposition" in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament. Feroze belonged to the ruling Congress Party, but the opposition from other parties in the Lok Sabha was so weak that a democratic void was created, which Feroze filled with his critical stance. He aimed to root out corruption and inefficiency, and was a champion of the poor and needy.

Feroze and Indira had two sons who also entered politics: Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi.

Itís a known fact that after Rajivís birth Indira and Feroze lived separately, but they were not divorced. Feroze used to harass Nehru frequently for money and also interfere in Nehruís political activities. Nehru got fed up and left instructions not to allow him into the Prime Ministerís residence Trimurthi Bhavan.

He died of heart failure in 1960. Mathai writes that the death of Feroze came as a relief to Nehru and Indira. The death of Feroze in 1960 before he could consolidate his own political forces, is itself a mystery.

See Nehru-Gandhi family


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