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ABOUT LATE SHRI FEROZE GANDHI JI

ABOUT LATE SHRI FEROZE GANDHI JI

Feroze Jehangir Gandhi (Firoz Jahangīr Gāndhī; Hindi: फिरोज जहाँगीर गांधी; 12 September 1912 – 8 September 1960) was an Indian politician and journalist, and publisher of the The National Herald and The Navjivan newspapers from Lucknow.

He became a member of the provincial parliament (1950–1952), and later a member of the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of India's parliament. In 1942 he married Indira Nehru (later Prime Minister of India) and they had two sons, Rajiv Gandhi (also later a Prime Minister) and Sanjay Gandhi, and thus became part of the Nehru dynasty.

Early life

Feroze Jehangir Gandhi was born in Bombay, to a Parsi family from Gujarat. He was the youngest of the four children of Faredoon Jehangir Gandhi, a marine engineer, and Rattimai. His family had migrated to Bombay from Bharuch in South Gujarat. Their ancestral home, which belonged to his grandfather, still exists in Kotpariwad. His family was not related to that of Mahatma Gandhi.:p93

His elder brothers were Dorab Jehangir Gandhi, Faridun Jehangir Gandhji.

In the early 1920s, after the death of his father, he and his mother moved to Allahabad to live with their[clarification needed] unmarried aunt, Shirin Commissariat, a surgeon at the city's Lady Dufferin Hospital. He attended the Vidya Mandir High School and then graduated from the British-staffed Ewing Christian College. He went on to study at the London School of Economics.

Career

In March 1930, the youth wing of Congress Freedom fighters, the Vanar Sena was formed. Gandhi met Kamala Nehru and Indira among the women demonstrators picketing outside Ewing Christian College. Kamala fainted with the heat of the sun and Gandhi went to comfort her. The next day, he abandoned his studies in 1930 to join the Indian independence movement. He was imprisoned in 1930, along with Lal Bahadur Shastri, head of Allahabad District Congress Committee, and lodged in Faizabad Jail for nineteen months. Soon after his release, he was involved with the agrarian no-rent campaign in the United Province (now Uttar Pradesh) and was imprisoned twice, in 1932 and 1933, while working closely with Nehru.

Feroze grew close to the Nehru family, especially to Indira's mother Kamala Nehru, accompanying her to the TB Sanatorium at Bhowali in 1934, helping arrange her trip to Europe when her condition worsened in April 1935, and visiting her at the sanitarium at Badenweiler and finally at Laussane, where he was at her bedside when she died on 28 February 1936. In the following years, Indira and Feroze grew further closer to each other while in England. They married in March 1942 according to Hindu rituals.

Indira's father Jawaharlal Nehru opposed her marriage to Gandhi and approached Mahatma Gandhi to dissuade the young couple, but to no avail. However, over the years, father-in-law and son-in-law resolved their differences, especially as Gandhi adopted Gandhiji's ideology. The couple were arrested and jailed in August 1942, during the Quit India Movement less than six months after their marriage, he was imprisoned for a year in Allahabad's Naini Central Prison. The coming five years were of comfortable domestic life and the couple had two sons, Rajiv and Sanjay, born in 1944 and 1946 respectively.

After independence, Jawaharlal became the first Prime Minister of India. Feroze and Indira settled in Allahabad with their two young children, and Feroze became Managing Director of The National Herald, a newspaper founded by his father-in-law. He was also the first chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Limited.

After being a member of the provincial parliament (1950–1952), Gandhi won independent India's first general elections in 1952, from Rae Bareli constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Indira came down from Delhi and worked as his campaign organizer. Gandhi soon became a prominent force in his own right, criticizing the government of his father-in-law and beginning a fight against corruption.

In the years after independence, many Indian business houses had become close to the political leaders, and now some of them started various financial irregularities. In a case exposed by Ganhi in December 1955, he revealed how Ram Kishan Dalmia, as chairman of a bank and an insurance company, used these companies to fund his takeover of Bennett and Coleman started transferring money illegally from publicly-held companies for their own benefit.

In 1957, he was re-elected from Rae Bareli. In the parliament in 1958, he raised the Haridas Mundhra scandal involving the government controlled LIC insurance company. This was a huge embarrassment to the clean image of Nehru's government and eventually led to the resignation of the Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari. His rift with Indira had also become public knowledge by then, and added to the media interest in the matter.

Feroze also initiated a number of nationalization drives, starting with the Life Insurance Corporation. At one point he also suggested that Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO) be nationalized since they were charging nearly double the price of a Japanese railway engine. This raised a stir in the Parsi community since the Tatas were also Parsi. He continued challenging the government on a number of other issues, and emerged as a parliamentarian well-respected on both sides of the bench.

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AYUSH CHANDRA
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