30 November, 2020

Prince Gets Spoilt

He started sincere, but finally gave in to old party methods

Corbis
Prince Gets Spoilt
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

My initiation into the rarefied political salons of Delhi took place on the evening of December 31, 1984. I was on a fortnight’s visit to India to study the general election that had been called after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. As I was at a loose end that evening, an old college friend who was well connected to the city’s liberal fraternity suggested I accompany her to Romesh and Raj Thapar’s open house at Chanakyapuri.

I was in a cocky mood that evening, having won numerous bets over the outcome of the election. In hindsight this may appear surprising, but a perusal of the English-language newspapers of December 1984 will show that the chattering classes expected the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress to just about squeak through.

Having spent 10 days in Calcutta, I had a very different perspective. Even in strong Communist bastions, it seemed that the new prime minister had captured the popular imagination. There was a wave of revulsion in the middle classes when the imperious CPI(M)...

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