20 June, 2021

The Wonder That Was Indira

She was a woman to love, to admire, and beyond that—to be feared

The Wonder That Was Indira
I knew Indira Gandhi. I knew people now dead whose names appear in this biography and I know all the living as well. I've read every biography on the subject and having myself written a book about her return to power after her defeat in the elections following the abrogation of the Emergency, I can say without hesitation that Katherine Frank's biography is well-researched, unbiased and more readable than any published before. That, despite some printing errors and misspelt names.

Indira Gandhi was a very good-looking woman, not of the pin-up kind but an indescribable aristocratic type. She reminded me of Hilaire Belloc's lines:

Her face was like the King's command
When all the swords are drawn.

Amongst the many men who were bowled over by her looks was President Lyndon Johnson of the United States. Just before a dinner hosted by the Indian ambassador B.K. Nehru and his wife Fori for Indira at which vice-president Hubert Humphrey was to be the guest of honour, Lyndon Johnson stayed on tossing glass after glass of bourbon on the rocks while talking to...

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