Indira Gandhi- Corruption at Its Finest

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Mangat, Harleen
Eng. 4 Johnston
Research paper
Indira Gandhi- Corruption At Its Finest
In a country that claims democracy, Indians seem to be confused on the definition of the government style. You can not blame the people however, because it is the duty of the people to have faith in their country to do the right thing. Indira Gandhi manipulated the people of India by legitimizing the repression by calling for order in a chaos that she created. Indira Gandhi has made catastrophic changes to India’s political, social, and religious views that still have negative repercussions today because of the authoritarian precedent that she set for India’s political system. Politically Indira Gandhi is remembered as one of the greatest politicians by India’s upper class, because they were the only ones that benefited from her regime. She was extraordinarily savvy at manipulating the government in her favor. Originally she was elected into the position of Prime Minister because the “syndicates” and corrupt fat cat politicians thought she would be easy to manipulate and the connection to her father would make her a perfect candidate to get elected by the popular vote. However, they greatly under estimated her knowledge of politics and her first smart move was getting rid of the corrupt syndicates. By removing herself from the corrupt syndicates, in the eyes of the people, she was representing the progressive forces of history. (Bidwai) The people of a country are constantly looking for hope for a better future. Mrs. Gandhi knew this because she was raised around politics, her father being a former Prime Minister regularly took her along on business trips. And being elected into an already corrupt system gave her lee way to rule as a tyrant while appealing to the public eye. She knew the value of a powerful slogan, and in 1971 won the general elections by appealing to the poverty stricken people, which consisted of one third of Indians, with her slogan “Giribi Hatao” {remove poverty} (Bidwai). Which, of course, was a political promise that was never achieved, because it was never fully attempted. And it was farfetched slogan to begin with because realistically speaking every economy needs poor people. And for Gandhi to claim that it could be eliminated is an impossible promise to keep, yet her words were powerful and the people blindly followed her or idly sat by powerless to speak out. However, to promise high hopes that never came are bound to have negative effects on the trust people have put in her. In the end it is her greatest strength that becomes her biggest downfall.

“Indira Gandhi who boasted that she was fighting corruption of senior congress leaders, lent support to new corrupt leaders and in the process became the target of the anti-corruption movement” (Sabat). She was found guilty of electoral malpractice in 1975 but responded to the decision by declaring a state of emergency in which she censored the press, and put thousands of opposition politicians in jail. In a democracy, certainly opposition is supposed to bring the wrong doings of the government to public focus and correct them. But during the Emergency Act the means of bringing government issues to the public is being censored by that very government, Democracy can not be claimed. “Mrs. Gandhi inaugurated an altogether different (and deeply damaging) tradition, whereby ministers, chief ministers, and prime ministers decided the assignments of civil servants on the basis of kinship or loyalty” (Bidwai). She called for the people to give her full support telling them that in order for progress to happen the people needed to work with her, no questions asked. And by censoring the papers and silencing opposition politicians she could guarantee that there would be no public debate on her questionable policies. She also guaranteed that everyone would be on her side by starting the trend of choosing her own chief ministers, abolishing the former inner party...
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