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Mar 22nd, 2001, 04:56 PM #1----
Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi
By Katherine Frank
Mrs G's String of Beaus
A new book chronicles Indira Gandhi's loves and gets rave reviews in the UK
Sanjay Suri in London
It's a brave biographer who will take on the subject of Indira Gandhi's sex life. The world, though, could have had a glimpse of it had M.O. Mathai, Jawaharlal Nehru's special assistant, not withdrawn the chapter titled 'She' from his autobiography My Days With Nehru. In it Mathai apparently claimed he had had an affair with Indira Gandhi for 12 long years.
Indira Gandhi's new biographer Katherine Frank (Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi; HarperCollins is to be released in India next month and has already received rave reviews in Britain) believes she and Mathai were probably lovers. Frank, who seems to have read 'She', says it would have been unprintable anyway.
The new biography is indeed a remarkable story of the woman in Indira, controversially focusing on her intimate side—from her first love, a German teacher at Shantiniketan, to her long pre-marital relationship with Feroze Gandhi and then Mathai, Dinesh Singh and Dhirendra Brahmachari.
Frank dwells at some length on the rumours of Indira Gandhi's affairs with "none other than her father's squat and moon-faced secretary, M.O. Mathai." She writes: "Admittedly it was Mathai himself who was the primary source of these rumours. He boasted openly of his liaison with Nehru's daughter, both at the time and for many years after."
Frank, however, says there was "definitely a certain attraction" between them, quoting Nehru's biographer Sarvepalli Gopal to say that "Indira Gandhi encouraged him beyond normal limits." She also says that 'She', which Mathai withdrew, surfaced in the Eighties, five years after Mathai's death, "when Indira's estranged daughter-in-law Maneka Gandhi circulated it among a small group of Indira's enemies".
Frank writes: "The 'She' chapter contains such explicit material that even if Mathai had not suppressed it, it is doubtful whether his publishers would
While Brahmachari was the silent lover, Dinesh Singh had no qualms about playing up rumours of an affair.
have taken the risk and proceeded to publish it. Mathai describes Indira as 'highly sexed' and includes among other salacious details the claim that she became pregnant by him and had an abortion." A disillusioned Mathai had a strong motive to lie but Frank says that people who knew them well, "including B.K. Nehru, who is a reliable source and no enemy of his cousin (Indira), feel that the 'She' chapter contains more fact than fiction".
So open was their relationship that in 'She' Mathai claims to have been afraid that Indira's careless behaviour would alert her father. But "Delhi buzzed with rumours" about their relationship. In Parliament, Feroze Gandhi was teased that Mathai was Nehru's real son-in-law. "Indira, significantly, did nothing to quell the rumours of the alleged liaison," writes Frank.
Subsequently, Indira Gandhi wrote to Dorothy Norman, her lifelong confidante, that she had taken to yoga taught "by an exceedingly good-looking yogi"—Dhirendra Brahmachari. She wrote that "it was his looks, especially his magnificent body, which attracted everyone to his system." Dhirendra was probably no brahmachari: a raid on his ashram in Kashmir after the Emergency yielded, among other things, a vibrator! If she had a lover as prime minister it would have to be him. "Brahmachari was the only man to see Indira alone in her room while giving her yoga instruction, and he was the only male with whom she could have had a relationship during this period."
To her men Indira was quite a catch—and perhaps that's why they encouraged rumours about their relationships with her.Congressman Dinesh Singh had this tendency as much as Mathai. "Indira relied on Singh and conferred with him at all hours. Inevitably, there were rumours that he was her lover, rumours which Singh himself encouraged."
Mar 23rd, 2001, 07:07 AM #2----
This has been already posted in World forum.Do u want two threads on same topic