… The young man was overcome with blues. Of course, English education is considered the best in the world, but the gloomy climate of Albion could plunge even the most diligent student into depression. Besides, he could not get used to the local cuisine in any way
There are so few restaurants in England that offer spicy and savory food! The young man chuckled: recently a friend advised him to go to an Italian restaurant, and Rajiv went there for lunch.
There he saw a waitress girl who was not at all like the locals. As it turned out later, Sonya came from Italy to study the language. For some reason, barely looking at her, Gandhi immediately decided that this was his fate. "I will marry her - whoever she is!" - flashed through my head. "I can imagine what a scandal with parents will be!" - Rajiv laughed softly.
Father and daughter
When Indira read the letter from her son delivered with the diplomatic mail, she did not immediately find the gift of speech. Her father, the great Jawaharlal Nehru, although he considered himself more an Englishman than a Hindu, repeatedly repeated that violating caste laws in India would not lead to anything good. According to the laws of Hinduism, inter-caste marriages are punishable by a karmic curse, and a triple violation of tradition in one family leads to the complete cessation of the clan. Indira broke the law first: she still remembered that difficult conversation with her father …
Jawaharlal came from an old aristocratic Brahmin family, whose representatives have always respected the English throne. Educated at Cambridge, Nehru insisted that all Nehru-Gandhi men be sent to England to study. His father Motilal Nehru was counting on his son's career in the colonial administration, but Jawaharlal, making friends with Gandhi, whom he jokingly called an apologist of folk traditions, was imbued with the idea of the liberation movement.
Renowned ideologist of the Indian National Congress, Mahatma Gandhi, far-sightedly appreciated the strength of the personality of the young Nehru. Jawaharlal really very quickly became an authority for all segments of the population of India and in 1929 he was elected to the post of President of the INC. And when, after the Second World War, the Indian Union, which consisted of 552 principalities, gained independence, Nehru became the prime minister of the state and the minister of foreign affairs. The formation in 1950 of a republic consisting of 12 provinces is in no small measure his merit. The state has become much more viable and manageable. Of course, Jawaharlal retained his posts in the republic as well.
The European educated Nehru was deprived of the inclinations of a dictator, but at the same time he considered it natural for his children to continue the business he had begun. Jawaharlal doted on his daughter. After the death of his beloved wife - Indira was sixteen then - Nehru did not have a closer person. He considered it his fatherly duty to give her a good education. Who knows, maybe she will be able to prove herself in politics no worse than a man: it is not for nothing that they say that Indira has a male mindset.
You can't break the law of your people
Having sent his daughter to university, for the first time since the death of his wife, he allowed himself to be carried away by a woman. Jawaharlal finally felt free enough to think about his personal life, but politicians of his rank never have secret affairs. So much was said about Nehru's relationship with Edwina Mounbatten that gossip reached Indira.
- Why do not you get married? - Asked, returning on vacation, daughter, overcoming the awkwardness. -If because of me, then I do not mind. If because of your mother, then the memory of her cannot fade because of your new love.
The father was silent, his face remained motionless: he did not expect such courage from his daughter.
- And public opinion, - continued Indira, - will be on your side. Now there are too many rumors about your novels … Marriage will put everything in its place.
- Who do you propose to me to marry?
“Well, I don’t know…” The daughter's confusion was obvious. - On this Englishwoman!
“You haven't been home for too long…” he paused, “and forgot about the traditions of our country. My people will understand my love, but will not forgive violations of caste law.
The daughter raised her eyebrows in surprise.
- But do you yourself really believe in all this medieval nonsense?
The father did not answer right away, from the expression on his face, Indira realized that she had angered him:
- It does not matter. I have never broken the law!
The second time the conversation on this topic turned up when Indira first fell in love. Feroz Gandhi was not a Hindu, but a Parsi, that is, a Zoroastrian and a fire-worshiper. Hinduism frowns upon such marriages. In addition, a girl from a noble Brahman family did not stop linking her fate with a representative of the lower caste - the name Gandhi indicated that the ancestors of Feroz were grocers.
And although the financial condition of the groom was quite satisfactory, from a political point of view, this wedding harmed the authority of the family. It was possible to convince my father to agree to this marriage only after Indira reminded him that the namesake of her chosen one, Nehru's favorite and ally, Mahatma Gandhi, also came from a grocery family.
- I do not believe that you are afraid of some kind of curse! - the daughter then raised her voice to her father for the first time.
With age, Indira learned to be angry and at such moments she became especially beautiful. Nehru could not help admiring her. It was the reminder of the Mahatma's caste origin that helped to overcome his resistance. In addition, the sincere feeling that connected the young could not fail to inspire respect.
So the Hindu law was violated, but the trouble came when Indira herself forgot to think about the threat of karmic punishment.
This happened for the third time
Jawaharlal did not consider it possible to openly help his daughter in her political career, but her successes were already impressive.
In 1959, Indira was elected president of the Indian National Congress (INC), founded by Nehru and Gandhi, she became a member of the government and was able to officially accompany her father on his foreign trips, gaining much-needed diplomatic experience.
Her marriage to Feroz was happy: two sons were born - the consolation of old Gandhi, who received two successors at once. This family harmony began to crumble in the early sixties. In 1963, Feroz died unexpectedly. As soon as Indira came to herself from grief, her father, who was distinguished by excellent health, suffered a stroke - a natural consequence of his work 18 hours a day.
True, Nehru lived for four more months, but they were a cruel test not only for himself, but also for his household. Only once did the daughter think that Jawaharlal recognized her: he opened one eye and tried to whisper something. Then, constantly thinking about it, she decided that her father wanted to warn her against something. Indira even began to think that she managed to make out those last words of her father: "Remember the curse!"
But she still had to give permission for this marriage - losing the love of her son would be unbearable for Gandhi. In addition, Rajiv hardly had a chance to make a political career; Indira connected hopes for the continuation of the glorious traditions of the family with her youngest son, Sanjay. Since childhood, Rajiv dreamed of becoming a pilot, and with such a profession, his marriage to a foreigner would not surprise anyone.
The time has come, and the youngest son started talking about marriage. Imagine the confusion of Indira when Sanjay announced that his chosen one was a girl of lower origin. “This is the third violation of the law in the Gandhi family! - flashed through the mother's head."Now expect trouble!"
Nehru's death was a terrible blow for Indira: both in the family and in politics, he was her main authority, a reliable support. She was unable to lead the government immediately after the death of her father, only two years later, in 1966, took the post of prime minister of the country. In 1971, the party led by Gandhi won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, and the successful waging of the Bangladesh War made Indira even more popular. Her authority, the love of the people of India for her already put Gandhi almost on a par with the great Jawaharlal: they listened to the voice of this woman both inside the country and abroad …
The first signs of impending disaster were the bankruptcies of several of the largest enterprises. The reforms carried out by Nehru were left behind, the measures to stabilize the economy proposed by Indira did not have the desired effect: they violated the already precarious equilibrium in the economy, the unemployment curve crept up … And then, at the suggestion of her son, Gandhi proposed a law to limit the birth rate - followed by a storm of protests from the poorest strata of the population, a wave of riots swept across the country …
Indira lost the 1977 elections. She took her resignation as another punishment of the gods. It was to this period that Gandhi's passion for astrology and mysticism belongs. Violation of the ancestral law three times became the nightmare of her existence. She insisted that all the troubles in the family are due to the daughters-in-law, and did her best to destroy the marriages of her sons.
Rajiv, showing a truly masculine character, began to protect Sonya and his family, and Sanjay really began to move away from his wife. If not for his mysterious death in the 1980 plane crash, their divorce would have been inevitable. The press, as if by agreement, pounced on the poor mother, publishing articles one more disgusting than the other. The last straw was the statement that the head of the INC does not make a single important decision without consulting a personal astrologer. Companions in the party grumbled, Indira decided that her career had come to an end. At that moment, Rajiv came to the aid of his mother.
The power of inevitability
In an interview, Rajiv Gandhi admitted that he entered politics on the advice of his wife, who considered it necessary to support her mother-in-law in this way.
In 1981, INC (I) won the elections, Rajiv was elected leader of the party's youth wing, and he officially became the mother's right hand. However, bad luck gave only a temporary respite to this family.
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was shot by traitorous bodyguards. Her body was riddled with bullets, but she managed to whisper:
- Tell Rajiv … Let him beg from the gods …
Indira's last words struck not so much the son as his wife Sonya. Then she first heard about the curse hanging over the family.
- So, then, the ban of the gods has already been violated three times? she repeated in horror.
“You shouldn't attach any importance to this…” Rajiv shrugged his shoulders.
- No, it's worth …
The husband looked at the pale Sonya in surprise:
- Do you really believe all this? Sonia dear, you and I are civilized people. Can you really believe in all these curses ?!
The last sacrifice
Since then, Sonya did not let go of the foreboding of trouble. The youth and charm of Rajiv made him popular during his mother's lifetime, and therefore his fellow party members did not hesitate to nominate him for the post of head of government.
Gandhi tried to explain to his wife that, having headed the INC (I), he ceased to belong to himself, that his duty to the memory of his mother and grandfather did not allow him to stop halfway … Sonia sighed sadly and hid her tears.
And during the next election campaign he was killed. In 1991, at a rally in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a pretty girl, hung with flower garlands, approached Gandhi and blew herself up. Rajiv died on the spot.
"So you have to pay three times for a triple violation of the law?" - Sonya whispered through her tears. The murder of her mother-in-law, the strange death of her husband's younger brother, now the death of Rajiv … If only she knew how to appease these harsh Indian gods …