spiritual mantle came to be given to Nehruvian socialism that was not the economic or
social policy of the Mahatma, who emphasized a Swadeshi movement or nationalist economics
promoting cottage industries and development on a village level. The situation
deteriorated further when Nehru's mantle fell on his daughter Indira, creating a dynasty
that sought to justify its claim to power with the religious image of the Mahatma.
Indira ruled with less tolerance of opposition even than
her father, and increased policies of central control, which in the emergency period of
the late seventies bordered on dictatorship. The decline continued when Indira's son Rajiv
Gandhi took the throne (more or less) when she was assassinated. Lacking his mother's will
and courage, Rajiv became a figurehead for forces of corruption that he did not understand
and which soon brought about his fall. This
Nehru-Gandhi has dynasty dominated the first fifty years since India's independence, and
lingers on with the possibility of a Sonia Gandhi entering politics, an Italian Catholic
with no political credentials other than the name of her dead husband.
So deep seated has been the clinging to this family by
members of the Congress party that they seem to have no real agenda without someone with a
Gandhi name to lead them. India has suffered in the shadow of this family, which has used
the Mahatma's image and the slogans of secularism and democracy, though it has resembled
more the royal families of the Middle Ages in its machinations and petty manipulations.