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Feroze Gandhi : Pioneer of hard-hitting anti-corruption journalism in India
Susmita Majumder Journalist
Feroze Gandhi : Pioneer of hard-hitting anti-corruption journalism in India
PHOTO : Feroze Gandhi with wife Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, beside Jawaharlal Nehru.TIWN File Photo

Hitting the Govt on the basis of ‘Corruption’ is known as the most fearless writing in today’s time but our nation hardly remembers the 1st writer of Independent India who dared hit corruptions of Govt-of-India.
He is none other than Feroze Gandhi, better known as “The Fearless Husband of Indira Gandhi”.

Feroze Gandhi, who even though was an active Congress leader, his actual identities were two :

1)  Feroze was freedom fighter 

2)  A fearless journalist who started to expose Independent India’s various scams that hit Nehru pretty hard

Today  (Sept 12)  is Feroze Gandhi’s 105th birth anniversary but surprisingly there is no programme led by Congress in his remembrance.

Congress is shedding tears for Gauri Lankesh’s murder accusing RSS has killed her, however, that's praiseworthy,  but India’s first veteran journalist Feroze Gandhi who began the trend of news against corruption was never hounoured by Nehru family whether they had chosen to honour all other family members.

Gauri Lankesh, who turned nationally famous only after she was killed brutally by miscreants on Sep-6. Lankesh murder has now turned as the hot-cake issue for Rahul Gandhi and his Gandhi family ruled Congress.

CPI-M is not lagging behind as Manik Sarkar has finally hit the road to  shower sympathy for Lankesh’s ‘Justice’. But when both political parties pitching long for ‘Voice for Truth’, why Firoze Gandhi  is being ignored by Congress??

If Firoze Gandhi was alive for long Congress’s position would be down and Nehru family controlled Congress party’s clean image would have been exposed, but the voice was merged with silence.

The man who gave the Gandhi’ surname to his family, was originally known as Feroze Jehangir Ghandy, born to a Parsi family.

Unlike the popular perception that his wife Indira coerced to change his surname for acceptance in the society, Feroze altered his family name after joining the Indian Independence Movement in 1930. He was  influenced by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

While his domestic life was still under public scrutiny, Feroze Gandhi won independent India’s first general elections in 1952 from Rae Bareli constituency (Uttar Pradesh).

In 1955, as a fire-spitting MP, Gandhi made the first expose in the Lok Sabha about Ram Kishan Dalmia. Considered one of independent India’s richest businessmen, Dalmia used public money from his own establishments Bharat Bank and Bharat Insurance Company to buy media giant Bennett and Coleman. Dalmia got two years in jail in 1956 for his offence. Shortly after, LIC was nationalised to prevent irregularities and corruption in the insurance sector.

But this was just the prelude to free India’s first biggest scam. In another shocking expose in 1958, Feroze Gandhi revealed LIC’s shady deal with Haridas Mundhra, a stock broker of dubious character.

The Mundhra scam laid bare how the stockbroker used his political clout to pressure LIC to invest in the shares of his loss-incurring companies: Richardson Cruddas, Jessops & Company, Smith Stanistreet, Osler Lamps, Agnelo Brothers and British India Corporation.

The investment was the largest that LIC had made in its short history. Soon after the shares were bought by LIC, it was found that the prices were inflated, and to add more misery, it crashed as Mundhra’s companies sank. LIC was set back by a gross loss of Rs 150 lakh. The Vivian Bose Board of Inquiry, which was looking into the scam, pointed out that Mundhra had donated Rs 1 lakh to the UP Congress and Rs 1.5 lakh to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in 1957, which coincidentally was an election year.

Feroze Gandhi raised the matter with alacrity, much to the embarrassment of the Congress party, of which he was a member, and was headed by his father-in-law Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi charged finance minister TT Krishnamachari (popularly known as TTK) and the finance secretary, HM Patel that they had pushed LIC’s investment through. TTK resigned on corruption charges, and Mundra was imprisoned for forgery.

Every Journalist should remember Feroze Gandhi for his his penchant for fearless journalism against corruption on his 105th brirth anniversary.

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