When one reads about the Gandhi family the one member that stands out loud ,ironically for his lesser popularity than his family is undoubtedly Feroze Gandhi,often mentioned as the spouse of Indira Gandhi or the father of Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.His narrative goes way beyond that and sadly it’s something we have all chosen to ignore.Here’s the story of Feroz Gandhi,a forgotten hero in Indian history. Born in Bombay as Feroze Gandhy to mariner Faredoon Gandhy and Ratimai,he was the youngest of five children.Upon the death of his father,he moved to Allahabad in 1920 and went on to study at Ewing Christian College.In 1930,Vanar Sena -a wing of Congress freedom fighters was brought into life.Feroze Gandhy first met Kamala Nehru and the then young Indira Gandhi at a rally outside his college.The next day he abandoned his studies and joined the historic freedom movement in India.Deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi he changed his surname to ‘Gandhi’.
He was first lodged in prison for 19 months for his participation in Indian independence movement in 1930.He would later be arrested for his support for agrarian no rent campaign.On the personal front,he grew closer to the Gandhi family and proposed to Indira Gandhi when she was just 16.The proposition was rejected by both Kamala Nehru and Indira Gandhi herself.However he was a trusted aid of Kamala Nehru and was a pillar of support when her health deteriorated due to tuberculosis.Kamala Nehru was flown to Europe for treatment and the arrangements were personally overseen by Feroze Gandhi.He was by her bedside when she passed away in 1923.Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi fell in love during their frequent meetings in London,where they both were pursuing their higher education and eventually married in 1942,against the wishes of Jawaharlal Nehru.
After India’s independence in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister and Feroze and Indira Gandhi led a quiet domestic life in Allahabad with their two children.Feroze Gandhi won the general elections from Rae Bareli and also became the managing director of National Herald,a leading newspaper at that time.He then started his fight against corruption and brought several cases to light.The most noteworthy one is the Haridas Mundhra scandal which led to the resignation of the then finance minister T.T.Krishnamachari.This was a huge stain on the clean image of Nehru and it created a rift within the Nehru-Gandhi family.Nevertheless,it didn’t stop Feroze Gandhi and he continued his anti-corruption crusade.He was hugely responsible for bringing the parliamentary proceedings to public attention, having secured a private bill for the same.The Press council was India was founded primarily by the Feroze Gandhi trust.He passed away in 1980 due to heart attack at the young age of 47.
Remarkable for his courage to raise fingers at a living political legend, albeit his own family,and his futuristic vision for a nation first plagued by the British and then by power hungry politicians,Feroze Gandhi will always be remembered as the frontier of India’s fight against corruption.