In a tweet, JD(U) said, “Tributes to Indian politician and journalist Feroze Jehangir Gandhi on his birth anniversary.”
भारतीय राजनेता और पत्रकार फिरोज जहाँगीर गांधी के जन्मदिवस पर सादर नमन#jdu #bihar #firojgandhi https://t.co/ZJd1bfK92T
— Janata Dal (United) (@Jduonline) 1662943345000
Born on September 12, 1912, Feroze Gandhi was former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s husband and a two-time Congress Lok Sabha MP from Rae Bareli, having won in the first general election in 1952 and then again in 1957.
Feroze Gandhi died on September 8, 1960 at the age of 47 years. His resting place is in a Parsi cemetery at Prayagraj, a few kilometres away from Anand Bhawan, the ancestral house of the Nehru-Gandhis. He and Indira had two sons – former PM Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.
As usual, there was no statement either from the Congress party nor from any member of the Nehru-Gandhi family (Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Maneka Gandhi or Varun Gandhi) on his 110th birth anniversary. They had not issued any statement even on his death anniversary.
JD(U) has been governing Bihar along with the Congress and Lalu Prasad’ Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) since its break up with the BJP on August 9.
The move is being seen as the JD(U)’s efforts to win over the support of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, who is busy with the party’s 3570-km Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra, for the formation of a united opposition against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Bihar BJP spokesperson and national general secretary of the party’s OBC Morcha Nikhil Anand attacked Nitish Kumar for the post on Feroze. In a tweet, he said, “Rahul-Priyanka or the Congress party did not even tweet on the birth anniversary of Feroze Gandhi. From Indiraji-Rajivji to Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka, none visited Feroz ji’s samadhi on his birth or death anniversary. It is obvious that the new mullah of Congress’s politics will try to prove himself by eating more onions.”
फिरोज गांधी की जयंती पर राहुल- प्रियंका या कांग्रेस पार्टी ने ट्वीट भी नहीं किया। फिरोज जी की जयंती/पुण्यतिथि को… https://t.co/6RMnhvC1Zu
— Nikhil Anand (@NikhilAnandBJP) 1663062200000
JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi told TOI that not much meaning should be read in the party’s tweet on Feroze. He said, “It was a routine exercise without any purpose. It neither seeks to strengthen its ties with the Congress nor is trying to heckle it.”
The Congress leaders declined to comment on the issue. A senior leader of the party said at a time when the country was facing numerous and serious challenges on the economic, social and religious fronts, issuing statements on Feroze Gandhi’s birth or death anniversaries was not important.
As a matter of fact, the Nehru-Gandhis draw their surname from Feroze Gandhi. Born in a Parsi family, his real name was Feroze Jehangir Gandhy. But being strongly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he is said to have changed his surname. Following him, India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter Indira Priyadarshini changed her surname to Gandhi.
Feroze was a freedom fighter having participated in the Quit India Movement. He was also the publisher of the Congress party’s newspaper National Herald.
He is said to be independent India’s first anti-corruption crusader and whistle-blower, having raised his voice against corruption in his father-in-law Nehru’s government. Perhaps this may be the reason why he is not remembered on his birth or death anniversaries by the Congress or the members of the party’s first family.
They remember Nehru, Indira and Rajiv on their birth and death anniversaries but skip Feroze on his days.
For instance, on Feroze’s birth anniversary on September 12, Rahul Gandhi posted tweets about the Bharat Jodo Yatra which started from Kanyakumari. He has pinned a tweet about his visit on September 7 to Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu where his father was assassinated on May 21, 1991.
He said, “I lost my father to the politics of hate and division. I will not lose my beloved country to it too. Love will conquer hate. Hope will defeat fear. Together, we will overcome.”
I lost my father to the politics of hate and division. I will not lose my beloved country to it too.Love will con… https://t.co/xNRrg5tDsK
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1662522423000
On September 12, Priyanka posted a tweet about Allahabad University in Prayagraj. She said, “The 400% fee hike in Allahabad University is another anti-youth move of the BJP government. Children from ordinary families of UP and Bihar come here to study. By increasing the fees, the government will take away a major source of education from these youth. The government should immediately withdraw the decision of increasing the fees after listening to the students.”
इलाहाबाद विवि में 400% फीस वृद्धि भाजपा सरकार का एक और युवा विरोधी कदम है। यहां यूपी-बिहार के साधारण परिवारों के ब… https://t.co/O8fqYVzjOj
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) 1662979831000
On Feroze’s death anniversary on September 8, Rahul condoled the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch. He said, “My condolences to the people of the UK and the Royal Family on the passing away of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She had a long and glorious reign, serving her country with utmost commitment and dignity.”
My condolences to the people of UK and the Royal Family on the passing away of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Sh… https://t.co/1iMctKOeVZ
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1662660903000
On the same day, Priyanka wished everyone on Onam. “Wishing everyone a happy, colourful and fun-filled Onam!”
Wishing everyone a happy, colourful and fun-filled Onam!ഏവർക്കും ഹൃദയം നിറഞ്ഞ തിരുവോണാശംസകൾ https://t.co/iWkbgGJl1x
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) 1662622341000
There was no mention of Feroze by anyone in the Congress.
The epitaph on Feroze’s final resting place reads, “He is not dead who lifts thy glorious mind on high to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka visit the samadhis of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv twice every year. However, according to reports, they have visited Feroze’s tombstone once or twice between 2001 and 2011. Sonia is learnt to have directed for proper upkeep of the tomb. However, the place is reported to be in a dilapidated state.
The tweet by JD(U) might have brought the focus back on Feroze Gandhi.