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The Red Sari

16 Jan 15
Written by
Published in Books

Javier Moro's book, which has been successful in Italy and Spain where more than half a million copies have been sold, has been able to release his book in India now. a dramatised biography supposedly on the life of Sonia Gandhi, which was stalled by threats of lawsuits.

In 1965 Sonia Maino, a nineteen-year-old Italian student, meets a young Indian man named Rajiv Gandhi. She is the daughter of a humble family near Turin; he comes from the most powerful lineage in India.  Although a novel, this account of the Nehru-Gandhi family and their dominance of India's fledgling democratic nation as leaders of the Congress Party, is told from the point of view of Sonia Gandhi as she witnesses tumultuous events in history from the vantage point of marrying into the political powerhouse and being the daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In an almost continuous "reign" with only a few misses, Mahatma Gandhi's ideology lives on through the decades as his friend Nehru and Nehru's daughter, Indira, her sons Sangay and Rajiv, and ultimately her daughter-in law passionately steer India into the 21st century and beyond. With the goal of independence through non-violence, the family firmly believes in the three pillars of India -- "democracy, secularism and the rule of law." They must contend with all manner of challenges to their philosophy as religious nationalism and communism threaten to divide the nation and lead to unending civil war.

Unrest and corrupt government practices threaten the stability of the fragile new nation and the Gandhi family struggles to remain true to the political promises like integrity, tolerance, socialism, and service to poors.




Earlier, the circumstances created were such that the Spanish publishers of the book, Planeta, could not proceed with its distribution in India.  According to UK 'Telegraph', she had taken strong exception to her portrayal in 'The Red Sari' as a snob who wanted to leave India following her husband's 1991 assassination. The book also portrays her as a central figure in Indira Gandhi's 1975 imposition of emergency rule.

Although the book itself is a fiction and portrays Sonia as a victim of events around her, the Congress and Sonia Gandhi's lawyers describe the book as "full of untruths, half-truths, falsehoods, defamatory statements, completely imaginary and invented conversations".

Apparently Sonia didn't like part where she is shown as wanting to leave India after assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, saying "this is a country that devours its children" and also the part about learning Hindi ("..Sonia did not understand why she had to learn a language only spoken by the servants."). The book also talks about the family feud and the strained relationship between Sonia and her sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi. The book details lives of the Nehru-Gandhi family while dealing with Bangladesh war in 1971, the Emergency in 1975 and other events that have shaped modern Indian history.

1 comment

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