The Nehrus and the Gandhis

Published by Picador, 2005

The Nehrus are a dynasty without precedent in the modern world; nowhere else and at no other time in recent history has a single family wielded such enduring and pervasive power over the country—and the electorate—they serve. From Jawaharlal Nehru to his daughter, Indira Gandhi, and from there, via Sanjay and Rajiv to—most recently—Sonia, this remarkable family have consistently established both the parameters and rhetoric of India’s political development.

In the eighties, Tariq Ali made several trips to India, meeting a wide range of political and public figures, including Mrs Gandhi, and leaders of both the Congress and Opposition parties. The Nehrus and the Gandhis, first published in 1985, was the result. Now updated to include the most recent chapters in India’s political history, it remains as relevant as ever, offering an intricate and revealing portrait of power, seen through the continued rise—and eyes—of one family.

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From the archive

  • ‘You say you want a revolution’

    April 1, 2011

    Tariq Ali interviewed by Toby Manhire for the New Zealand Listener, March 19 2011

    My last encounter with Tariq Ali did not go so well. I was comment editor at the Guardian newspaper, and had invited him to write on events in Pakistan. An email flew back. No. He certainly would not. The recent appearance in the paper of a piece by Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, had been a “disgrace”, and he “would feel out of place on your pages these days”. My effort at an explanatory, conciliatory response went unans–wered.

    Nearly a year later, waiting on the line in New Zealand as his phone rings in north London, I’m a bit nervous. One of the most respected figures on the British left, he has since written a number of times for the paper, so that’s repaired, but  …