Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire By C. A. Bayly (Cambridge University Press, 383 pp., $29.99) Democracy and Its Institutions By André Béteille (Oxford University Press India, 228 pp., £27.50) I. THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA is the most reckless political experiment in human history. Never before was a single nation constructed out of so many diverse and disparate parts. Partitioned at birth on the basis of religion, India now has almost as many Muslims as the Muslim homeland of Pakistan.
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.
Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank (Houghton Mifflin, 448 pp., $35) I. The glassy memorial that stands in the garden where Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards in 1984 is among the most visited secular sites in India. Morning and afternoon, busloads of Indians arrive from across the country, whole families together, young and old, noisy but respectful. Nearly twenty years dead, Mrs. Gandhi stays vivid in popular memory. In the view of most Indians, she was the best prime minister that they have ever had.
Mahatma Gandhi and his Apostles by Ved Mehta (Viking; $14.95) Gandhi and Civil Disobedience by Judith M. Brown (Cambridge University Press; $32.50) The elephant is like a rope, says the blind man. It is like a tree-trunk, says another. No, it is like a snake, says a third.
India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has locked up droves of her political enemies. She has suspended constitutional rights and imposed such drastic press censorship that even publishing news of the censorship rules is banned. More than 1000 persons have been jailed, including the venerable Jayaprakash Narayan, the prominent associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi's current troubles began with her conviction by a local Allahabad judge for two minor election abuses. These involved taking undue advantage of her prime ministerial office to wage her personal political wars.
Oriana Fallaci: You said in another interview: “If I could have my life over again, I’d be a violinist, a surgeon, an archaeologist or a polo player, anything except a king.” Mohammed Reza Pahlevi: I don’t remember saying that, but if I did, I was referring to the fact that a king’s job is a big headache. But that doesn’t mean I’d be ready to give it up. I believe in what I am and in what I’m doing too much for that. Where there’s no monarchy, there’s anarchy, or an oligarchy or a dictatorship. Besides, a monarchy is the only possible means to govern Iran.