Making Private Passion A Public Calling
M.K. Ranjitsinh
INDIRA GANDHI: A LIFE IN NATURE by Jairam Ramesh Simon & Schuster, India, 2017, 437 pp., 799
December 2017, volume 41, No 12

Is Indira Gandhi’s environmental legacy relevant to India of today? In Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature, Jairam Ramesh endeavours to enlist all her achievements, her motivations, her obstacles and more. It is a monumental treatise, an outcome of extensive and meticulous searching.

The author traces Indira’s interest in the natural world from her childhood—the influence of Jawaharlal, of Santiniketan and Rabindranath Tagore, whom she calls an ‘ecological man’, of Salim Ali and the rest. Her interest in nature was genuine and deep—in forests, stones, animal and birds, perhaps most in birds. ‘Gradually one realizes that birds are also little individuals each with his own characteristics’, she writes. She lived a lonely, turbulent and difficult life, which steeled her.

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