Prime Ministers Are Also People
INDIRA GANDHI: LETTERS TO A FRIEND by Dorothy Norman Weidenfield & Nicolson, London, 1987, 179 pp., £10.95
Jan-Feb 1987, volume 11, No 1

At the time of the UNESCO Conference in Delhi in 1959, my husband was Chief of Protocol. I suddenly had a visit from Dorothy Norman whom I had never met before, asking me to collect some UNESCO papers which she wanted to send to Indira Gandhi. Dorothy Norman gave me the impression of a woman who did not know the Nehrus but was eager in any way possible to cultivate them. The episode in retrospect is odd since her book Indira Gandhi: Letters to a Friend starts with a relationship that apparently began in 1949. These letters published now reveal a correspondence of such intimacy that I feel certain repug¬nance in reading them. Indira Gandhi was an extremely private person. The revelation of her deep thoughts not only on the state of the nation to a foreigner, but the failure of her marriage are surely not for publication, such as one statement in 1959: ‘A veritable sea of trouble is engulfing me. On the domestic front Feroze has always resented my very exis¬tence, but since I have become President of the Congress Party he exudes such hostility, it seems to poison the air. Unfortunately he and his friends are friendly with some of our Ministers and an impossible situation is being created.’

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