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An Indian fall

In the mid-1950s the reputation of Jawaharlal Nehru, free India's founding prime minister, was unassailable. But from the mid-1970s, thanks in part to the actions of his daughter, Indira Gandhi, it began to tumble. In recent years he has been widely reviled, although a revaluation may finally be under way

By Ramachandra Guha   December 2005

One of the privileges of democracy is that it allows you to excoriate politicians who are long dead as well as those who are still living. After years of living under one kind of dictatorship or another, Afghans can now openly criticise those who rule them. But will the legacy of Hamid Karzai still be debated in public 50 or 60 years hence? And what will the Iraq of 2050 be saying about the record of Iyad Alawi or Ayatollah Sistani?

These questions are prompted by the deeply contentious legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India for its first…

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