Dr K.P. Mathur was Indira Gandhi’s personal physician from 1966 onwards, until her assassination in 1984. In The Unseen Indira Gandhi, Dr Mathur looks at Mrs Gandhi’s life from a very different outlook, a deeply personal recollection of a life that was lived in public. Here, he talks about the PM’s relationship with her husband, Feroze Gandhi:
It was no secret that the PM’s relationship with her husband Feroze Gandhi were strained. Feroze Sa’ab was rumoured to have a glad eye and this was always a matter of strain in their relationship. Feroze Gandhi was a very friendly, informal and talkative person. He was also quite handsome, fair and had an overall attractive personality. People of both sexes were easily attracted to him. He was a leftist with a strong sympathy for the common people. The couple were living separately, the PM with her father in the PM’s house and Feroze Sa’ab in the MP quarters some distance away.
However, very few people might have known that despite the differences between the two, the PM continued to have very cordial relations with his family. She regularly observed the Parsi New Year, Navroz. She often enquired about their well-being from Usha Bhagat, who had come to know the family well over the years and had developed cordial relations with them. Once, the PM even went to Bombay to attend a family wedding and spent a whole day attending all the ceremonies and in-between, also running out two or three times to fulfill her official and party engagements. In the evening, there was a dinner to which all the members of her party were also invited. This was the first time that I savoured some typical Parsi cuisine.
Sometimes in a casual conversation, a reference would come up about Feroze Sa’ab and such incidents were generally related to their holidays in Pahalgam. She would immediately brighten up on hearing someone talk of those days. One of her favourite stories was about the time Feroze Sa’ab fell off a horse.
She had organized a picnic in the morning while holidaying in Pahalgam with Feroze Sa’ab. She had carried some hot coffee, fruits and other edibles, cutlery, a mat to sit on the grass, and one or two towels, etc. They were sitting when Feroze Sa’ab came from the other side on a horse, and dismounted at the spot where they were sitting. He lost his balance and fell down on all fours. His jacket was soiled and there was mud on his body; luckily he did not get hurt. She asked him to take off his jacket so that she could brush it clean.
Whenever she narrated such incidents, she would break out laughing, remembering the fun she had. It appeared as if she was talking of an estranged friend in whose company, she had enjoyed many moments of genuine happiness…
To continue reading the excerpt, get The Unseen Indira Gandhi: Through her Physician’s Eyes on Juggernaut here: https://goo.gl/R5vPLm