The Hindu Lit for Life 2018

Sagarika Ghose and Vaasanthi talk about writing on Indira Gandhi and J. Jayalalithaa respectively

Sagarika Ghose,Sushila Ravindranath, and Vaasanthi.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

These two women are as different as chalk and cheese. But we’re here to talk about the few similarities they shared,” said Sushila Ravindranath, moderator of the first session at The Hindu Pavillion on Day 1 of The Hindu Lit for Life. Women of Steel: Indira Gandhi and J. Jayalalithaa had Sagarika Ghose and Vaasanthi in conversation with Ravindranath, on the politicians on whom they had recently authored books.

“It was one of the most difficult assignments I have ever done, as there was hardly any written material on Jayalalithaa,” said Vaasanthi. Ghose, on the other hand, had to contend with 120 biographies, innumerable TV interviews. “I was drowning in information! But I wanted to bring Indira Gandhi alive for a new generation, so the book is in the form of letters to her,” she said.

Ravindranath noted that while both women claimed that they did not like politics, they were, in fact, astute politicians. “What motivated them?” she asked. Ghose replied, “There was a duality to Gandhi’s persona: she was always striving for her father’s approval, but she was also her

mother’s protector. Her entry into politics was a riposte to Jawaharlal. She was in the ruthless pursuit of power. But the blunders she made created an extremist monster that claimed her life.”

In Jayalalithaa’s case, it was anger, particularly directed at two men: MGR and Karunanidhi. “Her politics was all about herself. An AIADMK victory was her victory,” said Vaasanthi, adding, “She didn’t groom a successor because she did not care if the party imploded after she was gone — which is what is happening now.”

Ending the conversation on a lighter note, Ravindranath asked Ghose about the film rights to her book, and who would make a good Indira. “I think Vidya Balan has the emotional complexity to play the role,” said Ghose.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:49:08 PM |

In This Package
The Hindu Lit For Life 2018 that saw brilliant speakers and engaged audiences
What does it mean to be a woman in India?
The insiduous culture of differentiation in India
You are reading
Sagarika Ghose and Vaasanthi talk about writing on Indira Gandhi and J. Jayalalithaa respectively
Retirement isn’t an option for author Shobhaa De whose latest book is on being 70
Forging a new, interesting language through art
The function of theatre
There’s more to Hema Malini than just acting
The function of the poet
Dissent and street power: A discussion on on the modern-day attacks on the freedom to dissent in India
A sacred river where superbugs swim: Little has been achieved despite the amount of money and time allocated to the Ganga clean-up project
Stories that keep us from forgetting
In a time of conflict, children have every right to know dark truths
‘I will not say sorry for my writing’: Taslima Nasreen spoke about freedom of expression
Jignesh Mevani on how to crack an election
The problem of corruption in India
How democratic a space is the Internet in the age of online trolls?
Forces that reshape India
Humanising terrorists
How is history changing?
‘The truth behind the charges has to be established’
When a brigand and terrorist were killed
How can novelty be restored to the novel?
Pranay Lal, author of Indica, says every stone has a story to tell
Cricket, by and large, is a level playing field today
Late Tamil writer Ashokamitran came back to life in Prasanna Ramaswamy’s documentary
Next Story