Genesis: Historical researchReference:
The activity of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty in Modern Indian English-language Historiography (from 1991 to the present)
Abstract: The article analyzes Indian English-language publications devoted to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, written and published after 1991, which became a turning point in the history of independent India, this is the subject of this study. The purpose of this work is to determine the nature of scientific assessments of the role of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in the political history of India in the second half of the XX century in English-language publications of Indian authors after 1991. The main method used in the work was cultural-anthropological, as it involves the study of the positions of the authors of scientific publications in the formulation of the problem and the selection of arguments in defense of their point of view; the attitude of Indian scientists to the object of research, as well as the identification of political preferences of researchers, the features of scientific schools and trends in historical science that they represent. The relevance of the work is explained by the fact that the Nehru-Gandhi family and currently actively participates in the political life of the Republic of India, still have a significant political influence, holding leadership positions in the Indian National Congress Party. In addition, their political activities in 1947-1991 continue to be the subject of discussion in the scientific and intellectual community of India. The novelty of the work is explained by the insufficient study of Indian historiography devoted to the history of the country after independence in 1947. The main conclusion is that due to the large-scale political changes in India that began after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, more and more criticism of the political dynasty can be found in the works of Indian specialists, but at the same time there is no consensus in Indian science about the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty at the present time, pluralism of opinions has very wide and polar range. This can be considered the main feature of Indian historiography.
Keywords: hindutva, saffronization, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, historiography, India, Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Indian National Congress, political dynasty
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Major Changes in Indian Historiography
2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth Prime Minister of India and the last representative of the famous Indian Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which ruled the country since independence in 1947. Since then, it has been believed in India that the reign of this dynasty has finally become a thing of the past, and the understanding of the rule of representatives of the same family for more than 40 years and their role in the formation of modern India in the scientific environment has begun. Indian scientific publications devoted to Nehru-Gandhi began to acquire a slightly different character than in the era of their rule. They were created both directly in English, and in Hindi and local languages of India with duplication in English for the convenience of scientific communication and publication in foreign publications.
Until 1991, the historical science of the country was dominated by left-wing, Marxist views, which is especially vividly reflected in the works of representatives of the Subaltern Studies school, who dealt with the influence of colonialism in the history of India. The current state of historical thought in India can be characterized by the fact that since 1991 one can observe a "right turn" in historiography or "saffronization" of history (the term "saffronization" was created by the color of the clothes of Hindu hermits), Hindutva researchers have become more popular and their views more radical. The reason for this was the change in the political situation in India, the weakening of the INC's position and the strengthening of nationalist parties and movements, primarily the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The change of power and the establishment of a new ideology require a change in the political mood of society, it is impossible without the support of the majority of the population, so the BJP and their allies have actively taken up historical policy, drawing up the correct interpretation of history. The goal was to mobilize the nation and create a special Hindu identity [1, p. 183].
A vivid manifestation of the "saffronization" of history was the spread of the concept of Purushottam Nagesh Oak, who since the 1960s had been publishing books with his own version of Indian history, where the Vedic religion was the basis of all religions of the world, as well as Sanskrit - the first language of peoples, and Christianity and Islam turned out to be "sects" that broke away from Vedism. "Christians actually worshipped Krishna, the name Vatican comes from the Sanskrit vatika ("garden"), the name Rome (Rome) came from "Rama", Russia (Russia) - from rsi (rishi, sage), Moscow - from moksa (spiritual liberation), Baghdad - Bhagavad dad ("God-given"), etc. And in general, all the great cathedrals and palaces of the world, including Notre Dame Cathedral, are Hindu temples; the lion decor of the throne of English kings and the clothes of the royal guards in Britain are "Vedic" orange, which also confirms the "Hindu" roots of the English monarchy" [2, p. 231]. His concept was openly anti–Islamic, since all Muslim shrines in India are former Hindu temples, Muslims are the destroyers of Hindu culture, and so on.
Since the beginning of the XXI century, his openly anti-scientific concept began to receive more and more supporters, as well as Hindu nationalist historical concepts in general, which is closely related to changes in the political life of the country. Despite the fact that these "wars" mainly concerned the coverage of the ancient and medieval history of the country, conceptual changes in historical thought were reflected in the coverage of the postcolonial history of India, including the role of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in it.
The BJP was actively looking for new "heroes of the past" for its ideological purposes. Since all the heroes of Indian history of the last century are closely associated with the INC — the main political opponents, the BJP put forward alternative heroes, such as Subhas Chandra Bose or Vallabhbhai Patel, who were opponents of Jawaharlal Nehru. At the same time, criticism of the Nehru-Gandhi family intensified, because one of the tasks of the BJP is to build India without INC. According to Solodkova, this is a difficult task, because, despite the current situation, the INC is a party that has been at the helm of India for more than 40 years, and most of its leaders are the founders of Indian statehood and heroes of the national liberation movement. The main achievements of the Republic of India in the first years of independence are connected with their activities. This forces the BJP to criticize the INC leaders more actively and to make attempts aimed at undermining their authority and searching for replacement historical figures [1, p. 190]. Since the events related to the national liberation movement and the formation of the Indian state, headed by Nehru-Gandhi, are fresh in the collective memory of society, the BJP tries to make them the subject of fierce discussion and indirectly put pressure on the historical community of India, which actively picked up new ideas. Therefore, the scientific community began to look at the activities of Nehru-Gandhi in India from a different angle and taking into account the new political realities.
The Indian community has its own opinion on this. He was voiced by the famous historian Ramachandra Guha, a supporter of the Nehru-Gandhi family policy. He noted in one of the articles that the Nehru family was not particularly popular in the scientific community, their education, their lifestyle were criticized, the political dynasty was considered weak-willed idealists with high-sounding rhetoric who did not take radical actions to transform India [3, p. 1959]. The milestone for him is considered not 1991, but 1977, the end of the state of emergency and the first defeat of the INC in the elections, it was then that the criticism of Nehru-Gandhi began in various publications, when the right began to accuse of disrespect for Hindus and patronage of Muslims, and the left — of insufficient building of socialism in India. Guha sees several reasons for the increased criticism of the Nehru family: the feeling that much more could have been done for the Indian people (it prevails among the middle class), the ambiguity of the socialist methods of economic development introduced in India, the decline of the INC, the personal misdeeds of the Nehru-Gandhi family itself (primarily Indira and Rajiv Gandhi), a strong fascination the scientific community of M. K. Gandhi's ideas, with whom this family was compared [3, p. 1961-1962]. A publicist, a member of the INC Shashi Tharoor, does not agree with him, who believes that the blame lies solely on the Hindutva supporters because of their assertion that nationalism and its religious traditions and prejudices have deeper roots in the country, therefore the achievements of Nehru-Gandhi are belittled, and the shortcomings are extolled [4, p. 200].
Also during this period, the first monograph dedicated to the entire dynasty as a whole appeared - the work of S. S. Gill "The Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty". It was published in the mid-1990s and is devoted exclusively to the political activities of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi without a detailed analysis of their biographies, since Gill chose a thematic research approach for a clearer focus on various aspects of the Nehru-Gandhi rule [5, p. 7]. The main sources of Gill's work were conversations with politicians and scientists of India who are closely acquainted with the Nehru family, personal observations of important events in the life of the country, since the author worked for many years in the civil service, was directly connected with the formation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty policy.
In parallel, S. S. Gill was one of the first in India to pose the problem of the phenomenon of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty as a form of transfer of power in recent history. He points out that in South Asia they love dynasties, because there is a strong desire for deification and worship. At the same time, the Nehru-Gandhi family managed, in his opinion, to bring stability to the institutions of state power due to the smooth succession of power: "God's spark of Nehru guaranteed a smooth succession of power. The dynasty became the central place of aura and myths and served as a political center." [5, p. 384]. For him, dynastic rule was necessary to maintain order and stability: "Although it offends the spirit of republicanism, the rule of the dynasty is a necessary evil" [5, p. 384]. Gill believes that India was formed as a democratic and secular state on which all other state institutions are built: "Although Nehru was the main architect of this structure, Indira and Rajiv also never wavered in their democratic beliefs. Even after Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency, she worried all the time about restoring the normal rule of law faster - and did it as quickly as she could. Democracy is so deeply rooted in India that no political party, of any color, has ever imposed an alternative system" [5, p. 386].
There is also a critical point of view in the coverage of this problem. In particular, it is represented by the opinion of the publicist G. Nurani, who in his article "Dynasty in Democracy" wrote that the dynastic rule of Nehru-Gandhi did not contribute to the development of democracy in India and led to adverse consequences, such as the underdevelopment of the parliamentary system, the development of the cult of personality, the growth of corruption and Hindu communalism .
Changing assessments of Jawaharlal Nehru's policies
During this period, the assessments of the policy of the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, were revised in the direction of greater criticism. However, the criticism of Nehru was not harsh, because his legacy for independent India is too high and significant.
Positive assessments of the personality of Jawaharlal Nehru have been preserved. For Navtej Kaur, he was an internationalist, a supporter of peace on the planet, dreamed that there would be no wars. "Nehru clearly realized that peace is one of the main magnificent aspirations of mankind, Jawaharlal Nehru preached peace through peaceful coexistence and his ideas of a world without war, and his love was for all mankind" [7, p. 205]. Surender Kaur Goraya writes about how Nehru fought for human rights. In his opinion, Nehru fought all his life for basic human rights, which were violated during the colonial period and were not always respected during his rule, highly appreciated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1949. "According to Nehru, the criterion of a truly free society is whether it consists of free people. We can say that people are free if they achieve both political and economic freedom. Wherever there is oppression, whether of a political, economic or social nature, society can be described as just society" [8, p. 872]. Gill writes that it was only thanks to Nehru's efforts that India was able to begin the path of modernization and become a developing country with a developed democratic system. The introduction of democracy in India for Gill will always be kept in the memory of the Indian people, Nehru sought to involve everyone in the governance of the country. Gill called the Nehru era "a happy time for the country to care for the delicate plant of democracy, sufficient for it to grow into a solid tree" [5, p. 183].
However, opposite assessments of Nehru's personality began to sound. Shashi Tharoor saw in him the beginnings of a dictator, which were not used to preserve the unity of the country and loyalty to democratic ideals. Therefore, Nehru showed deep respect for various state institutions, especially the Parliament, considered the Lok Sabha a serious and authoritative body, consulted with the chief ministers of the states on various issues, and so on [4, p. 142]. Tharoor did not consider him a great orator, a great democrat, blamed the growing corruption of his entourage and so on.
First of all, the authors were interested in Nehru's domestic policy, namely the industrialization of India and the transition to a planned economy. S. S. Gill supported Nehru's desire to modernize the economy and the entire Indian society: "Nehru believed that the salvation of India depended on modernization through industrialization and cultivation of land on a scientific basis; that is, in his opinion, the most accurate way for traditional Indian society was to get out of the quagmire of conservatism, superstition and obscurantism and assimilate the rights and values of a progressive, modern industrial society" [5, p. 14]. Shashi Tharoor called Nehru's economic policy presumptuous and protectionist, since the first prime minister of India did not trust foreign business, especially Western business: "The Gandhian equalization of political nationalism with economic self-sufficiency only emphasized Nehru's prejudice against capitalism, which (far from being synonymous with freedom) in his head was fundamentally equated with the enslavement of the population. Protectionism became an inevitable result: in Jawaharlal's way of thinking, economic independence was an essential consequence of gaining political independence" [4, p. 177].
Nehru's socialist aspirations have been particularly criticized. Tharoor called Nehru-Gandhi's socialism "idiosyncratic" because it was a mixture of various political and ideological trends — Fabian idealism, passionate and somewhat romanticized concern for the struggling masses, Gandhian belief in self-reliance (learned in a spinning wheel and characterized by demonstrative wearing of hadi), anti-colonialism and "modern" faith in "scientific" methods such as planning [4, p. 134]. Gill, in analyzing the socialism of the Nehru-Gandhi family, noted the lack of revolutionary ideas, although the transformations themselves were such in essence: "The changes that Nehru imagined in the state structure, of course, were revolutionary in nature. But no one can imagine circumstances when the revolutionary situation that has arisen does not give rise to significant revolutionary forces" [5, p. 56]. However, INC Gill did not consider it a socialist party, because after independence, India had its own socialist force, and the Nehru-Gandhi party was dominated for a long time by conservative forces alien to such ideas. In addition, Gill did not recognize measures that are considered socialist, including economic planning, as such, since these measures were successfully implemented by countries that were not considered socialist in the West [5, p. 62].
The main object of criticism was the foreign policy of Jawaharlal Nehru. This applies not only to India's relations with the USSR, the USA, and the PRC (Jawaharlal Nehru's actions in 1962 during the military conflict with the Chinese were particularly criticized and criticized), the unresolved problem in relations with Pakistan, but also the entire foreign policy concept of a political dynasty. The doctrine of non-alignment is no longer considered correct for everyone and is vital for India. Nira Chandhok argues that the concept of non-alignment has not justified itself, and Nehru's activity in this direction is explained by his radical cosmopolitanism [9, p. 40]. Ria Kapoor, in an article about Tibetan refugees in India in the late 1950s, shows the maneuvering and throwing of Nehru towards people from Tibet, which did not correspond to the concept of non-alignment, which the author considers ambiguous [10, p. 692]. Sinderpal Singh considers Nehru's attempt to formulate a "pan-Asian" consciousness after World War II through the Non-Aligned Movement unsuccessful, because "he insisted on expressing it through the metaphor of "Great India", which included the "ideal centering" of India in the regional space" [11, p. 64].
The Indo-Chinese border conflict of 1962 is considered a striking example of the concept's failure. Nehru's attempts to regulate the border conflict with the PRC are criticized, since Nehru could not abandon the principles of nonviolence, but sometimes he showed arrogance towards the Chinese. "Nehru was immune to Chinese increasing irritation that their leaders were saying that India's claims as a great power were becoming global and specific to Asia, a position that a growing and strengthening Beijing saw more for China" [4, p. 210]. This war led to the collapse of Nehru's entire foreign policy, the fall of his own authority in the world and the authority of the whole of India.
There were also positive assessments of the Nehru-Gandhi foreign policy concept. Ramachandra Guha considered the doctrine of non-alignment as part of the process of Asian revival, when former colonies can enter into their legitimate international rights. As another advantage of this concept, Guha highlighted the opportunity to have a beneficial effect on the arrogance of the superpowers – the USSR and the USA [12, p. 175]. Gill considers non-alignment to meet the practical needs of India, since it was necessary to develop its economy in acceptable conditions, peace was needed, besides, India could not afford to buy a lot of weapons [5, p. 152].
Mapping Indira Gandhi's Politics in Indian Historiography
As for Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi, her activities in India have been comprehensively criticized in scientific publications. Even people from her entourage, such as her close friend Pupul Jayakar, who published her biography in 1992, criticized her policies. It is believed that Indira Gandhi was not ready to become Prime Minister of India and make important decisions. "Indira had courage, determination, ruthlessness, but this was not enough for her to become a successful prime minister" [13, p. 134]. Gyan Prakash called Indira Gandhi a paranoid, insecure and authoritarian ruler: "Authoritarian and insecure by nature, she reacted to political dissent with paranoia, playing fast and loose with constitutional and political protocols and relying on an ever-changing circle of supporters and advisers to concentrate power" [14, p. 13].
There were also alternative points of view on the personality of Indira Gandhi. S. S. Gill called her born to rule, whose fate could not but be connected with being the Prime minister of India. His laudatory statements about Indira Gandhi were combined with criticism of the leaders of the "Syndicate", in particular, Morarji Desai, called by Gill a quirky and cunning politician who had no chance to gain power. While Indira Gandhi inherited the genius of her father [5, p. 152].
The greatest attention is paid to the analysis of Indira Gandhi's policy during the state of emergency in India in 1975-1977. As an era of strengthening of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, separate scientific works began to devote to this period, a new look at this period appeared. The causes of the crisis were called economic instability, numerous droughts that led to famine, and the consequences of the war in Bangladesh. Allegations of corruption and lawsuits against her were considered a secondary factor, although it was noted that this played a role in the introduction of the state of emergency. The state of emergency of 1975-1977 is still called a time of troubles in the postcolonial history of India, an attempt to destroy democracy and establish the authoritarian system of Indira Gandhi, and so on. The authors called the policy during the state of emergency too cruel, and I. Gandhi's intentions did not coincide with reality. "Mrs. Gandhi could silence the world and escape from reality, but she could not escape from herself. Like her father, she was well aware of her place in history. Freedom, democracy, elections, public opinion were the principles she grew up with. Her political instinct was still prudent enough to tell her that the state of emergency was a false step and that the course of events was getting out of control" [5, p. 240]. Gyan Prakash calls this period a continuation of the general crisis of democratic institutions, which began in 1968 with student protests in France. This era has shown the true nature of Indian sovereignty, in which the ruler reveals his true face. Indira Gandhi showed her ruthless determination during these years, but her intentions did not coincide with reality, since freedom and democracy were the basic principles of the state structure of India.
Indira Gandhi's foreign policy is less criticized, in particular her role in the 1971 Bangladesh Independence War. Pupul Jayakar notes that I. Gandhi prepared for this conflict, consulted on this issue, including with the opposition, did everything prudently and took into account all possible consequences. "It was an issue in which leading forces could be involved. With her ability to see events in perspective, related to her meticulous planning skills, she called her consultants and planned her priorities" [13, p. 166]. The authors argue that this war could have acquired a more global character, since the seventh US fleet was already approaching India, which the Pacific Fleet of the USSR could meet, and noted that I. Gandhi managed to quickly win the war and make it only local. Jayakar considers this war the pinnacle of Indira Gandhi's glory. "Through the war, Indira has adjusted the country to herself. In her victory, she assumed a mystical role in the land of myths. She has reached the heights that she felt since childhood in her destiny" [13, p. 183]. Gill singled out the following reasons for Gandhi's victory in this conflict: "It was the excellent qualities of Mrs. Gandhi's leader, her supernatural sense of choosing a certain moment and the meticulous preparations made for conducting campaigns that allowed India to completely defeat the Pakistani military machine. She gave maximum weight to the advice of her military commanders and did nothing in a panic. The execution of this campaign is completely different from the confusing, poorly planned and unprofessional course of action in the Indo-Chinese War of 1962" [5, p. 218].
Indira Gandhi, in general, is considered the most tragic figure in the history of India, who had more trials and defeats than victories, defenseless and lonely, strong and courageous. S. S. Gill believes that corruption flourished in India under her, that she did not make firm strong-willed decisions, that she had dynastic ambitions and she didn't want to promote anyone except her sons Sanjay and Rajiv. He called the main trouble that she identified herself with the whole country and equated her own good with the good of the country. "There is a dwarf hiding in every giant. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi allowed the dwarf to overcome the giant" [5, p. 318].
Rajiv Gandhi's Politics in the focus of Indian authors' attention
During the designated period, the scientific understanding of Rajiv Gandhi's political activity begins. The most significant studies on the policy pursued by Rajiv Gandhi were the works of the aforementioned S. S. Gill and the biography written by Meena Agarwal. Agarwal's work is filled with excessive praise for Rajiv Gandhi, Agarwal praises almost everything that Rajiv Gandhi did during his premiership, noted his progressive thinking, wisdom and thoughtfulness: "Rajiv Gandhi was a charismatic leader with youthful enthusiasm, sensitivity and a deep sense of justice. He has always faced national and international challenges with determination and dedication. In this country, which has always been ruled by elderly leaders, he filled a new life with his young leadership" [15, p. 101]. At the same time, Rajiv Gandhi, like his mother, was also considered unprepared for power, but for a different reason: he did not enter politics of his own free will, and no one counted on him. According to Jill, Indians pinned their hopes on him for large-scale changes, rejuvenation of Indian politics. Rajiv Gandhi became a hostage of the created image, and subsequently the transition to conservatism with the rejection of the original goals due to ignorance of the political experience of his ancestors and his own naivety. He was not a firm and systematic leader without a clear view of the world and ideology, who did not create institutions to implement his reforms, did not have "the perseverance and courage of a successful national leader who could achieve results even in the face of difficult obstacles" [5, p. 376]. According to Gill, Rajiv Gandhi as a politician and prime minister was solely a product of his mother's dynastic policies and failed to become a national leader.
In these publications, special emphasis is placed on the liberal economic transformations of Rajiv Gandhi, which are particularly admired by Meena Agarwal: "State-owned enterprises, agriculture, rural development programs, strengthening national security, combating poverty, family planning, land reforms, special programs for women, children and youth, housing for all, decisive steps for the well-being of individual castes and tribes, environmental protection, etc. were the areas in which Rajiv Gandhi worked during his premiership and gave relevance to many forms of national development" [15, p. 82]. Agarwal was equally active in supporting the policy of introducing the achievements of STD in India: "He took the first step at the right time to stimulate development in new fields such as computers, communications, electronics, biotechnology, superconductors, cryogenics, oceanography, space, unconventional energy sources and nuclear energy" [15, p. 102].
Gill, unlike Agarwal, emphasized the reasons for economic liberalization in the country: "the purpose of these reforms was to build an "India of the XXI century", to achieve which it was necessary to reduce state control, simplify the international trade regime, ease import restrictions and reduce import duties" [5, p. 338]. Gill also considers economic liberalization to be Rajiv Gandhi's main achievement, as the Indian economy received a boost to development by gaining access to non-Indian equipment, raw materials and technologies. This brought an increase in production of 8% per year, and the growth of the entire economy of 6% per year. However, the liberalization, according to Gill, lasted only two years. After that, economic problems began due to the oversaturation of the goods market, prices began to fall at first, and then to grow rapidly, and the government of R. Gandhi had to return protectionist measures. Gill saw in the reason for the rollback from liberalization not only financial problems, but also ideological ones, since R. Gandhi's image did not correspond to the ideas of his party. "Rajiv's reputation as a cult figure of the middle class did not correspond to the traditional image of the Congress Party as the party of the oppressed. Alarmed by a series of defeats in the assembly elections, the party was now much more afraid of losing its ideological image" [5, p. 341]. Gill also criticized the active technologization of India, considering that Rajiv Gandhi was too much concerned about this problem, had a one-sided view of progress, since without the development of education and science, the successful introduction of technology is impossible: "Rajiv put a disproportionate emphasis on technology as an engine of development. If it was to play a critical role in industrial growth, it had little impact on other aspects of the economy, which equally affected economic well-being and growth" [5, p. 343].
Gill was particularly criticized by Rajiv Gandhi's foreign policy, especially the decision to intervene in the civil war in Sri Lanka in 1988, which the author considers erroneous. His decision to send Indian troops to the island was justified by an attempt to retain his position by Sri Lankan President D. Jayawardene and preserve India's influence throughout the South Asian region. Nina Gopal believes that Rajiv Gandhi's decision corresponds to India's policy towards Sri Lanka in the 1980s, which began under Indira Gandhi, noting the differences between their lines of policy. Indira Gandhi had hostile relations with Jayawardene and was on the side of the Tamils, Rajiv Gandhi was neutral and wanted to settle this interethnic conflict by peaceful means. "It is obvious that Indira and Rajiv Gandhi lived at different times and were governed by extremely different strategic imperatives. They were also two people who looked at foreign policy through different prisms. In any case, history has shown that none of the paths chosen by the two leaders fully met the interests of India. One talked about war, but never fought it; the other talked about peace, but went to war" [16, p. 102]. Jill writes: "India unwittingly assumed the duties of the Sri Lankan army in the fight against the Tamil tigers, for which the agreement on protection and rehabilitation was signed. Sri Lankans viewed this as an attack on national sovereignty, and Indian troops were considered an army of invaders" [2, p. 366].
The theme of the war in Sri Lanka and India's intervention in the conflict is closely related to the cause of the tragic death of Rajiv Gandhi as a result of the terrorist act of May 21, 1991, to which the works of Nina Gopal, K. Ragotaman, Faraz Ahmad, etc. are devoted [16; 17; 18] These works are based on the materials of the investigation of the CBI Commission (Indian Central Bureau investigations) led by D. R. Karthikeyan, which were published in the early 2000s. All of the above authors named Velupillai Prabhakaran as the organizer of the murder of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and supported the death penalty for the organizers and customers of the crime (in 2014, some of the criminals were replaced with life imprisonment, but this is not mentioned in the publications).
The only achievement of Rajiv Gandhi in foreign policy is considered to be the improvement of relations with China after the meeting with Deng Xiaoping in 1988. Velpula Ramunajam and Manish S. Dabhade in their article on this event write that the success of Rajiv Gandhi's diplomacy at the summit depended on two factors: the personality of the leader and the internal factor, namely confident negotiation and a calmer situation in India itself and in the border territories [19, p. 326].
From all of the above, it can be concluded that after 1991, Indian researchers carried out a lot of work on a thorough study of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. The coverage of the political activities of the representatives of the dynasty in Indian historiography after 1991 overcame the apologetics characteristic of the previous period and became more critical. This was the result of large–scale internal political changes in the country associated with the strengthening of the positions of Hindu nationalists led by the BJP and their ideology - Hindutva. The so-called "saffronization" of historical science in India leads to a revision of the entire concept of the country's history in the context of the special role of Hinduism and the Vedic religion as the main elements of the cultural identity of Indians. Both the personal qualities of representatives of the Nehru-Gandhi family and their political position are criticized. In scientific publications, they were accused of striving for dictatorship, disrespect for the Indian people, lack of clear political views, ideological instability, and so on. However, it should be emphasized that the criticism of the representatives of the Nehru-Gandhi family was not radical, the assessments became more balanced and demonstrated a desire for objectivity. The attitude towards them has become more neutral, because even under the domination of Hindutva ideology, the political legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has a high value for India. Moreover, the rule of representatives of this family has already been assessed at home as a phenomenon, using their example in Indian historiography, the problem of political dynasties in modern India and their role in the development of democratic institutions in the country has been raised. Due to the fact that the descendants of this dynasty continue to play a significant role in the modern political life of India, the study of the period of the reign of representatives of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the postcolonial history of the country remains relevant at the present time.