P. N. Haksar and Indira’s India: A Glimpse of the domestic sphere, 1967–1976

2019-05-20T12:12:16Z (GMT) by Rakesh Ankit
© 2019 Lokniti, Centre For The Study Of Developing Societies. This article presents four episodes from the political period 1969 to 1976 in India, focusing on the views and actions of P. N. Haksar, Principal Secretary and Advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1967–1973). Unlike the ‘national/international politics’ hitherto under focus from then, that is, the Congress split (1969), birth of Bangladesh (1971) and the JP Movement/Emergency (1974–1975), the aspects under consideration in this article are of subterranean existence. First of these aspects is the provincial reverberations of the Congress split, the case considered here being that of the Bombay Pradesh Congress Committee. Second is the attitude of the Congress Party towards left opposition, the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI [M]) in West Bengal, as revealed through the anxieties of Governor Shanti Dhavan. The third aspect under consideration is a glimpse of centre–states relations, as shown through New Delhi’s interactions with the EMS Namboodiripad-led and CPI (M)-dominated United Front Government of Kerala. Finally, the article looks at Haksar’s attempts at planning and development for the state of Bihar. Each of these four themes was among the ‘wider range of functions’ that Mrs Gandhi wished to be performed by her Secretariat and to allow us to test how successful each of it was. Each of these provides a context for contemporary issues.