Recently there was a buzz in the media when reportedly Sonia Gandhi came for the Rescue of Bachchan family when some antisocial elements dragged them into a controversy and tried to ban their films illegally. The buzz was about thawing the ice between the relations of the two families. But what’s so special between the two families that media is so obsessed with?
It’s well known that once Bachchans and Gandhis were as close as a family. The two families are among the most respected in India, and both belong to Allahabad city, it was where their relationship started. Harivansh Rai Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest writers of Hindi Literature and was the professor of English at Allahabad University, also he was the first Indian to pursue doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University.His son Amitabh Bachchan is among the greatest actors of Indian cinema and is regarded as the biggest superstar of all time.Whereas Gandhis are the most influential political family in India and have given three Prime Ministers to the country so far, and have traditionally lead Congress, the biggest political party of India.
The relations between the two families started with Dr Harivansh Rai Bahchan working in India’s foreign ministry as a Hindi Officer, where he joined after quitting from the university. Nehru was very impressed with him, and respected him for his literary genius. Also, while living in Allahabad, the families of Nehru and Harivansh came close.Harivansh’s wife Teji became close friend of Nehru’s daughter Indira. Later when Bahchans moved to Delhi, Teji Bahchan, got fame as a social activist, and her friendship with Indira Gandhi became deeper, their friendship remained very close till Indira’s assassination in 1984.Their relationship continued in the succeeding generations too, Amitabh and Rajiv Gandhi were childhood friends.When Sonia came to India in 1968 as Rajiv’s fiancée, she was put up at Bachchan’s residence and Teji acted as Sonia’s god mother and made her accustomed to Indian culture. Also during marriage of Rajiv and sonia, as the bride is not supposed to live with the in laws before marriage, Sonia used to live at Bachchan residence in New Delhi.Teji was like mother to Sonia Gandhi, and did “Kanya Dan” of sonia in her marriage with Rajiv.
But what happened that now that when Taji Bachchan passed away few months ago, Sonia didn’t even attend the funeral. The relations between the two families are sour and it all started with Amitabh joining politice in 1984, mainly to support Rajiv Gandhi.That time congress desperately wanted the Allahabad constituency and wanted to defeat H N Bahuguna, which seemed impossible.
Rajiv Gandhi convinced Amitabh to contest. Amitabh contested and won the election with record margin (he got more than 68% votes) in the history of independent India.But Amitabh quit politics and resigned after three years when a newspaper reported his involvement in Bofors scam, this was the beginning of soaring of relations between the two families, though later Amitabh was declared clean by the supreme court. The relationship between the two families worsened after Rajiv Gandhi’s assessation in 1991, when Gandhis felt, Bachchans left them alone in distress, and when they relied on bachchans for taking every decision after Rajiv’s assassination. Also it’s said that Sonia didn’t take it kindly when Amitabh consistently advised her not to join politics.
Whereas Bahchans have point that Gandhis brought them in politics and left midway in trouble and also didn’t help them during the financial crisis after collapse of his company ABCL. And this was the time when Bachchans came close to Amar Singh, of Samajvadi Party. It’s not that Bachchan was not acquainted with Amar Singh before. In fact Amar singh was a very old friend of Bachchan , but when he helped Amitabh during financial crisis, the two became very close and later Jaya Bachchan was nominated to Rajya Sabha as a Samajvadi party member. As congress used to be rival (it has changed very recently) of Samajvadi party in Uttar Pradesh, the relations between the two families were bound to worsen.
In 2004 Jaya Bachchan remarked about Gandhi family not helping them during crisis and left them midway after bringing them into politics. She even said that Gandhis betrayed bachchans. Then Rahul Gandhi replied to Jaya’s remarks and said his family didn’t deceive any one, and termed Jaya’s remarks as bundle of lies.Finally Amitabh came to control the situation and said the the relations between the two familes stood on strong emotional ground and struck deep roots from the time of Nehru and Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and when neither Jaya nor Rahul nor Paryanka were around and hence they don’t understand it. Amitabh said he could neither forget those relationships nor tolerate any comment on them.Those relationships were between the two families. He said, he has nothing but respect and goodwill for the Gandhis.
Above is the all I could write about the subject. I don’t think there is going to be any change between the relations of the two families now, and of course it doesn’t matter to any of us general public other than writing a post about it 🙂 I wish all of them good luck in their future endeavours.