Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi, who recently released a book on his son's battle with cancer,…
Legacies are funny things in the Indian context; they seem to be based largely on patriarchy. When Sheila Dikshit was rolled out in Uttar Pradesh as the chief ministerial candidate, her father-in-law’s credentials were trotted out to give her credibility. And here was a woman who was three times chief minister of Delhi and a veteran Congress leader. Yet, it is the fact that she was Uma Shankar Dikshit’s daughter-in-law that the Congress thought fit to highlight.
Let us go back further. We never tire of hearing how much of Nehru’s patrician lineage his daughter Indira inherited. But do we hear of her mother, Kamla who was a freedom fighter and led many a picketing expedition against British textiles and other goods? She did not speak in Nehru’s cut glass accent but she stood up to be counted in the freedom struggle, not an easy task for a woman in those days.
In the film industry, we see the Kapoor khandaan where all greatness and glory is attributed to fantastic acting genes bequeathed by patriarch Raj Kapoor. The younger Kapoor mothers, at least two of them actors themselves, are sheet anchors for their children emotionally, but somehow projected as unconnected with their talent.
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J Jayalalithaa, no slouch when it comes to politics, is still not given the credit she deserves for being able to enforce her iron rule in a largely male-dominated political scenario. No, she is the inheritor, a worthy one, of MGR’s legacy though she has far outgrown her mentor. Similarly, Mayawati who has put Dalit politics on the map and changed caste equations forever is still Kanshi’s Ram’s best pupil though her success has far exceeded anything Kanshi Ram could have envisaged for her.