When Indira Gandhi Sought Osho Secretary’s Help To Persuade Rajiv To Enter Politics

NEW DELHI: After Sanjay Gandhi’s death in a plane crash, his mother Indira Gandhi wanted her other son Rajiv to give up being a professional pilot and enter politics and sought the help of Osho’s secretary Laxmi to persuade him, claims a new book.

Indira Gandhi, India’s fourth prime minister, was interested in spiritual life like her father Jawaharlal Nehru, says poet-artist Rashid Maxwell in “The Only Life: Osho, Laxmi, and the World in Crisis”.

“From an early age, she had been touched by the words and the being of Osho. She was, however, first and foremost an ambitious politician so she never actually came to his ashram even when she was in Poona because Osho was already a controversial figure by then,” the book says.

Until 1977 when Indira Gandhi was temporarily deposed from power, Ms Laxmi was given a ‘green pass’, an entitlement to visit the Congress leader in her home or office at any time, it says.

In 1980, when Indira Gandhi was again prime minister, her son and heir Sanjay died in a plane crash.

When Ms Laxmi visited her, Indira Gandhi entreated her to go and talk with Rajiv Gandhi.

“She wanted Laxmi’s help to persuade Rajiv to give up being a professional pilot and enter politics. Laxmi went to his room and spoke with him for a long time concerning the contribution he might make to the country’s progress in the 20th century,” Mr Maxwell writes in the book, published by Simon & Schuster.
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Rajiv Gandhi was reluctant but he subsequently entered politics, he adds.

He became the prime minister following his mother’s assassination in 1984.

“The Only Life: Osho, Laxmi, and the World in Crisis” is a biography of Laxmi, a woman who blazed a path for herself and others in the presence of the mystic Osho.

Growing up in British India and apparently rendered powerless in a domineering world, Ms Laxmi went on to become Osho’s first disciple and secretary.

The book also describes the ups and downs in Ms Laxmi’s life – how she was at the helm of the massive international movement that grew around Osho in the 1970s and 80s to how she was ostracised and later banished and had to wander in the wastelands of America in isolation.