In his autobiography aptly titled “Romancing With Life”, Dev Anand has devoted a significant portion to his short-lived political movement.
He recalled the slogan “Indira is India, India is Indira” and referred to Sanjay Gandhi as the “Pampered young Prince”- “……I knew I had become a marked man for the Sanjay coterie,” he wrote.
About the 1975–1977 period of Emergency, Dev Anand wrote: “The pro-Emergency lobby enforced strict discipline amongst the masses and the rank and file of the government offices through certain legislative measures. It did a lot of good to the country. But, the fact was that the soul of the people was smouldering, their spirit stifled by an iron hand.”
“They were dying to break the shackles, and the lava inside them was gathering momentum, soon to explode into a spluttering volcano. It just needed a single matchstick to light up. And the matchstick was provided by Indira Gandhi herself.”
He got inspired from the initiative taken by late southern superstar MG Ramachandran, whose foray into politics did wonders for the people of Tamil Nadu.
“I accepted the challenge and was elected president of the party, the determined motto of which was to help elect only those people to the Lok Sabha who were the most qualified in respective fields, and therefore the most deserving,” he wrote.
For the new-born NPI’s inaugural rally at the historic Shivaji Park here was comparable to political rallies by any other mainstream political party.
Besides Dev Anand, other Bollywood big names like FC Mehra and GP Sippy addressed the crowds which cheered enthusiastically — signalling that “Bollywood had finally arrived in politics,” according to his close friend, who attended the rally, but declined to be identified.
However, for the evergreen star, the dust and grime of real life politics was difficult to stomach.
Though he quit politics, Dev Anand and his top colleagues were seen regularly in public, rushing to help the victims of floods, earthquakes, riots or other natural and man made calamities around the country.
After that, he was never considered close to any party, though he was invited by Vajpayee when he went on his famous Bus Yatra to Pakistan over a decade ago, in Feb 1999.
Courtesy- DNA India