NEW DELHI – An Indian woman who claims to be the secret granddaughter of the murdered former prime minister Indira Gandhi has gone to court to block a new Bollywood movie that she says shows the dynasty in a bad light.
Priya Singh Paul, 48, told a press conference on Monday she had been adopted as a baby and only told after she grew up that her biological father was Indira’s eldest son Sanjay, who died in a plane crash in 1980.
She is fighting a legal battle for access to her birth certificate and adoption papers, but said she decided to make her claim public after watching a trailer for the upcoming “Indu Sarkar”.
The movie deals with the controversial state of emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975, a period of deep unrest which saw civil liberties being suspended across the country.
“The film is 70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact. I can’t stay quiet if somebody points a finger at my father or grandmother,” said Paul in New Delhi.
“I am not ashamed, I am not afraid. I am not after power, wealth or property. I just want to establish my identity and protect my family name which is being sullied.” No one in the Gandhi family has commented publicly on Paul’s claim, which began to emerge in the media over the last few weeks.
Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India.
She had two sons – Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi, whose widow Sonia currently heads the opposition Congress Party.
The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has provided three prime ministers and the Congress has dominated Indian politics since independence.
Paul says her mother married Sanjay Gandhi in secret because she was underage and was later made to give her up for adoption.
She was brought up by a wealthy couple who did not know her identity but started making enquiries when a family friend told her that she descended from the powerful political family.
Her lawyer Tanveer Nizam said they would seek the court’s permission to conduct a DNA test.
“Indu Sarkar” is directed by the award-winning Madhur Bhandarkar and is slated for release later this month.