MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA JANUARY 14 , 2012 02.55 A.M.
I missed the news then . When I was going through the bunch of old news papers few days ago , I came across a small news item about her death in the Times of India . This innocuous news of Svetlana’s death brought back some forgotten memories . It opened a dog – ear – page of my book of life . Some sepia – toned photos rushed to the firmament of my being .
The year was 1967 . I passed High School and went to Allahabad for further studies . In the Government Inter College of Allahabad , I was slowly opening up . I was curious to know everything . I wanted to know all the aspects of the world and I used to devour knowledge of every kind .
News papers of 1966 were full of the Svetlana episode . Svetlana left USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] in 1966 , and came to India with the ashes of her third husband Brijesh Singh , a scion of Kalakankar state in Uttar Pradesh . Indian news papers were full of her stories and every one was anxious and curious to know more about her .
Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva , youngest child and only daughter of Josef Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva was raised by a nanny . Her mother died when Svetlana was only 6 years old . According to Soviet premiere Nikita Khrushchev , Stalin was an abusive husband . It is rumoured that Nadezhda Alliluyeva committed suicide due to the atrocities of Stalin . According to some , she was killed by Stalin himself .
Svetlana married twice but her marriages were not successful . Stalin died in 1953 . Svetlana was 27 years old then . After her father’s death , she worked as a lecturer of history and political thought in Moscow . Apart from Russian , she was fluent in German , French and English .
Svetlana met Brijesh Singh , her third husband in a hospital in 1963 . She was admitted for a minor surgery and Brijesh Singh , a scion of Kalakankar state of Uttar Pradesh , was very ill at that time and was admitted for a major operation . They met , fell in love and love blossomed when they shifted to a resort near Black Sea . Couple returned to Moscow in 1965 but were not allowed to marry . Singh died in 1966 and with his ashes , Svetlana left USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] in 1966 , and came to India with the ashes to immerse it in the Holy Ganga .
She stayed in Kalakankar Palace for 8 months and wanted to take asylum in India . It was refused and she approached U. S. A. embassy in New Delhi and was granted U. S. citizenship .
सैकत शैय्या पर दुग्ध धवल ,
तन्वंगी गंगा ग्रीष्म विरल ,
बैठीं हैं शांत क्लांत निश्चल ||
कालाकांकर का राज भवन ……..
I still remember these lines of famous Hindi poet Sumitra Nandan Pant . Kalakankar was etched in my memory . Like the other fellow students of my age , I was aghast that the Congress government of Indira Nehru Gandhi didn’t grant asylum to Svetlana . Majority of students of Allahabad University were critical of the Congress government’s decision .
She got asylum in United States of America and later on became a citizen also . Later on she wrote a best-selling book ; ” Twenty Letters To A Friend ” and married there and had a daughter , Olga .
She moved back to Soviet Union in 1980 and again returned to U. S. A. within a year . Slowly she moved away from the front pages of the news papers . Slowly her memory faded .
Last week , when I read about her death . flood of memories gushed to my mind and I started remembering those days of 1966 , when Svetlana came to India seeking asylum and was denied that . We suspected that the Congress government refused asylum to her under pressure from government of the then USSR .
With her death , a forgotten and faded chapter of my dog – eared book of life is lost forever .
Farewell Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva ! May you rest in peace !
I am sorry that my country , which is famous for not refusing shelter to anyone , failed for the first time . I am sorry that a long tradition of granting shelter to the shelter – seekers was broken for the first time during the tenure of Indira Nehru Gandhi of the Congress , The Indian National Congress .
I was ashamed then and I am saddened now .
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
- Joseph Stalin’s daughter and critic Svetlana Alliluyeva dies (thehindu.com)
- Stalin’s Only Daughter Dies (socyberty.com)
- Josef Stalin’s Daughter, Lana Peters, aka Svetlana Alliluyeva, Dead at 85 (ibtimes.com)
- Stalin’s Daughter Dies At 85 In Wisconsin (huffingtonpost.com)
- Prisoner of the name: Joseph Stalin’s daughter dies (rt.com)
- Stalin’s Daughter Lana Peters Dies at 85 (foxnews.com)
- The extraordinary life of Josef Stalin’s daughter Svetlana – who died in the US as Lana Peters (mirror.co.uk)
- Josef Stalin’s Daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva (Lana Peters) Dies In Richland Center, Wisconsin (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- ‘I was a political prisoner of my father’s name’ (thehindu.com)
- Lana Peters obituary (guardian.co.uk)
Filed under: Obituary | Tagged: Acting Trainer, Black Sea, Brijesh Singh, Communist, communist dictator, Congress, Diction Trainer, Hindi Teacher, India, Indian National Congress, Indira Gandhi, Indira Nehru Gandhi, josef stalin, Joseph Stalin, Kalakankar, Kamal Nayan Chaturvedi, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Nikita Khrushchev, Russia, soviet socialist republic, Soviet Union, Stalin, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Svetlana, Svetlana Alliluyeva, Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva, Twenty Letters To A Friend, Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, United States, USSR, Vidur, Vidur Chaturvedi, Vidur on Twitter, Vidur's Blog, Wisconsin |