MANIPAL, India, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Appropriately for the capital of India, a country that has witnessed the demise of so many dynasties and empires, Delhi is a city dotted by tombs. To the many built to encase the remains of the numerous emperors of the Mughal era has been added their post-1947 potentates of democracy: Mohandas K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram.
While neither Mohandas Gandhi nor Sanjay Gandhi was ever the holder of any public office, some may claim that the contribution to Indian history of the second son of Indira Gandhi may not entirely be on the same scale as that of the Mahatma. However, such niceties were not allowed to stand in the way of Sanjay, too, being granted the same privilege that was given to the Mahatma, a cremation site and memorial, or samadhi in New Delhi.
Both Rajiv Gandhi and Charan Singh -- former prime ministers of India -- died while they were out of public office, while Jagjivan Ram, who never became prime minister, was cremated outside of New Delhi. But his ashes were brought back and re-interred in New Delhi as a mark of respect by the country that he served for four decades.
Four of the eight post-1947 tombs have been created to honor members of the Nehru family, whose names are etched on airports, ports, roads, townships, public conveniences and much else in a country that has rewarded them with power and more in abundance.
Pamulaparthy Venkata Narasimha Rao, who was prime minister from 1991 to 1996, was not a member of the Nehru family. He was, however, the first prime minister from south of the Vindhyas, the first outside the Nehru clan to last a full five-year term in office, and the individual who -- together with his then finance minister, Manmohan Singh -- began the transformation of India through economic reform