No more pocket money

In the Indian Express, I K Malhotra has a series of historical articles on modern India. Since the history of the Congress is so intrinsically linked to the evolution of modern India, it’s appropriate that we first post a piece on how the Congress abolished privy purses.

Though subdued, the Young Turks planned their “revenge” cunningly. Late at night when attendance at the AICC was thin and leaders, including the prime minister and her deputy had gone home, they sprang a surprise. The 10-point programme did include abolition of “privileges” of the princely order, such as flying personal flags, exemption from import duties and other taxes, free police escorts, personal number plates for their cars, gun salutes and so on. No one had said a word about privy purses at any stage. On that fateful night, however, the Young Turks moved an amendment demanding that both the privileges and privy purses be done away with. The motion was carried by precisely 17 votes to 4. But then this was the party’s decision, not to be trifled with.

More on how this happened here.

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