Some years ago when my granny died, an acquaintance of hers came to visit us. She consoled in her own fashion by saying “It is wise to speak only good things about the dead people rather discussing their bad deeds; however there are only good things to be spoken about your granny”. These words of that wise old lady tickled our funny bones even in that hour of grief. In the similar manner I decided to pay tributes to my role model and my favorite leader Mrs. Indira Gandhi on her 25th death anniversary. I do not bother to discuss the controversial aspects of her life as those controversial aspects are of no use to anyone.
It is natural for the people to analyze Mrs Indira Gandhi with respect to her politics and her administrative style ; however I wish to throw some light on the aspects of Indira as a daughter, wife, mother and last but not least as a PERSON.
Indira as a Daughter…
Indira was born on November 17th in the year 1917 to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru. Kamala Nehru was a religious lady and her lifestyle differed from the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Nehru’s family members. This difference in lifestyles of her mother and other family members resulted in loner personality of Indira. However, Indira was a caring daughter. She used to take good care of her mother who had not so good health. She had a wonderful relationship with her father. Rather we can say Nehru was a great father. He always wanted to transfer his knowledge , his vision to Indira even though he was busy with the Indian Independence movement. In Indira’s childhood, Nehru used to transfer his knowledge and his ideas to Indira through letters, which he used to write even from the jails. These letters depict the wonderful relation that Dad and Daughter shared. ( Some of the abstracts of these letters were taken and are given as lessons to school students in these times and this is another issue 😉 ).
Indira as a wife…
(Image taken from : http://static.guim.co.uk/Guardian/world/gallery/2007/may/09/india/U955687INP-989.jpg)
Indira met Feroze Gandhi in Europe during the time of illness of her mother Kamala. Indira fell in love with Feroz. It seems she liked Feroze Gandhi’s openness, sense of humor and self-confidence. Feroz who hails from parsi family, was a Journalist and active political activist. Initially , Nehru did not show much interest in this alliance of Indira, he wanted Indira to concentrate on career. However later on his approval Indira’s marriage took place with Feroze Gandhi in March 1942. However , their relation faced some hard times after the birth of their sons Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. Indira had to move to Delhi from Allahabad to concentrate on Indian Politics as her dad wished.
(Image taken from : http://desicolours.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/indiramemories04.jpg)
However as the time passed Indira and Feroze reconciled their relationship. They stayed together happily until Feroze Gandhi’s death in the year 1960. I could not resist presenting these abstracts related to Feroze and Indira from Katherene Frank’s book “Indira”
“On 17 February, shortly after her term as Congress President expired, Indira was operated on. Feroze was with her at the hospital and after she was discharged, he moved back into Teen Murti to nurse her during her convalescence. In June 1960, when Indira was fully recovered, she, Feroze and the children returned to Kashmir for a holiday. Feroze told Indira that he had just bought a piece of land in Mehrauli, near Delhi, and they spoke of building a house there for themselves – their own house rather than Teen Murti or Feroze’s government bunglow……..
Scarcely two months later, on the night of 7 September, Indira was told that Feroze had suffered another heart attack. Indira’s assistant Usha Bhagat told her, Feroze had been drifting in and out of consciousness, rousing himself periodically to ask, ‘Where’s Indu?’……
At about 4.30 am on the morning of the 8th, he opened his eyes. Indira was sitting beside him. She had not slept or eaten all night and seeing her pale, gaunt face, Feroze told her she must go get some break fast. She refused. Feroze lost consciousness again. Indira was with him whenhe stopped breathing at 7.45 am. It was just four days short of what would have been Feroze’s forty-eighth birthday.
Indira rode with Feroze’s body when its was taken from the hospital to Teen Murti. She insisted upon washing it herself and preparing for cremation. She refused to allow anyone else to help her or even be present while she did this……
As she described her state much later, ‘My whole mental and physical life changed suddenly, my bodily functions changes…. I was physically ill. It upset my whole being for years… it was not just a mental shock, but it was as though someone had cut me int two.”
(You can find complete things in the book Indira by Katherene Frank http://www.amazon.com/Indira-Life-Nehru-Gandhi/dp/039573097X)
Indira as a mother…
Indira was a caring, normal mother like any other normal woman. She never let her political life come in between her and her sons. She used to take a good take in upbringing. She let her sons choose their life partners and she used to spend quality time with family members in spite of her busy schedules.
(Image taken from : http://desicolours.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/indiramemories20.jpg)
Indira as a Person…
It is tough to believe that such a busy body like Mrs.Indira Gandhi had hobbies and she really had time to pursue to those hobbies. Mrs. Gandhi had good interest in music, fine arts and literature. In fact, she used to like Indian hand-loom sarees a lot and she promoted Indian culture and hand looms a lot.
(Image taken from : http://www.outlookindia.com/images/indira_gandhi_drawing_room_600_20070820.jpg)
Indira Gandhi was a voracious reader right from her childhood. This habit was fostered by her father Nehru. Library at her ancestral home, Anand Bhavan used to have more than sixty thousand books and it was said that Nehru used to add books each time he visited that place. This habit developed with her age, even in her prime ministerial years she used study a lot and she used to have vast collection of books even at her Safdarjung residence.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31st , 1984 by her two sikh body guards at her official residence at Safdurjung in retaliation to the Operation Bluestar . Indira Gandhi was taken to AIIMS by her favorite daughter in law, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Indira Gandhi died in AIIMS.
This year 2009, marks 25th death anniversary of the Iron Lady of India “Mrs. Indira Gandhi”.
Got a chance to visit Indira Gandhi memorial at New Delhi and I captured all the images I could capture . Here are the Pics