Indira Gandhi

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My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (November 19, 1917October 31, 1984), daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, became the first woman Prime Minister of India in 1966. She died while Prime Minister, assassinated by her security guards at her residence.

Quotes[edit]

We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.
A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.
  • We admired Dr. King. We felt his loss as our own. The tragedy rekindled memories of the great martyrs of all time who gave their lives so that men might live and grow. We thought of the great men in your own country who fell to the assassin's bullet and of Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom here in this city, this very month, twenty-one years ago. Such events remain as wounds in the human consciousness, reminding us of battles, yet to be fought and tasks still to be accomplished. We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.
    • "Martin Luther King", speech at the presentation of the Jawaharial Nehru Award for International Understanding to Coretta Scott King in New Delhi, India (January 24, 1969). Published in Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, September 1972-March 1977 (New Delhi : Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984. pp. 312-313).
  • A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.
  • India wants to avoid a war at all costs but it is not a one-sided affair, you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
    • Press conference, New Delhi (October 19, 1971), quoted in "Indian and Pakistani Armies Confront Each Other Along Borders" by Sydney H. Schanberg, The New York Times (October 20, 1971), page 6C.
  • There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past.
    • Letter to Richard Nixon (December 15, 1971) [1].
  • All unprejudiced persons objectively surveying the grim events in Bangladesh since March 25 have recognized the revolt of 75 million people, a people who were forced to the conclusion that neither their life, nor their liberty, to say nothing of the possibility of the pursuit of happiness, was available to them.
  • Dacca is now the free capital of a free country.
    • Address to Parliament announcing the victory of Bangladesh-India Forces over the Pakistan Army, (December 16, 1971) [3].
  • You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
    • "The Embattled Woman Who Relishes Crosswords, Children...and Running India," People (June 30, 1975).
  • My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.
    • Quoted in "Indira's Coup," profile by Oriana Fallaci, The New York Review of Books (September 18, 1975).
  • To be liberated, woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and her personality.
    • "True Liberation Of Women", speech, inauguration of the All-India Women's Conference Building Complex in New Delhi, India (March 26, 1980). Published in Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, September 1972-March 1977 (New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984, pp. 417-418).
  • I am not interested in a long life. I am not afraid of these things. I don't mind if my life goes in the service of this nation. If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation.
    • Speech, Bhubaneswar, India (October 30, 1984), quoted in "Death in the Garden," by William E. Smith, Time (November 12, 1984) [4].
  • I am here today, I may not be here tomorrow. But the responsibility to look after national interest is on the shoulder of every citizen of India. I have often mentioned this earlier. Nobody knows how many attempts have been made to shoot me, lathis have been used to beat me. In Bhubaneswar itself, a brickbat hit me. They have attacked me in every possible manner. I do not care whether I live or die. I have lived a long life and I am proud that I spend the whole of my life in the service of my people. I am only proud of this and nothing else. I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it.

About Indira Gandhi[edit]

  • The question before us is not whether Indira Gandhi should continue to be prime minister or not. The point is whether democracy in this country is to survive or not. The democratic structure stands on three pillars, namely a strong opposition, independent judiciary and free press. Emergency has destroyed all these essentials.
  • She [Mrs Gandhi] has still today overwhelming support in the country. I believe the prime minister of India will continue in office until the electorate of India decides otherwise.

External links[edit]

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