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Sunday, 19 November, 2017
Source : Daily Excelsior
NEW DELHI: Being the Iron Lady was just one of the elements of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s character who fought not for personal ascendancy but for her principles, against vested interests and agendas, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Sunday.
Speaking at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on life of Indira Gandhi, to mark celebrations of her birth centenary, Ms Gandhi said, ”Iron was only one of the elements in her (Indira Gandhi ) character; generosity and humanity were just as prominent traits. She fought, yes — but not for personal ascendancy. She fought for her principles, against vested interests and agendas.
She could not tolerate any form of bullying, coercion and unfairness — that was fundamental to her character. That is what inspired her in all her battles ? those she took on and those that she faced. ”
Speaking at the event, inaugurated by former President Pranab Mukherjee and which was attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, Ms Gandhi said the former Prime Minister fought for the idea of secularism that India stands for and against all those forces seeking to divide the Indian people on lines of religion and caste.
”She fought for secularism, against all those forces seeking to divide the Indian people on lines of religion and caste. She gloried in the rich diversity of India, its profound democratic and secular values. For her as Prime Minister there was but one religion, a sacred creed passionately held– that all Indians were equal children of the motherland.”
She said Indira Gandhi fought for India’s dignity and independence as a sovereign nation, against the dominance of superpowers.
”She fought for India’s dignity and independence as a sovereign nation, against the dominance of superpowers. And not only for India, but for all countries that resisted colonial and post-colonial forms of hegemony. Bangladesh’s creation, in which she played so vital a part, is a monument to that stand, but many are the instances through which she brought India international respect and admiration,” Ms Gandhi said.
Ms Gandhi said during her tenure, Indira Gandhi confronted with courage several challenges, from the endemic problems of combating poverty and inequality to the critical ones of war and terrorism.
”In the 16 years that were given to her to lead the country, many were the challenges she had to confront, from the endemic problems of combating poverty and inequality to the critical ones of war and terrorism. She faced them all with courage, fortified by her dedication to making India strong, united and prosperous. ”In all her efforts she was sustained by the faith reposed in her by her fellow countrymen and women. That love was her inspiration and her reward,” Ms Gandhi said.
Ms Gandhi said it was the teachings imbibed from her father Jawaharlal Nehru and from the other great men and women of the Indian freedom struggle that made her so staunch in defence of India’s sovereignty and committed to the ideals of secularism and social justice.
”It was that rigorous schooling in the Independence movement that made her so staunch in defence of India’s sovereignty, so committed to the ideals of secularism and social justice, and so determined to advance them through her policies and programmes,”Ms Gandhi said. She hoped that the photo exhibition would help the younger generation know more about Indira Gandhi’s life.
Being organised by the Indira Gandhi memorial trust at the Indira Gandhi memorial at 1, Safdarjung Road, erstwhile residence of the late Prime Minister and now home to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum (IGMM), the photo exhibition titled ‘Indira: a life of courage’, showcases over 300 archived images featuring moments from India’s first and only woman Prime Minister’s incredible life .
The images, some of which have never been viewed by the public, will survey her life, from her growing up as the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, through to her years as the first and only woman Prime Minister of India.
Some of the rare and unseen photographs of Indira Gandhi showcased at the exhibition include her photograph with Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi during one of his visits to her family residence, her meeting with Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan, pictures of candid moments shared by her with her grandchildren Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, a photograph of Indira Gandhi looking at the statue of Krishnadevaraya at Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirupati, pictures of Indira Gandhi with her spiritual guru Anandamayi Ma in Haridwar.
A special section of the exhibition displays her day-to-day belongings that include original diaries, postcards, books, handwritten correspondence and personal belongings. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a colour film of her wedding to Feroze Gandhi in 1942 at Anand Bhavan, Allahabad. Other rare footage shows the struggle and declaration of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Curated by Deepthi Sasidharan and Pramod Kumar KG, experts in historical and arts-related curation, this unique photo exhibition is being held at IGMM for the conclusion of the centenary year celebration. The exhibition commemorates India’s most famous and influential daughter through a selection from amongst a rich collection of nearly 90,000 images of her long public life, the Indian Independence movement, and private images of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
The images are a visual chronicle of the emergence of India and its steps towards the modern nation that it is today.
The exhibition will be available to the public from November 21. (AGENCIES)