Homage to Indira Gandhi

by M. K. Dharmaraja, Freelance Writer

A grateful Nation pays homage to Indira Gandhi on November 19 – the anniversary of her birthday. Born with the name ‘Priyadarshini’, one with pleasing looks – she remained true to the description, radiating an ambience of rare charisma in her footsteps everywhere ‘Shrimati Indira Gandhi adorned whatever she handled with the gift of a golden touch.


Brought up in a family enjoying the heights of affluence Indira was nurtured in the backdrop of the freedom struggle. She grew up listening to patriotic songs like “Vandemataram”.


Shrimati Indira Gandhi was indeed a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional figure. A flash-back takes one to Asiad 1982, staged in Delhi. A change of guard brought Indira Gandhi to the helm. She took up the challenge and with the help of her team proved to the sports world that India can stage the Asiad. Starting from scratch, with not a ‘naye paisa’ in the coffer, it was as ifIndira Gandhi waved a magic wand. And a magic carpet for sports and games was spread across the venues. The sports extravaganza cast a spell all around.


Asiad 1982 brought India immense prestige. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave the Nation’s capital the state-of-the-art most modern stadia. The International Olympic Council’s President, Samaranch flew into Delhi to confer the supreme honour of the “Gold Order”. He came specifically to present India’s Prime Minister the ‘blue-ribbon’ of the world sports and games. She was hailed as the ‘Patron Saint’ of Indian Sports.


I was commissioned to go round the various stadia and present a word-picture of the events through newscast at the end of the day. Indiraji’s love of the Nation’s sports and games and concern for the performer’s welfare enabled me to have the good fortune and privilege of an interaction with the towering leader.


The charismatic flavour of Indira Gandhi’s Statesmanship could be seen in the rapport she enjoyed with World Leaders. Her disarming frankness could remove the mists of misunderstanding.


The US President Mr. Reagan cherished his friendly relation ship with Indira Gandhi from the time of her visit to Washington. He spoke in glowing terms of her counsel during the periods of international crises. Queen Elizabeth of Britain and Premier Margaret Thatcher spoke appreciatively of her Statesmanship. She asserted India’s independent stance on world issues without tilting towards any bloc India is neither pre-east or pro-west; we stand erect; we are only pro-India” was her constant ‘mantra’.


Foreign policy was Indira Gandhi’s greatest asset. She maintained a high profile in International politics. The year 1983 cast the dye on her role as the Head of the Non-Aligned Movement of a hundred and one nations, the largest in its history. The Movement’s summit hosted by India was a diplomatic triumph testifying the country’s role in the cause of peace, disarmament and development.


I had the advantage of free access to the Prime Minister on significant occasions. Here one recalls her visit to Sri Lanka in 1967. It was in the wake of the assassination of the Island’s Premier S.W.R. Bandarnaike. As a privileged member of her team of “State-Guests”, I could interact with her but without my tape-recorder. At the Ratmalana International Airport, she said “This is my second visit to the emerald isle where I first came with my father as a young girl. It’s a wonderful feeling”.


Throughout the Indian Prime Minister’s week-long stay I was with her almost always. Her visit to the higher altitude beauty spot Kandy was an eye-opener! Indira Gandhi’s hour-long address to the large gathering was interspersed with repeated chorus of standing ovation and peals of applause “An enchanting island, an enchanting people” were her words inspiring the Sinhalese like a magic chant.


On the way to Kandy at Horagolla, Shrimati Gandhi was guest of the Island’s Parliamentary Opposition Mrs. Sirimao Bandarnaike. Her elder daughter Sunetra had come from Oxfordfor the occasion. The younger Chandrika in mini skirt was standing by whoever could foresee that the Osborne-educated Chandrika Kumaratunge would ride the crest of destiny as the island’s powerful Executive President.


In the eventful years of Shrimati Indira’s stewardship India came to occupy the ‘commanding heights of economy, our society poised for economic and technological advance at a quicker pace.


The Nation specifically remembers Indira Gandhi within a brief period of less than a month, her death-anniversary on October 31 and birth anniversary on November 19.


The World bowed in reverence as the sad news of her demise flashed across the Continents. The flood of words followed like a torrent from the world media. The hymns of homage under scored her pre-eminence as an “outstanding statesman of the era”.


As a ring-side witness to Indira Gandhi’s significant actions and speeches this writer was most impressed on the historic day when Bangladesh was liberated from a despotic regime that ran the stern writ from a far-flung western terrain. It was ‘blissful’ to watch from the Lok Sabha Press Gallery the Prime Minister alight with her light step to make “a statement”. She informed the House, “The West Pakistan forces have unconditionally surrendered in Bangladesh. The instrument of surrender was signed in Dacca at 1631 hours IST today by Lt. General A.A. K. Niazion behalf of the Pakistan Eastern Command. Lt. General Jagjit Singh Arora GOC-in-C of the Indian and Bangladesh forces in the Eastern Theatre accepted the surrender. Dacca is now thefree capital of a free country”. Each sentence was greeted with ovation. The Prime Minister concluded her statement with, “All nations who value the human spirit will recognize it as a significant milestone in man’s quest for liberty”.


The blend of military personnel who liberated Bangladesh reflected the secular image of India diligently upheld by Indira Gandhi. SHFJ Manekshaw - a Parsi, General Arora a Sikh and Commander Jacob who paved the way for entry into Dacca, a Jew. All functioned under Indira Gandhi a Hindu wedded to a Parsi. She reflected the Hindu way of life of co-existence of various faiths.


That was Indira Gandhi of charismatic charm who left a sublime imprint on the sands of time!

(PIB Features)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Hindu - Opinion

TAGS for articles

AGRICULTURE Andamans ANDHRA PRADESH Articles in Yojana Magazine BANKING Bio-Diversity Biodiversity CAG 150 Years CAMELS Rating System CENSUS : Important Definitions Census 2011 Census Data 2001 India at a glance Census of India 2011 Champaran Satyagraha's 100 years Children in India 2012 Climate Change Co-operative sector Communication CONSTITUTION Consumer Affairs COP 18 CRPF 75 YEARS Culture Cyclone Defence Desertification Disabled Get Social Justice Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 Outcomes E-Waste Management Eco Mark Economy Education in India eGovernance ELECTRONICS National Policy 2012 Emissions Trading Energy Engineers are Nation Builders Environment FDI FDI in Multi Brand Retail Finance Food Security FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013 Forest Gandhi Gas Authority of India Ltd General Elections 2014 Geography Global knowledge hub Goa Good Governance GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE Governance and Public Service Govt. Schemes Green Bench Handicrafts Haryana Judiciary Health History Home Ministry details and imp websites Horticulture Human Development Rank IARI PUSA IFoS Interview India Post India Year Book 2010 Indira Gandhi Indo Pak Relations Indo USA Indo- Nepal Relations 2014 Industrial Disputes Industry Inflation Infrastructure INTERNAL SECURITY International Relations Internet Interview Preparation Irrigation ISRO : FAQs Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Judge Guide JUDICIAL ACTIVISM JUDICIARY Judiciary : Articles on very important topics Kashmir Khadi Language Large Hadron Collider Law LOKAYUKTA ROLE Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 Mangroves mate Change Media Mercury MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Monetary Policy MSME National Forest Policy (NFP) 1988 National Green Tribunal National Issues National Pension System Nature Naxalism Naxalism : Internal Security Problem in India Naxalism (HINDI) Naxalism LWE Maoism: Problems and solutions Nilgiri North East NRHM- Key Achievements NSS: National Service Scheme Nuclear Science and Nuclear Reactor Nutrition Odiya Film Making 75 Years OUR PARLIAMENT Panchati Raj Parliament of India Peace Process in North East Personality Test Planning Planning Commission of India PM Narendra Modi Speech on 15 Aug 2014 Lal kila Delhi Pollution Population Poverty President election 2017 President's lecture Project Arrow Project Elephant Public Administration Public Administration - Articles/Reports/Papers PURA Qualities of Judge (Judicial Officer) Rabindranath Tagore Railways Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana RBI : Journey into History of Bank of the Bankers Remote Sensing Renewable Energy RTI in brief Rural India SAFAR SARFAESI ACT Science and Technology Sevottam Simla Agreement Social Issues Society Socio Economic and Religious Differentials states Sunderbans Sustainable Development Tamil Tamilnadu Technological Developments Total Sanitation Campaign Tourism Tribes Tripura UPSC Urban Flooding Urban Issues Values Water Issues Water woes Welfare Wildlife Protection and Conservation Women's Issues Zoology

Trusted name in IAS Interview Training