Cheat Sheet Principle of Life: Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. – Mark Twain
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) – The Third Prime Minister of India
I recently read the novel, ‘The Red Sari’, by Javier Moro. The novel is a biography of Sonia Gandhi. A major part of the novel consisted of Indira’s Gandhi’s political life, and how Sonia Gandhi supported Indira Gandhi during her tenure as a Prime Minister. I was fascinated by Indira Gandhi’s character.
Indira Gandhi is the only woman to hold the Prime Minister’s Office. She has ruled our country in the formative years, when unemployment, inflation, communal strife and famines were rampant. She went to war with Pakistan and was responsible for the creation of Bangladesh. She was notorious for Operation Blue Star. In her tenure, she took many tough decisions. The consequences of a few of her decisions returned to haunt her and led to her death.
I admire Indira Gandhi for her courage and strength. She took on the mantle when India was a young and vulnerable country. She made our country self-sufficient through Green Revolution. She nationalized banks and insurance companies. She authorized the development of nuclear weapons.
After the Emergency in 1977, when her party was decimated in the Lok Sabha elections, she feared for her life and her family’s life. She had to regain power in order to survive and to protect her family.
In Javier Moro’s own words, ‘She was prepared to fight like a lioness to protect her cubs.’
At the age of 62 years, she campaigned vigorously, traveled the length and breadth of the country, to get back into the Prime Minister’s Office.
Indira Gandhi was a human being who loved her youngest son too much, who was corrupted by power, and was blinded by superstition in the last stages of her life. I find her courage exceptional. She lived knowing that any day could be her last day. Her strengths and vulnerabilities were the two sides of a coin, which sealed the fate of our country for years to come.
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