Its Indira Gandhi’s birthday today. Much has been written about her. She has many admirers and an equal number of detractors. A woman of great strength and courage, whatever may have been her faults, it is difficult or rather near impossible to have ignored her.
In a letter written by her father , from Central Prison, Naini,October 26, 1930, he says “You know sweetheart, how I dislike sermonising and doling out good advice…..We work in the sun and in the light. Even so in our private lives let us make friends with the sun and work in the light and do nothing secretly……and if you do so, my dear you will grow up a child of the light, unafraid and serene and unruffled, whatever may happen”. That is exactly what Indira Gandhi grew up to be. And one word/adjective describes her as none other : Unafraid.
It was my great desire to meet her.But I could not.However, I cherish the letter she wrote to me, when I was in Grade:9, in reply to mine that was full of admiration, best wishes and hope that I also travel in life with her intrinsic fearlessness. I am sure that the reply was prepared by her staff on a already set pattern reserved for such letters.And she would have hardly spent a second signing it. But I like to think that perhaps , just for a wee fraction of a second, she would have glanced at my name 🙂
When news of her tragic assassination reached, I was in school. The nuns in the Convent where I studied broke the news to us. I remember weeping heart brokenly. At the cowardice. At the disgusting, under hand way of attacking her. At the indignity….
This is one of my favorite photographs of her. It is said that she had a love-hate relationship with her father. Which daughter doesn’t ? I do. But then that is the beauty of a father-daughter relationship. So Christopher Hitchens says “To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away”
Wherever you are , Indira Gandhi, I just want to tell you that you are a woman who inspired by ‘being’.
( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)
And a personal note, because it is also my Sham’s birthday. I always love the fact that he shares his birthday with Indira Gandhi 🙂 . What can I say about you, my Shams ? That you made me realize to live my dreams, not because of what it will prove or get me, but because that is all I want to do…peoples’ opinions do not matter. That no one is my enemy, except myself. That I have everything I want in life…. however, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not mine, it is because I really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it. That you made me believe that love is not about losing or winning…. it is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.And for making me understand that I was always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness. 🙂 You did say ‘greatness’ with a very wicked smile, though! 🙂 Happy Birthday 🙂