Remembering Indira Gandhi
In a famous Bengali poem written by Gurudev Rabindra Nath tagore which was Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself translated into English. This poem awakens the modern youth and the upcoming generations. It reads as such, “If nobody listens to your call, walk alone, if in fear they cower mutely facing the wall, O hapless, open your mind and speak out alone, if as you cross the wilderness, they turn away and desert you, O hapless one, tread firmly on the thorns on the bloodline track and travel alone, if in the storm-troubled night, if they dare not hold aloft the height, O hapless one ignite your own heart with the lightening and pain and yourself becomes the guiding light. Indira Gandhi, the leading lady prime Minister of India was ever born in the history of the world She sacrificed herself for the unity integrity and prosperity of Mother India. Born on November 17, 1917, Priyadarshini Indira ji was the only child blessed to Kamla and Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru at Anand Bhawan in Allahbad. A city prominent for the confluence (Sangam) of three pious rivers. The Ganga, The Yamuna and the under flowing Saraswati. Anand Bhawan was the home town of her grandfather Motilal Nehru who was a leading advocate of Allahbad High Court. As we all know that he was basically hailing from Kashmiri Brahmin family and purchased this house in 1900 and named it Anand Bhawan literally means an abode of happiness.
Anand Bhawan was most oftenly frequented by high dignitaries from far and wide prominent places. was blessed with the only son Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru on November 14, 1889 through his early education was in Allahbad but later he graduated from Cambridge university and became barrister. At an age of twenty seven, he was married to Kamal Koulon Panchnami in 1916 on November 19, 1917 she was blessed with a sweet child and named by her grandfather Preidarshini Indira.
It was an eventful year when Indira was borned. The Russian revolution had already started first world war (1914-18) started and Gandhiji had started Indian Freedom movement instilling a ray of rope amongst the people of India. Indiraji stood by her father in the most intricate and crucial pursurs and took care of all important matters in the most magnanimous manner, thereby bringing greater fame to her father’s name. Indira Ji was too small to be involved in political matters. She had also spiritual inclination and regular used to visit temples with her grandmother whom she fondly called “Dol Amma” as she used to give sweets secretly hidden in a box called “Dol”. Indira grew up with love showered by her parents, grand parents and all other family members.She had a strict and disciplined upbring. She was strongly attached to her mother Kamla Ji whom she utmostly loved. Kamla ji had a strong character and so she gave a very deep impression to Indira. Indira Ji shared and valued the real and special movements when she had her parents close by. She write “although I didn’t see much of my parents and when my father said by my side, he was never distracted by other things”. In the morning, all the three used to sit together and her father and mother would read great epic- The Ramayana, The Bhagwat Geeta to get her well acquainted with her religion. Indira had a very unique and unusual childhood. She says that “my public life began at tender age of three when i have no recollection of games and my sole occupation was to deliver fiery speeches to servants who oftenly pretend to be afraid of me while bring perched on the tour or table delivery thunderous speech to them and her dolls”. When Indira was of five, her education remained as a far off thing ouring to political turmoil whereby it tan amounted to uncertainty. Though she didn’t attend any nursery school, a teacher, however, was appointed to teach at home. Even while being in studies, she was most often distracted by the procession who at most of occasion entered into her house and take away all her valuables to whom she was too much attached.
His father always preached and encouraged to be very meticulous towards her health. Even when she used to run, she was told to be poise and graceful, her father tought her swimming and later she realised swimming as the only way out of tension. She also learned riding from her father as when she had occasion to go to the hill station. She was told to be over graceful on all occasion giving top priority towards regular exercise to ensure good health.
Her father always inspired her to have a good collection of books and inbuild regular reading and writing skills and she came to the expectation of her father. Further she was advised to go through the writing of Shake sphere, Barnard shaw, Dickens and so many of their elks.
Indira was a nature, the forest, wildlife and the environment. She has had immenseively contributed towards preservation and conservation of natural assets. She was of the opinion that we should do have developments but not at the cost of destruction. As such, she always emphasized on all occasion while deliberating in world conferences seminars and conventions.
She was the pioneer in the introduction of the “Department of Environment in Nov. 1980. Also, she inculcated wildlife protection act 1972. She introduced and established department of ocean development in 1981 as she wanted to give impetus to department of ocean science and technology. She had great love for wildlife and this department was introduced by her apart from tiger, elephant projects when she came to power as the prime minister of India. Indira Ji had her education in India one abroad. She was immensively motivated at Shanti Naketan academy which was being run by gurudev R.N. Taigore. She actively participated in freedom movement and at most of the occasions was failed also as started Indira married Feroze Gandhi on march 28th 1942 where after she was called Indira Gandhi. Jawahar Nal Nehru was in prison when he got the news that he had been blessed with a grand son on August 20th 1944. And the child was named as Rajeev Gandhi. It was of course delightful experience for Indira Gandhi to became mother. She gave birth to the second son in December 1946 who was named after great thought as Sanjay. Since she had been deprived of much care so she diverted her maximum time for the care and up brings of both the children. She sent both her sons to boarding to Dehradun. With the passage of time Indira and Feroze devoted maximum as for the service of the nation. It was September 8th 1960 when Feroze had heart attack untimely expired. Indira was utterly shocked by the untimely demise of her husband’s death. Still she kept a big heart and actively with her father working day in a day and shaping modern India. In May he along with his daughter flew dehradun in view of tailing health. Despite utmost care he expired on May 27th 1964. Indira was utmostly shocked and so was the entire nation in June 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri was chosen as the 2nd Prime Minister of India and Indira Gandi held the change of Minister for interformation and broadcasting in his cabinet. In September 1965, Pakistan invaded India and in dealing with the challenging situation, Shastri Ji hit hard and the entire nation after 22 days cease fire was drawn on September 23 where Shastri ji as well had to attend an agreement at Tashkant on January 1966 and he had to sign the agreement to withdraw the Indian forces and the areas that had been occupied by the variant Indian Jawans. Shastri ji could not bear with the signing of this agreement and eftsoon ill-luek had it when shastri ji gloomy scenario provided over Indian horizon. After the said demise of Shastri Ji, Mrs Indira Gandhi was sworn in the Prime Minister on January 24 and she took the responsibility with utmost courage from sixteen to eighteen hours continuously for the nation and her tempo of work remained excelling with the revolving wheel of time.
In the ongoing process she had to face defeat in polls of March 1977. Morarji desai became the prime Minister but shortly his government could not continue owing to sime internal differences. So a care taking government under Chaudhary Charn Singh femetioned till 1980 election when gain Indira Gandhi came back to power. Indira Gandhi did a lot for the betterment of the nation. She brought many changes on social and economic fronts. On May 18, 1974 India’s first peaceful nuclear explosion at Pakhran in Rajasthan was demonstrated. On the occasion, Indira said, we have no intention to make nuclear weapon , we want our desert bloom and not to make the world a desert”. In the field of space research, the Indian space Research Organisation (ISRO) designed 1st space satellite and was launched from Russian cosmodrone on April 12, 1975. Similarly, at Sriharika, she blasted of the second experimental satellite launch vehicle (SLV-3) and entered into space age for the exploration on peaceful grounds. On December 3, 1971, a war ensued by Pakistan here to India showed her outstanding leadership, Indira Ji said, The aggression would be met and the aggression must be met and people of India will meet with fortitude, determination and with disciple and utmost unity.” Indira augmented 20 point programme in July, 1975. It was aimed for the benefits of landless labours, slum dwellers and other weaker sections of the society. She also struggled for worldwide betel against poverty, inequality and hunger. Indira inaugweated the second UNCTAD conference in New delhi. On the occasion she said conscious that we bear the mark of the storms and weathered. I hope you will also recognise the spirit of our country who have seen countless difficulties, calamities and manmade complexities. It is the spirit alone that has inspired our great men through the ages, some of our problems ate centuries old and some are new parehed land and buesting cities, illiteracy and brain drain”. Throughout her life, she encountered countless upheavels and so were the years of emergency and ensuing Punjab problem which being very complex and compelling and she faced the utmost courage with body, mind and soul in togetherness and people of integrity associated with her whole- heartedly. The people never expected that Indira could send the army to the sacred shrine temple (Golden temple) but She was utterly helpless. Ultimately she took a bold step and handed over the responsibility to Lt. General Tanjeet Singh Dayal to Initiate any action to hide over the alarming situation who daringly gripped the situation when 83 army Jawans killed apart from 793 other person and terrorists and 336 were badly injured. The temple shrine was stripped clean of terrorists which lead to the death of Bhindranwala and Indira Gandhi became the victim of undying hatered of Sikhs. In the process 86 stanguns, 303 rifles, 41 Light Machine guns (LMG) and 30 lakh cash recovered. It was October 31, 1984 morning that she was shot dead by his own sikh security guard when she stopped out of his official residence to give an interview to Irish TV film maker peter ustimov, when suddenly the air was rent with gun shops. She was assassinated by her own sikh security guard who were hiding under the cover of hedges to oveng the attack on sikh nationalists. Her body received sixteen gun shots from stangun and 38 bore pistol. The grand lady felled down and her body lay profusely bleeding. She was immediately taken to All India Institute of medical science. Her son Rajiv who was in west Bengal immediately rushed New Delhi. The doctors operated on her to extract the bullets and blood was administered. Despite all efforts made by the doctors to save her but all went futile. She was declared dead at 2:30 PM after a long operation for four hours. Indira ji had long desire that after her death, the ashes must pe sprayed on the Himalayas and so such her wish was fulfilled.
On November 3rd, her funeral took place which was attended by the high and low around the globe. The Samadhi of Indira Ji was built on Yamuna River site and till date named as Shakti Sthala which symbioses the strength and power of the most prominent bold lady ever to born. Amongst Indian masses and asomes the globe her name shall remain glittering till sun shines, Moon so thos and stares continue twinkling in the cosmos.
(The author is former Deputy Conservator, J&K Forest).