Indíra Gándhí quotes

Indíra Gándhí photo
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Indíra Gándhí

Birthdate: 19. November 1917
Date of death: 31. October 1984
Other names: Indira Gándhíová

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was an Indian stateswoman and central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Gandhi belonged to the Nehru–Gandhi family and was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime minister. Despite her surname Gandhi, she is not related to the family of Mahatma Gandhi. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian prime minister after her father.

Gandhi served as her father's personal assistant and hostess during his tenure as Prime Minister between 1947 and 1964. She was elected Congress President in 1959. Upon her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. In the Congress Party's parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 she defeated her rival, Morarji Desai, to become leader, and thus succeeded Shastri as Prime Minister of India.

As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India's influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia. Citing fissiparous tendencies and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and press was censored. In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. She was assassinated by Sikh nationalists in 1984, less than a month before her 67th birthday. The assassins, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, were both shot by other security guards. Satwant Singh recovered from his injuries and was executed after being found guilty of murder.

In 1999, Indira was named "Woman of the Millennium" in an online poll organised by the BBC.

„A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

"Preface, 4th Five Year Plan" http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/4th/4ppre.htm, Government of India Planning Commission (July 18, 1970).

„You can't shake hands with a clenched fist.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Attributed
Variant: You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

„We admired Dr. King. We felt his loss as our own. The tragedy rekindled memories of the great martyrs of all time who gave their lives so that men might live and grow.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Luther King" http://gos.sbc.edu/g/gandhi2.html"Martin, speech at the presentation of the Jawaharial Nehru Award for International Understanding to Coretta Scott King in New Delhi, India (January 24, 1969). Published in Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, September 1972-March 1977 (New Delhi : Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984. pp. 312-313).
Context: We admired Dr. King. We felt his loss as our own. The tragedy rekindled memories of the great martyrs of all time who gave their lives so that men might live and grow. We thought of the great men in your own country who fell to the assassin's bullet and of Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom here in this city, this very month, twenty-one years ago. Such events remain as wounds in the human consciousness, reminding us of battles, yet to be fought and tasks still to be accomplished. We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.

„We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Luther King" http://gos.sbc.edu/g/gandhi2.html"Martin, speech at the presentation of the Jawaharial Nehru Award for International Understanding to Coretta Scott King in New Delhi, India (January 24, 1969). Published in Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, September 1972-March 1977 (New Delhi : Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984. pp. 312-313).
Context: We admired Dr. King. We felt his loss as our own. The tragedy rekindled memories of the great martyrs of all time who gave their lives so that men might live and grow. We thought of the great men in your own country who fell to the assassin's bullet and of Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom here in this city, this very month, twenty-one years ago. Such events remain as wounds in the human consciousness, reminding us of battles, yet to be fought and tasks still to be accomplished. We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.

„You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

"The Embattled Woman Who Relishes Crosswords, Children...and Running India," People (June 30, 1975).

„There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Letter to Richard Nixon (December 15, 1971) http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/07/03/stories/2005070300090100.htm.

„I am not interested in a long life. I am not afraid of these things. I don't mind if my life goes in the service of this nation. If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Source: Speech, Bhubaneswar, India (October 30, 1984), quoted in "Death in the Garden," by William E. Smith, Time (November 12, 1984) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,926929-3,00.html.

„My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Quoted in "Indira's Coup," profile by Oriana Fallaci, The New York Review of Books (September 18, 1975).

„To be liberated, woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and her personality.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

"True Liberation Of Women" http://gos.sbc.edu/g/gandhi1.html, speech, inauguration of the All-India Women's Conference Building Complex in New Delhi, India (March 26, 1980). Published in Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, September 1972-March 1977 (New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984, pp. 417-418).

„All unprejudiced persons objectively surveying the grim events in Bangladesh since March 25 have recognized the revolt of 75 million people, a people who were forced to the conclusion that neither their life, nor their liberty, to say nothing of the possibility of the pursuit of happiness, was available to them.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Referring to the fundamental rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" in the United States Declaration of Independence in a letter to Richard Nixon (December 15, 1971). http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2005/07/03/stories/2005070300090100.htm.

„India wants to avoid a war at all costs but it is not a one-sided affair, you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Press conference, New Delhi (October 19, 1971), quoted in "Indian and Pakistani Armies Confront Each Other Along Borders" by Sydney H. Schanberg, The New York Times (October 20, 1971), page 6C.

„Dacca is now the free capital of a free country.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Address to Parliament announcing the victory of Bangladesh-India Forces over the Pakistan Army, (December 16, 1971) http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/1971/Dec16/index.html.

„Indira is India and India is Indira.“

—  Indíra Gándhí

Sidhartha Shankar Ray in: SACRIFICIAL GOATS SCAPEGOATS and GUINEA PIGs: Misadventures and Misrepresentations http://books.google.com/books?id=2HiRtyt2iWEC&pg=PA79, AuthorHouse, 2007, p. 79
Her ardent follower coined this sentence during Emergency.

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