Oct 31: It took time to announce her death, as it was a death of a leader, who was strong-willed and determined, who stood tall in her adversity. On this day in 1984 two of her bodyguard assassinated her with machine guns while she was walking at her residence garden to be interviewed by British actor Peter Ustinov who was filming a documentary for Irish Television.
She once said, “If I die a violent death, as some fear and a few are plotting, I know that the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassins, not in my dying.”
But her death was followed by Anti Sikh riots which took the life of many innocent Sikh because they belonged to similar faith who assassinated Indira.
She died on her way to All India Institute of Medical Sciences and cremated three days later; with her ashes at Shakti Sthal she is still vibrantly alive in the nation’s memory.
Her sentence few days before her death remind of a leader with a vision, she uttered aloud while addressing the large crowd, “Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood... will contribute to the growth of this nation and to make it strong and dynamic”.
Today our nation is also observing Anti terrorism day as a remembrance of the towering personality who always voiced against TERRORISM.
Born on November 19 th 1917, Indira grew up in the atmosphere when India was united but not free. Very early in her life she learnt the nuances of intense politics. On her very different childhood she said, “I have no recollection of games, children's parties or playing with other children,” also added "All my games were political ones—I was, like Joan of Arc, perpetually being burned at the stake."
With a turbulent early life she grew up ruthless and shrugged off all the personal judgement about her failed marriage with Feroz and her political vendetta of 1975. She who believed in democracy once crashed it with declaration of Emergency after Allahabad Court declared that her election is invalid on the grounds of corrupt practices in an election petition filed by Raj Narain.
Her opposition leader Moraji Desai conotated her as ‘Gungi Gudiya’ or ‘Dumb Doll’ when she became the Prime Minister but she made a mark in world politics for which she is remembered. Victory in 1971 war with Pakistan, Nuclear Test at Pokhran in1974, Simla Agreement with Pakistan’s president Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to resolve Kashmir dispute by negotiation and peaceful means are some of landmark judgements of her time.
She is behind ‘Food Security’ through Green Revolution and supervising Operation Blue Star which led to the killings of Jarnai Singh Bhindarwale and many other militants of separatist Sikh religious group in Golden temple.
But her regime also had some gray shades as she was accused of misusing authority and projecting her son Sanjay Gandhi, her stormy political life echoed in her family life, people wrote her off but she soon returned with a massive victory and after serving as the Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966-1977 she again came to power in 1980 and she served the post till October 31, 1984.
She left people mourning but left a legacy, a legacy of her own vision and essence of leadership with her daring political principles.
pallaviOctober 31, 2007 at 12:00 AM