Indira Gandhi

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Life at the greatest and best is but a froward child, that must be humored and coaxed a little till it falls asleep, and then all the care is over.
Oliver Goldsmith
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Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (November 19, 1917October 31 1984), daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, became the first woman Prime Minister of India in 1966. She died while Prime Minister on Oct 31st 1984, assassinated by her security guards at her residence.


  • 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.
    • "Martin Luther King", 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)
  • A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.
  • 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.
    • 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
  • There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past.
    • Letter to Richard Nixon (December 15, 1971) [1]
  • You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
    • "The Embattled Woman Who Relishes Crosswords, Children...and Running India," People (June 30, 1975)
  • My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.
    • 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.
    • "True Liberation Of Women", 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)
  • 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.
    • Speech, Bhubaneswar, India (October 30, 1984), quoted in "Death in the Garden," by William E. Smith, Time (November 12, 1984) [2]


  • I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
  • Martyrdom does not end something, it is only a beginning.
  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
  • There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.
  • Think twice before pointing a finger to any one as other three fingers are always pointing towards you.
  • To bear many children is considered not only a religious blessing but also an investment. The greater their number, some Indians reason, the more alms they can beg.
  • All my games were political games; I was, like Joan of Arc, perpetually being burned at the stake.
  • People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.
  • One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, and those who want to do everything with money.

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