Monday, November 09, 2009

Remembering Indira

A quarter century after her assassination, the legacy of Mrs Gandhi lives on in the nation's political arena

“She put Nixon in his place”

The man who served in the Prime Minister’s secretariat during Indira Gandhi’s early years at India's helm assesses her achievements and enduring legacy

I am committing the ultimate act of immodesty by quoting from one of my books: “So often Indira Gandhi is depicted as solemn and serious. Seldom is it mentioned that this graceful, sparkling, engaging human being was a caring humanist, a voracious reader, with wide-ranging non-political interest, that she was endowed with charm, elegance, good taste, that she enjoyed the company of artists, authors, poets, painters and the talented, that she had a sense of humour…” When she was assassinated on October 31, 1984, the spring went out of my life.

I had the great opportunity to work in her secretariat (not PMO at the time) from 1966 to 1971. I was the first member of the IFS to be personally chosen by her to be a member of her staff. At the time Prime Minister’s secretariat was a small, well-knit unit. Esprit de corps was much in evidence. One interacted with the Prime Minister almost on a daily basis. She was in many ways a liberating force. She approved of candour, humour, loyalty, discretion. She had no time for the pompous, the cautious, the calculating and the pretentious. The pompous were deflated by one severe look that reduced the man/woman to (metaphorically) asking for blood transfusion. The collapse was instant.

How do we assess her achievement after a quarter century? Her great father laid the foundations of a democratic, secular, pluralistic India. His daughter strengthened the foundations and carried his idea of India further. During the seventeen years of Nehru’s term in office only once the green lights turned red – 1962. For her, the angels stopped fluttering in 1975 – Emergency – and 1984 – Operation Bluestar.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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