This refers to “Do we know the real Indira Gandhi?” (November 19). The reason for choosing Indira Gandhi as the prime minister of India in 1966 was that the syndicate — the then power caucus — believed that it would be easier to influence her than her main opponent, the seasoned Morarji Desai. She proved them wrong as she out-manoeuvred the members of this syndicate. Whatever be the effort to ideologically refashion India's past and future, she will remain a part of India’s fabric and it is not easy to change this script. She faced many challenges within the party and outside. She ushered in the Green Revolution which transformed India from a ship to mouth economy to one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat and rice.
When the East Pakistan crisis erupted, she proved her mettle by decisively sending the army while challenging international opinion. In the midst of the Cold War, Indira Gandhi supported Bangladesh’s independence. Over 93,000 Pakistani soldiers physically surrendered to the Indian Army and the whole world witnessed this surrender.
She is often accused for imposing the Emergency but Gandhi had the grace to accept that it was a blunder and she did restore the democratic rule losing heavily in the process. The late Benazir Bhutto, a former PM of Pakistan, did not forget that Indira Gandhi was the one Indian leader who had petitioned to Zia-ul-Haq to spare her father Z A Bhutto’s life after he was sentenced to death. Indira Gandhi was a rare example of a woman rising to the most powerful position in Indian politics and it was often said in those days that she was the only “man” in her cabinet.
H N Ramakrishna, Bengaluru
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