Ningombam Bupenda Meitei
If Indira Gandhi were alive today, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on intolerance cannot stand even for a minute. Narendra Modi’s examples, ‘I believe that the glass is full. One half with water and the other half with air,’ or ‘acting in school plays’ or ‘his courage in his childhood by taking a baby crocodile or being attacked while swimming in a crocodile-infested lake,’ or ‘his riding of horse,’ have indeed become a talking point last year. Indira Gandhi, on the other hand, narrated the example of the glass half filled with water and said that the way one looks at it depends on one’s attitude towards life. Indira Gandhi was fond of dancing like Manipuri classical dance at Tagore’s Santiniketan. She had acted in a play about Harishchandra before the Kashmiri Samaj. Besides her fondness of running and swimming, she was very fond of climbing a tree. In today’s world, can Narendra Modi climb a tree like Indira Gandhi?
[“It is said that you can look in two ways at a glass which is half filled with water. Some people will say that the glass is half empty, some will say it is half full. It depends on your attitude towards life.” (Nehru and children, from Indira Gandhi’s speech at the Children’s Day function, New Delhi, November 14, 1980)
“I was very fond of running. I used to be fond of swimming, too... I was very fond of climbing trees. Many years ago, I had acted in a play about Harishchandra before the Kashmiri Samaj. I learnt dancing at Santiniketan.” (Childhood reminiscences, from English rendering of an interview of Indira Gandhi in Hindi with Ms. Uma Chakbast, New Delhi, November 14, 1983)]
On intolerance and atrocities against SCs and STs
Indira Gandhi, on intolerance and atrocities against SCs and STs, would ask, “Can you, Mr. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ensure that the guilty must and should be punished? Can you protect the weakest who had no voice, and who had no organization? Can you speak to those neighbours, who were silent spectators on an act of intolerance, that it is they – the neighbours – who are to protect the group of people affected by intolerance? Do not you consider that it is the responsibility of your Government in New Delhi to assure the brothers and sisters of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribesa full protection?”
[“It is the responsibility of the Government to assure our Harijan and tribal brothers and sisters of full protection. Also, the guilty must and should be punished. In our independence struggle, we did not fight merely for political independence; we did this, but part of the struggle was against economic injustice, against social humiliation of all Indians, especially of Harijans, Adivasis and the weakest who had no voice, and who had no organization. If a group of people have to be protected, basically it is the neighbours who are going to protect them.” (Acts against Harijans and Adivasis, from Indira Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha, March 13, 1980)]
On Mahabharata and Ancient India and unity in diversities
Indira Gandhi, bringing Mahabharata and Ancient India and unity in diversities, would ask, “Do you, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, believe or think that it is your party and philosophy only that take pride in Mahabharata and Ancient India? If your philosophy itself is based on Mahabharata and Ancient India, then, have you forgotten the grand philosophical message of Mahabharata which is the message of the unity of India? Have you deliberately chosen to forget or not to state that Ancient India believed in its diversity with its implied acceptance and co-existence? Is your understanding of Ancient India different from that in Ancient India which believed that all people should not be confined to a single interpretation of Reality? Why do you rigidly make many attempts to enforce one single interpretation of Reality in India which is born out of that Ancient India which rejects the single interpretation of Reality? Have you approved, from your silence on intolerance, that the fact that humanity’s survival depends on the tolerance and the rejection of any conformity, which destroys India or any Indian, is very much wrong and untenable today in 2015? Have you decided firmly that India’s greatness is only possible because of one culture and one idea, and not because of her genius for synthesis of many cultures and ideas?”
[“Delhi is the Indraprastha of the Mahabharata Age. The dominant impression emanating from the Mahabharata, even more than its grand philosophical message and its grasp of the main issues of life, is the message of the unity of India. Even in those days of pre-history, there was full appreciation of diverse elements bound together in a common destiny. From the remotest times our diversity has implied acceptance and co-existence. Ancient India believed, as we do, that diversity itself can be a source of strength and that all people should not be confined to a single interpretation of Reality. Humanity’s survival depends on the tolerance of people living their own lives and on the rejection of any conformity, which would negate the personality of nations, groups and individuals. India’s greatness has been her genius for synthesis of cultures and ideas.” (What makes an Indian, from Indira Gandhi’s Convocation address at the University of Delhi, April 1, 1980)]
On tackling communalism and maintaining peace
Indira Gandhi, on tackling communalism and maintaining peace, would ask, “We, as a nation, thought that the martyrdom of Gandhi ji had eliminated the poison of communalism, but today in 2015, there is a celebration of that poison of communalism. Why do you, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, keep quiet on the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination? How can you remain silent when the martyrdom of Mahatma is being ridiculed in a country which is under your Prime Ministership? Can you, as the Prime Minister of the nation of Mahatma, stop the celebration of ridiculing the Father of the Nation in India itself? If you do not stop, then for whom are you waiting to stop it? Are you waiting for the President of India to express his statement on it and say,“Kindly follow what our Rashtrapati ji has said,” by standing on his shadow? I know you are a bold man, but I also want to see you as a bold Prime Minister of our nation.
Mr. Prime Minister Modi, you keep talking about peace and development and it is also said that you were born in a weaker section, the Other Backward Classes, of society, but why do you not give special attention to the weaker sections of our country when they get killed, murdered, raped, beaten up, burnt, mocked at, humiliated and discriminated by intolerance in our own country? Where are your heart and soul of being with the weakest section of our society? Do you believe that your first duty is not to bring peace in the country by protecting them because you may have believed that the peace in our country is possible when only there is a development all over the country? How can you develop India without peace? How can you maintain peace without protecting the weakest of the country? How can you protect the weakest when you are silent on the intolerance which can never be tolerated by the weakest? How can you remain so deeply tolerant on intolerance till now? Why do not you follow a zero tolerance towards intolerance in our country?”
[“The poison of communalism has been there in our society for many years. We had thought that the martyrdom of Gandhi ji had eliminated this poison but we see how easily it bursts out again. You know that from my childhood I have been taught that special attention should be given to the weaker sections in our country – whether they are weak because of their numbers or because of poverty and backwardness. Our first duty is to protect them, help them and to raise them up, because only then can there be peace in our society.” (At a turning point, from free rendering of the Independence Day speech of Indira Gandhi delivered in Hindi from the Red Fort, Delhi, August 15, 1980)]
Indira Gandhi would further ask, “The circumstances of Gandhi ji’s assassination led us to imagine that communalism would receive a death blow. But, in 1983, attempts were made to make political and economic capital from those things. But, today in 2015, why do not you act against the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi ji’s assassination and glorification of the Bapu’s assassin today under your Prime Ministership?”
[“The circumstances of Gandhiji’s assassination led us to imagine that communalism would receive a death blow. But we see today that attempts are being made to make political and economic capital from these things.” (Symbol of National Unity, from Indira Gandhi’s inaugural address at the Urdu Conference on National Integration, New Delhi, September 6, 1983)]
On national integration and food habits
Indira Gandhi, on national integration and food habits, would ask, “Mr. Prime Minister Modi, you take pride in saying that you are from Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s Gujarat, but do you only take pride in Sardar ji only or also in his philosophy? Do not you think that for national integration to be alive and strengthened, there is a need for you, as the Prime Minister, to fight against the communal virus that destroys the climate of peace and harmony and creates fear and suspicion to our brothers and sisters of minorities? Why do not you act against those who not only create communal tension by spewing communal venom but also claim that those minorities who have different kind of food habits must leave India and go to some other country?
Have food habits of some minorities or sections of our own Indians become so intolerant even in your own Council of Ministers that your own silence, by not removing those who are so intolerant of some minorities’ food habit from your own Council of Ministers, cannot justify that you, as the Prime Minister, stand with the entire population, irrespective of any food habit?”
[“National integration has three major aspects. First, the removal of all vestiges of disabilities from the lives of the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Backward Classes. Secondly, the fight against the communal virus and the creation of a climate in which minorities do not have fear or suspicion and can live in peace and harmony. And, thirdly, the total eradication of casteism or provincialism.” (Ayyankali: Symbol of urge for equality, from Indira Gandhi’s speech at the unveiling of a statue of the Harijan leader, Shri Ayyankali, Trivandrum, November 10, 1980)]
Indira Gandhi, on national integration, would further ask, “If we can be and we are good Indians while being good Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or members of any other religion, then why do not you, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, act against those who preach that all Indians are Hindus only? Do you reject that non Hindu Indians are impossible? Is not the national integration an internal defence of our country? Do not you accept that the humankind’s greatest enemy is violence? Do not you consider that any incidence of violence in anywhere in India brings a bad name to the nation as a whole? Why do not you act and speak strongly against any form of violence because violence only yields to more intolerance and it in turn becomes a source of intolerance further? Why do not you act swiftly when the basic values and ideals are being attacked by intolerance today in our society?”
[“National integration is the internal defence of the country – the domestic and civilian counterpart of the work the defence services do to safeguard the territorial integrity of the nation. We can be and we are good Indians while being good Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or members of any other religion. Violence is humankind’s greatest enemy. The incidence of violence brings a bad name to the country as a whole… What is even more urgent and vital is that violence and the other tendencies which I have mentioned weakened the very fabric of the nation. Our problem is to take the message to others, to the doubters, to the fanatics, and most of all, to those who pay lip-service to national integration but do not accept it in their hearts. Sometimes we do not answer questions adequately because it is so much easier to be polite, it is so much easier to take the softer option. When basic issues are concerned, when basic values and ideals are being attacked, when people are being used, perhaps unwittingly, to weaken us, then is the time when every citizen must take the responsibility. Every citizen must feel that the future of his descendants is at stake. He must speak out in India and outside.” (India’s internal defence, from Indira Gandhi’s inaugural address at the All-India National Integration Convention, New Delhi, January 12, 1984)]
On rationalism, Parliament and good behaviour
Indira Gandhi, on rationalism, Parliament and good behaviour, would ask, “When we, as a nation, speak of my father (Jawaharlal Nehru), we should bear in mind that he never claimed to have all answers to all questions. Similarly, I also cannot choose to accept that you, being the Prime Minister, have all answers to all questions of our nation. I know if anything happens in India, including even either a puppy or a dog or a cat is not well anywhere in India or of any Indian anywhere outside India, any question by any Indian related to India and its people, enemies, friends, animals, resources, or anything, can be thrown on you because you, and you only, are the Prime Minister of India today. Even though my father never claimed to have all answers to all questions, but he did show that we could acquire the strength to meet our problems not through rhetoric but through rational thinking and the building up of people’s institutions and conventions of good behaviour, and it is in this context that there is a necessity for you who is the Prime Minister today to protect the rational thinking, people’s institutions like Parliament, and indeed the conventions of good behaviour in all the places and particularlyon the floor of the House inside the Parliament.
Mr. Prime Minister Modi, do not you think that you should protect the rationalists who argue for rational thinking in India and the world? Why do not you act against those who preach and act that by eliminating rationalists, rationalism or any rational thinking can be eliminated from India? How do you expect to solve our problems through your silence and inaction on intolerant actions against rationalists in India? Why do you, with such a huge majority in the Lok Sabha after decades, fond of using your executive power for ordinances instead of further building up the significance of both the Houses of the Parliament in our parliamentary democracy? Do not you, being elected by the people, believe in the Parliament which is the people’s institution and if you believe so, then why do you depend so much on ordinances every six months? I know you, also being a citizen of India, have every right to remain silent and not to be disturbed, but do not you think that the public perception of your stoic silence, which is the preferred silence of the Prime Minister today, inside the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha sometime when the Opposition really demands you to speak, give rise to the fact that the Prime Minister today is not only arrogant but also intolerant about the criticism and demands of the Opposition? If you, Mr. Prime Minister, were to follow the similar, not the same, intolerance against the Opposition in the Parliament for fighting the other intolerance, for which you have remained so quietly tolerant, outside the Parliament in the nation, then today’s India would have been different but you conveniently choose to be intolerant towards the Opposition only. Must not it be considered as your political tactic, and if so, then when will you ever rise up from your party membership to that of the Prime Minister of India, and if not, meaning ‘if it is not your political tactic’, then when will you ever act against the intolerance which is the result of your deliberate stoic silence in India today?”
[“When we speak of Jawaharlal Nehru, we should bear in mind that he never claimed to have all answers to all questions. But he did show that we could acquire the strength to meet problems through rational thinking and the building up of people’s institutions and conventions of good behaviour.” (Government and the Opposition, from Indira Gandhi’s replies to questions by the Malayalam daily ‘Mathrubhumi’, Trivandrum, November 18, 1980)]
On RSS and intolerance
Indira Gandhi, on communalism and intolerance, would ask, “Do you, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, think that I should only remain tolerant to witness that intolerance has aggressively been engulfing our society today? In 1980 Lok Sabha election, my party alone got 353 seats while our alliance parties together with my party won 374 seats, and I became the Prime Minister of India. In 1981, in my speech during a debate on a ‘no confidence’ motion in the Lok Sabha, I, as the Prime Minister, stated on the floor of the House that communalists are like white ants who eat up the wood or the grain from within, and the RSS were not alone as there were communalists in all religions, and we, as a nation, should worry against such fanatics and other extremist groups equally. Today, in 2015, you are the Prime Minister with your party’s 282 seats and your alliance’s 336 seats. But, today when you are the Prime Minister of India, you, on your own, wilfully attended RSS meeting and stated that you felt proud of being a volunteer of RSS and you became the Prime Minister of India due to the lessons taught by RSS. Mr. Prime Minister Modi, are you accusing me by your actions justifying the contribution of RSS that I, as the Prime Minister in 1981, was wrong in stating in the Lok Sabha that the organization that has taught you to be the Prime Minister was a communalist that fed the fires of fanaticism in India? Mr. Prime Minister Modi, are you trying to show to the world that the people of India, as you are the Prime Minister today, have accepted that what was a communalist in 1981 has become a school which has produced the Prime Minister of India in 2014? Are you saying that my statement in the Lok Sabha in 1981 being proved wrong today by you in 2015? Is it that the statement on communalists like RSS made strongly by the Prime Minister of India, with a majority in the Lok Sabha much larger than yours in 2014, in 1981 in the Lok Sabha has become totally unacceptable today by the actions and public statements of the Prime Minister of India today in 2015? Do you further believe strongly that such actions of yours, justifying your reverence to RSS, as the Prime Minister of India are approved by the entire population of the country?”
[“They think that we are the only people who should be tolerant and should listen to all kinds of abuse, character assassination and so on. They can’t listen to even one word. I have no hesitation in saying that communalism and casteism are worse than almost any other threat we have. Both are two sides of the same coin and the most reprehensible of all anti-national elements. We can easily meet external threats. But communalists, as I have said many times, are like white ants who eat up the wood or the grain from within. And the RSS is not alone in this. It has good company or bad company, in communalists of other hues and denominations. I don’t say there are communalists in only one religion. They are there in all religions. And anybody who is fanatical in that way feeds the fires of fanaticism in other extremist groups. Therefore, we have to worry against them all equally.” (Facing the future with confidence, from Indira Gandhi’s speech during debate on a ‘no confidence’ motion, Lok Sabha, September 17, 1981)]
Indira Gandhi would further ask, “Why do not you, Mr. Prime Minister Modi, act against political elements who preach and practise violence on ideological grounds? Why do not you ensure that the nation is not for those parties and organizations that preach communal hatred?”
[“The danger is from parties and organizations which unashamedly preach communal hatred, depicting whole groups of people as inferior, untrustworthy and anti-national. We also have political elements who preach and practise violence on ideological grounds.” (University course in Non-violence and Peace, from Indira Gandhi’s replies to questions by Dr. Anima Bose, August 26, 1981)]
On enough love for children and nation and states
Indira Gandhi, on enough love for children and nation and states, would ask, “There is no conflict between love of State or region and loyalty to the nation and that has been proved by India. I believe that love does not diminish, it only grows to enough love for all. Mr. Prime Minister Modi, do not you believe that the Prime Minister of India, like a mother loving not lesser for the smallest child but keep having more love for her entire children, must love all the states and Union Territories of India to such an extent that no state feels left out by the much love being shown to another state by the Prime Minister? If you believe so, then what makes you announce a special financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the newly born baby of mother India Andhra Pradesh which is also granted Rs 1,500 crore overdraft by RBI (Reserve Bank of India) while you announce Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package for not the newly born baby but matured child of mother India Bihar in the same year 2015? Is your love dependent on the timing of the election in the states? Are you the Prime Minister of India while showering your love to all your children, who are the entire states and Union Territories of India, or a member of your party when you show your love to some children only? Do not you believe that love, instead of diminishing, grows more for all?”
[“There is no conflict between love of State or region and loyalty to the nation. India has proved that the two go together just as a strong sense of national pride in no way mitigates from the larger love of humanity and concern for international problems. If I may inject a personal note: when my sons were very small, every morning on awakening they made a habit of climbing on to my bed and lying on either side of me. At that hour they were concerned with two problems. One was that if a mother had more than two children, where would the others lie, and secondly, would there be less love for each succeeding child? My answer was that love did not diminish but kept on growing so that no matter how many children one had, there was always enough love to go around.” (Literature nurtures understanding, from Indira Gandhi’s speech at the function held to give away the Jnanpith Award to Shri Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, New Delhi, December 13, 1980)]
On languages and the North East India
Indira Gandhi, on languages and the North East India, would ask, “Mr. Prime Minister Modi, do you believe in projecting the language spoken by the majority for a nationally and internationally higher platform at the expense of many other languages of India? Do you believe in promoting a particular language as the mother of other languages? Do you promote one particular language, more compared to other languages, to be aired and heard on national public media?
Mr. Prime Minister Modi, I have worked very closely with my heart and soul connecting with the people of the North East India, whether they be from Assam or Manipur or Nagaland, and have not tried to make one state resents against another state. But, today in 2015, why have you made the three states of the North East India - Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh – to stand unitedly against your Naga Accord, signed not by you per se, of Nagaland? Why have you attempted to install the statue of Rani Gaidinliu of Manipur not in Manipur’s Imphal but in Nagaland’s Kohima, thereby creating confusion in Kohima and dishonour in Imphal? Why do you make one state fights against another state in our own country? Do not you think that the time has come not to fight amongst ourselves?”
[“The time has come not to fight amongst ourselves – one language against another, one caste against another, one religion against another, one region against another – but to shelve these differences and to work together as Indians because only that old spirit of nationalism, which in our age must be combined with international understanding and co-operation, can generate the momentum for progress.” (Challenge before Higher Education, from Indira Gandhi’s speech at the centenary celebrations of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, February 1, 1981)]
On Indianness and Christmas
Indira Gandhi, on Indianness and Christmas, would ask, “Mr. Prime Minister Modi, have you forgotten that India is respected outside because of its tradition of tolerance? Our religious festivals were observed by all people, but why have you made Christmas to be meant for Christians only? Do not you think that those who are not Christians also need a holiday on the Holy Day to celebrate the Holy Christmas? Why should the Prime Minister of India observe only some religious festivals and not all religious festivals of the country? Do not you accept that the enduring strength of India is not her one culture, one religion, one language, one food habit, one living style, uniform mode of expression but her capacity to synthesize different cultures and religious traditions, different styles of living, different modes of expression? Do not you accept that harmony and tolerance as the base of the existence of our nation? Do not you think that intolerance and disharmony will destroy the very base of our nation? Why do not you act swiftly against intolerance and disharmony so that our nationhood is strengthened? Why have you stopped using the word ‘inclusiveness’ in your speeches? Do not you believe that inclusiveness is the spirit of India?”
[“The real basis of national integration should be widely shared goals and values, commitment to, what for want of a better word we call, ‘Indianness’ without sacrificing the identity of sub-cultures. India is respected outside because of its tradition of tolerance. Our religious festivals which used to be observed by all people, all communities, have in many areas of the country become sources of tension and concern. National unity is a historical process. It is the product of our freedom movement in which all communities, all religions and all people have participated. The consolidation of this national unity in the post-independence era is a major achievement. We have to guard against any factor which weakens our unity. We need a broad national consensus on how to do this in a country as vast and diverse as ours. Ideas, processes, practices and tactics for any narrow advantage which encourage divisive sentiments have to be discouraged and curbed. Broadly speaking, we have to go back to our roots. The enduring strength of India is her capacity to synthesize different cultural and religious traditions, different styles of living, different modes of expression. Exclusiveness of any kind is alien to the spirit of India. We must resist any kind of narrowness of thinking or of emotions which are very easy to provoke but more difficult to deal with once they are aroused. It is necessary to create harmony and tolerance which is the base of the very existence of our nationhood. No section should feel that it is being discriminated against, no section should feel that it is inferior in any way.” (Promoting Indianness, from Indira Gandhi’s inaugural address at the meeting of the National Integration Council, New Delhi, January 21, 1984)]
Indira Gandhi, on children, would ask, “Mr. Prime Minister, my father (Jahawarlal Nehru) considered all children his own. Do not you consider that all children in our country are your own that any pain to any child is indeed a pain to you also? How can you, the Prime Minister who promotes taking a photo selfie with daughter, sleep peacefully in Delhi when children are kidnapped, abducted, molested, raped, murdered, beaten up, burnt to death and traffickednot only in Delhi and its surrounding regions but also in many remote parts of our country? Where is your love for the children in the metro cities of India like Delhi where children are being exposed to daily hazardous pollution? Why should not you act against any form of violence that results to the death of any child?”
[“You said in the beginning that he (Jawaharlal Nehru) loved all children, more than he loved me. But my impression is that he regarded everyone as equal. I was there, but he did not consider me his own more than he did others. He considered all children his own.(Childhood reminiscences, from English rendering of an interview of Indira Gandhi in Hindi with Ms. Uma Chakbast, New Delhi, November 14, 1983)]
On winning the hearts of the people
Indira Gandhi, on winning the hearts of the people, would ask, “Mr. Prime Minister Modi, do you know that, according to Emperor Asoka, winning the Battle of Kalinga had no value as the real importance comes only by winning the hearts of the people? Have you forgotten that Asoka enunciated a new policy of India based on friendship, non-violence and generosity?
Do you think that merely winning 2014 election in Lok Sabha is a living testimony of winning the hearts of the 1.2 billion people of India? Do not you believe that the silence towards intolerance and any form of violence leads to the hurting of many hearts of the people?
When you speak, you always speak representing 1.2 billion population of India but have you, as the Prime Minister of India, ever spoken on behalf of the intellectuals of our country? If you have spoken, which is what I presume, then why do not you also listen to the voices of the entire different kinds of all the intellectuals of our own country?
Do not you consider that the nation’s top priority must be its unity and integrity? Do you gain something for the short term silence towards intolerance in our society today as such intolerance will become worthless as it weakens the fabric of our country tomorrow?”
[“I am talking of Emperor Asoka. He won the battle here in this State, but the victory, he confessed, had no importance, no value. He must win the hearts of the people. By killing people or by hurting them, one does not really win. From that day onwards, he enunciated a new policy, not only in respect of Kalinga, but also for the whole of India. This policy was of friendship, non-violence, of generosity which is being followed in India now for many years. When I talk of unity, I talk about the unity of the people of India. I do not want to remove anybody. We are speaking here on behalf of the people of India, on behalf of the weaker sections of India, on behalf of women of India, on behalf of the intellectuals of India and, above all, on behalf of the young generation of India, for the future belongs to them. I am here today, I may not be here tomorrow. But the responsibility to look after national interest is on the shoulder of every citizen of India. I do not care whether I live or die. I have lived a long life in the service of my people. I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it. I shall repeat that you must give top priority to the unity and integrity of the country. Everything else is secondary. If we gain something for the short term and if it weakens us tomorrow or day after, then it is not a thing worth pursuing.” (The Last Speech, from free rendering of the public speech of Indira Gandhi in Hindi, Bhubhaneswar, October 30, 1984)]
After her last speech, The Last Speech, in Bhubaneswar, Indira Gandhi, the 4th Prime Minister of India, was assassinated on 31 October, 1984 at the Prime Minister’s residence at No. 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi. Today, the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s residence has become Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum at No. 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi.
The writer here concludes with the line from the former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi.
“Your problems are known to me and I view them not only as a Prime Minister but also as a woman and a mother.”
(Call for unity, discipline and hard work, free rendering of the Independence Day speech of Indira Gandhi delivered in Hindi from the Red Fort, Delhi, August 15, 1981)
The writer, Ningombam Bupenda Meitei, is a poet and author.
Image Source : theguardian.com