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Posted on: Nov 02, '09

 The Iron Lady - a Tribute

I was all excited to every single nerve on my body. 
I was going to see the great person in person tomorrow. 
Indira Gandhi. 
It was 1976. 
She was going to address a rally at a ground in Nagerkoil, at the South tip of India. I was living in a town named Sucheendiram, some 5 kms away.

And I was 15, in my 10th Standard class. She was a demi-god to me all along since I knew her. Schools had been regularly conducting Elocution and Essay Writing competitions, at school level and district levels on Indira Gandhi. As a student I was doing good in both, and represented the school at district levels and already had collected few laurels. I had done extensive research for my speeches and essays and learnt every single thing about Indira and her family by then. And her famous terms like “National Integration”, “20 Point Programme” were already deep-rooted in my mind. 

Yes, I was going to Nagerkoil to see her, in person. 

Obviously, didn’t sleep at all, got up early and reached the grounds at 6:30 a.m. Only to find there were already so many hundreds of them - all of my age group – boys and girls gathered at the ground. She was supposed to arrive by Helicopter at 9:30 a.m. By 8:30, the ground was full and over-flowing. All youngsters, school and college students, teachers and other age group as well. We were all waiting calm for her arrival.

At around 9:45 the chopper flies in and she alights. Walking brisk she reaches the stage. 
We all watched her from very close. Clad in cotton saree as usual, she definitely displayed an invisible power (they call it Tejaz in Hindi, I can’t find an equivalent word, possibly Aura of sort.) around her. My heart seemed like filled with water, weighed so heavy. This person, leading this country from the front, named as Iron Lady has taken the country to unimaginable heights. 

We watched her giving the speech. Every word came out like a hammer on a gun metal bell. Rinnnnging. Her pick of words and delivery modulation, anyone with a little bit of English would understand everything she said. Started as usual with a ‘Vanakkam and Namaste’, she spoke about the ‘need of the hour’ and why and how we youngsters could contribute to lead the country to be equivalent to those ‘developed countries’ Her most important task was to ‘make us believe’ that we are no inferior to any other country in this world, we are no incapable to anybody on this earth. With centuries of ‘slave-breathe’ around, it took all her efforts to pull us up and out of that deep complex and make us feel ‘proud’ of being an Indian. Her speech and her image got impregnated in our minds so deep and had been inspiring all along.


That day I was already a Mechanical Engineer, working for a fertilizer company down-south and was deputed to Hyderabad at BHEL for technical follow up. 
1984, October 31. 
I was in the factory at Pattancheru, some 25 Kilometers from Hyderabad City, the news spread like a wild-fire. Indira Gandhi was killed by her own guards. In that sprawling factory complex, everything came to a grinding halt and we struggled to come back to the town and made it via various travel modes by 3:00 pm. Still stuck in disbelief, our minds went numb. At the hotel the news was on DD. I was glued to the TV watching everything happening around. We could see incredible shock in every single person’s face there. I Watched her funeral all through.

At close to sun-set, the pyre was lit and there stood her sons, looking clueless and helplessness, representing the entire country’s youth, with the most important Light that was Leading us is off. Nobody could ever have replaced nor could replace her in future. 

As the flames went upwards, the DD cameraman lifted and showed at distance the Sun was slowly setting and it Broke my heart and mind. With a awestruck friend looking upon me, I burst out into loud cries and shouts “Paavigal.. Paavigal…” in Tamil, meaning Paapis Paapis in India, Sinners, Sinners in English. So easily, they took her out of this world and left a huge vacuum which never could be filled in.

Jai Hind.

Tags: indira, indira gandhi, indirajee

Comments  [ 14 Comments ] [ Post your comment | Subscribe (?) ]

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rana640 said:

June 08, '18

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hELLO, to all,
Why am writing here, is that I have that Epitome respect for our great woman leaders and Smt. Indira gandhi is one of them. What I like about her is Grace and Intellect with which she govern our country.
Salute to her.

A Spiritual fRIEND & Life's Guide

July 01, '13

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TidyMess said:
and then we all grew up...

August 25, '10

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jdoc said:
indra : your first two points are o k but as far as 3rd point about green and white revolution it was started by Narsinha Rao and later on Rajeev Gandhi, just to give right credit.
As far as Indira Gandhi is concerned she had great failuers also, one she was under tremendous pressure from USSR and her son Mr Sanjay Gandhi. if she had faced these pressures boldly then she would have been perfect.

December 29, '09

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sazzyme said:
how weird.. many a great leader assassinated by someone from the inner echelon!

MK Gandi?
Iron Lady!
mercifully Hitler shot himself

cant seem to recollect any more ..

November 11, '09

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sazzyme said:
kb.. at a very young age.. dad thrust her book to me.. to read.. u remember the name? that one..

other than that.. i just know her to be a great leader..

but u .. u kinda eulogized and glorified..
and justifiably too..

when i read ur account of seeing her deliver her speech.. i understand shez one of those that ooooozze an abundant persona/presence!

and tis on halloween day that she was assassinated!

November 11, '09

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AFerrariMonk said:
No denial of her being a charismatic leader. Her journey back to the power with in 3 years after imposing emergemcy is a clear demonstration of her organising skills, leadership, vision, hardwork, political capability, and her influence over the people.

November 09, '09

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King-Bulls-Ring said:
Well Indra (Well the name sounds like Indira too.. hahahaha - conincidence!),
thanks for the explanation. Well, every single leader on the earth had faced criticism on some of their actions from some. Noone has been spared for that matter - be it Jesus / Buddha or Gandhi. And Indira is just another leader and sure have done some things for some reaons known to her and to be in the flow of politics.
All said and done, her contribution in Shaping India as it is now is not precedented nor will be surpassed. Thats me opinion.

November 04, '09

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King-Bulls-Ring said:
Indira, was that to start off some kind of STAR NEWS kind of sensation or what..???
Anyways, welcome to India.

November 03, '09

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Easygo7101 said:
She was great...beautiful blog post but what followed her death..makes my hair stand .......

November 03, '09

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