On the occasion of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh has complimented the late leader for demonstrating exemplary courage during her political intervention in the creation of Bangladesh.
Launching a book titled “Indira Gandhi: Meri Ma” documenting Ms. Gandhi’s relationship with her adopted daughter Kanta Manchanda at a function at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here, Dr. Singh said: “Indira Gandhi was an extraordinary person. She was an embodiment of courage. While lakhs of Bangladeshi refugees were sneaking into India, we were all wondering when action would be taken. Ms. Gandhi took command despatching her Ministers to different nations to convey India’s point of view that it did not want to fight but go in for political settlement. As Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister I was send to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Eventually, we won the war.”
Noting that the book penned by Hindi and Dogri writer Padma Sachdev reveals new facets of Ms. Gandhi’s personality, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said though the people perceived her as an “iron woman she was also a soft-hearted woman”. “Undoubtedly, Ms. Gandhi was the biggest leader of the 20th Century. She showered love and affection on Kanta Manchanda. For me she was like a heroine and I could not dream to be anywhere near her. This book will bring memories alive.”
Reminiscing how Ms. Gandhi met Kanta Manchanda, Ms. Sachdev said during a cultural extravaganza at Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were sitting in the audience.
“While the girls were performing, one of them was lifting only one arm. After the culmination of the programme, Pandit Nehru asked the girl what happened to the other arm. She replied it was snatched away by God. And when Panditji asked her where she stayed, Kanta replied she stayed at Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad’s house. Since, Panditji was staying at Mr. Bakshi’s house, he took the girl there. Kanta’s mother thought her daughter had done some mischief and her husband, who worked for Mr. Bakshi, would lose his job. But nothing of that sort happened and the relationship grew.”
The first political family send Kanta to Poona so that an artificial arm could be fitted since one of her arms had to amputated while she was growing up in the Valley.
But the operation could not be done because the amputation was deep.