Quotes by Indira Gandhi

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Peace we want because there is another war to fight against poverty, disease and ignorance. more...

Mankind will endure when the world appreciates the logic of diversity. more...

Never forget that when we are silent, we are one. And when we speak we are two. more...

I don't mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation. more...

Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something. more...

The immediate is often the enemy of the ultimate. more...

The purpose of life is to believe, to hope, and to strive. more...

Nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy. more...

Martyrdom does not end something, it is only a beginning. more...

My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not. more...

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. more...

My theory is that men are no more liberated than women. more...

Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of love between individuals. more...

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. more...

My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. more...

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. more...

Have a bias toward action - let's see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away. more...

People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights. more...

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. more...

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose. more...

Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood... will contribute to the growth of this nation and to make it strong and dynamic. more...

The power to question is the basis of all human progress. more...

A nation' s strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others. more...

One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, and those who want to do everything with money. more...

If I die a violent death, as some fear and a few are plotting, I know that the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassins, not in my dying. more...

My father was a statesman, I am a political woman. My father was a saint. I am not. more...

There is not love where there is no will. more...

There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten. more...

Martyrdom does not end something, it only a beginning. more...

All my games were political games; I was, like Joan of Arc, perpetually being burned at the stake. more...

To bear many children is considered not only a religious blessing but also an investment. The greater their number, some Indians reason, the more alms they can beg. more...

You can't shake hands with a clenched fist. more...

Without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue. You have to have courage - courage of different kinds: first, intellectual courage, to sort out different values and make up your mind about which is the one which is right for you to follow. You have to have moral courage to stick up to that - no matter what comes in your way, no matter what the obstacle and the opposition is. more...

Defeats are always pitiful. Victories are always last resources. more...

How can anybody who is the head of a nation afford not to be a prag-matist? more...

It has been my experience that people who are at cross-purposes with nature are cynical about mankind and ill at ease with themselves. more...

We would rather starve than sell our national honor. more...

People with clenched fists can not shake hands. more...

Every democratic system evolves its own conventions. It is not only the water but the banks which make the river. more...

Politics is the art of acquiring, holding, and wielding power. more...

Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances. more...

Life is a continuous process of adjustment. more...

The old need the company of the young so that they renew their contact with life. more...

We have believed - and we do believe now - that freedom is indivisible, that peace is indivisible, that economic prosperity is indivisible more...

The greatest of all contraceptives is affluence. more...

The civil servant is primarily the master of the short-term solution. more...

The question before the advanced nations is not whether they can afford to help the developing nations, but whether they can afford not to do so. more...

in today's world no country can be absolutely independent of another. It is a world of interdependence. more...

Home is wherever I go. more...

Even today to be civilised is held to be synonymous with being westernised. Advanced countries devote large resources to formulating and spreading ideas and doctrines and they tend to impose on the developing nations their own norms and methods. The pattern of the classical acquisitive society with its deliberate multiplication of wants not only is unsuited to conditions in our countries but is positively harmful. more...

I am proud that I spent the whole of my 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. more...

The longer one doesn't write, the more difficult it is to communicate. more...

Without peace there can be no prosperity for any people, rich or poor. And yet, there can be no peace without erasing the harshness of the growing contrast between the rich and the poor. more...

It is legitimate to have one's own point of view and political philosophy. But there are people who make anger, rather than a deeply held belief, the basis of their actions. They do not seem to mind harming society as a whole in the pursuit of their immediate objective. No society can survive if it yields to the demands of frenzy, whether of the few or the many. more...

To me the function of politics is to make possible the desirable. more...

what is popular need not necessarily be right or wise. more...

Rebels and non-conformists are often the pioneers and designers of change. more...

I would like to ask a question. Would this sort of war or savage bombing which has taken place in Vietnam have been tolerated for so long, had the people been European? more...

Nothing can convince me that people are at one with their work unless they're joyous about it. more...

It is our duty to create a social milieu in which the young and the socially weak feel that the present and future belong to them. more...

In an underdeveloped society, the first anxiety is of infant mortality. In an advanced one it is to keep alive the aged. more...

... where does strength come from? It is not muscle strength any more. It is not also mere intellectual strength. What is strength? Strength is the support of the people. more...

Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision. more...

Forgiveness is the virtue of Brave. more...

The meek may one day inherit the earth, but not the headlines. more...

We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities. more...

India wants to avoid a war at all costs but it is not a one-sided affair, you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. more...

There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past. more...

All unprejudiced persons objectively surveying the grim events in Bangla Desh since March 25 have recognized the revolt of 75 million people, a people who were forced to the conclusion that neither their life, nor their liberty, to say nothing of the possibility of the pursuit of happiness, was available to them. more...

Dacca is now the free capital of a free country. more...

To be liberated, woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and her personality. more...

Opportunities are not offered. They must be wrested and worked for. And this calls for perseverance... and courage. more...

I cannot understand how anyone can be an Indian and not be proud. more...

Ability is not always gauged by examination. more...

Popularity is not a gurantee of quality. more...

My father was a saint, I'm not. more...

I don't waste time in flowery small talk, as people do in India. more...

I refuse to indulge in small talk. And compliments, if at all, I save for after the job is done. more...

In India people can't stomach this attitude of mine, and when I say, 'Hurry up, let's get to the point,' they feel hurt. more...

I think I'm cold, indeed icy, hard. Then there's another reason, one that goes with my frankness: I don't put on act. more...

I don't know how to put on an act; I always show myself for what I am, in whatever mood I'm in. more...

If I'm happy, I look happy; if I'm angry, I show it. Without worrying about how others may react. more...

When one has had a life as difficult as mine, one doesn't worry about how others will react. more...

Life is always full of dangers and I don't think one should avoid dangers. more...

I think one should do what seems right. And if what seems right involves danger...well, one must risk the danger. more...

That's always been my philosophy. - I've never thought of the consequences of a necessary action. more...

I examine the consequences later, when a new situation arises and I then face the new situation. And that's it. more...

You say this victory is dangerous. I say that today no one can yet tell if it's dangerous, that today I don't see the risks you mention. If, however, those risks should become reality...I'll act in accordance with the new reality. more...

I want to state that there will be friendship between Bangladesh and ourselves. And not a one-sided friendship, of course - no one does anything for nothing; each has something to give and something to take. more...

If we offer something to Bangladesh, it's obvious that Bangladesh is offering something to us. And why shouldn't Bangladesh be able to keep its promises? Economically it's full of resources and can stand on its feet. Politically it seems to me led by trained people. The refugees who took shelter here are going home... more...

A revolution is already taking place in India. Things are changing here already - peacefully and democratically. There's no danger of communism. There would be if we had a rightist government instead of mine. more...

In fact the communists gained strength in India when the people thought my party was moving to the right. And they were correct. more...

In the face of such a threat, they had no other choice but to throw themselves to the far left. But now that the people are conscious of our efforts, now that they see us resolving problems, the communists are losing strength. more...

We couldn't be everywhere, we couldn't see everything, and it was inevitable that some things would escape us. more...

In all communities you find groups that behave badly. But you must understand them too. more...

We couldn't keep ten million refugees on our soil; we couldn't tolerate such an unstable situation for who knows how long. That influx of refugees wouldn't have stopped - on the contrary. It would have gone on and on and on, until there would have been an explosion. We were no longer able to control the arrival of those people, in our own interest we had to stop it! That's what I said to Mr.[Richard] Nixon, to all the other leaders I visited in an attempt to avert the war. more...

When you look at the beginning of the actual war, it's not hard to recognize that the Pakistanis were the ones to attack. more...

I suspected [Richard Nixon] was very pro-Pakistan. Or rather I knew that the Americans had always been in favor of Pakistan - not so much because they were in favor of Pakistan, but because they were against India. more...

I had recently had the impression they were changing - not so much by becoming less pro-Pakistan as by becoming less anti-India. I was wrong. My visit to [Richard] Nixon did anything but avert the war. more...

[Visiting Richard Nixon] useful only to me. The experience taught me that when people do something against you, that something always turns out in your favor. more...

It's a law of life - check it and you'll see it holds true in every situation of life. more...

Do you know why I won the last elections? It was because the people liked me, yes, because I had worked, yes, but also because the opposition had behaved badly toward me. And do you know why I won this war? Because my army was able to do it, yes, but also because the Americans were on the side of Pakistan. more...

America always thought it was helping Pakistan. But if it hadn't helped Pakistan, Pakistan would have been a stronger country. more...

You don't help a country by supporting a military regime that denies any sign of democracy, and what defeated Pakistan was its military regime. more...

Sometimes friends are dangerous. We must be very careful about the help friends give us. more...

I don't see why we and the Chinese should have to be enemies. more...

I never believed in the danger of a third world war. more...

Naturally, if the Americans had fired a shot, if the Seventh Fleet had done something more than sit there in the Bay of Bengal...yes, the Third World War would have exploded. But, in all honesty, not even that fear occurred to me. more...

India had barely become independent, in 1947, when Pakistan invaded Kashmir, which at the time was ruled by a maharajah. The maharajah fled, and the people of Kashmir, led by Sheikh Abdullah, asked for Indian help. Lord [Louis] Mountbatten, who was still governor general, replied that he wouldn't be able to supply aid to Kashmir unless Pakistan declared war, and he didn't seem bothered by the fact that the Pakistanis were slaughtering the population. more...

The Indians and Pakistanis are literally brothers. more...

I know you were surprised when, after the fall of Dacca, Pakistani and Indian officers shook hands. But do you realize that, up until 1965, in our army and the Pakistani one you could come across generals who were brothers? Blood brothers, sons of the same father and the same mother. more...

You found an uncle on one side and a nephew on the other, a cousin here and a cousin there. Besides it's still true today. I'll tell you something else. There was a time when even two ambassadors to Switzerland, the one from India and the one from Pakistan, were two blood brothers. Oh, the Partition imposed on us by the British was so unnatural! more...

I remember harrowing episodes. People who emigrated, people who didn't want to emigrate...Many Muslims didn't want to leave India to go to live in Pakistan, but the propaganda was that there they'd have greater opportunities and so they left. Many Hindus, on the other hand, didn't want to stay in Pakistan, but they had ties there or property and so they stayed. more...

To become our enemies - what an absurdity. A crazy absurdity when you stop to think that we, Muslims and Hindus, had conducted the struggle for independence together. more...

Even under the British there were hostile groups. There were clashes. But, as we found out later, these were clashes provoked by those who had no wish to let us live together - on the eve of the Partition. The policy of keeping us divided was always followed by foreigners, even after the Partition. If Indians and Pakistanis had been together...I don't say as confederated countries but as neighboring and friendly countries...like Italy and France, for example ...believe me, both of us would have progressed much further. more...

It would seem that it was not in the interest of 'someone' for us to make progress. It was in 'someone's' interest that we be always at war, that we tear each other to pieces. Yes, I'm inclined to absolve the Pakistanis. How should they have behaved? Someone encouraged them to attack us, someone gave them weapons to attack us. And they attacked us. more...

[ Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto is not a very balanced man. When he talks, you never understand what he means. What does he mean this time? That he wants to be friends with us? We've wanted to be friends with him for some time; I've always wanted to. more...

The Western press has always insisted that India was Pakistan's enemy and vice versa, that the Hindus were against the Muslims and vice versa. They've never said, for instance, that my party has been fighting this attitude ever since we have maintained that religious hostilities are wrong and absurd, that minorities cannot be eliminated from a country, that people of different religions must live together. more...

How is it possible for people in the modern world to go on killing each other for religion? The problems we should be concerned with nowadays are quite different! more...

They're the problems of poverty, of the rights of the individual, of the changes brought about by technology. They're the ones that count, more than religion! more...

I can't take it seriously when people get excited and scream that religion is in danger, and similar stupidities. more...

Unfortunately even in India there are people who talk like that. And they're the same ones who say, 'We should never have accepted the existence of Pakistan. Now that it exists, it ought to be destroyed.' But these are only a few madmen who have no following among the masses. more...

In India you don't find propaganda against Pakistan. During the war there was a little of it, naturally, but even during the war we were able to control it. In fact the Pakistanis were astonished by this. There were prisoners in the camp hospitals who exclaimed, 'What? You're a Hindu doctor and you want to cure me?' more...

I'm told [ Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto is ambitious. I hope he's very ambitious; ambition may help him see reality. more...

It depends on what you mean by the word religion. Certainly I don't go to temples and pray to the gods or anything like that. more...

If by religion we mean a belief in humanity rather than the gods, an effort to make man better and a little happier, then yes, I'm very religious. more...

What does nonalignment mean? It means we don't belong to any military bloc and that we reserve the right to be friends with any country, independently of the influence of any country. All this has remained unchanged after the signing of the Indo-Soviet treaty, and others can say or think what they like - our policy won't change because of the Soviet Union. more...

We know very well that India's destiny is linked to world peace. more...

However, the treaty exists and it puts us in a different position toward the Soviet Union than the one we have toward other countries. Yes, the treaty exists. Nor does it exist on only one side. Look how w3e're situated geographically and you'll see that India is very important for the Soviet Union. more...

Still, in international matters, the treaty changes nothing. That is, it doesn't prevent us from being friends with other countries, which indeed we are. more...

I assure you we'll go on making our decisions without worrying whether it pleases or displeases the Soviet Union, China, America, France, or anyone else. more...

The International Control Commission isn't doing anything, it's never done anything. What good does it do to be on it or not? Before opening the embassy in Hanoi, I gave it a lot of thought, but it wasn't really a painful decision. American policy in Vietnam is what it is, in Saigon the situation is anything but normal, and I'm happy to have done what I did. more...

I don't see the world as something divided between right and left. more...

I don't at all care who's on the right or left or in the center. Even though we use them, even though I use them myself, these expressions have lost all meaning. more...

I'm not interested in one label or the other - I'm only interested in solving certain problems, in getting where I want to go. more...

I have certain objectives. They're the same objectives my father had to give people a higher standard of living, to do away with the cancer of poverty, to eliminate the consequences of economic backwardness. more...

I want to succeed. And I want to succeed in the best way possible, without caring whether people call my actions leftist or rightist. more...

It's the same story as when we nationalized the banks. I'm not for nationalization because of the rhetoric of nationalization, or because I see in nationalization the cure-all for every injustice. I'm for nationalization in cases where it's necessary. more...

I suggested a compromise to give the banks a year's time and see if they succeed in showing us that nationalization wasn't necessary. The year went by and we realized it hadn't done any good, that the money still ended up in the hands of the rich industrialists or friends of the bankers. So I concluded that it was necessary to nationalize the banks. And we did. Without considering it a socialist gesture or an antisocialist gesture, just a necessary one. Anyone who nationalizes only so as to be considered on the left to me is a fool. more...

In all societies that have applied a form of socialism, a certain degree of social economic equality has been achieved. more...

By now even the word socialism has so many meanings and interpretations. The Russians call themselves socialists, the Swedes call themselves. And let's not forget that in Germany there was also a national socialism. more...

What good does it do to remain tied to an ideology if you don't achieve anything by it? I have an ideology myself - you can't work in a vacuum; you have to have faith in something. more...

As my father [Jav&257;harl&257;l Nehru] said, you have to keep an open mind, but you have to pour something into it - otherwise ideas slip away like sand between your fingers. more...

The fact that I have an ideology, however, doesn't mean I'm indoctrinated. more...

Nowadays you can no longer let yourself be indoctrinated - the world is changing so fast! Even what you wanted twenty years ago is no longer relevant today; it's outdated. more...

For me the only point that has remained unchanged through the years is that in India there is still so much poverty. more...

We always said that our struggle was not only against the British as representatives of colonialism, it was against all the evil that existed in India. The evil of the feudal system, the evil of the system based on caste, the evil of economic injustice. more...

Have you ever climbed a mountain? You see, once you arrive at the top of a mountain, you think you've reached the highest point. But it's only an impression that doesn't last long. more...

You soon realize that the peak you've climbed was one of the lowest, that the mountain was part of a chain of mountains, that there are still so many, so many mountains to climb...And the more you climb, the more you want to climb - even though you're dead tired. more...

Poverty assumes so many aspects here in India. There aren't only the poor that you see in the cities, there are the poor among the tribes, the poor who live in the forest, the poor who live on the mountains. Should we ignore them as long as the poor in the cities are better off? And better off with reference to what? To what people wanted ten years ago? Then it seemed like so much. Today it's no longer so much. more...

When you govern a country, and especially a country so vast and complex as India, you never arrive at anything. more...

Just when you think you've achieved something, you realize you've achieved nothing. And still you have to go forward just the same - toward a dream so distant that your road has neither beginning nor end. more...

At no point, at a very important point: that of having convinced the Indians that they can do things. more...

At first people asked us, 'Can you do it?' And we kept silent because we didn't believe in ourselves, we didn't believe that we could do things. Today people no longer say to us, 'Can you?' They say, 'When can you?' Because the Indians finally believe in themselves, they believe they can do things. more...

The word 'when' is so important for a people, for an individual! If an individual thinks he won't do it, he'll never do it. Even if he's highly intelligent, even if he has countless talents. more...

As a nation, I believe we've acquired faith in ourselves. more...

To become capable, one must have faith in oneself. more...

I like to think I've provided this faith. I also think that by providing faith, I've focused their pride. I say focused because pride isn't something you give. It doesn't even break out suddenly; it's a feeling that grows very slowly, very confusedly. more...

Our pride has grown in the last twenty-five years, though others don't understand it and underestimate it. more...

You've never been very generous, you Westerners, toward us Indians. You should have seen that things were changing, albeit slowly. You should have seen that something was happening. Not much, but something. more...

It's true that I refused foreign aid. It's true. It wasn't my personal decision, however - it was the whole country that said no. more...

All of a sudden inscriptions appeared on walls. Signs appeared. And that 'no' exploded all over India, in an act of pride that surprised even me. Then even the political parties, all of them, even the deputies in Parliament, said no: it's better to die of hunger than be taken for a nation of beggars. more...

Sometimes we hurt one another without realizing it. more...

You must also understand us - always undervalued, underestimated, not believed. Even when we believed, you didn't believe us. You said, 'How is it possible to fight without violence?' But without violence we obtained freedom. more...

You said, 'How is it possible for democracy to work with an illiterate people who are dying of hunger?' But with that people we made a democracy work. more...

You said, 'Planning is something for communist countries; democracy and planning don't go together!' But, with all the errors we committed, our plans succeeded. more...

We announced that there'd be no more starvation in India. And you responded, 'Impossible. You'll never succeed!' Instead we succeeded; today in India no one dies of hunger any more; food production far exceeds consumption. more...

Finally we promised to limit the birth rate. And this you really didn't believe; you smiled scornfully. Well, even in this things have gone well. The fact is that we have grown by over seventy millions in ten years, but it's also true that we have grown less than many other countries, including the countries of Europe. more...

In India's distant past, when the population was low, the blessing given a woman was, 'May you have many children.' Most of our epics and literature stress this wish, and the idea that a woman should have many children hasn't declined. more...

I myself, in my heart, say that people should have all the children they want. But it's a mistaken idea, like many of our ideas that go back thousands of years, and it must be rooted out. more...

We must protect families, we must protect children, who have inalienable rights and should be loved, should be taken care of physically and mentally, and should not be brought into the world only to suffer. more...

Do you know that, until recently, poor people brought children into the world for the sole purpose of making use of them? But how can you change, by force or all of a sudden, an age-old habit? The only way is to plan births, by one means or another. more...

The sterilization of men is one method of birth control. The surest, most radical method. To you it seems dreadful. To me it seems that, properly applied, it's by no means dreadful. more...

I see nothing wrong in sterilizing a man who has already brought eight or ten children into the world. Especially if it helps those eight or ten children to live better. more...

I've always been able to do what I wanted. On the other hand, my mother was. She considered the fact of being a woman a great disadvantage. She had her reasons. In her day women lived in seclusion - in almost all Indian states they couldn't even show themselves on the street. more...

Muslim women had to go out in purdah, that heavy sheet that covers even the eyes. Hindu women had to go out in the doli, a kind of closed sedan chair like a catafalque. My mother always told me about these things with bitterness and rage. more...

[My mother] was the oldest of two sisters and two brothers, and she grew up with her brothers, who were about her age. She grew up, to the age of ten, like a wild colt, and then all of a sudden that was over. They had forced on her her 'woman's destiny' by saying, 'This isn't done, this isn't good, this isn't worthy of a lady.' more...

At a certain point the family moved to Jaipur, where no woman could avoid the doli or purdah. They kept her in the house from morning to night, either cooking or doing nothing. [My mother] hated doing nothing, she hated to cook. So she became pale and ill, and far from being concerned about her health, my grandfather said, 'Who's going to marry her now?' So my grandmother waited for my grandfather to go out, and then she dressed my mother as a man and let her go out riding with her brothers. more...

Until the day she died, my mother continued to fight for the rights of women. She joined all the women's movements of the time; she stirred up a lot of revolts. She was a great woman, a great figure. Women today would like her immensely. more...

Until today the rights of people have always been put forward by a few individuals acting in the name of the masses. Today instead of people no longer want to be represented; each wants to speak for himself and participate directly - it's the same for the Negroes, for the Jews, for women. more...

Not only Negroes and Jews, but also women are part of a great revolt of which one can only approve. more...

Women sometimes go too far, it's true. But it's only when you go too far that others listen. more...

This is also something I've learned from experience. Didn't they perhaps give us the vote because we went too far? more...

In the Western world, women have no other choice. In India, no. And I'll explain the reason. It's a reason that also has to do with my own case. In India women have never been a hostile competition with men - even in the most distant past, every time a woman emerged as a leader, perhaps as a queen, the people accepted her. As something normal and not exceptional. more...

Let's not forget that in India the symbol of strength is a woman; the goddess Shakti. more...

The struggle for independence here has been conducted in equal measure by men and by women. And when we got our independence, no one forgot that. In the Western world, on the other hand, nothing of the kind has ever happened - women have participated, yes, but revolutions have always been made by men alone. more...

For me it's absolutely the same - I treat one and the other in exactly the same way. As persons, that is, not as men and women. But, even here, you have to consider the fact that I've had a very special education, that I'm the daughter of a man like my father and a woman like my mother. more...

I grew up like a boy, also because most of the children who came to our house were boys. more...

With boys I climbed trees, ran races, and wrestled. I had no complexes of envy or inferiority toward boys. At the same time, however, I liked dolls. more...

I had many dolls. And you know how I played with them? By performing insurrections, assemblies, scenes of arrest. My dolls were almost never babies to be nursed but men and women who attacked barracks and ended up in prison. more...

Not only my parents but the whole family was involved in the resistance - my grandfather and grandmother, my uncles and aunts, my cousings of both sexes. So ever so often the police came and took them away, indiscriminately. Well, the fact that they arrested both my father and mother, both my grandfather and grandmother, both an uncle and an aunt, made me accustomed to looking on men and women with the same eyes, on an absolute plane of equality. more...

I discovered [Joan of Arc] toward the age of ten or twelve, when I went to France. I don't remember where I read about her, but I recall that she immediately took on a definite importance for me. I wanted to sacrifice my life for my country. It seems like foolishness and yet...what happens when we're children is engraved forever on our lives. more...

The life I've had, the difficulties, the hardships, the pain I've suffered since I was a child. It's a great privilege to have led a difficult life, and many people in my generation have had this privilege - I sometimes wonder if young people today aren't deprived of the dramas that shaped us... more...

If you only knew what it did to me to have lived in that house where the police were bursting in to take everyone away! I certainly didn't have a happy and serene childhood. more...

I learned very soon to get along by myself. more...

I began to travel by myself, in Europe, when I was eight years old. At that age I was already on the move between India and Swizerland, Switzerland and France, France and England. Administering my own finances like an adult. more...

People often ask me: Who has influenced you the most? Your father? Mahatma Gandhi? Yes, my choices were fundamentally influenced by them, by the spirit of equality they infused in me - my obsession for justice comes from my father, who in turn got it from Mahatma Gandhi. more...

It's not right to say that my father influenced me more than others, and I wouldn't be able to say whether my personality was formed more by my father or my mother or the Mahatma [Gandhi] or the friends who were with us. more...

It was the very fact that no one ever imposed anything on me or tried to impose himself on the others. more...

No one ever indoctrinated me. more...

I've always discovered things for myself, in marvelous freedom. more...

My father cared very much about courage, physical courage as well. He despised those who didn't have it. But he never said to me, 'I want you to be courageous.' He just smiled with pride every time I did something difficult or won a race with the boys. more...

My father was a saint. He was the closest thing to a saint that you can find in a normal man. more...

I always defended my father, as a child, and I think I'm still defending him - his policies at least. Oh, he wasn't at all a politician, in no sense of the word. He was sustained in his work only by a blind faith in India - he was preoccupied in such an obsessive way by the future of India. We understood each other. more...

A lot of mythology arose after [Mahatma Gandhi] death. But the fact remains that he was an exceptional man, terribly intelligent, with tremendous intuition for people, and a great instinct for what was right. more...

[Mahatma Gandhi] said that the first president of India ought to be a harijan girl, an untouchable. He was so against the class system and the oppression of women that an untouchable woman became for him the epitome of purity and benediction. more...

I began to associate with Mahatma Gandhi when he came and went in our house - together with my father and mother he was on the executive committee. After independence I worked with him a lot - in the period when there were the troubles between Hindus and Muslims, he assigned me to take care of the Muslims. To protect them. more...

Yes, he [Mahatma Gandhi] was a great man. However...between me and Gandhi there was never the understanding there was between me and my father. more...

Mahatma Gandhi was always talking of religion...He was convinced that was right...The fact is, we young people didn't agree with him on many things. more...

Until I was about eighteen, yes [I didn't want to get married]. But not because I felt like a suffragette, but because I wanted to devote all my energies to the struggle to free India. Marriage, I thought, would have distracted me from the duties I'd imposed on myself. more...

Little by little I changed my mind, and when I was about eighteen, I began to consider the possibility of getting married. Not to have a husband, but to have children. more...

I always wanted to have children - if it had been up to me, I would have had eleven. It was my husband who wanted only two. more...

The doctors advised me not to have even one. My health was still not good, and they said that pregnancy might be fatal. If they hadn't said that to me, maybe I wouldn't have got married. But that diagnosis provoked me, it infuriated me. I answered, 'Why do you think I'm getting married if not to have children? I don't want to hear that I can't have children; I want you to tell me what I have to do in order to have children!' more...

The doctors shrugged their shoulders and grumbled that perhaps if I were to put on weight that would protect me a little - being so thin, I would never succeed in remaining pregnant. more...

I said, I'll put on weight. And I started having massages, taking cod-liver oil, and eating twice as much. But I didn't even gain an ounce. I'd made up my mind that on the day the engagement was announced I'd be fatter, and I didn't gain an ounce. Then I went to Mussoorie, which is a health resort, and I ignored the doctors' instructions; I invented my own regime and gained weight. Just the opposite of what I'd like now. Now I have the problem of keeping slim. Still I manage. I don't know if you realize I'm a determined woman. more...

No one wanted that marriage, no one. Even Mahatma Gandhi wasn't happy about it. As for my father...it's not true that he opposed it, as people say, but he wasn't eager for it. I suppose because the fathers of only daughters would prefer to see them get married as late as possible. more...

My fiance, you see, belonged to another religion. He was a Parsi. And this was something nobody could stand - all of India was against us. They wrote to Gandhi, to my fther, to me. Insults, death threats. Every day the postman arrived with an enormous sack and dumped the letters on the floor. We even stopped reading them; we let a couple of friends read them and tell us what was in them. more...

In any case, I married Feroze Gandhi. Once I get an idea in my head, no one in the world can make me change my mind. more...

One day in 1965 Rajiv wrote me from London, where he was studying, and informed me, 'You're always asking me about girls, whether I have a special girl, and so forth. Well, I've met a special girl.' And when Rajiv returned to India, I asked him, 'Do you still think about her in the same way?' And he said yes. But she couldn't get married until she was twenty-one, and until she was sure she'd like to live in India. Sonia is almost completely an Indian by now, even though she doesn't always wear saris. more...

Even I, when I was a student in London, often wore Western clothes, and yet I'm the most Indian Indian I know. more...

If you only knew, for instance, how much I enjoy being a grandmother! Do you know I'm twice a grandmother? Rajiv and Sonia have had a boy and a girl. more...

Maybe I would have considered the problem if I'd met someone with whom I'd have liked to live. But I never met this someone and... No, even if I had met him, I'm sure I wouldn't have got married again. Why should I get married now that my life is so full? No, no, it's out of the question. more...

I was a perfect housewife. Being a mother has always been the job I liked best. Absolutely. more...

To be a mother, a housewife, never cost me any sacrifice - I savored every minute of those years. more...

My sons...I was crazy about my sons and I think I've done a super job in bringing them up. more...

I've never understood women who, because of their children, pose as victims and don't allow themselves any other activities. more...

It's not at all hard to reconcile the two things if you organize your time intelligently. Even when my sons were little, I was working. more...

I was a welfare worker for the Indian Council for Child Welfare. I'll tell you a story. Rajiv was only four years old at that time, and was going to kindergarten. One day the mother of one of his little friends came to see us and said in a sugary voice, 'Oh, it must be so sad for you to have no time to spend with your little boy!' Rajiv roared like a lion: 'My mother spends more time with me than you spend with your little boy, see! Your little boy says you always leave him alone so you can play bridge!' I detest women who do nothing and they play bridge. more...

Politics...You see, it depends on what kind of politics. What we did during my father's generation was a duty. And it was beautiful because its goal was the conquest of freedom. more...

What we do now, on the other hand...Don't think that I'm crazy about this kind of politics. It's no accident that I've done everything to keep my sons out of it, and so far I've succeeded. After independence I retired immediately from politics. more...

My children needed me, and I like my job as a social worker. more...

I went back into politics only when it was clear that things weren't going as they should have in my party. I was always arguing, I argued with everyone - with my father, with the leaders I had known since I was a child...and one day, it was in 1955, one of them exclaimed, 'You do nothing but criticize! If you think you can correct things, correct them. Go ahead, why don't you try?' Well, I could never resist a challenge, so I tried. more...

People who say it was her father who prepared her for the post of prime minister, it was her father who launched her, are wrong. more...

When [my father] asked me to help him, I really didn't suspect the consequences. more...

My father was prime minister, and to take care of his home, to be his hostess, automatically meant to have my hands in politics - to meet people, to know their games, their secrets. more...

I always stayed married to my husband! Always, until the day he died! It's not true that we were separated! more...

My husband lived in Lucknow. My father lived in Delhi, of course. So I shuttled between Delhi and Lucknow and...naturally, if my husband needed me on days when I was in Delhi, I ran back to Lucknow. But if it was my father who needed me, on the days when I was in Lucknow. And...yes, my husband got angry. And he quarreled. We quarreled. We quarreled a lot. It's true. more...

We were to equally strong types [with my husband], equally pigheaded - neither of us wanted to give in. And...I like to think those quarrels made us better, that they enlivened our life, because without them we would have had a normal life, yes, but banal and boring. more...

Everything I've done, I've done because I wanted to do it. In doing it, I've plunged in headlong, always believing in it. more...

Whether when I was a child and fought the British in the Monkey brigade, or when I was a girl and wanted to have children, or when I was a woman and devoted myself to my father, making my husband angry. Each time I stayed involved all the way in my decision, and took the consequences. Even if I was fighting for things that didn't concern India. more...

I don't care if I remain prime minister. I'm only interested in doing a good job as long as I'm capable and for as long as I don't get tired. more...

I'm certainly not tired - work doesn't tire people, it's getting bored that's tiring. more...

Nothing lasts forever, and no one can predict what will happen to me in the near or distant future. more...

I'm not ambitious. Not a bit. more...

I know I'll astonish everyone by talking like this, but it's God's truth. Honors have never tempted me and I've never sought them. more...

As for the job of prime minister, I like it, yes. But no more than I've liked other work that I've done as an adult. more...

I said that my father was not a politician. I, instead, think I am. But not in the sense of being interested in a political career - rather in the sense that I think it necessary to strive to build a certain India, the India I want. more...

The India I want, I'll never tire of repeating, is a more just and less poor India, one entirely free of foreign influences. If I thought the country was already marching toward these objectives, I'd give up politics immediately and retire as prime minister. more...

I fall in love with anything I do and I always try to do it well. more...

Being prime minister isn't the only job in life! As far as I'm concerned, I could live in a village and be satisfied. more...

When I'm not governing my country any more, I'll go back to taking care of children. more...

When I'm not governing my country any more, I'll go back to taking care of children. Or else I'll start studying anthropology - it's a science that's always interested me very much, also in relation to the problem of poverty. Or else I'll go back to studying history - at Oxford I took my degree in history. Or else...I don't know, I'm fascinated by the tribal communities. I might busy myself with them. more...

I certainly won't have an empty life! more...

The future doesn't frighten me, even if it threatens to be full of other difficulties. more...

I'm trained to difficulties; difficulties can't be eliminated from life. more...

Difficulties can't be eliminated from life. Individuals will always have them, countries will always have them...The only thing is to accept them, if possible overcome them, otherwise to come to terms with them. It's all right to fight, yes, but only when it's possible. more...

When it's impossible, it's better to stoop to compromise, without resisting and without complaining. People who complain are selfish. more...

When I was young, I was very selfish, now not any more. more...

Now I don't get upset by unpleasant things, I don't play the victim, and I'm always ready to come to terms with life. more...

Happiness is such a fleeting point of view - there's no such thing as continual happiness. more...

There are only moments of happiness - from contentment to ecstacy. more...

If by happiness you mean ecstasy ... Yes, I've known ecstasy, and it's a blessing to be able to say it because those who can say it are very few. But ecstasy doesn't last long and is seldom if ever repeated. more...

If by happiness you mean instead an ordinary contentment, then yes - I'm fairly contented. Not satisfied - contented. more...

Satisfied is a word I use only in reference to my country, and I'll never be satisfied for my country. For this reasons I go on taking difficult paths, and between a paved road and a footpath that goes up the mountain, I choose the footpath. To the great irritation of my bodyguards. more...

As I always say, I do not wish you an easy time, but I wish you that whatever difficulty you may have, you will overcome it. more...

Would you consider a man or a woman to be complicated? Is it that difficult to understand both the sexes? We say that we know what the other sex is all about, but is that really true? Perhaps the following witty, funny quotes and sayings can help simplify things down about men. more...

I am proud that I spent the whole of my 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. more...

I am not interested in a long life. I am not afraid of these things. I don't mind if my life goes in the service of this nation. If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation. more...


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