Remembering Indira Gandhi: 20 inspirational quotes by the Iron Lady

Updated: Nov 19, 2019, 12:57 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

On the occasion of her 102nd birth anniversary, here are 20 memorable and inspiring quotes by the former prime minister.

Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi was the first woman prime minister of the country and a tall leader in the Indian National Congress. Born to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala in 1917 as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru, she was married to fellow Congress leader Feroze Gandhi. Her children are Rajiv, who took over her position after her death in 1984, and Sanjay. Gandhi was also a doting grandmother to her grandchildren Rahul, Priyanka and Varun. In her tenure as prime minister, she was praised and criticised for her policies.

On the occasion of her 102nd birth anniversary, here are 20 memorable and inspiring quotes by the tall leader:

1. "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."

2. "The environmental problems of developing countries are not the side effects of excessive industrialisation but reflect the inadequacy of development."

3. "We do not wish to impoverish the environment any further, and yet we cannot for a moment forget the grim poverty of large numbers of people. Are not poverty and need the greatest polluters?"

4. "All the people who fought for freedom were my heroes. I mean, that was the sort of story I liked reading... freedom struggles and so on."

5. "This is why we feel that democracy's important: because democracy allows you to have small explosions and therefore avoid the bigger explosions."

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

7. "Martyrdom does not end something, it only a beginning."

8. "Wearing khadi was a badge of honour. It was something one was proud to do."

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

10. "Happiness is a state of mind, you know. I don't think you are permanently happy. One is happy about certain things and not so happy about others."

11. "I have already reached out to the janata, and I am only trying to acquaint myself with people's problems."

12. "There are grave misgivings that the discussion on ecology may be designed to distract attention from the problems of war and poverty."

13. "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."

14. "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."

15. "Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave."

16. "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."

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

18. "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."

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

20. "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."

Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984, soon after her orders to the Indian Army to confront the Sikh separatist leaders who were hiding in the Golden Temple. Gandhi had served as prime minister three times for 16 years.

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