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Transcript

Topic

Iron Lady of India: Indira Gandhi

Interviewer:

Shirley Kabir

Interviewee:

Pallavi Mehta

Interview Format:

E-Mail

Interview Date:

31 January, 2015

INTERVIEWER:

Was Indira Gandhi Prime Minister of India during your lifetime?

INTERVIEWEE: Yes,

I was born in 1971 and Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31,

1984.
INTERVIEWER:

Do you think Indira Gandhi made the right decision by intervening into the
Pakistani Civil War? Why?
INTERVIEWEE:

No, according to people of India that was not the right decision since IndoPakistani relations deteriorated again when civil war erupted in Pakistan, pitting the West
Pakistan army against East Pakistanis demanding autonomy and later independence.
INTERVIEWER:

Indira Gandhis legacy was left in a bitter state after the attack of the Golden
Temple of Amritsar. Do you believe that her legacy should be based on this event? Or should it
be established on the accomplishments that shes achieved in her lifetime?
INTERVIEWEE:

I believe her legacy should not be based on this event and should it be
established on the accomplishments that shes achieved in her lifetime, since this incident also
led her being assassinated by body guards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh while walking in her
garden at her residence in New Delhi.
INTERVIEWER:

An iron lady can be defined as a female head of a government or a strong


willed woman. Would you apply this term to Indira? Why or why not?
INTERVIEWEE: As

per my opinion I will define her as a strong willed woman" since it is true,
that Indira Gandhi took some real bold, even controversial decisions, but all were taken when she
was at the zenith of her popularity, and enjoyed a huge majority in the Parliament. And the
decisions she made were hugely populist in nature.

INTERVIEWER:

Was Indiras name a household name growing up? (i.e. was she mention
regularly during your childhood or adulthood?)
INTERVIEWEE: Yes,

her full name was Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, so most parents, when I was
a child, named their daughters as Priyadarshini and ladies would go to salon and ask for Indira
Gandhi haircut. Also, my mother still has a huge collection of cotton sarees, with silk borders she
wore then, which symbolizes Indira Gandhis purity & simplicity.
INTERVIEWER:

When Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency and became authoritarian did
your view of her change? How did you feel about her before and after she changed her policies?
INTERVIEWEE:

I feel that Mrs. Gandhi was blinded by power and imposed the emergency to
safeguard her own political and personal interests. She invoked Article 352 of the Indian
Constitution which gave her extraordinary powers. She used that power to influence police
forces to detain protesters and strike leaders.
INTERVIEWER:

Indira Gandhi did not complete her degree in Oxford University; does this make
her unintelligent or irrational? Would you consider this a fault in her personality? Do you think
this made an impact on the way she led India?
INTERVIEWEE:

I dont think this made an impact on the way she led India, she was the third
Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who
served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the
second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office.
INTERVIEWER:

Indira Gandhi believed that she had a divine mission to save her country, similar
to the heroine Joan of Arc. Do you think that during the time period she served as prime minister
that she accomplished her mission?
INTERVIEWEE:

Indira Gandhi led India into the nuclear age when, in 1974, scientists there
exploded an underground nuclear device, and she also took her nation into the space age, in
1980, when it launched its own satellite on its own rocket. Also, through her efforts, an Indian
astronaut flew in a Soviet spacecraft. It was during her premiership that India became the
regional power in South Asia with considerable political, economic, and military clout.
INTERVIEWER:

In your opinion, whats the most memorable contribution of Indira Gandhi?

Why?
INTERVIEWEE:

During her term as Prime Minister, Gandhi brought about a radical change in the
countrys economic, political, international and national policies. She oversaw the
implementation of over three Five-year plans - two of which were successful in meeting the
targeted growth. She also brought social reforms by introducing clauses in the Indian
Constitution related to wages - equal pay for equal work to both men and women. She also led a
movement that became known as the Green Revolution. In an effort to address the chronic food
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shortages that mainly affected the extremely poor Sikh farmers of the Punjab region, Gandhi
decided to increase crop diversification and food exports as a way out of the problem, creating
new jobs as well as food for her countrymen. During her term as Prime Minister, Gandhi brought
about a radical change in the countrys economic, political, international and national policies.
She oversaw the implementation of over three Five-year plans - two of which were successful in
meeting the targeted growth.