Indira Gandhi’s personality is full of contradictions and her legacy will continue to debate for decades. I have live experience of two visits with them.
One meeting was held during anti-Hindi agitation. Then there were three or four days of agitation. Due to the anti-Hindi movement in 1965, there was a huge setback in Tamil Nadu politics. This movement had a major impact on politics.
Indira Gandhi then became the Information and Broadcasting Minister a few days ago. The Ministry of Indira Gandhi had issued a circular in Hindi and due to this circular, the anti-Hindi movement got windy.
My grandmother Amu Swaminathan was a big leader of the Congress. He was very close to the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Meeting with Indiraji
Indiraji came to my grandmother’s house. Then I was also there too. I was in a very unstable situation. I was emotionally upset too much. Then Indira Gandhi’s personality was quite balanced and calm.
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Indira Gandhi sat down and she started talking about my anti-Hindi movement against my grandmother.
He told how he was disturbed by this movement. Indira ji spoke about the continuation of the anti-Hindi movement.
At that time I was a college student. There was also anger in my mind about this movement. I interfered in the conversation of both of them and told Indira Ji that there is a whole mistake in it.
I said that this is the Ministry of your own, which has caused a whole lot of disorder due to a circular and now you are talking about restoring peace. They looked at me and asked how I know everything about it.
I told him that I am a supporter of this movement. This was despite having been a Hindi-speaking one.
Indira ji’s heartburn increased after my reply. They started asking me a few questions. Indira ji was interested in the students involved in this movement. I saw people closely involved in this movement.
I talked about Indira’s harsh actions of the government. I said that his government is firing and isolating the Tamils.
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I said that they should apologize about it. She was completely surprised and left after a few minutes. Although later he had apologized incomplete, but by then it was a lot of delay.
The second time Indiraji met before the Bangladesh war. Then he was a very powerful prime minister and I was an inexperienced trade union leader in Kanpur. My union had suffered a lot of harassment in the Rayon factory.
I had contacted the Prime Minister’s Office about this. I talked about an appointment with which he had accepted. I met at his office located in Parliament. I spoke to them about the problems of the union. He listened to me with patience and said that he will talk to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kamalpati Tripathi.
I had asked him if he could not interfere directly, then Indira ji smiled. He said that there is a way to do things.
After this we talked about our grandmother and her friend. His health was not well. I remember that he had said that we should go and move the maternal maternity leave.
After that I left the place. Indira ji spoke to Tripathi and he helped from his level. He had sent a Congress leader to me that I should join the Congress.
When I refused that leader to come to the Congress, he said that Indira ji thought that you would join the party