New Delhi | Falling back on its national icons in the time of depressing lows, Congress is planning to digitalise the photographs and speeches of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi including interviews given by her in September 1984, a month before she was assassinated.
Indications to this effect came from top sources in the party on a day a book The Unseen Indira Gandhi penned by her physician K P Mathur was released here in presence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who freely mingled with the guests.
The party also plans to preserve Indira’s audio and videos, a number of which are not in a very good condition. The plans come ahead of the former Prime Minister’s birth centenary falling next year.
One of those interviews, which the party plans to preserve was given to historian Bipan Chandra. The Congress president appeared relaxed as she chatted freely, talking about trees and weather outside. She shook hands with the grandchildren of Dr Mathur.
Gandhi, however, declined to answer political questions by journos. Gandhi, who had on Saturday did some pep talk for party workers telling them no failure is permanent in wake of party’s debacle in Assam and Kerala, was in a happy mood.
Releasing the book in Gandhi’s presence, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, In 20th century, there is nobody to equal the personality of Indira Gandhi. She said while the world knows Indira as firm and determined lady, Mathur’s book reveals the aspects of a mother and caring lady in the former prime minister.
Reading out excerpts from the book, nominated Rajya Sabha MP Narendra Jadhav said that Indira comes out as a very kind, sensitive and graceful person through the book. Congress veteran Karan Singh, whose association with the Nehru-Gandhi family is from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, recalled that Indira was struggling with her notes when she had become MP for the first time but gradually she developed and developed. She was always extremely political, he said.
He also recalled that the time when Sonia was married to Rajiv Gandhi saying she exactly looked like a Kashmiri Pandit bride.
Sonia, who was seated in the audience, appeared saying something to which Singh responded no no you did look like that. Mathur, a former physician at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi who served for nearly 20 years as the physician to Indira and called on her every morning till her assassination in 1984, details Mrs Gandhi’s journey as a politician and her relations with family in the book.
The 151-page book, whose foreword was written by Priyanka Gandhi, describes Indira as very tense, a bit confused and not sure of herself in the first year or two of her becoming the prime minister in 1966.