Sun, Dec 4, 2016 | updated 09:51 PM IST

Being branded as a 'tyrant' did not stop Indira Gandhi from serving India: Sonia Gandhi

Updated: Nov 19, 2016 18:10 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov. 19 (ANI): Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday hailed the sacrifice of her 'mentor and friend' Indira Gandhi, saying that despite being dismissed as weak and branded as a 'tyrant', her mother-in-law's sense of duty channelled her energy in serving the nation.

Speaking at an event honouring Indira on her 100th birth anniversary, Sonia recalled how she learnt her first major political lessons from India's first female prime minister.

"Indira Gandhi was not a figure of history for me she was my mother in law, we lived under the same roof, shared joys and sorrows. It is from her that I learnt about India, its culture and its values. It is from her also i imbibed my earlier political lessons," Sonia said.

Further stating was Indira was a mother, mentor and a friend to her, the Congress president said that she was an institution, a leader with conviction and nerves of steel, who was unflinching in the face of duty and resolute against all that was unjust.

"It was in my arms that she drew her last breath. Indira Gandhi was a remarkable woman, the like of whom this country has not seen since, but she was much more than that. She led our nation through tumultuous battles of 60's, 70's, never faltering in her dedication to the masses who gave her their complete trust. She faced economic crisis and prevailed, she managed the greatest refugee crisis in history, she refused to compromise on India's noble humanitarian traditions," Sonia said.

Hailing Indira as a rare figure who shaped the destiny of India, Sonia added that she was a child of India's freedom struggle itself and a witness to the birth of this nation and of the idea that is India.

"Some dismissed her as weak and incapable, others called her a tyrant but with the trust of her countrymen painstakingly won and with her dedication to the cause she went on to serve her people, sacrificing her life," she added.

Putting emphasis on the sense of duty that guided Indira Gandhi in her mission, Sonia further said that she had never sought personal glory nor wealth, adding that every ounce of her energy was channelled in the service of the nation.

"She saw an India that would not follow blindly a path led by the west. She saw it crafting its own future guided by its democratic and cultural ideals. This made her mission doubly challenging, but Indira was not a woman daunted by challenge," she said.

"On the eve of her martyrdom, she declared "every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation" and indeed it did," Sonia added.

Asserting that Indira's sacrifice in preserving a united, diverse, egalitarian India go down in history, the Congress chief added that it will be remembered all the more at a time when in the quest for shortcuts to greatness leaders are found willing to undermine the very foundation of India's national character. (ANI)