New Delhi [India], Nov 19 (ANI): On the occasion of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's birth centenary, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday paid her tributes to the "Iron Lady" while talking about her compassion towards helping the poor and oppressed, and her contribution towards the freedom struggle.
"I have heard Indiraji being referred to as the Iron Lady. But iron was only one of the elements in her character; generosity and humanity were just as prominent traits. She fought, yes -- but not for personal ascendancy. She fought for her principles, against vested interests and agendas," she said while addressing the gathering prior to the inauguration of the "A Life of Courage" exhibition curated by the staff of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust and EKA Archives.
Sonia added: "She could not tolerate any form of bullying, coercion and unfairness -- that was fundamental to her character. That is what inspired her in all her battles - those she took on and those that she faced."
Hailing her as someone who fought for India's dignity and independence against the dominance of superpowers, Sonia opined that in spite of the plethora of challenges posed during her stint as Prime Minister, Indira "faced them all with courage, fortified by her dedication to making India strong, united and prosperous."
"She fought for secularism and against those who wanted to divide society on religion and caste lines. In all her efforts she was sustained by the faith reposed in her by her fellow countrymen and women. That love was her inspiration and her reward," she said.
"My career as a parliamentarian was mentored by Indira Gandhi. Her steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive actions made her a towering personality. She never hesitated to call a spade a spade," he said.
The former president also took to twitter to pay tributes to the former prime minister.
"Remembering Indira Gandhi on her Birth Centenary. Her steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive actions made her a towering personality. Undoubtedly and rightfully India's Iron Lady," he tweeted.
A central figure in Indian politics, Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India.
Born on November 19, 1917, Gandhi served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977, and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian prime minister after her father Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime minister.
Earlier in the day, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also paid their tributes to Gandhi on her birth centenary.