Indira Gandhi – A Patriot and a Nationalist
In response to test number six – a code name for the Chinese nuclear test, it gave the green light to Indian nuclear scientists to explore the possibilities of a peaceful nuclear explosion. India successfully carried out its first nuclear test on May 18, 1974, becoming the sixth member of the “Nuclear Club”, the most respected and feared club in the world.
Its domestic policy was centered on the marginalized, oppressed, depressed classes; poverty alleviation (GaribiHatao) was not only an electoral gimmick, but it was part of his political, social and spiritual quest for self-esteem. His connection to the masses, especially the poor and women, was natural. They affectionately called her âMother Indiaâ or âIndira Ammaâ. She was the torchbearer of the “welfare state”.
His interest in the environment and wildlife, science, art and technology, sports and culture was genuine. She was the only head of government to attend the first World Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) in Stockholm in June 1972 and delivered her opening speech.
She was keenly aware of being a politician in an unstable democracy and perhaps felt that she could not afford to be either a statesman or a saint. After being elected President of Congress at the age of 42 in 1959, she never really looked back.