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Indira Gandhi

  • How can anybody who is the head of a nation afford not to be a pragmatist?

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in New York Times ()
  • You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in The Christian Science Monitor ()
  • ... I would like to ask a question. Would this sort of war or savage bombing which has taken place in Vietnam have been tolerated for so long, had the people been European?

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • speech, in Newsweek ()
  • It has been my experience that people who are at cross purposes with nature are cynical about mankind and ill at ease with themselves.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Aspects of Our Foreign Policy ()
  • Every democratic system evolves its own conventions. It is not only the water but the banks which make the river.

  • Without peace there can be no prosperity for any people, rich or poor. And yet, there can be no peace without erasing the harshness of the growing contrast between the rich and the poor.

  • The question before the advanced nations is not whether they can afford to help the developing nations, but whether they can afford not to do so.

  • Even today to be civilised is held to be synonymous with being westernised. Advanced countries devote large resources to formulating and spreading ideas and doctrines and they tend to impose on the developing nations their own norms and methods. The pattern of the classical acquisitive society with its deliberate multiplication of wants not only is unsuited to conditions in our countries but is positively harmful.

  • We have believed — and we do believe now — that freedom is indivisible, that peace is indivisible, that economic prosperity is indivisible.

  • ... in today's world no country can be absolutely independent of another. It is a world of interdependence.

  • The power to question is the basis of all human progress.

  • Rebels and non-conformists are often the pioneers and designers of change.

  • Whenever you take a step forward you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. You trample upon things. When a whole society moves forward this tramping is on a much bigger scale and each thing that you disturb, each vested interest which you want to remove, stands as an obstacle.

  • The greatest of all contraceptives is affluence.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • The immediate is often the enemy of the ultimate.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • ... what is popular need not necessarily be right or wise.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • The civil servant is primarily the master of the short-term solution.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • You must learn to be still in the midst of activity, and to be vibrantly alive in moments of calm.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • It is our duty to create a social milieu in which the young and the socially weak feel that the present and future belong to them.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • To me the function of politics is to make possible the desirable.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • In an underdeveloped society, the first anxiety is of infant mortality. In an advanced one it is to keep alive the aged.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • Mankind will endure when the world appreciates the logic of diversity.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • It is legitimate to have one's own point of view and political philosophy. But there are people who make anger, rather than a deeply held belief, the basis of their actions. They do not seem to mind harming society as a whole in the pursuit of their immediate objective. No society can survive if it yields to the demands of frenzy, whether of the few or the many.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Freedom Is the Starting Point
    • ()
  • Unfortunately, people tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.

  • I am proud that I spent the whole of my life in the service of my people ... I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • speech, the day before she was assassinated ()
  • ... where does strength come from? It is not muscle strength any more. It is not also mere intellectual strength. What is strength? Strength is the support of the people.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • Selected Speeches and Writings of Indira Gandhi, vol. 4 ()
  • Nothing can convince me that people are at one with their work unless they're joyous about it.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Dorothy Norman, ed., Indira Gandhi: Letters to An American Friend 1950-1984 ()
  • Home is wherever I go.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Dorothy Norman, ed., Indira Gandhi: Letters to An American Friend 1950-1984 ()
  • Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Dorothy Norman, ed., Indira Gandhi: Letters to An American Friend 1950-1984 ()
  • The longer one doesn't write, the more difficult it is to communicate.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Dorothy Norman, ed., Indira Gandhi: Letters to An American Friend 1950-1984 ()
  • Politics is the art of acquiring, holding and wielding power.

    • Indira Gandhi
  • A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • "4th Five Year Plan" of the Government of India Planning Commission, preface ()
  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group: there was much less competition.

    • Indira Gandhi
  • My theory is that men are no more liberated than women.

    • Indira Gandhi
  • Martyrdom does not end something; it is only the beginning.

    • Indira Gandhi
  • If I die a violent death, as some fear and a few are plotting, I know that the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassins, not in my dying.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Pupul Jayakar, Indira Gandhi1992)

Indira Gandhi, Indian prime minister

(1917 - 1984)

Full name: Indira Privadarshini Nehru Gandhi, India’s first female prime minister, second female head of state in the world.