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Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

  • Jail is a good experience but it has its drawbacks ... all the disadvantages of married life with none of its compensations ...

  • ... 'sacrifice' was often a cloak for many actions that did not always stem from the highest motives.

  • One can argue that in the context of history a few years do not matter. But we live in an age in which every moment counts heavily and the price of delay is human lives.

  • When the United Nations was born it was believed to be a positive instrument for peace. From this exalted position it became an organization in which nations would at least keep talking instead of shooting. Soon it was discovered ... that words were as deadly as any weapon, and when these words had a number of interpretations they could and did lead to conflict.

  • The building of a just and peaceful world order, the aim of the United Nations, is hampered not by a dearth of ideas, resources, and manpower but by the lack of will on the part of governments to take the required steps ...

  • [On Dean Acheson:] 'Why do pretty women want to be like men?' he once asked me. 'They don't,' I replied, 'they only want equal rights and privileges, Mr. Secretary of State, and I insist on having mine!'

  • One of the great disappointments of our time has been that the United States, a beacon of hope during the freedom struggles of the Asian peoples, succumbed to the views and greater colonial experience of nations grown to power in an earlier period.

  • To me India is a land of beauty and generosity, of traditional hospitality and the acceptance of many cultures.

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Indian diplomat

(1900 - 1990)

Full name: Vijaya Lakshmi Nehru Pandit. She was the first Indian woman named to a cabinet post; was successively India’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Ireland; headed the delegation to the United Nations; and in 1953 became the first female President of the United Nations General Assembly. Her intelligence, energy, family-mindedness, and principles make her one of my heroes. She was the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, the aunt of Indira Gandhi, and the grand-aunt of Rajiv Gandhi, all of whom served as Prime Minister of India.