Indira Gandhi: A Life of Courage

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New Delhi–If you are in New Delhi this month, you may want to visit: Indira: A Life of Courage, an exclusive photo exhibition with over 200 archived images featuring moments from India’s first and only woman Prime Minister’s incredible life. They will be available for public viewing from 21st November 2017.

Indira Gandhi, is widely recognized as one of India’s most powerful and charismatic political figures. Her life is a poignant story interwoven with the events that created modern India. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust will commemorate the Centenary of her birth on 19 November 1917 with the inauguration of an exclusive photographic exhibition that will open to the public on 21st November, 2017 at 1, Safdarjung Road, her erstwhile residence and now home to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum (IGMM).

The exhibition will celebrate the life and times of Indira Gandhi with over 200 exclusive historic photographs and 44 original objects. The images, some of which have never been viewed by the public, will survey her life, from her growing up as the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, through to her years as the first and only woman Prime Minister of India. A special section of the exhibition will display her day-to-day belongings that include original diaries, postcards, books, handwritten correspondence and personal belongings. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be a color film of her wedding to Feroze Gandhi in 1942 at Anand Bhavan, Allahabad. Other rare footage will show the struggle and declaration of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

As Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi took bold and courageous decisions. She unhesitatingly supported and fought for the independence of Bangladesh. Her nationalisation of Indian banks and her abolition of privy purses for the erstwhile royal families was borne out of her desire to remove inequalities and feudal privileges. Her war on poverty and her concern for India’s poorest endeared her to the Indian people. Her deep desire for India to banish the spectre of famine and achieve self-sufficiency led her to champion the Green Revolution. Her deep love for nature and pioneering championship of India’s environment continues to benefit India. Her drive to modernise India gave impetus to India’s nascent space and nuclear programmes and her fierce independence and charisma made her an admired and respected world leader.

Curated by Deepthi Sasidharan and Pramod Kumar K.G., experts in historical and arts-related curation, this unique photo exhibition will be held at IGMM for the conclusion of the centenary year celebration. The exhibition will commemorate India’s most famous and influential daughter through a selection from amongst a rich collection of nearly 90,000 images of her long public life, the Indian Independence movement, and private images of the Nehru-Gandhi family. The images are a visual chronicle of the emergence of India and its steps towards the modern nation that it is today.

Suman Dubey, secretary of IGMT, said: “We hope that this exhibition will provide visitors with an evocative visualisation of Indira Gandhi’s life and times, most importantly bring her to life for young Indians who know her only as a figure from recent history. We hope that they will come to empathise with her personality and achievements, recognise the values she upheld while facing huge challenges  and appreciate her contributions to the evolution of modern India.”

The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum located at 1 Safdarjung Road, endeavours to preserve and display objects, articles and photographs connected with Indira Gandhi so as to share the ideals and values that are embodied in the simplicity of her home. It also seeks to chronicle her sacrifices, and her tireless efforts for the betterment of India in order to acquaint future generations with her life and work. The Memorial opened to visitors on 27th May 1985.

Safdarjung Road was Indira Gandhi’s home from the time she was Information Broadcasting Minister in 1964 to when she was assassinated as Prime Minister of India in 1984 with a short exception of three years. It is a repository of memories for the people of India who visit the museum.

Some rooms in the house are maintained exactly as they were during Indira Gandhi’s lifetime, these include her bedroom, her prayer room, the study, the drawing room and the dining rooms. Other rooms have been used for displays that recount the story of Indira’s lifetime through photographs, documents and objects, many of which are originals.

More recently, a series of short films on the life and work of Indira Gandhi have been screened in a small auditorium on site and a souvenir centre has been opened where visitors can buy books and mementos. The Museum, which is open on all days except Monday and some national holidays, is visited by thousands of Indian and foreign visitors everyday making it one of the most visited small museums in the world.

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