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Indiraji Through My Eyes

This book explores the different sides of Indira Gandhi's personality.

books Updated: Aug 31, 2005 20:10 IST

Indiraji Through My Eyes
Penguin Books India
August 2005
Pages: 292
Price: Rs 595
ISBN: 067005772X

In 1953, Usha Bhagat, a young kindergarten teacher, left her job to become secretary to Indira Gandhi. It was an association that would continue, with some breaks, for thirty-one years, until Mrs Gandhi’s death in 1984.

During those years, Usha Bhagat assisted Mrs Gandhi in matters personal as well as official. One of her special responsibilities was to keep Indira Gandhi informed of new developments and ideas in the world of arts, crafts, cinema and theatre, and facilitate interactions with artists and intellectuals.

She accompanied her on many state visits, helped select saris and gifts, and organized intimate celebrations as well as large official banquets. Over her three decades of association with Mrs Gandhi, Usha Bhagat would share some of the happiest, and saddest, moments in the life of the Nehru–Gandhi family, and be witness to a side of her very few have seen.

Indiraji: Through My Eyes reveals the special relationship Usha Bhagat shared with Mrs Gandhi: one which went beyond the purely professional yet was not quite that of friends. It provides fascinating vignettes of Indira Gandhi as an attentive mother and affectionate grandmother, a thoughtful friend, a sensitive artist and creative intellectual, thereby offering hitherto completely unseen aspects of her personality. Photographs taken by the author, along with notes, memos, doodles and personal letters from Mrs Gandhi, add a unique flavour to this memoir.

First Published: Aug 26, 2005 19:23 IST