Being daughter of independent India’s first Prime Minister comes with a lot of pressure. Especially when you are conditioned from your childhood that democracy is an idea and she should respect it till it comes in way of her hunger for power. If biographers are to be believed, Nehru’s sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit ‘ill-treated’ Kamala Nehru, Indira’s mother who was unwell.
An adolescent Indira reportedly overheard her aunt describe her as ‘ugly and stupid’, which she never forgot. Since the ‘Gandhi’ family is considered the ‘first family’ of India, this sort of insubordination was never forgotten or forgiven. What Indira showed in her political life, she reflected the same in her personal life.
So much that when Nehru turned over their ancestral home Anand Bhavan to Pandit, his sister, Indira was appalled. She never forgot the ‘ugly and stupid’ comment. Her resentment for something said decades ago was so strong that she denied her aunt to stay one last time at Anand Bhavan, her ancestral home too, before Indira, as the Prime Minister of India, handed over the property to Government of India to be turned into a memorial.
It was this sort of vengeance that perhaps dictated Indira Gandhi’s political and personal life, however unfortunate.