Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Sunday posted an emotional video tribute to his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – who was assassinated in Delhi on this day in 1984.
The three-minute video features heart-breaking visuals of Mr Gandhi (who was then only 14 years old) crying at the funeral – a day he calls “the second most difficult of my life”, after the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in May 1991, seven years later.
“This was my dadi’s funeral… the most difficult, well, second most difficult, day of my life. She told me ‘don’t cry’… you can see I’m hiding my face (at the funeral). Before she died, she told me ‘don’t cry if something happens to me…’ I didn’t understand what she meant,” Mr Gandhi says in the video.
“Two-three hours later she was dead. It was… she sort of sensed she would be killed. I think everyone in the house also sensed it. She once said to me, to all of us, at the dining table, that the biggest curse would be to die of a disease. From her perspective, this was probably the best way to die… for her country… defending the idea she loved. Today I understand (but) then I didn’t,” he says.
Mr Gandhi’s remembrances and observations play out to scenes from Mrs Gandhi’s funeral and images of his father, Rajiv Gandhi, and himself standing in a corridor full of pictures of both.
“In my house my father was strict… and I essentially had two mothers, including a ‘super’ mother who was my grandmother, who would defend me when my father got angry,” he reminisced.
Mr Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also shared her tributes, tweeting a nostalgic photo of herself (as a little girl) playing with her grandmother. Both Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Indira Gandhi sport carefree grins in the candid black-and-white image.
“Your life is a message of courage, fearlessness, and patriotism. Your life is a message to keep fighting for justice by following the path of ideals,” Ms Gandhi Vadra wrote.
आपका जीवन साहस, निडरता और देशप्रेम का संदेश है।
आपका जीवन आदर्शों की राह पर चलते हुए न्याय के लिए लड़ते रहने का संदेश है। #IndiraGandhi#लड़की_हूँ_लड़_सकती_हूँpic.twitter.com/qbI414t7Li
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) October 31, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid tributes; he posted a brief tweet saying as much.
Indira Gandhi, the country’s first and, so far, only woman to be elected Prime Minister, was shot dead on October 23, 1984, by her Sikh bodyguards.
Nearly 3,000 were killed in the riots that broke out afterwards, with groups of armed men targeting Sikhs across the city, and attacking and vandalising homes, shops, and gurudwaras.