Indira Gandhi, the Person Behind the Politician

Dr KP Mathur’s biography shows readers the rare glimpses of Gandhi who liked to play card games, did her own chores.

Updated
India
2 min read
PM  Indira Gandhi With Grand Daughter Priyanka. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/IndiaHistorypic">IndianHistoryPics</a>)

On the occasion of Indira Gandhi’s 32nd death anniversary, The Quint is republishing this story from its archives.

I had the occasion to see PM herself changing the bedcovers on the diwan. It was the day after the Bangladesh War had started and she had worked late into the night. When I went to see her in the morning, I saw her dusting. Perhaps, it helped her release the tension of the earlier night.
Excerpt from The Unseen Indira Gandhi: Through Her Physician’s Eyes

Biographers have mostly shown the former and the only female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi through her resolute politics.

Dr KP Mathur’s biography on Indira Gandhi, The Unseen Indira Gandhi: Through Her Physician’s Eyes shows readers the rare glimpses of Gandhi as a person beyond the role of the Prime Minister, who liked to play card games, did her own chores, painfully double-checked all arrangements even for official dinners where the staff was trained.

PM (Indira Gandhi) was wearing salwar kameez-and canvas PT shoes, Mrs Thatcher was dressed in slacks and blouse, both in holiday attire and mood. PM and Margaret Thatcher greeted each other and were coming towards the door where Dr PC Alexander (her principal secretary) and I, were standing. PM, addressing Dr Alexander, said, “We don’t seem to have made any arrangement for the ladies for shopping or sightseeing.” Before he could reply, Mrs Thatcher intervened, “Don’t worry about the ladies, leave them to Dennis (her husband who had accompanied her on the visit), he knows how to handle the ladies.” The two leaders had a good laugh and almost ran, like schoolgirls, for a picnic on the beach.
Excerpt from The Unseen Indira Gandhi: Through Her Physician’s Eyes

Dr KP Mathur’s patients included eminent politicians like Dr S Radhakrishnan and Lal Bahadur Shastri, among others.

When Indira Gandhi required the services of a doctor after becoming the Prime Minister in 1966, Dr Mathur took charge immediately, commencing a long association that lasted for 20 years.

Dr Mathur was one of the last people to have met Indira Gandhi before she was assassinated by her guards on 31 October 1984.

Read the full story on India Today.

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