Through the centuries the world has seen many acts of hooliganism and inhuman acts. Men like Abraham Lincoln fell victims to the bullets of assassins. The twentieth century has also its quota of assassinations. Since the death of Mahatma Gandhi, the country never experienced such a tragedy as that which took place on October 31,1984. It was the assassination of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
When Mrs. Indira Gandhi reeled and writhed on the ground riddled with bullets from the guns of her own security gaurds it marked the beginning of the end of a great era. An epoch making personality left the scene which she had dominated like a colossus. It was a tragedy beyond description. It was an end as sudden as it was tragic, an end to a glorious career, but the misery and pity of it was that such a life should come about in this way in Blood. The greater tragedy it was that she was gunned down by her own trusted security gaurds in her own house. The gardener had destroyed his own garden.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her security guards as she was leaving her residence to appear in a television documentary, then being produced by the world – famous actor and director, Mr. Peter Ustinov. She was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Research where a team of a dozen doctors fought a vain battle with death to save her. On the next day her mortal remains were moved to Teen Murthi Bhavan to lie in State to enable people to pay their last homage to the departed leader. An unending stream of people, tears streaming down their cheeks, filed past the body. But for the tragedy in it, the proof of the people ‘s love for the loyalty to Mrs. Indira Gandhi would have been a marvellous spectacle. On November 3, 1984, Mrs. Indira Gandhi left her residence on her last trek along a route lined by lakhs of people among whom, four thousand and more Army personnel maintained order and discipline. At 16-30 hours the mortal remains of the immortal Mrs. Indira Gandhi, one of the greatest fighters for freedom and one of the greatest figures of the 20th century world was consigned to the sacred flames, the funeral pyre lit by her son, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister.
No adjectives would do any justice to the greatness of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Coming on the Indian Political scene even before her tenth year – when most children of her age would have been at their pranks- she had her political tutelage under her illustrious father, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. From that period till she shed her blood in her own house, gunned down by traitors there was no looking back for her. To list her achievements or to mention her many meritorious qualities would require volumes. But among her achievements could be mentioned a few like the bold step of nationalising banks, her heroic leadership and exhibition of indomitable will in the war with Pakistan when she was dubbed THE DURGA and her 20- point programme aiming at the amelioration of the poor and the downtrodden. More than all these, her personal approach to problems of men and matters and her secular outlook and attempts to carry the people with her irrespective of considerations of caste, creed or religion gave her the stature that she retained till the end. Her incessant mission of striving for international peace and understanding could find proof in her work as the Chairperson of the NAM. The only homage that the people of India can pay her are not mere tears, but their practical action in eschewing violence and in striving to complete the various tasks that she had been prevented from performing by the cruel hand of death.