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1976 Sep 23 Th
Thatcher Memoirs

India & Pakistan: Lunch with Mrs Gandhi (clearing the plates)

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Memoirs
Venue: -
Source: Margaret Thatcher The Path to Power (1995), pp385-86.
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1200 onwards
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: -
Themes: -

I lunched with Indira Gandhi in her own modest home, where she insisted on seeing that her guests were all looked after and clearing away the plates while discussing matters of high politics. Both her sons, Sanjay and Rajiv, were present, although it was the former who had most to say for himself. He had, indeed, allegedly been responsible for many of the abuses such as forced sterilisation and compulsory re housing which had provoked such bitter opposition. But in spite of everything I found myself liking Mrs Gandhi herself. Perhaps I naturally sympathised with a woman politician faced with the huge strains and difficulties of governing a country as vast as India. But, in spite of a long self justificatory account she gave me of why the state of emergency had been necessary, I could not approve of her government's methods. She had taken a wrong turning and was to discover the fact at her Party's devastating election defeat in 1977.