Sonia Gandhi – The woman we failed to know

How does it feel to leave your entire life behind you and get married to someone?

Leaving your parents, family, friends, home – what do you think – is that easy for a woman?

Being a woman myself, I can straightway say – no, it isn’t. It can never be.

Now, imagine the plight of a woman, who left everything and travelled across the miles to live with her husband.

How would she feel to live in a nation where daughters-in-law are considered as the Griha-Lakshmi?

How would she feel to be a part of a land which believes in the concept of Atithi Devo Bhavah more than anything else?

She sure, would be delighted.

Every woman would be blessed to be a part of such a nation.

Yes! You read it right!

There’s this one woman who has been living in India for almost five decades now, but still couldn’t get the acceptance of a nation which is known for its warm hospitality and friendliness.

There’s this one woman who has left all that she had, to be a part of a land where love emanates from every nook and corner, but still couldn’t feel loved in the ‘proud’ nation of 1.3 billion people.

Hate is all that she’s getting.

“Why? What’s her fault?” you may ask.

Well, she has committed two serious mistakes in her life: first, she was born in Italy; and second that she got married into the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Indian National Congress, became an Indian bahu decades ago – but she is still a foreigner for many Indians.

The purpose of writing this piece is not to discuss Sonia Gandhi’s political career, or to analyse her leadership skills or her metier.

The purpose is to discuss a woman who is living in India for almost fifty years now, and is still being considered as an outsider by the Indians.

A woman whose Janmabhoomi is Italy, and Karambhoomi is India, still gets judged by her Janmabhoomi. And we are fine with that.

The purpose of writing this piece is to ascertain why? Why are we fine with that?

Why can’t we move over the fact that she was born in another country, but today she is as much an Indian as any of us is?

This piece is not an attempt to know Sonia Gandhi, a politician.

It is an attempt to know Sonia Gandhi, a woman.

Because she is not what the BJP propaganda machine made us believe that she is, or the WhatsApp messages have portrayed her to be. She is way beyond that.

Like the majority of Indians, I also don’t know Sonia Gandhi. I have never met her.

But, just a while ago, I came across this book called ‘The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi’ by Neena Gopal and read it. And I am glad that I did so – for if I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have got the time to think about every single woman out there who gets subjected to malevolence and still gathers herself to face more of it.

Neena Gopal was the last journalist to interview Rajiv Gandhi and was an eyewitness of his assassination. Although, I have read almost all the books on Rajiv Gandhi’s life and his assassination, this book really stopped me in my tracks. BJP’s propaganda has delimited Sonia Gandhi so badly, that the ‘real Sonia Gandhi’ couldn’t be brought out in the open.

And even when she has been one of the worst-hit victims of malicious beguilement all these years, never for once has she played the victim card.

Such is the stature of this woman. And I am told that she’s a very compassionate person.

The woman that we failed to know!

A life ended too soon

How does one cope up with the death of a loved one?

How does a woman survives when she receives the mutilated body of her husband – the man for whom she left everything?

How does a woman, a wife and a mother of two little children, bears the fact that she will never ever see her husband’s smile, listen to his voice, or feel his presence besides her again?

The mere thought of a woman who has lost her husband at a young age gives me a lump in my throat every time I think of it. And that’s something which can only be understood by someone who herself is a woman, a mother, or a wife.

The above excerpt from Neena Gopal’s book made me realise the agony of this woman that we know as Sonia Gandhi, and I kept on thinking about her for hours after reading this. The thoughts that kept my mind occupied were that maybe we, as a country, have been extremely cold and compassionless towards her.

I feel that the Gandhi family has sacrificed way too much for the country. Yes, it has enjoyed power, but then the very same power hasn’t come easy for this family.

Sonia Gandhi has been someone who has always maintained her calm in front of the media. Her grit is incredible. But, imagine the turmoil that she must have dealt with in all these years that she has spent in ‘our’ country.

How she went to peace with the death of her husband and still manages to live in the country that greets her with derisions and abuses all along, is out of my understanding.

First, her mother in law, Indira Gandhi was assassinated and she breathed her last in Sonia’s arms. It would have been extremely difficult for her to pit against destiny at that time. Then, her husband was assassinated and she had to live with that pain as well.

She maintained her calm, and how valiantly.

And she still does so, when BJP maligns her image all so fervently.

After Rajiv Gandhi’s death in 1991, it would have been easy for Sonia Gandhi to take her children and fly to Italy – giving them the safety they needed. But, she didn’t.

Had she been lusting for power, she could have become the Prime Minister then. But, she didn’t.

It was only in 1998, that she became the President of Congress, after seven years of her husband’s death, all because Congress was waning. Just to save the party from falling apart, she stepped in. In fact, even in 2004, when she didn’t become the Prime Minister of the country, she could have made her son the Prime Minister. But, she didn’t.

And even then, the nation fails to understand that she is not a power-hungry woman. She had many opportunities to gain the power that we accuse her of yearning for. But, she never took them.

Why are we so blind that we can’t see the basic goodness that resides in this woman?

I agree that she may have her flaws. We all have them. But, judging her on any and everything is nothing but sheer nastiness.

From caricatures and trolls, to memes and what not, Sonia Gandhi’s image has been smeared to such an extent that you will easily find fabricated stories about her being spread under BJP’s fake propaganda.

And the silence of this family has given BJP the boost it needs to damage their reputation further.

The Gandhi family still remains silent. And, the BJP continues to vilify its image.

Indian hypocrisy?

We, Indians, are nothing but whited sepulchres. We have different touchstones for ourselves, and we have different touchstones for others.

Almost every other Indian dreams of going abroad, or may be settling there. We talk so highly of our country, but deep down within us, we are so influenced by the West that we would do all that’s possible to go and live there.

So, if it isn’t hypocrisy, then what is?

We want to live abroad, it is an inseparable aspiration of millions of Indians.

But, what happens when someone comes to our country with the same dreams? Do we treat them the way we want to be treated? No.

Priyanka Chopra goes to the US and we become so proud of her achievements. But, when someone from another country comes to our country, we malign her?

The moment any person of Indian origin makes news of attaining a respectable position abroad, we all become so euphoric – be it Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai or the Sikh ministers who were included by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Cabinet. Proud we must feel!

But what happens when people come to our country, and we cast aspersions on them?

For how long will Sonia Gandhi be criticised for being born in Italy. And what for? Should every Indian abroad be criticised for being born in India?

There are many who mock this lady, alleging that she was a waitress. I do not know whether she was or she wasn’t. All I know is that there is no shame in working hard. Many Indian students who go abroad for higher studies, or even to get settled there, work in hotels, bars, restaurants as waiters, clean utensils, shovel snow, mop floors and do much more – just to make a living.

Even Bollywood heartthrob, Akshay Kumar worked as a waiter and chef in Thailand, while studying martial arts there. And he is not ashamed of this fact. In fact, he talks about it proudly. And, he must. After all, he has earned success after years of hard work!

Not just the Bollywood industry, but we all feel proud of this man and his achievements. It feels great when you see such real-world examples of people who have gone from rags to riches.

But, Sonia Gandhi couldn’t be one such example. Simply because she isn’t Indian.

We can proudly accept an ‘Indian’ chai wala as our country’s PM and feel proud of the fact that he used to sell tea, but we can’t accept a woman from another country and mock her at every step of her life.

Aren’t we Indians misogynists?

Even after being subjected to such filthy language where people address her as an Italian bar girl, waitress, a bar dancer, a poisonous devil, a village girl, and what not – she has never derided anyone.

And my observations are that it’s not just the critics or people who are in the opposition parties that malign her. There are journalists as well who take no qualms in smearing Sonia Gandhi. Imagine – well read, highly educated people sink so low in today’s time – that’s progressive India for you!

I recently came across an article written by Minhaz Merchant, the renowned biographer of Rajiv Gandhi, and I was stunned to see how Sonia Gandhi was addressed as ‘the Italian-born widow’ of late Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi in that article.

And, that’s not it.

Every time this lady gets admitted to the hospital, there are many amongst the BJP supporters who tweet and wish death for her.

What have we become? Wishing death for someone? What happened to our traditions of ‘doing good’ for others? Have we lost all sense of compassion that we were once known for?

Today, we gush at the mere thought of dragging a woman through the mud, especially someone who is in power. Even after keeping Congress united for about two decades now, and giving the party two consecutive wins in the General Elections of 2004 and 2009 under her leadership, all that we Indians are hooked on to is the fact that Sonia was born in Italy.

Seriously? That’s all left for us to see and grasp?

I want to ask – is every woman’s identity restricted to the place of her birth? No. Then, why this bigotry?

Her mother-in-law was assassinated.

Her husband was assassinated.

And, today her character is being assassinated.

We rejoiced then. We are rejoicing this now.

I somehow feel bad for her. I feel bad for every woman who is trivialized by not only men, but other women as well, just to satiate their hunger for revile.

Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kali, Parvati – India is a land where all these goddesses and many more are worshipped with unconditional faith. And, it is an irony that the biggest denigrators of women here in India are the preachers of Hindutva only.

How does their conscience allow them to do that? Don’t they feel that they are being iniquitous?

We pay homage to Durga, the invincible. Still, every single day, we imperceptibly destroy women.

We vilify them. We abuse them. We humiliate them.

And, the next morning, with the same mouth, we sing hymns in the praises of our goddesses, again, and how easily!

 

 

 

 

57 Replies to “Sonia Gandhi – The woman we failed to know”

  • Aniket Lal

    This is a very good article. Everything mentioned is true .every ‘ wise’ Indian with agree with what the author has highlighted.

    • Farheen

      Made me feel so bad for Sonia Gandhi
      We as a country has never accepted her whole hearty just because she was born in Italy… Tears runned out of my eyes when I realized what pain she would be bearing when she is still considered Italian n when she lost the person for whom she had left everything. Today respect for her has increased to an indefinite level…
      Thank u ma’am for being in our country for more than 5 decades n sorry for the cold love u gave to u

  • Yash

    Don’t have word’s

  • Bajuri

    Excellent . Respect for Mrs Gandhi grows even higher
    Pity those BJP guys who always tarnish her and Gandhi family image
    No one sacrificed for the country like they did

  • Sukumaran CP

    A well written and heart-touching article. A ‘must read’ for every Indian and see their reflection in mirror when they go home! I have no words to thank the author!

  • Padma Rani

    I am so happy you wrote this beautiful piece
    Every day I find myself educating these biased people on Sonia Gandhi’s legal status of an Indian Citizen and Congress President
    It’s painful to watch the dirty propaganda against her Indian by Choice reality
    Love her mighty strength to be herself
    Love you for writing such beautiful articles every time

  • vikrant

    This is the best artice ever , with all deep thoughts even i had for soniaji. Respect for her , Thankyou Sadhavi Ji for this. Her pain only can be understood by those who can empathise her situations from 1998… i remember Uma bharti wanted to shave her head off if soniaji would have become PM, UmBhartii must be thankful to Soniaji. Thankyou Sadhavi ji.

  • Amit

    How good this article and , shows the true face of we all Indians .

  • PREMOJIT DAS

    we the people of India are getting mentally sick day by day

  • Chandar

    Good that somebody could write this in today’s times of vilification and systematical abuse.

  • Dr Radheshyam

    Really,nobody can stop her/her Son from becoming PM of India not once but twice.She sacrificed thr supreme post.She was more favourate Daughter in Law than her Indiaborn Counterpart fpr Indiraji.Truth always prevails.Her dedication,sacrifices for the Nation though covered supressed by many temporarily ,not permanently.I congratulate u for depicting Soniajis Real picture.

  • Venugopal

    Fantastic article

  • Brijesh Nagar

    Now it has been prooveed that She is the real successor for the heritage of “”THE IRON LADY OF INDIA MRS.INDIRA GANDHI””

  • Farhan ahmed

    Thanks for writing it mam atleast the blind bhakts will now realise the true value of ghar ki lakshmi .. I hope .. thank u once again

  • Aleen Kalagara

    Very very good blog. And thanks for taking this up. India has long way to go. UPA-I was actually one of the best govts ever run in terms of policy making. Should appreciate Sonia Gandhi for constituting National Advisory Council (NAC). It was top class mix of Congress policy outlook combined with Left’s balancing act.
    Anyone who says she was power hungry is either dumb or pure evil.

  • Devendra

    Much convincingly explained our Indians hypocrisy

  • irfan Shah

    I respect her

  • Subin Dev

    I’m from Tamil Nadu. After reading this my respect for Sonia G has increased a lot. Never thought about her pain & humbleness in this perspective. She really tried to do good things for Tamils, but the politicians have changed the perception about her in TN very badly. But because of Modi, now Tamils have started feeling that Congress is far far better than BJP.

  • Vikram

    Lovely. I wish more people thought like you. I have always respected her and I always will. She could have been the PM but she gave the seat to mr. Manmohan singh.

    Thanks for writing this.

    Best regards,
    An Indian

  • Robert

    Nicely elaborated. …Thanks for perfect information. ….

  • H Das

    I first time read this article from you. And decided to read more in future.. very good article.

  • Sameer Thorat

    Very nice article

  • SYLVIA FRANCIS

    Sadhavi Khosla. thank you for writing this article. Throughout all these years of being abused & defamed, Sonia Gandhi has demonstrated the qualities of true Christian upbringing … love, sacrifice, tolerance and forgiveness … of offering the other cheek! I have always admired her courage in the face of adversity and her dignified silence despite the endless & constant abuses being hurled at her and her family. She has definitely passed on many of these qualities to her son Rahul. All her detractors … men & women alike … should hang their heads in shame as they can never match the noble qualities she possesses. May God bless her always!

  • Yogesh Pal

    Well written. At times I wonder how much the current PM would have exploited the vulnerable Indians by playing the victim card, if he had lost someone in his family for the nation.

  • vipin chandh

    very interesting….i have same feeling as you have. by this feeling I involved in argument with many rss supporters…

  • Aditi

    Read a good artical after a very long time. Hats off to you sir to write this in today’s world were people are just talking abusive things abt the Nehru-Gandhi family. Worth sharing.

  • Mala ghosh

    Most of the indians specially who are anti Congress loved t throw filthy languages towards Gandhi Nehru family. From Jyoti Basu to present leaders all are in the same boat. Past as well as young generation do not at all eager to know the contribution of the family for our country. We are now passing through an abnormal situation. We find impatience, intolerance & inhumanity in every sphere of life.
    I agree with the author.

  • Mohamed kasim

    Awesome article.. i never thought from this perspective about her..

  • Madhu

    An eye opening one…
    Really ppl will have to read realize…
    Her calmness is beyond politics…
    Though Sushmaji opposed Sonia to become PM that to with ‘Big challenge’ she never took it seriously n maintained good relationship with Sushmaji … That is Sonia Gandhi.. really hats up.

  • Madhu

    An eye opening one…
    Really ppl will have to read realize…
    Her calmness is beyond politics…
    Though Sushmaji opposed Sonia to become PM that to with ‘Big challenge’ she never took it seriously n maintained good relationship with Sushmaji … That is Sonia Gandhi.. really hats up.

  • True Grit

    Sonia Gandhi’s grit is commendable, her character gets assassinated by ever other MLA or MP, however I have never seen her making personal attacks on anyone. Article speaks the truth, hope at least some people understand the underlying intend without any bias.

  • Kripanjali

    Whatever’s written in here is completely agreeable. I have loads of respect for Sonia Gandhi. U nailed it right. I hope more and more people read this and gain some sanity.

  • Kabir Khan

    Hey Sadhvi,
    Very nice article. Sonia Ji is very gentle and have never seen her using any foul language unlike other Indian leaders.

    If people call her Italian, then it should be a matter of proud for Italy and it also shows our hypocrisy.

    Loved the article.

    Keep writing.

    Regards,
    Kabir

  • Ps

    This article thoroughly resonates with my thoughts on SG.
    I hv found myself praying for this family.

  • Parth Sinha

    For writing such an article in the prevailing scenario one require guts and iron will.

    I have always felt same as mentioned in your article but never came out openly with my thoughts as no one I found was ready to buy my thoughts.

    Very good article and everything written here is valid.

  • Riddhi

    It’s like you read my mind. Marvel at the hypocrisy of educated Indians. Truth is she’s more Indian than many Indians. And about the vile things written by the bjp trolls…the less said the better.

  • Susan Dhavle

    This is a well articulated, calmly stated article that does justice to Sonia Gandhi. And coming from a BJP member it is really commendable that you question the meanness and you also mention that she never played or plays the victim card.

  • Venkat

    Let us review our thought process… Thanks to Author… still we Indians are good because we have a Fantastic professional like this authour

  • Gideon Dayak

    A very good article as how we treat our fellow citizens. The Author is very right in judging our inner motives of life. Hope we Indians can live with love and respect to all we come across in life.
    Best wishes.

  • Yashvir Mahajan.

    Very well put up. Pso with Rajiv Gandhi Inspector gupta was also a victim in the blast which killed Rajiv Gandhi.. He was our relative. Mrs Gandhi visited his family shortly after the cremation to condole with them. She ensured by following it up personally with the authorities that his widow was rehabilitated and adequately compensated.. This bespeaks her compassion and character.

  • wasim

    Most of us are HIGHLY INFLUENCED by BJPs false PROPAGANDA, basically BJP doesn’t have anything against GANGHIs except personal jealousy,

  • Jawahar

    They abused Nehru Ji Indira ji even Rajiv ji in a similar manner. Now they are targeting Sonia ji & Rahul Gandhi. This is the price you have to pay for joining politics in India.

  • Virchand Lakra

    Excellent article with great sense of feeling as a human and woman and mother. It is eye opening for all Indians. Thanks for the article.

  • Lily

    Hats off for the article expressing Sonia’s genuine love for India. Truly Being an Indian woman I feel ashamed of those who are bent upon spoiling her image. But let me tell the readers. No matter what dirt we throw at her she is like the lotus flower which blooms in the water though having dirt below. Sonia has risen beyond anybody’s criticism!! She is a woman of great faith. One day India will ralize this woman’s sacrifice for our country. e

  • Manas

    Nice article. Time to introspect for all of us.

  • Sadhana K Lakshmanan

    One of the best articles i have ever read. Sonia Gandhi is one of the greatest women of India. Thank you Sadhavi Khosla ji 🙂

  • Laboni

    Great article Ms.Kholsa.Thank You for pointing out things which some of us have always felt strongly about.At last someone had the courage to publicly condemn.

  • Sawab

    Excellent blog. I must say sadhvi you have beautiful mind to saw different people. I respect sonia gandhi but after reading this the way to describe my respect for her is went on 1000x.
    Hats off to you.

  • Arun raja

    Good that Neena Gopal’s book gave you an insight and let you reflect the same to us.

    I still wonder how she didn’t decide on moving to her home country even after losing her mother-in law & husband.

    Those qualities you mentioned about her might not have been with her if she were a Born Indian. No Offence!

    This article touches my heart !

  • @maulinshah9

    संघर्ष और त्याग का प्रतीक हे सोनियाजी! पीएम पद नही स्वीकार के उन्होंने जो त्याग की मिसाल दी थी वो दुनिया के इतिहास में एक प्रतीक समान थी। उनके आगे आज के सब नेता बोने साबित हुए थे और है! इनको कुछ विशेषणों से बदनाम करने वाले संघ शाखा के टुच्चे भी अंदर से यह बात जानते हे!!

  • Sudhakaran Nair

    Very well written article. Eyeopener for all those who claim to be nationalist & patriotic but do not have the basic culture towards women. They should hand their head in shame.

  • Abe

    Very true. Hypocrisy is very much in Indian blood. Must change

  • Cheriyan

    The sacrifices made by the Gandhi family for India is enormous and it is sad that we Indians have become a bunch of thankless people. We never acknowledge good things In a person but always try to find drawbacks due to our biased upbringing or limited knowledge. Satyameva Jayade has no relevance in today’s India as falsehood rules.

  • Jennifer

    I continue to believe in Mrs S Gandhi’s integrity & decency towards the people of India…! More so now!!! Well written, succinct article!!

  • Sonal patel datta

    Bjp has abused Soniyji reaching new low heights every time.this is a very thoughtful article with all correct information and logic.congrats.looking forward for more such articles

  • Vishal

    Actuall indian politics is too dirty and is polluting iur country day by day just the upfront people impose there ideologies on all .i am sure Mrs.Sonia Gandhi deserves much better then she got. And we indians even deserve much much better then we are getting today .so lets us awake and work for it “TOGETHER” As it is only possible when we unite

  • Shakil.M.Shaikh

    Friends.. Frankly speaking I have a great great respect for Soniaji.
    She learnt many things incl. Hindi.. where the so called true Indians DO NOT Like or speak Hindi…
    She is the TRUE leader who served this Nation Even after Indiraji and Rajivji…
    …Most important part is that I have Never heard this family crossing the limit even after Barked by the Bhakts..
    ..Salute to this Genious lady & All women worldwide..

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