Indira Gandhi was a wonderful person, says Lord Paul

Indira Gandhi was a wonderful person and a great leader, leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has said.

PTI| Updated: Nov 20, 2013, 13:41 PM IST

London: Indira Gandhi was a wonderful person and a great leader, leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has said as he launched a unique photo exhibition here to mark the 96th birth anniversary of the former prime minister.

"Anything associated with Mrs Gandhi is special to me. She was such a wonderful person, who was proud of India and proud of Indians. She cared for everyone," Lord Paul said at the exhibition capturing various facets of Gandhi.

"In my view, there is no leader who has been condemned so wrongly and made such a come back in the history of the world," he said.

The four-day exhibition at the Nehru Centre in London is a collection of black and white and colour photographs by well known photographer Marilyn Stafford taken during her month-long stay with Gandhi soon after the India-Pakistan war in 1971.

The exhibition presents a unique selection of personal and family portraits, including carefree shots of Mrs Gandhi with sons Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi, daughter-in-law Sonia and grandson Rahul Gandhi.

"There cannot be a more appropriate place for this exhibition than Nehru Centre. Mrs Gandhi had withdrawn this building from sale at my request and today if it exists, the credit goes to her," Paul said.

Lady Aruna Paul, also a friend of (Indira) Gandhi, shared her memories of a special package handed to her by Congress president Sonia Gandhi soon after Indira Gandhi`s assassination in 1984.

"It was a jamawar shawl I had admired and she had remembered to leave it for me. I treasure it to this day," Lady Paul said.

Stafford, who travelled across India between 1970 and 1980, said, "She (Indira Gandhi) was just very beautiful to photograph. We got on very well together and she was very generous with her time and family. In fact, I had the rare opportunity to be there when she prepared a Christmas dinner for Sonia and Rahul (Gandhi)."

"I would love to go back and photograph Rahul (Gandhi). Not for any political reasons but he was just such an exquisite little boy that I would love to see the kind of man he has become," said the internationally renowned photographer.