Indira Gandhi was a powerful woman who showed the world what women were capable of, the Royal Queen mother of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck said here. Speaking at the launch of the book, “India’s Indira: A Centennial Tribute” yesterday at the ongoing Mountain Echoes Festival, she recalled how Gandhi might not have been a tall woman but she certainly had a towering personality. “I still remember her photograph with the then American president Richard Nixon. She wasn’t a tall woman, but she was a towering figure. “Mrs Gandhi was a female icon and she showed it to the world what women are capable of doing if they decide something,” she said. The book, compiled by the Indian National Congress, consists of articles, essays, photographs of the first woman prime minister of India.
The Queen Mother remembered Gandhi from the time when the latter came “sitting on a yak along with her father”. She said the Gandhi family had been on close friendly terms with the royal family of Bhutan. “I used to admire the white streak of hair she had. Although I was very young, I still wanted that streak of white hair,” she said. The book, edited by senior leader Anand Sharma, has several photographs of Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru contributed by the royal family. The book also has a chapter by former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee. Tharoor, who was also part of the launch, heaped praises over Indira Gandhi’s leadership skills. He said after she became the prime minister, many had wondered if she was capable of the job. “But as it turned out, she became a better leader than many who came after her could only hope to be,” Tharoor said.