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Today is the ninety third birth anniversary of the renowned peace loving icon, cultural activist and symbol of relentless struggle, The Gandhi of Uttarakhand late Indra Mani Baduni, the main inspiring force behind the separate Uttarakhand movement that finally led to this 17 and a half year old state coming into existence. 24th December is commemorated as the” lok sanskritik diwas” in Uttarakhand and elsewhere, the day this iconic personality was born in the land of abode of Gods,the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.(then the Tehri Riyasat ruled by the Garhwal kingdom)

While the entire Uttarakhand and people of Uttarakhandi origin living elsewhere , globally are paying their rich tributes to Baduniji today they are equally sad and disappointed that the concurrent state governments of the state have not done anything fruitful to keep his inspirations alive. Indra Mani Baduni is not a name but an inspiration as an institution who dedicated his entire life as a freedom fighter, social and separate state movement activist, a trekker and inventor of mysterious Khatling glacier, a cultural activist and a social reformer of eminence.

While the demand for separate Uttarakhand movement was first raised in 1952 by the then communist leader PC Joshi it actually gained tremendous momentum in 1994 when this popular Gandhi of Uttarakhand organised a huge rally in Pauri and undertook thirty days incessant hunger strike, finally addmitted in Meerut and then AIIMs compelling the union government to acede to the peoples’ long aspirations of a separate entity known as Uttarakhand state.

A frail looking determined Gandhi as are the Himalayas, Indra Mani Badooni was a simple man with extreme popularity and highest TRP of acceptability within Uttarakhand. He was arrested again while going to Mussourie to pay tributes to the martyred andolankaries and was in jail for a pretty long time. He was grievously injured in the Lal Quila Maidan Rally in 1994 where he was likely to address a massive rally protesting against the shameful incidents of Ram Pur Tiraha, Mujaffar Nagar where several movement activists were killed and women coming to participate in the Delhi rally sexually assaulted and brutally raped.

Indra Mani Badooni was a true selfless mass leader whose entire life was dedicated for the cause of Uttarakhand and who’d always been in the forefont to safeguard, promote and conserve the culture and dialects of Uttarakhand. His tremendous contribution in promoting the folk lore of great icon Madho Singh Bhandari who sacrificed his son’s life for peoples’ cause, bringing water in Maletha, finding the Khatling glaciar and bringing it to the knowledge of the world and conserving its civilisation including infinite contribution in Uttarakhand movement as its only inspiration as a fatherly figure, its undisputed leader and a sacrificial figure, The Gandhi of Uttarakhand will always be remembered in the annals of the history of India and Uttarakhand. Our tributes to this great soul.
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHANDJOURNALISTS FORUM

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Nineteenth November is the birth centenary of a greatest women leader of the country whom infinite people adore and still remember as the most successful prime minister India ever had while her ardent critics term her as the dictator who made peoples’ life hell by imposing the emergency in 1975.

Yes, I am talking about non other but Indira Gandhi, the daughter of the first prime minister of free India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and grand daughter of freedom fighter Moti lal Nehru. Indira Gandhi who served India for seventeen long years as the most successful prime minister except her greatest blunder of 1975, imposing dreaded emergency is today remembered as the Iron Lady, a most determined prime minister and a women of grit, determination and perseverence who not only created a vertical division of Pakistan by creating Bangladesh compelling 90000 Pakistan Army to surrender but also established herself as an international icon turning away the mighty American Shipment full of arms and ammunition coming to the rescue of Pakistan during the 1971 war and doing Pokhram Nucleur explosion, making India a Nucleur power. It was during her tenure that India’s Appolo 72 entered the Moon and created a history of sorts in space science globally. It was in 1972 when Indira Gandhi while communicating with the Apollo 72 Astraunaut asked Rakesh Sharma, how is India looking from the space and he repled “saare jahan se achcha Hindustan Hamaara”.

Indira Gandhi was undoubtedly a most suceessful PM of the largest democracy of the world who not only strengthened the international non aligned movement and was designated as its chairman but also succeeded in keeping then USA, the then Pakistan ally at bay by way of strengthening bond of strong and viable friendship with the then most powerful superpower of the world the USSR during the Leonid Breznev era. Indira Gandhi was a multifaceted and a multi dimensional iconic personality who was adored and loved by all sections of the people in the country and established fullest secular credentials.

Having nationalised the 14 largest commercial banks of the count Indira Gandhi’s Garibi Hatao slogan really hit the masses during her tenure to stage a comeback as a most formidable prime minister of India, after the Bangladesh war. It was the leader of the opposition of the then Jan Sangh Atal Bihari Vajpayee, her ardent critic who publicly lauded her leadership as the Iron lady of the country who in her capacity of the then prime minister created Bangladesh amid all odds and international challenges and gave her the title of MAA DURGA.

A symbol of true secularism, architect of modern India, a dashing and dynamic leader with precision, Indira Gandhi was the most mobile, a unanimous choice and the pro people leader of the country under whose 17 year old tenure not only had India progressed and prospered by leaps and bounds technologically, scientifically, educationally and nuclearly but the communal fabric of the nation was also fully maintained. However despite, Indira Gandhi’s international leadership domain as a great leader in the global political scenerio who touched all horizons and her triumphs in the domestic front taking India to heights of all round economic and industrial development, the greatest drawback of hers was the perpetuation of dynasty by promoting her autocratic son Sanjay Gandhi annoying one and all in and outside party and imposing the most draconian emergency that lead to over 1 lakh detentions, unaccounted tortures of the people, thousands of forced sterilizations and curbing of the fundamental rights of the people and media of the country bringing bad name internationally and leading to formation of Janata Party out of the total revolution of Jaya Prakash Narayan, a conglomeration of 22 political anti Congress outfits. According to the then Director in the PM Secretariate and the former foreign Secretary Salman Haider who worked in close proximity with Mrs Gandhi she as the prime minister, was not only a meticulous hostess but also wanted her staff to maintain high standards of courtsey and decorum. He adds that even after being the supreme authority of the country, Indira Gandhi never lost the attributes of a gracious lady.

Her another biggest mistake rather the blunder of her life was first nurturing Bhindranwale to counter the political influence of the Akalies in Punjab and then going for the operation black star that allowed the army to enter Golden temple that lead to killings of several Indian Army Jawans and Khalistani terrorists, as well finally leading to her despicable assasination by her own two Sikh body guards. She returned to power in 1980 before being assasinated. Indira Gandhi was assasinated in 1984 and 30 years after her sad demise she is still remembered in great reverence as a towering iconic personality of the country, an iron lady prime minister who always cared for the poor and the down troddens but committed the biggest blunder of imposing emergency, promoting dynasty and ordering entry of the Indian Army in Golden temple thus costing her precious life, the scars of which are still fresh in peoples’ minds and in the minds of her arch political rivals who still loose no oportunity to rake up those draconion days of 1975 when people of the country suffered the most.
Indira Gandhi is immortal despite few flaws but hundreds of outstanding achievements.
SUNIL NEGI