Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mani Shankar Aiyar greet President Pranab Mukherjee at the Indira Gandhi Centenary Lecture being organized on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Nov. 19, 2016. (IANS/RB photo)

NEW DELHI (IANS) — Contrary to popular belief, the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was not "terribly keen" to join politics and, given a chance, she would have led a normal woman’s life, her daughter-in-law and Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Nov. 21.

In an interview to India Today, Sonia Gandhi said Indira Gandhi's deep sense of duty towards the country and the people brought her to politics.

"I think she herself did not want to be in politics, perhaps this is something that very few know. She was not terribly keen to join politics.

"I think, left to herself, she would have chosen to live a normal life. It was her deep sense of duty towards the country and the people that brought her to politics," she said.

Sonia Gandhi said "secularism" was Indira Gandhi's biggest contribution to Indian polity and singled out her loyalty and compassion for the people to be her strengths.

"She was a woman with a very deep compassion and empathy for the underdogs, for the oppressed. This is something that we miss in today's politics.

"She was a woman completely devoted to the people and was willing to give up her everything including her life for the people," she said.

She also described Indira to be a kind and intelligent mother-in-law.

"She (Indira) was completely opposite to what people used to say about her. She was kind and warm and like any mother-in-law, she would give things to me that I like to eat.

"She was very intelligent woman and as a mother-in-law, she gave me time and space to get used to the new ways, new culture, food, dressing and other things," said Sonia Gandhi.

Raving about her "cute sense of humor,” she said Indira Gandhi was a wonderful writer.

"She used to write letters and little notes for me and other members of the family. She was interested in everything and everybody. She had interests in music, classical and folk art, environment," she added.

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