Sunday, April 11, 2010

Serenity and Savagery (New Delhi, India)


In a quiet suburb of India's capital, New Delhi, lies a modest bungalow. It was the home of India first woman prime minister, Indira Gandhi and documents her life through photos, personal possessions and the furnishings of the various rooms. Starkly among the exhibits are the blood-stained sari where Gandhi was slain by her Sikh bodyguards in her own yard, walking to an interview with Peter Ustinov. Tragically, in another display are the shredded clothing of her son, Rajiv Gandhi who became Prime Minister on his mother's death before also being assassinated some seven years later.

I couldn't help but be struck by the balanced appreciation of their lives, the modesty of the house and the limited political commentary on the killings. The surrounding gardens are truly serene with an elegant lotus pond emanating peace and tranquility.

A pathway in the garden marks the spot where Indira Gandhi lost her life - the path lined with a colonnade of trees. There is always something tragic in such events, but I think that Indira Gandhi could be proud of the peaceful memorial and the numbers of people, both Indian and foreign, there to try to learn a little more of someone who helped shape India's history.

Note: Photography in the house was not permitted.

Other India Posts
Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial (New Delhi)
It's All in the Stars (Jantar Mantar, Jaipur)
A Royal Facade (Palace of the Winds, Jaipur)
A Monument to Love (Taj Mahal)
From Dead Duck to Bird Heaven (Bharatpur)

13 comments:

BarbaraW said...

Mark: I loved your title on this post. Perhaps more than any other country, India had that dichotomy of serenity and savagery that makes absolutely no sense but it persists all the same. I find it a fascinating culture and would love to go back to the north at some point, as I've only traveled in the south.

http://www.lemonicks.com/Travel/ said...

Delhi is my city and I am in so much love with it. In spite of it's extreme weather conditions and other drawbacks it has it's own irresistible charm.

Apt title. :)

eunice said...

Drop by to say, "hello Mark!"

Sherry Ott said...

I missed this when I was in Delhi. I went to the Ghandi museum - which is also fascinating...but not here. I'll put it on my list for next time.

Anil said...

I'm disappointed too that I didn't visit when I was in Delhi. Too bad they didn't allow pictures inside. India has fascinating history that seems to reflect the title of this post.

Andrew said...

This can be said the true picture of India. I last visited India by using the Airport transfer Milan and I got a mixed experience out there.

Footsteps said...

Poignant observations, Mark.

Heather on her travels said...

I would be really interested in seeing that house & memorial to the Ghandi family - although I don't know much about Indian politics it seems to be a profession you don't enter lightly

Mark H said...

@BarbaraW: In my only visit, everything struck me as a contrast - much more so than any other country.

@lemonicks: Great to see someone from Delhi visit the blog.

@eunice: I have!!

Mark H said...

@sherry: I found it a bit by accident but glad I did.

@anil: The home was very humble and had some good news clippings etc..

@andrew: A Milan advert on an India post??

@footsteps: The place felt poignant. Indira Gandhi was obviously a fine woman and in such a diverse country.

@heather: Two family members gave their lives as prime ministers.

Hotel in Stevens Point said...

India is full of its different color of religions...there is different different culture in different states...Which is really Great in every aspects...For the Natural beauty you can visit so many places... which is full of taste of nature it self....!!! Really Its Great country everyone must see and enjoy the real beauty of India...!!!!!!!!!!

Mark H said...

@hotel in stevens point: India has remarkable contrasts - I agree that people should go and visit this extraordinary country - home to 1/6 of the world's population.

sunita said...

As India’s Capital, Delhi is a very busy and lively city that offers many attractions to its visitors. The bungalow and its surrounding garden is simply beautiful, grabbing most of the attentions of the people. One should visit and experience the atmosphere, which is still vibrant just like first PM Indira Gandhi…

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