Indira Gandhi, born on November 19, 1917, was a Kashmiri Pandit from a joint family in Allahabad. Her grandfather, Motilal Nehru, was a prominent lawyer and freedom fighter. Indira was the childhood sweetheart of her grandfather, and in 1921, she was four years old when a civil disobedience case against Motilal Nehru took place. In her book, She the Leader: Women in Indian Politics, journalist Nidhi Sharma recounts how Indira Gandhi and Siddhartha Shankar Ray fought over a doll as children.
In 1922, Indira met Bengal’s freedom fighter ‘Deshbandhu’ Chittaranjan Das, who was accompanied by his grandson Siddhartha Shankar Ray. When Motilal Nehru gave her a doll, Indira Gandhi did not like it and snatched it from her. The doll shattered, and Indira Gandhi’s hand and Das’s leg went missing. As a child, Indira was surrounded by conversations on civil disobedience and secret meetings of the Congress Working Committee.
She played a game with her doll, pretending to be the Rani of Jhansi and Joan of Arc. At eleven, her grandfather gave her a spinning wheel, and she organized a Bal Charkha Sangh to teach young children spinning and weaving. The arrest of family members was common for him.
The girl who fought for the doll later became the first female Prime Minister of India. About thirty-three years after the Gudiya incident, Siddhartha Shankar Ray became the Chief Minister of West Bengal. He was a close confidante of Indira. It is said that the person who had the idea of imposing the emergency in 1975 was not Indira Gandhi but Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
Indira Gandhi’s private secretary, RK Dhawan, explained the emergency to Indira Gandhi in detail, stating that it could be done according to the laws of the Constitution of India. He also spoke to the then-President before convincing Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi and Siddhartha Shankar Ray went to talk to President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed in this regard.