30 quotes by Indira Gandhi on work, success and happiness on her birthday

Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India is known for being fearless and brilliant. Here are 30 quotes by this fine politician and stateswoman for reflection and inspiration.

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first Prime Minister of India who served the country from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980.

Indira Gandhi was elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1959. Upon her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Later, she defeated her rivals to become the Prime Minister of India.

In 1984, she was assassinated by her own bodyguards, much to the grief and shock of the nation. But she is so revered that even today, the memories of this brilliant politician have not faded away...

On her birthday, as we remember this exceptional stateswoman, here is a list of some of her best-known quotes that will inspire and motivate you...

On work

Indira Gandhi

1. “My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.”

On generosity

2. “You can't shake hands with a clenched fist.”

On politics

3. “Winning or losing of the election is less important than strengthening the country.”

On martyrdom

4. “I have lived a long life, and I am proud that I spend the whole of my life in the service of my people. I am only proud of this and nothing else. I shall continue to serve until my last breath, and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it.”

5. The lives of martyrs cannot be valued in terms of money. Their sacrifice is beyond recompense. But a grateful nation remembers its debt and its obligation to them to mitigate the sufferings of their wives and children.

6. Martyrdom does not end something; it is only a beginning.

On the environment

7. The environmental problems of developing countries are not the side effects of excessive industrialization, but reflect the inadequacy of development.

On the freedom struggle

8. All the people who fought for freedom were my heroes. I mean, that was the sort of story I liked reading... freedom struggles and so on.

On childhood

9. I've never turned to anybody for advice and counsel. Even when I was a very small child, I had to stand on my feet because of the circumstances of those times, and somehow, the circumstances have remained more or less the same. I have to take my own decisions.

10. I was happy to be with my parents. I didn't see very much of them, so I was very happy when my father was there and out of jail.

On happiness

Indira Gandhi believes happiness is a state of mind

11. Happiness is a state of mind, you know. I don't think you are permanently happy. One is happy about certain things and not so happy about others.

On success

12. You soon realize that the peak you've climbed was one of the lowest, that the mountain was part of a chain of mountains, that there are still so many, so many mountains to climb...And the more you climb, the more you want to climb - even though you're dead tired.

On difficulties

13. Difficulties can't be eliminated from life. Individuals will always have them, countries will always have them...The only thing is to accept them, if possible, overcome them, otherwise to come to terms with them. It's all right to fight, yes, but only when it's possible.

On education

14. Education is a liberating force, and in our age, it is also a democratising force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.

On progress

15. To become capable, one must have faith in oneself.

16. Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something.

17. A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.

On the future

18. Actions today mould our tomorrows.

19. What matters is that we should achieve what we set out to do.

On change

20. Social change is brought about by those who dare and act, who can think unconventionally and who can court unpopularity.

On tolerance

21. Tolerance and compassion are active, not passive states, born of the capacity to listen, to observe and to respect others. They are founded on a reverence for life that shows itself in one’s attitude to man and to the earth and to other creatures. This state of listening, observing, is to be alive; it is a state of understanding and it is the manifestation of a truly scientific mind that is mature with the quality of humanness. Ends may vary but means must be based on the acceptance of man as the centre of all quest.

On life’s journey

22. Our ancient philosophy speaks of right action. Life's journey should be in quest neither of power nor wealth but of inner worth. The Gita says, "To action alone have you a right, not to its fruits."

On progress

23. We want progress, we want development, but in such a way that it does not disrupt the life of the area, the looks of the area, the beauty of the region and does not alienate the people from their own surroundings.

On democracy

24. Let us not allow ourselves to be oppressed by frustration or misguided by anger into wrong action which will inevitably increase the burden on the common man, undermine the very foundations of democracy and imperil the well-being and happiness of us all. But let our concern lead us to constructive effort, to hard work, to co-operation.

On history

Indira Gandhi is from an illustrious family

25. There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past.

On children

26. To bear many children is considered not only a religious blessing but also an investment. The greater their number, some Indians reason, the more alms they can beg.

27. Ability, and not class or community or wealth, should determine what education a child should have, what school he or she should go to.

On efficiency

28. It is not enough for a few at the top to reach outstanding ability. Performance at every level, even the very lowest, must be improved. All of us are part of the huge apparatus of the nation, the efficient working of which is dependent on the smooth functioning of every individual component.

On philosophy

29. The Himalayas have shaped our history; they have moulded our philosophy; they have inspired our saints and poets. They influence our weather. Once they defended us; now we must defend them. Our defence services are learning to know them and to love them. ​

On growth

30. Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision.