What happened when a blind vegetable vendor’s 7-year-old daughter asked Indira Gandhi for her autograph

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi‘s gesture on Christmas of responding to a tweet and wishing a 107-year-old in Bangalore, and then following it up with a phone call, fell into the familiar trap of trolls, bhakts, and other animals inhabiting the universe.

Was it all a PR stunt with elections coming up in Karnataka, was the general drift.

On Facebook, the son of H.Y. Sharada Prasad, the Mysorean who was media advisor to Indira Gandhi among other PMs, has recounted an incident involving the iron lady.

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By RAVI VISVESVARAYA SHARADA PRASAD

A seven-year-old girl wrote to Indira Gandhi in Hindi, asking for her autograph. She mentioned that both her parents were blind, and were working as vegetable sellers.

My father drafted a reply, including some incidents from Indira Gandhi’s childhood when she was seven, and took his draft to Indira Gandhi for her signature.

Indira Gandhi noticed the address, a village on the outskirts of South West Delhi.

Indira Gandhi was to catch a flight that evening, and my father was to accompany her.

Indira Gandhi told my father : “Her village is only 3-4 miles off the road leading to the airport. Let us leave half an hour earlier than scheduled, and visit this girl personally, and hand over this letter myself.”

And so the prime minister drove over muddy roads to the poor village, and met the astonished seven-year-old girl and her family, and spent 20 minutes chatting with them, and inquiring about their lives.

The entire village turned out to greet the visiting prime minister.

And did the young girl’s two blind and poor parents ask for any favours for themselves? No, nothing at all. Neither they, nor anyone in the entire poor village, wanted anything for themselves at all.

Instead, the blind parents made tea for the prime minister and her accompanying officials, and the poverty stricken villagers plied them with sweets and refreshments.