‘Lord Louis is, as you know, incorrigible. He is friends with all the wrong sort of people and presumably believes what they tell him about me and about India.’

Below are two letters written to me by Shrimati Indira Gandhi.

14 April 1975

Dear Natwar,
Your letter of the 10th arrived only yesterday and I have just read it in the plane on the flight to Jammu.
I have not been to Jammu for a long time and since this particular visit was decided upon, new and complex problems have arisen on the political scene. Knowing the Shiekh’s autocratic nature, I had envisaged such a situation, though not so soon. Now we can only try to set it right and hope for the best.
In the meanwhile, we have given in to a part of Morarji’s demand—about the Gujarat elections. It seemed such a silly point for which to fast or for us to hold out, since the difference in dates was only three months. However, our difficulties are acute and varied enough without having a dead Morarji haunting the scene. One has learnt to expect all kinds of unethical action from our opposition but I must admit that I was deeply shocked at the manner in which some of them including those in the Cong(O) seemed to view the prospect claiming that his disappearance from the scene would clear the way for opposition unity.
It is hard going for Mother Teresa. But I figured that it was better for me to support a really worthwhile candidate, even if the chance of success is slim.
I am glad you have reminded me about Dame Sybil Thorndike. Some time ago I had proposed that some way should be found to honour women around the world who have shown sympathy towards India. I do not know whether the Ministry has moved in the matter.
The prospect of seeing a play is indeed tempting but I do not know whether it will be possible to stop over in London.
With good wishes
Yours Sincerely,
[Indira Gandhi]

Shri K. Natwar Singh
Deputy High Commissioner,
India House
London W.C-2

Prime Minister House,
New Delhi
4th January 1975

Dear Natwar,
Thank you for sending Peter Jay’s remarks. He also wrote to me. My comment on that letter: “a bouquet from an unexpected quarter!”.
Malraux was pleased with his Indian visit and I was told by the French Ambassador that he was sorry to leave.
I have glanced at Tara’s review of Bhatia’s book. To me it seemed a rather pitiable self-portrait—so full of hatred and pettiness—of the reviewer.
PS: This top portion was dictated long ago but I thought I would add to it. Hence the delay. In the meantime your letter of the 27 December has come with Pam Cullen. I was sorry to hear about her father. What a time to have to leave England.
Lord Louis is, as you know, incorrigible. He is friends with all the wrong sort of people and presumably believes what they tell him about me and about India. Krishna Menon had something to say about this just a few days before he died.
I am glad Prince Charles is breaking journey here but it will be difficult to do anything interesting in just one day as I suppose the protocol part cannot be entirely ignored.
We are all stunned by L.N. Mishra’s murder. As the National Herald rightly says, although L.N.M cannot be compared with Gandhiji in any way, there is no doubt that it was the atmosphere of hatred, calumny and violence, spread under the wings of JP that was responsible for this dastardly act.
As you may have seen from the newspapers, we have had a torrent of VVIPs and international conferences—the brightest star being Gina Lollobrigida who interviewed me. I believe she has also interviewed Wilson, Kissinger, McNamara and Fidel Castro who had urged her to meet me.
With good wishes for 1975.
Yours Sincerely
[Indira Gandhi]

Peter Jay: Well-known journalist, editor, The Times, London 1967-77.
Malraux: Author, cultural minister in General de Gaulle’s cabinet.
Gina Lollobrigida: Among the most beautiful Italian and Hollywood actors.