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My experience with Sonia Gandhi : Ms Harsha Oza

The Holy Roman Catholic Ex Escort from Italy.

My experience with Sonia Gandhi

Ms Harsha Oza
BJP Today
June 16-30, 1999

Title: My experience with Sonia Gandhi
Author: Ms Harsha Oza
Publication: BJP Today
Date: June 16-30, 1999

Sonia Gandhi, together with her children Rahul and Priyanka,
accompanied Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his official visit to
Stockholm in January 1988.  As per prescribed protocol, I, as the wife
of Indian Ambassador, was required to escort and accompany Sonia
Gandhi on her visits to art galleries, museums, schools, etc., as per
separate programme arranged for her by the Swedish authorities, While
Rajiv Gandhi was occupied with his schedule of official meetings and
discussions with his counterparts.

My odyssey started with the arrival of the VVIP visitors from India on
a dark and chilly January night of Stockholm when outside temperature
was -20 degrees centigrade and the tarmac of the Stockholm airport was
slippery with snow.  As per prearranged car plan for the drive from
the airport to the hotel, Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson was
to accompany Rajiv Gandhi in one car, and, I was supposed to sit with
Sonia Gandhi in the next car, as Ingvar Carlsson had no wife.  Rahul
and Priyanka were to sit in a separate card behind Sonia Gandhi's
car.  Just as I was about to get into the car after Sonia Gandhi got
in, she pulled Rahul and Priyanka in her car and made them to sit next
to her.  That not only threw the entire car plan into confusion, but
also left me stranded on the tarmac in freezing cold as the carcade
started moving as soon as the VVIPs got into their cars.  Fortunately,
my husband, whose car was three-four cars behind Sonia's, saw what had
happened, slowed down his car and quickly pulled me in without
breaking the flow of the moving carcade.

On arrival at the hotel, I thought I would properly introduce myself
to Sonia Gandhi and familiarize her with some details of the special
programme arranged for her.  I was told that the hour was late and she
was tired.  I was asked to come a bit early next day and meet her
before proceeding for the first item on the programme.

Accordingly, next day I went to the hotel at least an hour ahead of
the schedule of the first item on the programme.  I conveyed through
her secretary of my arrival and intent to meet her for a few minutes
before starting for the programme.  I was not called in.  Nor was I
offered any place to sit and wait.  I kept hanging out in the lobby
outside her suite.  She came out just in time to leave the hotel for
the scheduled programme and rushed straight to the elevator surrounded
by the SPGS.  She went past me, but did not recognize me.  I followed
her to the elevator and barely managed to squeeze into the crowded
elevator jostling with numerous SPGS.  We got out of the elevator and
got into separate cars; she with Rahul and Priyanka, and I by myself
She went around the museum without speaking to me at all.  At the end
of the visit, we went back to our respective cars and to the hotel and
the elevator and she rushed straight to her suite and I was again left
in the lobby.  Just as there were no 'Hi' or 'Hello' at the start,
there were no good-byes at the end of the visit.

The same drill was repeated for the afternoon schedule of the
programme, except that when we got out of the elevator in the lobby of
the hotel, a number of waiting media people and photographers started
clicking their cameras and asking questions about her children, their
age, schooling, hobbies, etc.  Sonia Gandhi did not reply to any of
those questions and continued to push ahead towards the car.  Finally,
an exasperated journalist looked at the 'Bindi' on my forehead and
asked about its significance.  It was not at all a new or strange,
question to me as I had answered it several times to several people in
our diplomatic roam-about.  So, I quickly answered saying that
traditionally it was a symbol of a married woman whose husband was
alive but now-a-days, it had become a fashion mark.  I saw a frown
coming on Sonia's face and a certain degree of impatience with my
talking to the reporters.

Her reaction was translated into action by a young SPG who shoved and
elbowed me away from the journalist in a very rough manner which
almost hit and hurt my jaw.  I yelled at the SPG fellow and asked him
to behave properly with an Ambassador's wife.  Sonia Gandhi saw all
this but did not say anything to the rude SPG.

I felt humiliated and mad.  That night I came home in tears and told
my husband not to involve me in any of the programme activities of
Sonia Gandhi.  My husband immediately got in touch with Sharada
Prasad, the veteran information Secretary to P.M., and narrated my
plight to him.  Sharada Prasad personally expressed his regret at my
experience and tried to comfort me by saying that Sonia Gandhi was
known to be aloof by nature but was not arrogant and did not mean to
humiliate anybody or show contempt for others.  I was inclined to
believe him.  But next evening after the official banquet

I saw Sonia Gandhi joking and talking, laughing loudly and jabbering away in Spanish with the wife of Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid. She looked a different Sonia Gandhi altogether. I was then convinced that although she enjoyed trappings of power which went with being Indian Prime Minister’s wife, she could not relate comfortably to Indians, I felt that although she had made India her home, her heart was not in India and that she would be better off being in the land of her birth and the environments of her upbringing.

  1. Dilip Kumar Samantasinghar
    June 25, 2014 at 5:31 am

    At least in my part, it is not necessary to go through episode written by Mrs. Harsha Oza to understand social behaviour of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Each & every blood-shell of Nehru-Gandhi family has become contaminated & impure since reign of Firoz Khan (spouse of Mrs. Indira Gandhi). They way, Mrs. Sonia behaved with Mrs. Harsha, was a common phenomenon in her part and nothing is there to get surprised.

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