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Indira Gandhi loved simple things: Shahnaz Husain

Sunday, November 15, 2009 12:34:39 PM, Shilpa Raina, IANS

Beauty-care Queen Shahnaz Husain

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New Delhi: A woman who liked simple things and was “in love with her country and grandchildren”. That’s how herbal beauty care queen Shahnaz Husain describes Indira Gandhi, the ‘iron lady’ of Indian politics.


“Mrs Gandhi was a very beautiful woman; a person like her will never be born again. She had an electrifying presence. You just couldn’t get over her personality,” Husain told IANS in an interview over phone from London.


As Indira Gandhi’s 92 birth anniversary approaches Nov 19, Husain still cherishes fond memories of her - including the time the beauty expert made a special moisturiser for the leader.


Husain remembers her as a very “soft and gentle” woman.


“Mrs. Gandhi had an aura around her and the kind of personality she had led to the belief that she was very stern. But she was madly in love with two things - first India and second her grandchildren,” said the 63-year-old.


“Once she cancelled one of her foreign trips because she wanted to be with her grandchildren. She used to adore them a lot,” she added.

Husain felt the media is not focussing enough on her personal life.


“I am reading all kinds of stories about her political career and decisions, but unfortunately no one has written about the kind of person she was in real life. May be people who knew her closely aren’t coming forward to reveal the ‘real’ Indira,” said Husain.


Husain said: “Once I told Mrs. Gandhi ‘the world will never ever know you the way you really are’ and she had smiled and said, ‘The ones that want to know will find out for themselves’.”


Talking about Indira Gandhi’s personal style statement, Husain said she used to like simple things and everything that had an Indian tag associated with it.


“Mrs Gandhi used to eat simple food. You can say very bland food. She used to love saris a lot and had a collection of Indian raw silk, hand woven saris. She wanted to promote India in whichever manner she could.


“Also her European hairstyle used to go very well with her saris. That white streak in her hair was her trademark style,” she said.


Husain also reveals that Gandhi was very fond of her ayurvedic products; in fact she had made one moisturiser - Shamoist - especially for Gandhi.


“Mrs. Gandhi used to love my products and she used to use them frequently, but one day I came to know that she was using a moisturiser made from wild lilies from some other company.


“So I copied the code of that moisturiser and instead of wild lilies, used Rajnigandha flowers. I created it for her. She liked it very much and that product also did very well in the market,” she said.


Husain says their families had been friends for generations and the bond between her and Indira Gandhi was a gradual step.


“I admired her a lot for everything she did. We were friends and I shared a very lovely and beautiful relationship with her.


“You just can’t compare her with anyone. She is still an iconic figure and no one can ever be like her,” she said about the leader whose 25th death anniversary was observed on Oct 31 this year.


Shilpa Raina can be contacted at







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