After the Tiananmen Massacre, I felt compelled not only to continue writing but to actively resist the restrictions placed on freedom of speech. I set up the publishing company in Hong Kong, with offices in Shenzhen in mainland China, and managed to publish works of fiction, philosophy, and politics by unapproved authors.
Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
There are those who maintain that in this world women have no right to interfere in the affairs of state, in politics, in plots and counter-plots. Others that are who, more chivalrous, are willing to admit that women have as much right to act, think, and speak as men.
I come from a political family. My father was a freedom fighter. He was a prominent leader of the locality and member of the Congress party. He spent 10 years in British prisons. In the evening, in our living room, the only subject we used to discuss was politics. So politics was not unfamiliar to me.
I came at age in the '60s, and initially my hopes and dreams were invested in politics and the movements of the time - the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement. I worked on Bobby Kennedy's campaign for president as a teenager in California and the night he was killed.
As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women's issues, in bringing down the population growth rate... as a woman, I entered politics with an additional dimension - that of a mother.
I believe in an India of pluralism and diversity, not of religious bigotry and caste politics. I believe in an India that is secure in itself and confident of its place in the world, an India that is a proud example of tolerance, freedom and hope for the downtrodden.
We have to be bold in our national ambitions. First, we must win the fight against poverty within the next decade. Second, we must improve moral standards in government and society to provide a strong foundation for good governance. Third, we must change the character of our politics to promote fertile ground for reforms.
In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.