According to whistle–blowing website Wikileaks, Congress President Sonia Gandhi is still Italian in her mannerism, speech and interest in spite of her careful constructed Indian persona.
The confidential document titled "A garrulous Sonia Gandhi opens up to Maria Shriver" summarises an hour-long conversation Gandhi had with California’s first lady on August 3, 2006 on women’s issues, Indian politics and some aspects of her private life.
"Deeply hurt by personal tragedy, she (Gandhi) has erected a strong and stoic persona to prevent public access to her personal space. Whenever she spoke of the deaths of her husband and mother-in-law, she struggled to keep her emotions in check," the document stated.
"Despite her carefully erected Indian persona, her basic Italian personality is clearly evident in her mannerisms, speech and interests. She presents an intriguing enigma of a warm private personality that remains concealed and is available only to her closest confidants and family members," it said.
Shriver and Gandhi engaged in an over one hour exchange that was lively and open and covered many issues, both personal and political. Shriver explained that “she was concerned with women’s issues, including sexual abuse and exploitation and trafficking.” Mrs. Gandhi noted that while she had a deep personal interest in women’s’ issues, she "only rarely" gave personal interviews aimed at female audiences.
In her frank revelation of her personal political stance, Mrs. Gandhi stated that "the right was becoming strong in India and Congress weak," tipping her hand and "compelling" her to enter politics to protect the Gandhi family legacy. She also revealed that her children were "not keen" about the idea, but eventually told her, "whatever you decide, we will back you."
Gandhi provided personal insights into her life, saying that she travelled constantly all over India, often to remote areas to visit the common people, as "it is only by going out and interacting with people that we are in a better position to understand their problems and determine what they want."