Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi
3rd Prime Minister of India
In office
14 February 1980 – 31 October 1984
PresidentN. Sanjiva Reddy
Zail Singh
Preceded byCharan Singh
Succeeded byRajiv Gandhi
In office
24 January 1966 – 24 March 1977
PresidentSarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Zakir Husain
V. V. Giri
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
DeputyMorarji Desai
Preceded byGulzarilal Nanda (Acting)
Succeeded byMorarji Desai
Minister of External Affairs
In office
9 March 1984 – 31 October 1984
Preceded byP. V. Narasimha Rao
Succeeded byRajiv Gandhi
In office
22 August 1967 – 14 March 1969
Preceded byM. C. Chagla
Succeeded byDinesh Singh
Minister of Defence
In office
14 January 1980 – 15 January 1982
Preceded byChidambaram Subramaniam
Succeeded byR. Venkataraman
In office
30 November 1975 – 20 December 1975
Preceded bySwaran Singh
Succeeded byBansi Lal
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
27 June 1970 – 4 February 1973
Preceded byYashwantrao Chavan
Succeeded byUma Shankar Dikshit
Minister of Finance
In office
17 July 1969 – 27 June 1970
Preceded byMorarji Desai
Succeeded byYashwantrao Chavan
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
In office
9 June 1964 – 24 January 1966
Prime MinisterLal Bahadur Shastri
Preceded bySatya Narayan Sinha
Succeeded byKodardas Kalidas Shah
Personal details
Indira Priyadarshini Nehru

(1917-11-19)19 November 1917
Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
(present-day Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died31 October 1984(1984-10-31) (aged 66)
New Delhi, India
Cause of deathAssassination
Resting placeShakti Sthal
Political partyIndian National Congress
Feroze Gandhi
(m. 1942; died 1960)
RelationsSee Nehru–Gandhi family
ChildrenRajiv Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi
ParentsJawaharlal Nehru (Father)
Kamala Nehru (Mother)
Alma materVisva-Bharati University
Somerville College, Oxford
AwardsBharat Ratna (1971)Bangladesh Freedom Honour(2011)

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: [ˈɪndɪraː ˈɡaːndʱiː] (About this soundlisten); née Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress.[2] She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister, after her father.[3]

Gandhi served as her father's personal assistant and hostess during his tenure as Prime Minister between 1947 and 1964. She was elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1959. Upon her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.[4] In the Congress Party's parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 (upon the death of Shastri), she defeated her rival Morarji Desai to become leader, and thus succeeded Shastri as Prime Minister of India.

As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political intransigency and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India's influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia. Citing separatist tendencies and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and the press was censored. Widespread atrocities were carried out during the emergency. In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. After Gandhi ordered military action in the Golden Temple in Operation Blue Star, she was assassinated by her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists on 31 October 1984.

In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named "Woman of the Millennium" in an online poll organised by the BBC.[5]

Early life and career

Indira Gandhi was born as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru in a Kashmiri Pandit family on 19 November 1917 in Allahabad.[6][7] Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a leading figure in India's political struggle for independence from British rule, and became the first Prime Minister of the Dominion (and later Republic) of India.[8] She was the only child (a younger brother was born, but died young),[9] and grew up with her mother, Kamala Nehru, at the Anand Bhavan; a large family estate in Allahabad.[10] She had a lonely and unhappy childhood.[11] Her father was often away, directing political activities or incarcerated, while her mother was frequently bed-ridden with illness, and later suffered an early death from tuberculosis.[12] She had limited contact with her father, mostly through letters.[13]

Young Indira with Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924. Indira, who is dressed in a khadi garment, is following Gandhi's advocacy that khadi be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles

Indira was mostly taught at home by tutors, and intermittently attended school until matriculation in 1934. She was a student at the Modern School in Delhi, St Cecilia's and St Mary's Christian convent schools in Allahabad,[14] the International School of Geneva, the Ecole Nouvelle in Bex, and the Pupils' Own School in Poona and Bombay, which is affiliated to University of Mumbai. [15] She and her mother Kamala Nehru moved to Belur Math headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission where Swami Ranganathananda was her guardian[16] later she went on to study at the Vishwa Bharati in Santiniketan, which later in 1951 became Visva-Bharati University. It was during her interview that Rabindranath Tagore named her Priyadarshini, literally "looking at everything with kindness" in Sanskrit, and she came to be known as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru.[17] A year later, however, she had to leave university to attend to her ailing mother in Europe.[18] While there, it was decided that Indira would continue her education at the University of Oxford.[19] After her mother died, she briefly attended the Badminton School before enrolling at Somerville College in 1937 to study history.[20] Indira had to take the entrance examination twice, having failed at her first attempt with a poor performance in Latin.[20] At Oxford, she did well in history, political science and economics, but her grades in Latin—a compulsory subject—remained poor.[21][22] She did, however, have an active part within the student life of the university, such as the Oxford Majlis Asian Society.[23] On 26 September 1981, Indira was conferred with the Honorory Degree of Doctor at the Laucala Graduation at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.[citation needed]

Indira Nehru c. early 1930s

During her time in Europe, Indira was plagued with ill-health and was constantly attended to by doctors. She had to make repeated trips to Switzerland to recover, disrupting her studies. She was being treated there in 1940, when the German armies rapidly conquered Europe. Gandhi tried to return to England through Portugal but was left stranded for nearly two months. She managed to enter England in early 1941, and from there returned to India without completing her studies at Oxford. The university later awarded her an honorary degree. In 2010, Oxford further honoured her by selecting her as one of the ten Oxasians, illustrious Asian graduates from the University of Oxford.[24] During her stay in Great Britain, Indira frequently met her future husband Feroze Gandhi (no relation to Mahatma Gandhi), whom she knew from Allahabad, and who was studying at the London School of Economics. The marriage took place in Allahabad according to Adi Dharm rituals though Feroze belonged to a Zoroastrian Parsi family of Gujarat.[25] The couple had two sons, Rajiv Gandhi (born 1944) and Sanjay Gandhi (born 1946).[citation needed]

In the 1950s, Indira, now Mrs Indira Gandhi after her marriage, served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of India.[26] Towards the end of the 1950s, Indira Gandhi served as the President of the Congress. In that capacity, she was instrumental in getting the Communist led Kerala State Government dismissed in 1959. That government had the distinction of being India's first ever elected Communist Government.[27] After her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and served in Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.[28] In January 1966, after Shastri's death, the Congress legislative party elected Indira Gandhi over Morarji Desai as their leader. Congress party veteran K. Kamaraj was instrumental in achieving Indira's victory.[29] Because she was a woman, other political leaders in India saw Gandhi as weak and hoped to use her as a puppet once elected:

Congress President Kamaraj orchestrated Mrs. Gandhi's selection as prime minister because he perceived her to be weak enough that he and the other regional party bosses could control her, and yet strong enough to beat Desai [her political opponent] in a party election because of the high regard for her father...a woman would be an ideal tool for the Syndicate.[30]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Indira Gandhi
العربية: أنديرا غاندي
aragonés: Indira Gandhi
asturianu: Indira Gandhi
Aymar aru: Indira Gandhi
azərbaycanca: İndira Qandi
Bân-lâm-gú: Indira Gandhi
башҡортса: Индира Ганди
беларуская: Індзіра Гандзі
भोजपुरी: इंदिरा गाँधी
Bikol Central: Indira Gandhi
български: Индира Ганди
bosanski: Indira Gandhi
brezhoneg: Indira Gandhi
català: Indira Gandhi
Cymraeg: Indira Gandhi
Deutsch: Indira Gandhi
Ελληνικά: Ίντιρα Γκάντι
español: Indira Gandhi
Esperanto: Indira Gandhi
euskara: Indira Gandhi
Fiji Hindi: Indira Gandhi
føroyskt: Indira Gandhi
français: Indira Gandhi
Gaeilge: Indira Gandhi
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Indira Gandhi
한국어: 인디라 간디
հայերեն: Ինդիրա Գանդի
hrvatski: Indira Gandhi
Bahasa Indonesia: Indira Gandhi
interlingua: Indira Gandhi
íslenska: Indira Gandhi
italiano: Indira Gandhi
ქართული: ინდირა განდი
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: اِندِرا گانٛدھي
қазақша: Индира Ганди
Kiswahili: Indira Gandhi
Кыргызча: Индира Ганди
latviešu: Indira Gandija
Lëtzebuergesch: Indira Gandhi
lietuvių: Indira Gandhi
македонски: Индира Ганди
Malagasy: Indira Gandhi
მარგალური: ინდირა განდი
Bahasa Melayu: Indira Gandhi
Nederlands: Indira Gandhi
नेपाल भाषा: ईन्दिरा गान्धी
norsk nynorsk: Indira Gandhi
occitan: Indira Gandhi
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Indira Gandi
Plattdüütsch: Indira Gandhi
português: Indira Gandhi
română: Indira Gandhi
Runa Simi: Indira Gandhi
русский: Ганди, Индира
संस्कृतम्: इन्दिरा गान्धी
Simple English: Indira Gandhi
slovenčina: Indira Gándhiová
slovenščina: Indira Gandhi
српски / srpski: Индира Ганди
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Indira Gandhi
svenska: Indira Gandhi
Tagalog: Indira Gandhi
татарча/tatarça: Индира Ганди
Türkçe: İndira Gandhi
Türkmençe: Indira Gandi
українська: Індіра Ганді
Tiếng Việt: Indira Gandhi
Winaray: Indira Gandhi
Yorùbá: Indira Gandhi
žemaitėška: Indira Gandhi