Indira Gandhi was an Indian Stateswoman and to date the only female Prime Minister of India. She was born on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad, India. Her father’s name was Jawaharlal Nehru and her mother’s name was Kamala Nehru. Her father was independent India’s first Prime Minister and her mother was a freedom fighter. She attained her preliminary education at home, then attended school to complete her matriculation. Indira was enrolled at the Viswa Bharti University in Calcutta but had to leave the same year due to the failing health of her mother in Europe. Post the death of her mother, Indira attended the University of Oxford in Britain where she studied history, political science, and economics. However, due to her constant ill health, she returned to India without a degree. She married Feroze Gandhi on March 26, 1942. They got two sons named Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.
After the death of her father in 1964, Indira Gandhi was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha. She also became one of the members of loud bag leader Shastri’s cabinet, serving as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. After the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India in January 1966. During her term as Prime Minister, Gandhi brought about a radical change in the country’s economic, political, international, and national policies. She included the nationalization of 14 major commercial banks, coal, steel, copper, refining, cotton textiles, and insurance industries. She even nationalized the oil companies after the 1971 war against Pakistan when India faced oil crises.
In 1971, Gandhi supported East Pakistan in the Pakistan civil war which led to the formation of Bangladesh. Her administration gave statehood to some areas. Indira Gandhi had a good relationship with the Soviet Union, the United States, and Bangladesh. Post the assassination of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the ties between India and Bangladesh soured. Gandhi also brought social reforms by introducing clauses in the Indian constitution related to wages-equal pay for equal work to both men and women. After the 1971 elections, the opposition parties accused her of using unlawful methods and electoral fraud to win the elections. Allahabad High Court found Gandhi guilty. In June 1975, the court declared the elections null and void and unseated Indira Gandhi from the Lok Sabha. Additionally, she was banned from contesting for the next six years. Later, due to internal crises and strike, President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed had to declare a state of emergency by the advice of Gandhi. The emergency lasted for 21 months, from June 1975 until March 1977. It bestowed on Gandhi the power to rule by decree.
Gandhi extended the state of emergency twice before the elections of March 1977. As a result of the election, the Congress party was defeated convincingly. They won just 153 seats. Both Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi lost their seats. Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi were arrested on charges of planning to kill the opposition leaders during an emergency. The following year, she won the election to the Lok Sabha; the lower level of parliament. In 1980, she returned to power as Prime Minister. That same year, Gandhi’s son Sanjay died in a plane crash in New Delhi. The Prime Minister then began preparing her other son Rajiv for leadership. On October 31st,1984, Indira Gandhi was shot and killed by two of her bodyguards (both Sikhs) in retribution for the attack at the Golden Temple. She died at the age of 66.
“Every new experience brings its own maturity and a greater clarity of vision.”
– Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, née Nehru, (born November 19, 1917, Allahabad, India—died October 31, 1984, New Delhi), Indian politician who was the first female prime minister of India, serving for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term from 1980 until she was assassinated in 1984.
7 Facts About Indira Gandhi – Biography
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