Biography of Indira Gandhi- Indian Political Leader- Former Prime Minister of India

(This Article has been Updated on 31st October 2015 -The 31st- Anniversary of Late Indira Ganhdi)

Name:  INDIRA

Indira Gandhi

Known As:  
INDIRA PRIYADARSHINI NEHRU (Before Wedding) and

INDIRA GANDHI (After Wedding )

The popular Indian Poet Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote India’s National Anthem, called Indira Nehru as ‘Priyadarshini’, during an interview at Shantiniketan and thereafter, Indira Nehru became ‘Indira Priyadarshini Nehru’

Indira Nehru with Rabindranath Tagore

Known as: INDIRA GANDHI-

There are doubts on hearing the name, whether Indira Gandhi is from the family of Mahatma Gandhi.

Subsequent to her marriage with Feroze Gandhi, who is not from the family of Mahatma Gandhi, became ‘Indira Gandhi’.

Date of Birth:  19th November 1917

Place of Birth: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

Date of Death:

31st October 1984 (Assassinated by her own Security Guards at the age of 66 years)

Father:  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru-The First Prime Minister of India

Mother : Kamala Nehru

Kamala Nehru

Husband:

Feroze Gandhi- –  From a ‘Zorastrian Parsi’ family of Gujarat- Not related to Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi -Married in the year 1942

Feroze Gandhi and Indira Gandhi

Education:-

Indira Nehru Studied at the following Schools and Universities:

  • The Modern School in Delhi,
    Modern School Delhi
  • St Cecilia’s and St Mary’s Christian convent schools in Allahabad,
    St Mary's Christian Convent School Allahabad
  • The Ecole Internationale in Geneva,
    Ecole Internationa in Geneva
  • The Ecole Nouvelle in Bex,
  • The Pupils’ Own School in Punr and Mumbai,
  • The Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan,Calcutta and
    Viswabharathi University Shanthiniketan
  • Somerville College, Oxford University
    Oxford University

Occupation:

Political Leader, Former Prime Minister of India

Indira Gandhi is Popular For the Following:

  • Indira Gandhi was the First and the only Woman, so far, to have become the Prime Minister of India, who became the PM of India in the year 1966.
  • She was the Second Woman to have become the Prime Minister of a Country, next only to Mrs.Srimavo Bandara Nike, who became the Prime Minister of Srilanka in the year 1960.
    Srimavo Bandaranaike PM of Srilanka
  • In the year 1969, Indira Gandhi nationalized 14 Major Commercial Banks in India to change the banking sector from ‘For Classes‘ to ‘For Masses’.
  • In the year 1971, during her first tenure as the Prime Minister of India, from 1966 to 1971, Indira Gandhi waged  a successful war  against Pakistan, in the borders of India and West Pakistan and in East Pakistan, in support of the Independence War of East Pakistan, from 3rd December 1971 to 16th December 1971-Pakistan surrendered to India and as a result, a new country ‘Bangladesh’ was formed in the place of East Pakistan.
  • Indira Gandhi  presided over a controversial ‘State of Emergency’, imposed by her through the President of India, from 1975 to 1977, during which she ruled the country by decree.

Political Career of Indira Gandhi:=

Experience in Politics and Administration:

When Jawaharlal Nehru had been the First Prime Minister of India, from the year 1952, Indira Gandhi worked as an unofficial Personal Assistant to her father.

Indira Gandhi with Jawaharlal Nehru

President of Indian National Congress:

In the year 1959, Indira Gandhi  had been  the President of the ‘Indian National Congress’.

Indira Gandhi President of INC with Kamaraj and Anna

Union Cabinet Minister:

In the year 1964, after the demise of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi was nominated  as a Member of the Parliament of India /MP- (Rajya Sabha) and became the ‘Union Minster of Information and Broadcasting’ in the Prime Minister- Lal Bahadur Shastri’s Cabinet of Ministers.

Indira Gandhi Union Minister with PM Lal Bahadur Shastri

Prime Minister of India -First Term- From 1966 To 1971:

In the year 1966, after the sudden demise of Prime Minister  Lal Bahadur Shastri at Tashkent, USSR, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India for her first term on 24th January 1966.

Indira Gandhi was elected as the ‘Head of the Congress Legislative Party’, for which the South Indian ‘King Maker’ K.Kamaraj had been instrumental.

Prime Minister of India – Second Term- From 1971 To 1977:

In the 1971 Elections, the slogan  ‘Garibi Hatao’/’Eradicate Poverty’ of Indira Gandhi and the Congress, used during the election campaigns  received the support of the people and the Congress won in the elections.

The opposition parties campaigned with the slogan ‘Indira Hatao’/’Eradicate Indira’

In the year 1971, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India for her second term, by winning in the elections with a good majority.

In the 1972 -State Assembly Elections held, Indian National Congress came to power in many States.

Allahabad High Court’s Verdict Against Election of Indira Gandhi in 1971:

Indira Gandhi’s election in the 1971 Lok Sabha Elections was challenged in the Allahabad High Court,by Raj Narain, who contested against her and got defeated in the election.

After 4 years of the filing of the case, on 12th June 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of Allahabad High Court delivered the verdict in the case.

According to the verdict, Indira Gandhi was found guilty of dishonest election practices, excessive election expenditures and of using the Government Machinery and Officials for the Party purposes.

Consequently, the Allahabad High Court ordered for her removal from the post of the Member of Parliament and also banned her for 6 years from contesting in any election in India. Thus Indira Gandhi was legally removed from her post of the Prime Minister of India.

However, Indira Gandhi did not resign from the post of Prime Minister of India and proceeded to appeal in the Supreme Court of India against the Allahabad High Court’s Verdict.

State of Emergency Brought by Indira Gandhi in India From 25th June 1975 To 21st March 1977:

There had been protests from the opposition parties throughout India.

 Indira Gandhi ordered for the arrests of many leaders of the opposition parties who took part in the agitations.

The cabinet of Indira Gandhi had recommended to the then President of India , Fakrudin Ali Ahmed for imposing a State of Emergency in India, due to the law and order problems created by the opposition parties following the Allahabad High Court’s verdict.

Accordingly, the President of India declared a State of Emergency in India on 25th June 1975, based on the provisions of Article 352(1) of the Constitution of India as the security of India had been threatened by Internal Disturbances.

The Central Government and the State Governments where the Indian National Congress had been ruling had come under the President’s rule with immediate effect.

Within a few months, the State Governments in Tamilnadu and Gujarath, where non Congress Parties were in power, were dismissed under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, as recommended by the Governors of the States and the entire nation came under the ‘State Emergency’ and the President’s Rule.

Defeated in the Elections 1977 by Janata Alliance Parties Led by Morarji Desai:


On 21st March 1977, the State emergency was lifted and the Elections for the Lok Sabha were conducted.

The Indian National Congress was defeated by the ‘Janata Alliances’ led by Morarji Desai in the Lok Sabha Elections of 1977.

Janata Alliance Ministers 1977

In the 1977 elections both Indira Gandhi and his first son Sanjay Gandhi were defeated.

Thus, Morarji Desai became the First Non Congress Prime Minister of India.

Morarji Desai Sworn in as First Non Congress PM by BD Jatti

In July 1979, Morarji Desai resigned from the post of Prime Minister of India, due to internal clash among the Janata Alliance parties, especially because of Charan Singh.

Charan Singh was appointed by the then President of India Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy.

As Charan Singh did not drop all the charges on Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi in the cased filed by the Janata Alliance Government of Morarji Desai, the Congress withdrew its support to the Government and the Lok Sabha was dissolved by the President of India Sanjeeva Reddy in August 1979.

Prime Minister of India – For Third Term From 14th January  1980 To 31st October 1984:

In the 1980 Lok Sabha  Elections the Indian National Congress won with a vast majority. And Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India for a third term.

In the Assembly Elections in the States also the Indian National Congress came to power in many States.

After the death of her first son Sanjay Gandhi in a Air Crash on 23rd June 1980.

Indira Gandhi brought her second son Rajiv Gandhi who had been a pilot into Politics.

Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple of Sikhs at Amritsar, Punjab:

In the year 1983, a revolutionary Sikh Leader-Bhindranwale and his followers took shelter into the Amritsar Golden Temple, a holy shrine of the Sikhs, for hiding from the police in search of them to arrest on various charges.

Indira Gandi ordered the Indian Army to enter into the Golden Temple and attack and arrest Bhindranwale and his followers.

The operation of the Indian Army entering into the holy Sikh temple for arresting the Sikh rebels was named as ‘The Operation Blue Star’.

In the operation the Sikh Shrine Temple was damaged and many innocent civilians were also killed along with Bhindranwale and his group.

The operation ‘Blue Star’ made Indira Gandhi very much unpopular especially among the Sikhs/Punjabis.

In the year 2003, Bhindrawale was  declared as ‘The greatest Sikh martyr of the 21st century’ by ‘Akal Takht’ the Sikh Political Authority.

Assasination of Indira Gandhi:

The impact of the ‘Operation Blue Star’ of Indira Gandhi made the Sikhs/Punjabis very much unhappy about her. Many Revolutionary Sikhs wanted to have a revenge on Indira Gandhi. And some of the Sikhs conspired to get rid of her at any cost.

On 31st October 1984 in the morning at 09 20 am, Indira Gandhi was walking from her residence for going to her office through a wicket gate in the compound wall between the residence and the office.

Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, two of Indira Gandhi’s personal body guards shot her with their service weapons, a Sten Gun and a Revolver (Satwant Singh fired 3 Rounds and Satwant Singh fired 30 Rounds into her abdomen at point blank range) and caused death of Indira Gandhi.

Beant Singh Personal Guard of Indira Gandhi
Satwant Singh Indira Gandhi Assassin

Immediately, Indira Gandhi was carried to All India Institute of Medical Sciences/AIIMS in New Delhi.

After surgery by a team of surgeons/doctors, Indira Gandhi was declared dead, due to multiple bullet shots, at 02 20 pm on 31st October 1984.

After shooting Indira Gandhi, both the assassins dropped their weapons and surrendered to the other guards.
Afterwards,  both the assassins were taken to a closed room. In the closed room, Beant Singh was shot dead by the guards.

 Later another person Kehar Singh, the uncle of Beant Singh was arrested and Satwant Singh and Kedhar Singh were sentenced to death penalty for the conspiracy and brutal murder of the Prime Minister of India.

They were hanged to death in  Delhi Tihar Jail on 6th January 1989.

Kehar Singh Indira Gandhi Assasination Conspirator

Quotes by Indira Gandhi:

People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.”-

-Indira Gandhi

“ I am alive today, I may not be there tomorrow. I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it-

-Indira Gandhi

-From her last Speech, made at the then Parade Ground in front of the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar, the Capital City of  Odisha, on 30th October 1984, the previous day of her assassination.

Odisha Secretariat Bhubaneswar

The Parade Ground was converted to the ‘Indira Gandhi Park’, which was inaugurated by her son, Rajiv Gandhi.

Parade Ground Converted Indira Gandhi  Park Bhubaneswar

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