Indira Gandhi Biography

Indira Gandhi, the first and the only female Prime Minister of India, was born on 19th November 1917. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, and Kamala Nehru.

As a child of a freedom fighter she was also involved in India’s freedom struggle. She organized the Vanar Sena of boys and girls who used to help in the circulation of messages and banned publications of the members of the Congress Committee. She joined Shantiniketan and later went to Oxford. While in Europe she met Feroze Gandhi, a Parsee Congress activist. They got married in 1942.She had two sons: Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.

After the independence of India, Indira Gandhi continued her work for the cause of India. She organized various relief camps, provided medical care to refugees. She started taking part in Indian politics and became her father’s confidante and secretary. She managed the election campaigns of Jawaharlal Nehru and her husband Feroze Gandhi, during the election of 1951. She was elected as the president of Indian National Congress in 1959 and 1960. After the death of her father Jawaharlal Nehru, she contested the elections and joined the government of Lal Bahadur Shastri, as a Minister of Information and Broadcasting. After the death of Lal Bahdur Shastri, with the backing of the Syndicate she won in a vote of the Congress Parliamentary Committee and became the fifth and the first female Prime Minister of India on 19th January 1966.

Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in 1975. It was believed that the emergency provision of the Indian Constitution was used by her to grant herself extraordinary power. The period lasted for nineteen months. In the subsequent elections in 1977, Indira Gandhi lost her seat. The government formed by the Janata Party could not complete its term and in 1980 mid-term elections were held. In these the Congress came to power and Indira Gandhi again became the Prime Minister of India. She was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for 1983-84. In 1984 she ordered the launch of Operation Blue Star. Under this, the army was sent to the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, as the government of India believed that the temple complex was being used as a sanctuary for criminals such as Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. As a result of the army’s attack on Golden Temple many civilians were also killed. This infuriated many Sikhs and on 31st October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards.