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Indira Gandhi Biography

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Daughter of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 in Allahabad. Raised in a family that had always been focused on politics and national movements, Indira Gandhi attained a lot of recognition as she became the president of the Indian National Congress in the year 1959.

Indira GandhiImage source: wikipedia.org

During the tenure of the second prime minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, she served as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and it was only in 1966 that she took office as the prime minister of India as a result of Shastri’s untimely and unfortunate death.

A prominent and eminent female personality, she spent a very lonely childhood and her education mostly took place in the form of private tutorials, and learning in a variety of Indian schools. She got married to Feroz Gandhi, who was a Parsi, and this marriage was opposed by a large section of Hindus, who argued that the marriage was against nationalistic rules as it was an inter-communal marriage.

Gandhi and her husband separated and reconciled over the years, and at one point, both her father’s and husband’s death, brought Indira Gandhi to a situation where she curled herself into a cocoon and took a hiatus. It was only when Shastri, the second prime minister of India died, that she took the responsibility, resigned from her post of Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and became the first woman prime minister of India.

During her tenure as the prime minister, she nationalized major banks of the country in the year 1969, and during the general elections of 1971, she started the famous slogan of “Garibi Hatao.”

Gandhi is also recalled for her actions to lead India in a crucial war against Pakistan in the year 1971, wherein, despite India’s victory, the economic hardships and financial hiccups due to expenses in the war and rising oil prices in the world garnered a lot of criticism against her, and J.P. Narayan,a  politician raised a civil disobedience movement against Gandhi.

After a lot of disturbances in her political career, her personal life too witnessed a lot of tragedies, one of which was when her younger son Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash in 1980. Right after the Indian army invaded the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Gandhi became a chief target, and the Sikhs went on a rampage. Her own Sikh bodyguard assassinated Gandhi in 1984.

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