Indira Gandhi

By Chloe Anestis

Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, 1966-77 and 1981-81.

Who was Indira Gandhi?

Indira Gandhi was born in Allahabad, India on November 19, 1917. She was Jawaharlal Nehru's only child. Nehru was the first prime minister of India. Indira became a big part of India from an early age. Her family was very active in the nonviolence resistance movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. At age twelve Indira joined the movement. She participated by gathering thousands of Indian children to run errands and do odd jobs to help out the adults who were working for independence in India. Later on in her life she became India's first woman prime minister.

Did You know...

In 1947, after India gained independence, Indira Gandhi toured refugee camps to aid victims of a Hindu-Muslim religious war.
Indira Gandhi is shown as a young girl at the bedside of Mahatm Gandi, who was close with her father Jawaharlal Nehru

Her Career

In 1959 Indira served as president of the Indian National congress for a year. She was with the majority political party. Indira later became the minister of info and broadcasting in cabinet of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shartri. He passed away in 1966. Indira Gandhi took Sharti's place as Prime Minister. In 1971 she led India in a successful war against Pakistan to establish Bangladesh and separate East and West Pakistan. Four years later she was convicted on 2 counts of corruption in the 1971 campaign. She then declared state of emergency. Then she imprisoned political opponents, assumed emergency powers and imposed censorship. She also implied a policy of large-scale sterilization as a form of birth control. This led India to a better economy, remarkably well controlled inflation and greatly increased efficiency. Afterwards in the 1977 elections her party was defeated. A year later Indira was elected back into parliament. In 1980 Indira Gandhi was elected back into office. India went through some struggles after this. Sikh extremists in Punjab used violence to assert their demands in a autonomous state. On June 6, 1984 Indira ordered her army to storm the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Golden Temple was the Sikh's holiest shrine that had, at the time, been converted into armory. Hundreds of Sikh's died in battle. Due to this, Indira was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards.

Did you know...

Indira Gandhi's son youngest, Sanjay was killed in a plane crash in 1980.
Indira Gandhi is shown working with her son Rajiv Gandhi, who served as Prime Minister after her death.

Her Life

Indira Gandhi was a successful woman. She was a big part of India's government. Indira had an intermittent education growing up. She mostly studied at home, although she did study in Switzerland for short periods of time. In 1934 she studied art and dancing at the university of Santiniketan, also at the university in England. Along with that, Indira studied at Somerville College in Oxford. In March of 1942 she married a classmate of hers, who was Feroze Gandhi. They had two sons together, Rajiv and Sanjay. The older son Rajiv became the Prime Minister after her. He served in 1989, until he was assassinated on May 19, 1991.

Work Cited

Gandhi, Indira." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

Singh, Sarina et al Lonely Planet: India, 2007

Vinay Lal, 1998 & 2007 "Indira Gandi: Independent India"