India is paying tribute to the first and the only woman Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, on her 102nd birth anniversary. Gandhi was the only child of Kamala Nehru and the first PM of India Jawaharlal Nehru and was born on November 19, 1971. Right from being a woman in the arena of early Indian politics to declaring war against (West) Pakistan to liberate East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), her list of accomplishments are endless. To commemorate this day, take a look at some important and unknown facts about Indira Gandhi.
On her birth anniversary we pay homage to India's first female Prime Minister, the Late Smt Indira Gandhi. Her will & determination led our country to great heights. Her contributions to India's national security, economy & foreign policy will always be cherished.#IndiasIndira pic.twitter.com/2l1IoMvyzx— Congress (@INCIndia) November 19, 2019
Born as Indira Nehru in a Kashmiri Pandit family, Nehru was the daughter of Jawaharlal, who was a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle. Indira Nehru grew up with her mother at her Anand Bhavan in Allahabad. Reportedly, she changed a lot of schools when she was young, however, she was mostly home tutored. Her mother, who was frequently bedridden, lost her life to tuberculosis.
As per media reports, Indira Gandhi joined the Vishwa Bharati for her higher studies in Santiniketan and the famous writer and poet, Rabindranath Tagore names her Priyadarshini upon meeting her. However, Indira had attended the school for a year and had to move to Europe to look after her ailing mother. In Europe, she continued her education at the University of Oxford and excelled in history, political science, and economics.
Indira Gandhi entered politics and assisted her father as the PM from 1947 and 1964 and she later elected as the President of the India National Congress in 1959. After her father died in 1964, she became a member of the Rajya Sabha and served in the cabinet as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting under Lal Bahadur Shastri’s leadership. Eventually, during the Congress party’s parliamentary election in 1966, she defeated Morarji Desai and succeeded as the PM after Shastri.
Bangladesh Liberation War was one of the highest accolades that Indira Gandhi achieved during her first term as the Prime Minister. She kept the forces aggressive on the east and defensive on the west during the war. Subsequently, Bangladesh got its freedom and the opposition leader in India Atal Bihar Vajpayee hailed Indira Gandhi as the Goddess Durga.
After being accused of using government funds for campaigning, the Allahabad High Court ruled that Indira Gandhi should be stripped of her parliamentary seat and banned from running for any office for six years. This created unrest within the party, and she refused to resign. The next thing Indira Gandhi did was declare the state of emergency in the country citing the ‘unrest’ to restore ‘order’. The emergency lasted for two years and she was elected as the Prime Minister again in 1980. After Gandhi ordered military action in the Golden Temple in Operation Blue Star, she was assassinated by her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists on 31 October 1984.