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Indira Gandhi-One of the Best Prime Ministers of the World

Updated on August 23, 2015

Indira Gandhi


Early Life of Indira Gandhi

Personal Life:-

The ‘ iron lady of India’ was born on 19th November in 1917. She was born of Indian first Prime Minister Jawarlal Neheru and Kamala Neheru in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. Rabindranath Tagore called her ‘Priyadarshini’. She became Priyadarshini Indira Gandhi. She married Feroze Gandhi. She had two children: Sanjay Gandhi (1946) and Rajib Gandhi(1944) who became Indian Prime Minister later.


She learned at home for the most of the time. She attended school intermittently. She was admitted to the Modern School in Delhi. Then she went to St Cecilia’s and St Mary’s Christian convent schools in Allahabad.She also attended the Ecole Internationale in Geneva and the Ecole Nouvelle in Bex. She went to Pupil’s Own School in Poona and Bombay. She attended Shantiniketan for her study. She attended Badminton School for a short time. Then she was admitted to Somerville College in 1937 for the study of history. As she failed in the first attempt , she had to sit for the second time in the entrance exam. She read history, political science, economics and Latin. She was awarded with honorary degree in 2010. She was later given the honour one of the ten Oxasians. Oxasian referred to illustrious Asian graduate from Oxford University.

Introduction of Political Career:-

In 1960, she was elected the president of Indian National Congress.The death of her father, made har the minister in charge of information and broadcasting. After the death of her father’s successor Lal Bahadur Shashtri in 1966, she became the prime minister of India. The party president S. Nijalingappa expelled her out of the party in 1969 for making quarrel with the senior leaders. She formed her own party and managed to retain maximum members of the parliament in her side. ‘Garibi Hatao’ meaning eradicate poverty was launched for the next election in 1971. This gave expectation to the poor. It emboldened the base of the Congress from poor people. This program was carried out at local level with the funding of the central government. The party got majority. There was an Indira wave after the 1971 war in India. The election held in March 1972 showed the supremacy of Congress.

Inflation caused by war, droughts in some parts of the country, oil crisis were some grave concerns to dismantle the supremacy of the congress government.

Influence of Indira Gandhi


Contribution of Indira Gandhi

26th Amendment or the Eradication of Privy Purses

After Indian Independence, the Kingly states were merged into India. Some were against the joining. Government made them join . However, the royal families were getting payment from the center. This was ‘privy purse’. Indira Gandhi with the implementation of 26th Amendment abolished such grants in spite of the protests by royal families.

Nationalization of Banks

14 private banks which were nationalized in the year of 1969, got the status of government banks. The number of branches reached up to 62,000 after the nationalization from 8200 before nationalization. Indira’s aim was rural economical development. Most of the branched were in local areas. Agriculture was in the dish.

Agricultural Development:-

Giving Hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to the farmers for the growth of agricultural production was launched by Indira Gandhi. She initiated the establishment of agricultural research institute.

Establishment of Indian Space Research Organization:-

Under the leadership of Dr Vikram Sarabhai , Indian Space Research Organization was set up on 15th August in 1969. Indian Space Research Organization, acronymic ISRO is a space research institution for the space scientists. ISRO invented a satellite Aryabhatta which was launched by Soviet Union on 19th April in 1975. Rakesh Sharma ,the Indian astronaut went to the space as a joint venture by India and Russia. He spent 7 days there. He was in Salyut 7 space station.Indira Gandhi questioned, ‘ How does India look like?’ He answered ,’ Sare Jaha Se Achchha’.

First Nuclear Explosion Test:-

Indira Gandhi allowed scientists to test nuclear bomb in May in 1974. United States, Canada and Pakistan condemned the secret and successful test of nuclear power. But thus India became the nuclear power in the world to have ranked equally with other nuclear power countries.

Establishment of Research and Analysis Wing: RAW

For the safe and security of the country Indira Gandhi founded Research and Analysis Wing. It is an institution under force and detective organizations. It is an intelligence agency, works especially for external affair. It monitors secret activities against the countries by other countries, especially the neighbouring countries.

1971 War


Militant Diplomacy

1971 War against Pakistan for Bangladesh:-

It is noteworthy that previously Pakistan announced war against India in 1948, 1965 and 1971 consecutively.

10 million people fled to India from Bangladesh as the West Pakistan attacked it.Indira Gandhi neglected the pressure of global superpowers like America, China and took the strict decision to support the Liberation of Bangla Desh against Pakistan. The present Bangladesh was East Pakistan under the reign of Pakistan ( you can say West Pakistan). Bangladesh sought help from India. Indian Prime Minister agreed to help Bangladesh. Indian Army went to East Pakistan to free it from the bondage of West Pakistan. Pakistani (West Pakistan) gave in front of the Indian Army on 16th December in 1971. It was the 13th day of the war. Bangladesh was freed.

Simla Accord:-

Mrs Gandhi invited the Pakistani president to Simla for a 7day summit. Both the leaders signed the Simla Agreement. According to this accord, both the countries would solve the problem of Kashmir in peaceful way.

Amritsar Temple Canto or Operation Blue Star

A separatist group demanded separation of Punjab from India. They wanted form Khalistan, a Sikh oriented state. The agitation gave oxygen to terrorism. Thousands of people were butchered for this agitation. Jarnail Sing Bhindranwale was the leader of this movement. He along with his separatist members seized the Golden Temple of Amritsar and started accumulating weapons. Some efforts were drawn to negotiate the problem. But these were all in vain. Indian Army was ordered to attack the temple to seize the terrorists. 70000 soldiers went to Golden temple to have made the place extremist free. It caused the deaths of more than 450 people. This operation was called ‘Operation Blue Star’. This caused a shock to the Sikh community of Punjab. This was also a grave sentimental issue for some Hindus. An agitation was found for the sentimental attack on Amritsar Sikh temple in the sect of Sikhs.



Debate around Indira Gandhi

Why was Emergency Declared:

Corruption was found in the party, and her state and in national governments. Allahabad High Court accepted the charge of malpractice in election against Indira Gandhi by Raj Narain. The court found guilty of malpractices, excessive expenditure, using government machinery and officials for the election. Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the court ordered to have dismissed Indira Gandhi from the parliament and to have removed from prime ministry. But she decided to announce Emergency. It was declared by the President Faqruddin Ali Ahmed on 25th June in 1975 because of the disorder and unrest and agitation following the verdict of the Allahabad High court. It was done on the basis of Article 352(1).During this period most of the opposition leaders were arrested and imprisoned. Censorship was ordered by the government. Unfortunately her effort to hold the power was neglected by the people of India in the election after 19th months of the Emergency.

Arrest of Indira Gandhi:-

Janata Party formed the central government. She was imprisoned by the new Janata government because the main aim of the central government was to take Indira away from politics. But the Indians did not like the arrest of Indira.

Again a Victory:-

Election was declared again as the Janata government seized. Fortunately Indian National Congress bagged a record making victory. Mrs Gandhi became the Indian Prime Minister.

Indira Gandhi Shot Dead, a Political Assassination:

The incident was not received cordially by the Sikhs. Sikh community held agitation against the Amritsar temple attack. One of the greatest Prime Minister for India was unfortunately shot dead by her own body guards who belonged to Sikh community on 31st October in 1984. Pulling out a 38 revolver, one shot her. Another bodyguard shot 30 round into her body with an automatic weapon.She died . Indira Gandhi said on 30th October in 1984,"I am alive today, I may not be there tomorrow. I shall continue to serve till my last breath and when I die every drop of my blood will strengthen India and keep a united India alive."


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