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Indira Gandhi

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इन्दिरा गांधी | Was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Died in 1984.
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इंदिरा प्रियदर्शिनी गाँधी (जन्म उपनाम: नेहरू) (19 नवंबर १९१७-31 अक्टूबर 1984) वर्ष 1966 से 1977 तक लगातार 3 पारी के लिए भारत गणराज्य की प्रधानमन्त्री रहीं और उसके बाद चौथी पारी में 1980 से लेकर 1984 में उनकी राजनैतिक हत्या तक भारत की प्रधानमंत्री रहीं। वे भारत की प्रथम और अब तक एकमात्र महिला प्रधानमंत्री रहीं।

 

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Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (née Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office.

 

Indira Gandhi was the only child of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. She served as the Chief of Staff of her father's highly centralized administration between 1947 and 1964 and came to wield considerable unofficial influence in government. Elected Congress President in 1959, she was offered the premiership in succession to her father. Gandhi refused and instead chose to become a cabinet minister in the government. She finally consented to become Prime Minister in succession to Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966.

 

As Prime Minister, Gandhi became known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power. She presided over a period where India emerged with greater power than before to become the regional hegemon of South Asia with considerable political, economic, and military developments. Gandhi also presided over a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 during which she ruled by decree and made lasting changes to the constitution of India. She was assassinated in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star.

 

In 2001, Gandhi was voted the greatest Indian Prime Minister in a poll organised by India Today. She was also named "Woman of the Millennium" in a poll organised by the BBC in 1999.

 

Early life

Indira Nehru was born on 19 November 1917 in Allahabad. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, led India's political struggle for independence from British rule, and became the first Prime Minister of the Union (and later Republic) of India. She was an only child (a younger brother was born, but died young), and grew up with her mother, Kamala Nehru, at the Anand Bhavan; a large family estate in Allahabad. Indira had a lonely and unhappy childhood. Her father was often away, directing political activities or being incarnated in prison, while her mother was frequently bed-ridden with illness, and later suffered an early death from tuberculosis. She had limited contact with her father, mostly through letters.

 

In the 1950s, Indira, now Mrs. Indira Gandhi after her marriage, served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of India. After her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

 

Political career

Prime Minister

When Indira became Prime Minister in 1966, the Congress was split in two factions, the socialists led by Gandhi, and the conservatives led by Morarji Desai. Rammanohar Lohia called her Gungi Gudiya, which means 'Mute Doll'. The internal problems showed in the 1967 election where the Congress lost nearly 60 seats winning 297 seats in the 545-seat Lok Sabha. She had to accommodate Desai as Deputy Prime Minister of India and Minister of Finance. In 1969, after many disagreements with Desai, the Indian National Congress split. She ruled with support from Socialist and Communist Parties for the next two years. In the same year, in July 1969 she nationalised banks.

 

Assassination

The day before her death Indira Gandhi visited Orissa on 30 October 1984 where she gave her last speech:

"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."

Indira Gandhi delivered her last speech at the then Parade Ground in front of the Secretariat of Orissa. After her death, the Parade Ground was converted to the Indira Gandhi Park which was inaugurated by her son, Rajiv Gandhi. On 31 October 1984, two of Gandhi's body. uards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, shot her with their service weapons in the garden of the Prime Minister's residence at 1 Safdarjung Road, New Delhi.

 

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November 23, 2011

updated: 2013-05-05

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