Indira Gandhi was the only daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister. Her association with politics started from her childhood. She was born on 19th of November, 1917 in Allahabad. Her maiden name was Indira Priyadarshini. After her marriage, her name became Indira Gandhi.
She had her earlier education at Delhi and school education at Bombay (Mumbai). After passing her matriculation she studied for some time at Shantiniketan and later she went to England for higher education. She married Feroze Gandhi, a Parsi gentleman and gave birth two sons, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.
Being the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and having close association with Mahatma Gandhi, she could not avoid entering politics. She became an active member of the Congress in 1942 and participated in the Quit India Movement. She was jailed for the. After the death of Kamala Nehru, her mother, Indira Gandhi had to spend most of her time with her father, Jawaharlal Nehru. Feroze Gandhi, her husband, was a good parliamentarian and he died young. This in a way made Indira Gandhi to spend her whole time in politics.
As a leader of Congress she organized the women’s wing of the Indian National Congress. She was elected as President of the Indian National Congress in 1964. Jawaharlal Nehru died in 1964 and Lal Bahadur shastri’s cabinet and was in charge of Information and Broadcasting. In 1966 when Sri Shastri died, Indira Gandhi was elected as the Prime Minister. She was the first women top become the Prime Minister of our country.
She held this post of Prime Minister from 1966 to 1975 in the first spell. During this period she took many bold decisions with great courage and firmness. She waged a decisive war against Pakistan in 1971 and gave them a crushing defeat. She nationalized banks. She also abolished the Privy Purses, paid till then to former rules of princely States.
In 1975 the Allahabad High Court delivered a judgment declaring her election to parliament as invalid. This was great blow to Indira Gandhi. She took a decision to declare emergency in the country and save herself. This was an ill-advised decision. All the opposition parties protested against the ill-deeds, carried on by Government in the name of emergency. Indira Gandhi was forced to face an election. She lost the election and her party also fared very badly. The Janata government came to power under the leadership of Morarji Desai. The Janata Government did not last the full term. Its internal conflicts resulted in another election in 1980, which return Congress to power and Indira Gandhi became once again the Prime Minister for the second spell.
During her second term as Prime Minister, she avoided the mistakes she committed during emergency. She introduced the slogan ‘Garibi Hatavo’ and introduced her 20 point program to benefit the common man and the poor. She was able to win the hearts of the poor, the Harijans and Girijans once again. But a terrorist movement started in Punjab. The operation called “Blue Star”; made Indira Gandhi an enemy of Sikhs and her life was threatened. She was very firm in her decisions and proved staff on 31st October, 1984. This day is being observed as National Unity Day. She was awarded “Bharat Ratna” for her illustrious service to our country.