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Biography of Bharat Ratna “Indira Gandhi” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Indira Gandhi


Being the beloved leader of the Indian people and the faithful and outstanding successor of the cause of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi made great contribution to the cause for safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, developing the national economy, raising the people’s livelihood and making India an important factor of peace in Asia and the rest of the world.

I do not regard myself as a woman. I am a person with a job, said Indira Gandhi in a press conference immediately after her election as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party on January 19, 1966.

Many people, however, regarded her as a woman with a mansized job. There have been reigning queens in history—from the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth II—but a woman who rose to a position of political power in a democratic set-up, and through a democratic process, is still a rarity in this man-made world.

The story of Indira Gandhi is the story of a person of great significance. As Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy and Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, Indira Gandhi was a source of global leadership. Her determined efforts to promote peace, security and economic development in South Asia and throughout the world will serve as a constant reminder of Mrs.

Gandhi’s commitment to protect the shared values of democratic nations.

Indira Gandhi was an extraordinary woman and she possessed natural gifts and had a varied experience. She was a phenomenon. Her multi-faceted personality and charm could, perhaps, never be captured fully either by camera or pen. She lived a life of challenges.

The story of Indira Gandhi not in the vacuum of her personal destiny but in the context of the series of revolutionary developments in India and the world, the events that influenced her, educated her, moulded her personality and her thinking is also the story of Jawaharlal Nehru, her father and, literally, her ‘friend, philosopher and guide’. He decisively influenced the thoughts and actions of millions of young Indians and, above all others, of his daughter. It is the story of Indira—and the story of India.

Indira Gandhi had an alert, probing, independent mind, a capacity for precise, apt and sometimes unsparing comment, criticism and characterization and, with friends, a deep but engaging sense of humour. Her exemplary life of courage and dedication is a lesson of historical importance for both present and future generations. She was an apostle of peace and disarmament. Above all she was a humanist. Indira has few parallels in history.

Indira Priyadarshni Nehru Gandhi, the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, born at Allahabad on 19 November 1917, was the daughter of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Shrimati Kamala Nehru. She was influenced in her childhood by Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala Nehru and other great leaders of the Indian freedom movement.

According to her biographers, she seemed to realise right from the beginning that important things were happening outside her lonely little world in Anand Bhawan and learnt to be by herself most of the time. At the age of three she used to deliver thundering speeches to her dolls.

In the late twenties, she had her schooling in Europe. In 1934, she enrolled, in Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati, but had to leave after a few months to accompany her ailing mother to Europe. Kamala Nehru passed away at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1936. Thefollowing year Indira Gandhi went to Somerville College, Oxford University. Jawaharlal Nehru’s correspondence with her from jail was the formative intellectual influence in her life. His letters, later published as Letters from a Father to his Daughter and Glimpses of World History, stimulated her curiosity and helped mould a questioning and questing spirit, heir to the riches of world civilization, but firmly rooted in Indian culture.

From her early years she was active in the national liberation struggle. During the 1930 movement, she formed the ‘Vanar Sena’ (Monkey Brigade), a children’s brigade to help freedom fighters. In 1938, she became a member of the Indian National Congress. In March 1941, she plunged into political activity. On March 26, 1942, she married Feroze Gandhi, who was himself a valiant freedom fighter and known to the family for many years. She attended the session of the All India Congress Committee in August 1942 which adopted the famous ‘Quit India’ resolution. Soon thereafter she was arrested and imprisoned until her release in May 1943. In August 1944, her first son Rajiv was born. Her second son Sanjay was born in December 1946.

With India’s independence in 1947, she took over the responsibility of running the Prime Minister’s House. Besides, she was deeply involved in social and child welfare work. The Congress, drew her into leading political roles, first as member of the Congress Working Committee in 1955 and later as member of the Central Parliamentary Board in 1958. In 1959, she was elected President of the Indian National Congress. In September 1960, Feroze Gandhi passed away.

In 1964, after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi was persuaded by Lal Bahadur Shastri to join his Cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

On January 19, 1966, after the death of Lai Bahadur Shastri, she was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and sworn-in as Prime Minister on January 24, 1966. She led the nation in that capacity until March 1977. Having steered her party to success in the general election of.1967, she undertook a series of moves in the Congress in the direction of radical social and economic policies. Her fight against the status quo and vested interests produced sharp ideological conflicts leading to the Congress split of 1969. Theoverwhelming majority of Congressmen and women rallied round her. In the general election of 1971 she returned to power with a decisive majority—a clear vindication of people’s approval of her decisions.

In one of his letters to her, Nehru had said: “Fear is a bad thing and unworthy of you. Be brave and all the rest will follow.” And brave she was throughout her political career. As a junior member of the party, she travelled with Mahatma Gandhi in the riot-affected areas just before and after independence. In 1962, when the Chinese were running over N EFA, she went to Tezpur to help boost the morale of the people. In the 1965 war with Pakistan, she visited many a front to be with the Jawans. On the outbreak of widespread language riots in Tamil Nadu in 1965, Indira Gandhi rushed to the State and by her tact, understanding and statesmanship assuaged the feelings of the people and brought the situation under control. In 1967, despite being pelted with stones, she continued her election campaign, covering hundreds of kilometers and addressing dozens of meetings every day.

In June 1975, she was compelled to declare an internal emergency to meet the threat of subversion of constituted authority. Early in 1977, she called for elections to the Lok Sabha in which the Congress Party was defeated. During 1977-80, when she was out of power, people witnessed her indomitable courage in the face of systematic campaign of persecution and vilification. In 1979 she had to face another split in her party because of her steadfast adherence to the basic principles and pro-people ideology of the Congress. In the general election held in January 1980, the people recalled her to power with a landslide majority.

In the eventful years of Indira Gandhi’s leadership, Indian society underwent profound changes. While maintaining continuity of the basic strategies and policies of the Nehru period, she transformed the structure of politics by placing the issue of poverty in the forefront of national debate. Her commitment to a just social order was manifested in a series of historic measures beginning with the nationalisation of banks and the abolition of privy purses. This process culminated in the formulation and implementation of the 20-Point Programme with focus on ameliorating the condition of the poor masses.

She was unremitting in her endeavour for the unity andsolidarity of the nation. A staunch defender of the secular ideals of the Constitution, she worked tirelessly for the social and economic advancement of the minorities. Her abiding concern for their welfare was reflected in the special measures taken by Government for guarding their religious, cultural and educational rights and for expanding their employment opportunities. She worked indefatigably for eradicating communal violence which she called a slur on the fair name of India.

Her vision of a modern, self-reliant and dynamic economy found concrete expression in the rapid strides made by Indian agriculture, industry and science. The technological transformation of our agriculture has made the country self-sufficient in foodgrains, an achievement few thought was in the realm of possibility. The wide base of our industrial structure and the strength and resilience of the infrastructure, especially of the energy section, are in no small measure due to the strong impulse of modernisation she transmitted to the planning process.

In her scheme of things, the welfare of kisans and workers had high priority. Far-reaching reforms were adopted to give land to the tiller and to improve the lot of agricultural labour. Programmes for small and marginal farmers have yielded substantial benefits in terms of higher productivity and incomes production. The working class has developed as a major social force, thanks to her strategy of vigorous industrialisation. Under her inspiration the public sector has come to occupy the commanding heights of the economy, and the workers have been a major beneficiary of her socially progressive approach to their problems.

The Indian economy has exhibited stability and strength to develop on the basis of its own resources. That India has come through the severest global crisis since the Great Depression with an impressive record of growth and without the disruptions imposed by the worldwide process of adjustment is the measure of her leadership. She gave substance to our striving for self-reliance and created a strong base for rapid advance.

Her unflinching commitment to the cause of India’s science and technology has been responsible for the remarkable spurt of creativity shown by our scientists and technologists. In every sphere of modern science, and specially in the sophisticated areasof peaceful uses of nuclear energy and space, India has emerged as a force capable of closing the technological gap. Her constant encouragement to scientists to reach new frontiers made possible a number of advances.

She growth of ocean development within a short time and the expedition to Antarctica mark the distance we have travelled since Indira Gandhi assumed leadership of the nation. For her, science and technology were the means for the betterment of the masses. She was among the few international figures to have emphasised the supreme importance of environment in our thinking for the future of humanity. Like a seer she drew on the wisdom and insight of our ancient culture to point out in her moving address at the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972, the danger posed by the plunder of nature to the future of humanity and pleaded for a pattern of development in which man will live in harmony with nature. We owe to her the consciousness of the need to protect our forests, rivers, lakes, air and wild life for a truly human existence.

There was no creative activity, political, economic, scientific or cultural, in which she did not take interest and which she did not enrich. Her commitment to the heritage of this country and its cultural value was profound. With it came support to all aspects of art, craft, theatre, dance and music. For her enduring contribution in the intellectual sphere she received doctoral degrees and awards from a large number of universities and scientific academies in this country and abroad. For her outstanding work in the field of family planning she was given the UN Population Award in 1983.

She was a tireless crusader for the uplift of the underprivileged. She initiated concrete and lasting programmes for the economic and social betterment of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the backward classes and other weaker sections. She aroused the conscience of the community for upholding the rights of women and their social and economic advancement. She instituted several programmes for the blind and the physically disabled. Her sympathy with the hill people and their distinctive pattern of life lay behind the special programmes devised for hill development. She accorded concrete recognition to the sterling services rendered to the country by the freedom fighters. Shedevoted a great deal of time and energy to youth welfare. She was keen that India’s youth should excel in sports. Honouring her commitment to hold the Asian Games in India, she gave to Delhi the most modern stadias and other facilities which are the envy of many a capital city. The constant encouragement and guidance given by her to the development of sports was fittingly recognised by the conferment on her of the Gold Order of the International Olympic Council in 1983.

She was acutely conscious of the need for modernisation of our defence forces to deal with the new challenges posed by the deterioration in our security environment. She provided a vigorous thrust to the indigeneous effort to make India self-reliant in this sensitive and vital sphere. She went beyond the machines to the men who use them. For the defence forces she initiated wide-ranging policies to improve their service conditions and morale. Her personal concern for the problems of ex-servicemen is reflected in a series of measures taken by Government to improve their employment terms.

Indira Gandhi epitomised the aspirations of the entire human race. She was dedicated to the ideals of the United Nations and principles of its Charter. She was one of the world’s foremost champions of peace and total disarmament. She stood for an international order in which power was tempered by compassion, and knowledge and capability were at the service of humanity. She was unstinting in her support for the libention of dependent countries. She was against all forms of exploitation and considered political and military blocs as impediments to world peace. She was also the foremost voice advocating a lessening of economic disparities among nations. She was in the front rank of the Non-Aligned Movement to which she provided content, dynamism and cohesion. She was elected Chairperson of that Movement at the Seventh Non-Aligned Summit which met in New Delhi in March 1983.

She never flinched in the face of dangers and challenges. In times of extreme crises, personal or national, she showed indomitable courage and fortitude. She moved among the millions giving them courage and drawing sustenance from them. In a stewardship of many achievements, particularly memorable was the courage and outstanding statesmanship which she showed in dealing with the Bangladesh crisis in 1971, in the war and the successful end to the refugee problem won her great admiration at home and respect abroad. An Opposition leader told her in Parliament: “Madam, you have not only created history, you have created geography.”

As a mark of esteem in which she was held by hundreds of  millions of her countrymen and women, the nation conferred its highest award Bharat Ratna on her in 1971.

In spite of her total involvement in the cause of the nation at home and peace and progress for the entire human family, Indira Gandhi was always full of vibrant vitality and joy, taking interest in all that was beautiful in nature. But this magnificent life of radiance and charm was cut short on October 31, 1984 in her own residence by two of those who were charged with her security.

To Indira Gandhi the preservation of the unity and integrity of the country was a sacred mission to which everything else had to be subordinated. For defending the unity of the country she fought boldly and vigorously against communalism, obscurantism, revivalism and religious fundamentalism of all types. She repeatedly warned the nation that communalism and obscurantism were the tools employed by the forces of destablisation.

She became a martyr in the cause of the values for which she had dedicated her whole life. She laid down her life in defence of the ideals on which the unity and integrity of the Republic are founded. The martyrdom of Indira Gandhi for upholding the unity of India will reverberate across the centuries. Rarely in history has one single individual come to be identified so totally with the fortunes of a country. She became the indomitable symbol of India’s self-respect and self-confidence. Death came to her when she was at her peak, when her stature and influence were acclaimed the world over.

The death of Indira Gandhi brought to an end one of the most charismatic, determined, colourful and triumphant political careers of the twentieth century. Frail of build and stunningly attractive, she strode the national stage like a colossus for most of the 16 years of her Prime Ministership, invoking great affection countrymen and admiration mingled with awe among her political opponents at home and abroad.

The entire world went into mourning. In her death the world lost a great statesman, India a peerless leader of the masses, and the entire humanity lost a human being par excellence. India lost a leader of unwavering dedication and consistent brilliance at a crucial moment of political and economic development. The nation owed a great debt of gratitude to this decisive, radiant and compassionate personality. She had loved India and cared for all its people. The world lost a harbinger of peace who was undoubtedly the greatest woman leader mankind has ever produced. She was the symbol of the hopes and aspirations of millions of Indians and millions and millions people of India will have abiding affection and respect for the massiah of the weaker sections who served them till her last breath.

Only a day before her death she said:

Even if I die for the service of the nation, I shall be proud of it. Every drop of my blood, I am sure, will contribute to the growth of this nation and make it strong and dynamic. (30 October 1984)

The last ounce of blood in her went for Indian unity. She became an immortal in the cause of Indian unity. The best tribute one can pay to her is to keep India united, strong and marching forward.

I have always considered myself a desh sevika (servant of the nation) even as my father regarded himself as the first servant of the nation. I also consider myself a servant of the party and of the great people of this country. (19 January 1966) On January 28, 1985 the President of India Giani Zail Singh, conferred on her posthumously the 1984 Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. The award was received by her son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Indira Gandhi belongs to history, and history cannot be written without the benefit of historical perspective. Even in death she was larger than lite.


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