Indira Gandhi

 

Portrait of Indira GandhiIndira Gandhi (1917-1984) was born in an illustrious family as the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. Being academically inclined, she studied at in Switzerland, Poona, Bombay, Bristol and Oxford. She was conferred Honorary doctoral degree by a host of Universities. With an impressive academic background she also got the Citation of Distinction from the Columbia University. Indira Gandhi was actively involved in the freedom struggle. In her early childhood she founded the Bal Charkha Sangh and in 1930, the 'Vanar Sena' of children to help the Congress party during the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned in September 1942, and worked in riot-affected areas of Delhi in 1947 under Gandhi's guidance. She got married to Feroze Gandhi on March 26, 1942 and had two sons.

 

Gandhi was a Member, Congress Working Committee and Central Election of the party in 1955; Member, Central Parliamentary Board of Congress, 1958; Chairperson, National Integration Council of A.I.C.C.; President, All India Youth Congress, 1956 and Women's Dept. A.I.C.C.; President, Indian National Congress, 1959-1960; and Indian National Congress from January 1978.

 

From 1964 to 1966 she was the Indian Minister for Information and Broadcasting. Then she held the highest office as the Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from 14 January 1980. Concurrently, she was the Minister for Atomic Energy from September 1967 to March 1977; and Minister for Space from June 1972 to March 1977, and from January 1980 was Chairperson, Planning Commission. From 1966-1977 she was the President of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. She held the additional charge of the Ministry of External Affairs from 5 September 1967 to 14 February 1969; Ministry of Finance from 16 July 1969 to 26 June 1970; Ministry of Home Affairs from June 1970 to November 1973; Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from March 1971 for a while; and Ministry of Defence from January 1980.

 

Portrait of Indira GandhiTo this day, her legacy as Prime Minister remains mixed. She was a strong, forceful personality and her reign was popular with many segments of India's population, especially the young and the poor. Her phrase "poverty is the greatest pollutor" in her remarkable speech at the first UN World Environmental Conference in Stockholm in 1972 set her (and India at the time) apart in attempting to harmonise environmental and developmental concerns in developing countries.

 

Indira Gandhi was associated with a large number of organisations and institutions, like hospitals, universities and trusts. From 1960 to 1964 she was a member of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO and member of the Executive Board of UNESCO (photo: UNESCO).

 

She found recreation in whatever she did and equal relaxation in being close to nature, in different forms of art, in physical activities like hiking in the mountains, or even reading about an unfamiliar subject.

 

She was the recipient of a number of awards, among which the second Ceres Medal of FAO in 1973. In 1983 Indira Gandhi received the first United Nations Population Award for her outstanding contribution to the awareness of population questions and to their solutions.

 

In the early years of the 1980s the religious unrest in Punjab escalated with the occupation of the Golden Temple at Amritsar by a radical Sikh group. After lengthy deliberation Indira Gandhi ordered the army to take action. The occupation ended with the loss of many lives.  The Golden Temple took heavy damage. Gandhi was held responsible for the damage since the order to end the occupation came from her. In reaction she was assassinated in New Delhi on 31 October 1984 by her own Sikh body guards.

 

Stamp of India with Indira Gandhi

Links

 

Article on Indira Gandhi in Wikipedia.

Report on the assassination of Indira Gandhi by the BBC.

Article 'Assembly pays tribute to Indira Gandhi' from UN Chronicle, August 1984.

Speech to the General Assembly on 14 October 1968.

Speech to the General Assembly on 28 September 1983.

 

 

Stamp catalogue

 

German Democratic Republic                              18 November 1986

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics                      28 December 1984

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics                      19 November 1987

 

 

 

 

Up - Home

 

 

last revised: 1 March 2010