Indira Gandhi Biography
Born on 19th November 1917 at the Anand Bhavan in Allahabad into the politically influential Nehru family to parents Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamla Nehru, Indira Gandhi did her schooling from the Modern School, Delhi. In 1930s, she attended the VisvaBharati University in Shantiniketan in Kolkata, West Bengal.
Her mother’s death in 1936 shattered her and she failed the Oxford exam. She continued studying in England and spent a few months at the Badminton School before clearing the Oxford exam. During her stay in UK, she often met Feroze Gandhi from Allahabad who was studying at the London School of Economics and whom she later married. They married in Allahabad according to the Hindu rituals.
In 1950s, she assisted her father during his tenure as the first Prime minister of independent India. The special agricultural innovation programs launched in the 1960s somewhat eradicated the chronic food shortages which infected most parts of the country. This became possible because our country transformed into a food exporter rather than depending upon the food aid from the United States.
She became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1964 after her father’s death and also joined Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s cabinet as minister of Information and broadcasting. After Shashtri’s sudden demise, the Congress Party President played an important role in making her the Prime Minister. In 1969 fourteen major banks were nationalized to promote banking facilities in the country and develop India economically.
In the 1971 elections, her program ‘Gribi Hatao’ was funded and developed by New Delhi and the Indian National Congress Party. She ruled India as the Prime Minister during the crucial victory of East Pakistan over Pakistan in the 1971 war and the creation of an independent Bangladesh. The High Court of Allahabad declared her election as void on grounds of electoral malpractice on 12th June 1975. She was found guilty of using government resources for campaigning.
But the court order did not minimize her popularity with her fans. Defeated in the 1977 elections, she came back to power in 1980. She invited the Pakistani President Zilfikar Ali Bhutto to Shimla for a week long summit and they eventually signed the Shimla Agreement which bound the two countries to resolve the Kashmir dispute by negotiations and peaceful means. She blew life into her father’s vision of a Nuclear Weapons Program.
She gave the authorization of developing nuclear weapons in 1967. In 1974, India successfully conducted the trial of its first nuclear weapon near the desert village of Pokhran. In July 1982, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale led a campaign for the implementation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution for greater rights to the states making a federal arrangement and in response to this under her guidance and leadership; the India army entered the Golden temple, the most sacred Sikh Gurudwara to remove armed insurgents present inside the temple. She was assassinated during this mission on 31st October 1984 for retaliation by her Sikh bodyguards. In her honor, the airport at New Delhi is named Indira Gandhi International Airport and the largest university in the world is also named after her.