Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi

date of birth : 19/11/1917 | date of death : 31/10/1984
Born on November 19, 1917, India, Third Prime Minister of India, politician, As Prime Minister, Gandhi became known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Indira Gandhi was born in the northern Indian city of Allahabad on November 19, 1917.

Father's name: Jawaharlal Nehru
Mother's name: Kamala Kaul Nehru
Brother: None
Sister: None
Spouse: Feroze Gandhi (m. 1942–1960)
Children: Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi

Reputation, fame, nickname:

Priyadarshini Nehru, Indira Gandhi

Personal Information:

Religion: Hindu

Life events:

Early life

The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru and the first prime minister of independent India, Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917. A stubborn and highly intelligent young woman, she enjoyed an excellent education in Swiss schools and at Somerville College, Oxford. After her mother died, in 1936, Gandhi became something of her father’s hostess, learning to navigate complex relationships of diplomacy with some of the great leaders of the world. Gandhi was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1960. After her father’s death, Gandhi was appointed minister of information and broadcasting. When her father’s successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, died abruptly in 1966, India’s congress appointed her to the post of prime minister. She surprised her father’s old colleagues when she led with a strong hand, sacking some of highest-ranking officials. Gandhi subsequently brought about great change in agricultural programs that improved the lot of her country’s poor. For a time, she was hailed as a hero. In 1971, the Pakistan army conducted violent acts against the people of East Pakistan. Nearly 10 million people fled to India. Gandhi invited the Pakistani president to Shimla for a weeklong summit. The two leaders eventually signed the Shimla Agreement, agreeing to resolve the dispute of Kashmir by peaceful means. Her work eventually led to the creation of the new and independent nation of Bangladesh. Gandhi also led a movement that became known as the Green Revolution. In an effort to address the chronic food shortages that mainly affected the extremely poor Sikh farmers of the Punjab region, Gandhi decided to increase crop diversification and food exports as a way out of the problem, creating new jobs as well as food for her countrymen. Despite these advancements, Gandhi ruled with an authoritarian hand, and corruption boiled within her congress and her national and state governments. In 1977, the high courts found her guilty of a minor infraction during the year’s elections and called for her resignation. Gandhi responded by requesting that the president call for a state of emergency. Gandhi lost the next election and was later imprisoned. In 1980, the country responded differently and she won by a landslide majority. That same year, her only son died in a plane crash. During the 1980s, a Sikh separatist movement developed in India, which Gandhi attempted to repress. Sikh extremists held a campaign inside the Golden Temple, and Gandhi ordered some 70,000 soldiers to purge the sacred space. On October 31, 1984, a trusted bodyguard, who was a Sikh, pulled out a .38 revolver and shot her point-blank. Another bodyguard, also a Sikh, then took out an automatic weapon and shot 30 rounds into her body. Gandhi died on the way to the hospital.

Family and personal life

She was married to Feroze Gandhi. Firstly, her younger son Sanjay had been her chosen heir; but after his death in a flying accident in June 1980, his mother persuaded a reluctant elder son Rajiv Gandhi to quit his job as a pilot and enter politics in February 1981. Over a decade later, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Gandhi's yoga guru, Dhirendra Brahmachari, helped her in making certain decisions and also executed certain top level political tasks on her behalf, especially from 1975 to 1977 when Gandhi "dissolved Parliament, declared a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties."


Indira was mostly taught at home by tutors, and intermittently attended school until matriculation in 1934. She went on to study at the Viswa Bharati University in Calcutta. A year later, however, she had to leave university to attend to her ailing mother in Europe. While there, it was decided that Indira would continue her education at the University of Oxford in Britain. After her mother passed away, she briefly attended the Badminton School before enrolling at Somerville College in 1937 to read history. Indira had to take the entrance examination twice; having failed at her first attempt, with a poor performance in latin. At Oxford, she did well in history, political science and economics, but her grades in latin—a compulsory subject remained poor.

Occupation and Career:

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress part. His careers include:

  • Prime Minister of India 1980-84
  • Prime Minister of India 1966-77
  • In 1942 she married Feroze Gandhi (d. 1960), a fellow member of the Indian National Congress. In 1959 she was given the largely honorary position of party president, and in 1966 she achieved actual power when she was made leader of the Congress Party and, consequently, prime minister. She instituted major reforms, including a strict population-control program. In 1971 she mobilized Indian forces against Pakistan in the cause of East Bengal's secession. She oversaw the incorporation of Sikkim in 1974. Convicted in 1975 of violating election laws, she declared a state of emergency, jailing opponents and passing many laws limiting personal freedoms. She was defeated in the following election but returned to power in 1980. In 1984 she ordered the army to move into the Golden Temple complex of the Sikhs at Amritsar, with the intent of crushing the Sikh militants hiding inside the temple; some 450 Sikhs died in the fighting. She was later shot and killed by her own Sikh bodyguards in revenge.

Awards /Honors:

  • Bharat Ratna, Jawaharlal Nehru Award
  • Lenin Peace Prize
  • In 2001, Gandhi was voted the greatest Indian Prime Minister in a poll organised by India Today. She also came first in the "Woman of the Millennium" poll organised by the BBC in 1999.

Hobbies and personal interests:

She loved reading. Indira Gandhi was a voracious reader right from her childhood. This habit was fostered by her father Nehru. Library at her ancestral home, Anand Bhavan used to have more than sixty thousand books and it was said that Nehru used to add books each time he visited that place. This habit developed with her age, even in her prime ministerial years she used study a lot and she used to have vast collection of books even at her Safdarjung residence.

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31st, 1984 by her two sikh body guards at her official residence at Safdurjung in retaliation to the Operation Bluestar. Indira Gandhi was brought at 9:30 AM to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where doctors operated on her. She was declared dead at 2:20 PM. Gandhi was cremated on 3 November near Raj Ghat. The site where she was cremated is today known as Shakti Sthala.

Quotes and Memoirs:

  • There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.
  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
  • People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.
  • Have a bias toward action - let's see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.
  • Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood... will contribute to the growth of this nation and to make it strong and dynamic.
  • You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
  • A nation' s strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.