136 Facts About Indira Gandhi


Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was an Indian politician and stateswoman who served as the third prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 until her assassination in 1984.


Indira Gandhi was India's first and, to date, only female prime minister and a central figure of the Indian National Congress.


On Shastri's sudden death in January 1966, Indira Gandhi defeated her rival, Morarji Desai, in the Congress Party's parliamentary leadership election to become leader and succeeded Shastri as prime minister.


In 1971, the Congress Party headed by Indira Gandhi managed to secure its first landslide victory since her father's sweep in 1962, focusing on issues such as poverty.


Indira Gandhi's rule saw India grow closer to the Soviet Union by signing a friendship treaty in 1971, with India receiving military, financial, and diplomatic support from the Soviet Union during its conflict with Pakistan in the same year.


Indira Gandhi faced the growing Sikh separatism throughout her third premiership; in response, she ordered Operation Blue Star, which involved military action in the Golden Temple and resulted in bloodshed with hundreds of Sikhs killed.


On 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards, both of whom were Sikh nationalists seeking retribution for the events at the temple.


Indira Gandhi is remembered as the most powerful woman in the world during her tenure.


Indira Gandhi's supporters cite her leadership during victories over geopolitical rivals China and Pakistan, the Green Revolution, a growing economy in the early 1980s, and her anti-poverty campaign that led her to be known as "Mother Indira" among the country's poor and rural classes.


Indira Gandhi still remains one of India's greatest prime ministers, according to polls and public opinion.


In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named "Woman of the Millennium" in an online poll organized by the BBC.


In 2020, Indira Gandhi was named by Time magazine among the 100 women who defined the past century as counterparts to the magazine's previous choices for Man of the Year.


Indira Gandhi's father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a leading figure in the movement for independence from British rule, and became the first Prime Minister of the Dominion of India.


Indira Gandhi was the only child, and grew up with her mother, Kamala Nehru, at the Anand Bhavan, a large family estate in Allahabad.


Indira Gandhi's father was often away, directing political activities or incarcerated, while her mother was frequently bedridden with illness, and later suffered an early death from tuberculosis.


Indira Gandhi had limited contact with her father, mostly through letters.


Indira Gandhi was taught mostly at home by tutors and attended school intermittently until matriculation in 1934.


Indira Gandhi was a student at the Modern School in Delhi, St Cecilia's and St Mary's Convent schools in Allahabad, the International School of Geneva, the Ecole Nouvelle in Bex, and the Pupils' Own School in Poona and Bombay, which is affiliated with the University of Mumbai.


Indira Gandhi went on to study at the Vishwa Bharati in Santiniketan, which became Visva-Bharati University in 1951.


Indira Gandhi had to take the entrance examination twice, having failed at her first attempt with a poor performance in Latin.


Indira Gandhi did have an active part within the student life of the university, such as membership in the Oxford Majlis Asian Society.


Indira Gandhi had to make repeated trips to Switzerland to recover, disrupting her studies.


Indira Gandhi was being treated there in 1940, when Germany rapidly conquered Europe.


Indira Gandhi tried to return to England through Portugal but was left stranded for nearly two months.


Indira Gandhi managed to enter England in early 1941, and from there returned to India without completing her studies at Oxford.


Towards the end of the 1950s, Indira Gandhi served as the President of the Congress.


Indira Gandhi formed her government with Morarji Desai as deputy prime minister and finance minister.


Indira Gandhi was a reluctant successor to her famed Father, although she had accompanied him on several official foreign visits and played a anchor role in bringing down the first democratically elected communist government in Kerala.


The first electoral test for Indira Gandhi was the 1967 general elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.


Indira Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Raebareli constituency.


Indira Gandhi had a rocky start after agreeing to devalue the rupee which created hardship for Indian businesses and consumers.


Indira Gandhi, in turn, floated her own faction of the Congress party and managed to retain most of the Congress MPs on her side with only 65 on the side of the Congress faction.


The Indira Gandhi faction, called Congress, lost its majority in the parliament but remained in power with the support of regional parties such as DMK.


In 1975, Indira Gandhi incorporated Sikkim into India, after a referendum in which a majority of Sikkimese voted to join India.


Chinese government mouthpiece China Daily wrote that "the Nehrus, father and daughter, had always acted in this way, and Indira Gandhi had gone further".


Indira Gandhi's India was initially restrained from intervening in the insurgency but quickly started to support Bengali Rebels through military supplies.


Indira Gandhi quickly dispatched more troops to the Eastern border with East Pakistan, hoping to support Mukti Bahini rebels and cease any Pakistani infiltration.


Indira Gandhi was hailed as Goddess Durga by the people as well as the opposition leaders at the time when India defeated Pakistan in the war.


Indira Gandhi gave evidence in her defence during the trial.


Indira Gandhi announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court and insisted that the conviction did not undermine her position.


Indira Gandhi moved to restore order by ordering the arrest of most of the opposition participating in the unrest.


Indira Gandhi used the emergency provisions to change conflicting party members:.


Unlike her father Jawaharlal Nehru, who preferred to deal with strong chief ministers in control of their legislative parties and state party organizations, Mrs Indira Gandhi set out to remove every Congress chief minister who had an independent base and to replace each of them with ministers personally loyal to her.


Indira Gandhi wielded tremendous power during the emergency without holding any government office.


In 1977, after extending the state of emergency twice, Indira Gandhi called elections to give the electorate a chance to vindicate her rule.


Indira Gandhi was opposed by the Janata alliance of Opposition parties.


Since Indira Gandhi had lost her seat in the election, the defeated Congress party appointed Yashwantrao Chavan as their parliamentary party leader.


Indira Gandhi won a by-election in the Chikmagalur Constituency and took a seat in the Lok Sabha in November 1978 after the Janata Party's attempts to have Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar run against her failed when he refused to contest the election saying he wanted to remain apolitical.


The arrest meant that Indira Gandhi was automatically expelled from Parliament.


At the time of Emergency, There was a widespread rumour that Indira Gandhi had ordered her search guards to eliminate firebrand trade unionist and socialist party leader George Fernandes, while he was on a run.


Indira Gandhi had turned furious over him and the strike was massively cracked down.


The Congress Party under Indira Gandhi swept back into power in January 1980.


In 1980, as a tribute to her son's dream of launching an indigenously manufactured car, Indira Gandhi nationalized Sanjay's debt-ridden company, Maruti Udyog, for Rs.


Indira Gandhi was accused of using the attack for political ends.


Indira Gandhi was to be interviewed by the British filmmaker Peter Ustinov, who was filming a documentary for Irish television.


Indira Gandhi's funeral was televised live on domestic and international stations, including the BBC.


South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, said Indira Gandhi's death meant the 'loss of a great leader to the whole world.


Indira Gandhi is remembered for her ability to effectively promote Indian foreign policy measures.


Finally, in December 1971, Indira Gandhi intervened directly in the conflict to liberate Bangladesh.


US President Richard Nixon disliked Indira Gandhi personally, referring to her as a "bitch" and a "clever fox" in his private communication with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


India's new hegemonic position, as articulated under the "Indira Gandhi Doctrine", led to attempts to bring the Himalayan states under India's sphere of influence.


Indira Gandhi enjoyed cordial relations with Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.


However, relations soured over Sri Lanka's movement away from socialism under JR Jayewardene, whom Indira Gandhi despised as a "western puppet".


India under Indira Gandhi was alleged to have supported the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militants in the 1980s to put pressure on Jayewardene to abide by Indian interests.


Nevertheless, Indira Gandhi rejected demands to invade Sri Lanka in the aftermath of Black July 1983, an anti-Tamil pogrom carried out by Sinhalese mobs.


Indira Gandhi accused General Zia of supporting Khalistani militants in Punjab.


Nevertheless, Indira Gandhi authorised the development of a secret channel of contact and security assistance with Israel in the late 1960s.


Libya agreed with the Arab monarchies in believing that Indira Gandhi's intervention in East Pakistan was an attack against Islam.


Indira Gandhi was unhappy with the lack of support from India's Arab allies during the war with Pakistan, while the Shah was apprehensive at the growing friendship between Pakistan and Arab states of the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, and the growing influence of Islam in Pakistani society.


One of the major developments in Southeast Asia during Indira Gandhi's premiership was the formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1967.


Indira Gandhi began negotiations with the Kenyan government to establish the Africa-India Development Cooperation.


Indira Gandhi declared the people of Indian origin settled in Africa as "Ambassadors of India".


Foreign and domestic policy successes in the 1970s enabled Indira Gandhi to rebuild India's image in the eyes of African states.


Indira Gandhi firmly tied Indian anti-imperialist interests in Africa to those of the Soviet Union.


India under Indira Gandhi hosted the 1983 Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in New Delhi.


Indira Gandhi used these meetings as a forum to put pressure on member countries to cut economic, sports, and cultural ties with Apartheid South Africa.


Indira Gandhi spent a number of years in Europe during her youth and had formed many friendships there.


Indira Gandhi enjoyed a close working relationship with many British leaders including conservative premiers, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher.


Indira Gandhi was unhappy with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but calculations involving relations with Pakistan and China kept her from criticising the Soviet Union harshly.


When Rajiv Indira Gandhi returned to India, he declared this to be true.


The KGB was responsible for Indira Gandhi exaggerating the threats posed by both the CIA and Pakistan.


When Indira Gandhi came to power in 1966, Lyndon Johnson was the US president.


Indira Gandhi resented the US policy of food aid being used as a tool to force India to adopt policies favoured by the US.


Indira Gandhi resolutely refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


Indira Gandhi presided over three Five-Year Plans as prime minister, two of which succeeded in meeting their targeted growth.


Indira Gandhi was seemingly against the rich and big business while preserving the status quo to manipulate the support of the left in times of political insecurity, such as the late 1960s.


Indira Gandhi had only a general and traditional commitment to the ideology by way of her political and family ties.


Indira Gandhi began a new course by launching the Fourth Five-Year Plan in 1969.


Indira Gandhi had a personal motive in pursuing agricultural self-sufficiency, having found India's dependency on the US for shipments of grains humiliating.


Indira Gandhi inherited a weak economy when she became prime minister again in 1980.


Indira Gandhi proceeded to abrogate the Janata Party government's Five-Year Plan in 1980 and launched the Sixth Five-Year Plan.


Indira Gandhi declared inflation the gravest of problems in 1974 and devised a severe anti-inflation program.


Indira Gandhi inherited a tattered economy in her second term; harvest failures and a second oil shock in the late 1970s had caused inflation to rise again.


In 1969, Indira Gandhi moved to nationalise fourteen major commercial banks.


In 1966, Indira Gandhi accepted the demands of the Akalis to reorganise Punjab on linguistic lines.


However, a contentious issue that was considered unresolved by the Akalis was the status of Chandigarh, a prosperous city on the Punjab-Haryana border, which Indira Gandhi declared a union territory to be shared as a capital by both the states.


Indira Gandhi indicated that she would make no major concessions on Kashmir.


The situation was normalised in the years following the war after Abdullah agreed to an accord with Indira Gandhi, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite in return for a special autonomous status for Kashmir.


In 1975, Indira Gandhi declared the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a constituent unit of India.


In 1972, Indira Gandhi granted statehood to Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura, while the North-East Frontier Agency was declared a union territory and renamed Arunachal Pradesh.


Indira Gandhi questioned the continued existence of a privy purse for former rulers of princely states.


Indira Gandhi argued the case for abolition based on equal rights for all citizens and the need to reduce the government's revenue deficit.


Indira Gandhi responded by having a Presidential proclamation issued; de-recognising the princes; with this withdrawal of recognition, their claims to privy purses were legally lost.


In 1971, Indira Gandhi again motioned to abolish the privy purse.


Indira Gandhi claimed that only "clear vision, iron will and the strictest discipline" can remove poverty.


Indira Gandhi justified the imposition of the state of emergency in 1975 in the name of the socialist mission of the Congress.


Armed with the power to rule by decree and without constitutional constraints, Indira Gandhi embarked on a massive redistribution program.


In 1967, Indira Gandhi introduced a constitutional amendment that guaranteed the de facto use of both Hindi and English as official languages.


Indira Gandhi thus put herself forward as a leader with a pan-Indian vision.


Indira Gandhi came out of the language conflicts with the strong support of the south Indian populace.


Indira Gandhi considered the north-eastern region important, because of its strategic situation.


Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to launch massive retaliatory strikes in response.


In 1972, after the less extremist Mizo leaders came to the negotiating table, Indira Gandhi upgraded Mizoram to the status of a union territory.


Indira Gandhi contributed to, and carried out further, the vision of Jawaharlal Nehru, former premier of India, to develop its nuclear program.


Indira Gandhi authorised the development of nuclear weapons in 1967, in response to Test No 6 by the People's Republic of China.


Indira Gandhi saw this test as Chinese nuclear intimidation and promoted Nehru's views to establish India's stability and security interests independent from those of the nuclear superpowers.


Indira Gandhi gave verbal authorisation for this test, and preparations were made in the Indian Army's Pokhran Test Range.


Indira Gandhi directed a letter to Bhutto, and later to the world, claiming the test was for peaceful purposes and part of India's commitment to develop its programme for industrial and scientific use.


Indira Gandhi married Feroze Gandhi at the age of 25, in 1942.


Indira Gandhi's egalitarian upbringing with her cousins helped contribute to her sense of natural equality.


Indira Gandhi did not often discuss her gender, but she did involve herself in women's issues before becoming the prime minister.


In 1956, Indira Gandhi had an active role in setting up the Congress Party's Women's Section.


Indira Gandhi often tried to organise women to involve themselves in politics.


Indira Gandhi was one of the first people I read about with enthusiasm.


Indira Gandhi had been swept up in the call for Indian independence since she was born in 1917.


Indira Gandhi felt guilty about her inability to fully devote her time to her children.


Indira Gandhi did not make a special effort to appoint women to cabinet positions.


Indira Gandhi did not appoint any women to full cabinet rank during her terms in office.


Indira Gandhi was responsible for India joining the group of countries with nuclear weapons.


In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named "Woman of the Millennium" in an online poll organised by the BBC.


Indira Gandhi's detractors accuse her of weakening State chief ministers and thereby weakening the federal structure, weakening the independence of the judiciary, and weakening her cabinet by vesting power in her secretariat and her sons.


Indira Gandhi is associated with fostering a culture of nepotism in Indian politics and in India's institutions.


Indira Gandhi is almost singularly associated with the period of Emergency rule and the dark period in Indian democracy that it entailed.


Indira Gandhi remains the only woman to occupy the office of the prime minister of India.


In 2020, Indira Gandhi was named by Time magazine among the world's 100 powerful women who defined the last century.


Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi is a 1970 Indian two-part documentary film by S Krishnaswamy which traces the history of India from the earliest times of the Indus Valley Civilization to the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi.