Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India from 24th January 1966 to 24th March 1977 and again from 14th January 1980 to 31st October 1984. She was the only daughter of India’s first Prime Minister, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. She has been the only woman prime minister of India in its independent history.
Indira Gandhi’s Life
Indira Gandhi was not into active politics in her younger days but she became one of the first beneficiaries of dynastic policies that would go onto plague India for fifty years after she took office. Today, people do remember her as the daughter of India’s first prime minister but she is also remembered as the Iron Lady of India.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi was an autocratic leader. She was firm in her standpoints, unflinching in her beliefs and she did not entertain or tolerate dissent. During the first ten years in office, she fired many of her ministers, party colleagues and even administrative personnel from various quarters of the federal and state systems in the country. She is infamous for having declared an emergency in the Indian Union which curtailed the rights and freedom of expression of Indian citizens. The two years of President’s Rule is considered by most historians and scholars as well as the general people as one of the darkest phases in independent India.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi has been unpopular for many reasons but she was known to be a leader who wouldn’t take no for an answer and who wouldn’t have things go in any other way than her own way. She was a pragmatic leader, at times short-sighted, but she did not let her emotions rule her mind and she was never gullible to the opinions of others. She was a fiercely independent and strong woman, a rarity in that era, and she managed to stand up for her nation in the international scene. India, was nowhere close to becoming a superpower back then, and she did not mellow on the international scene despite the shortcomings. She was not afraid to go to war when China was playing games and she did not think twice before supporting the Liberation War in Bangladesh where she stood by the Bangladeshis and helped them get independence from Pakistan.
Indira Gandhi has gone down in history as a controversial politician but no one disputes that she was one of the strongest leaders of the 20th century who stood for peace but did not mind going to war if the situation demanded so.