October 31, Saturday, will mark 36th death anniversary of Indira Gandhi, India’s second longest serving Prime Minister and the only woman till date to have held the position.
Indira Gandhi, who was hailed as one of the tallest world leaders, was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards at her residence located in Akbar Road on October 31, 1984. This came after Operation Bluestar was executed at Amritsar’s Golden Temple, wherein Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to confront Sikh separatists who had taken shelter at the holy shrine.
Born on November 19, 1917, to India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru, she served as prime minister for three terms lasting almost 16 years. Indira Gandhi was well known for path-breaking economic and social reforms, including nationalisation of banks, copper, refining, cotton textiles and even insurance industries. She also abolished privy purses of the erstwhile princely states.
Here are some interesting facts about Indira Gandhi:
- Indira Gandhi served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister.
- She was the only child of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and was born on November 19, 1917.
- During Nehru’s time as Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1964, Gandhi was considered a key assistant and accompanied him on his numerous foreign trips.
- Indira Gandhi was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress in 1959.
- Upon her father’s death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
- Indira Gandhi was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna after leading India to victory against Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971.
- In 1975, after she was convicted of an election offence and barred from politics for 6 years, she imposed Emergency.
- She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh.
- Indira Gandhi, in 1999, was named “Woman of the Millennium” in an online poll organised by the BBC.
- In 2020, she was named by the Time magazine among world’s 100 powerful women who defined the last century.
Source: Free Press Journal