History of Indira Gandhi who was Prime Minister of India
Friday, April 13, 2012
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) was the only child of Kamla and Jawaharlal Nehru. She spent part of her childhood in Allahabad, where Nehru had his family home, and part of Switzerland, where her mother Kamla convalesced from her periodic illnesses. She received her college education at Somerville College, Oxford. A famous photograph of her childhood shows her sitting by the bedside of Mahatma Gandhi, while recovering from one of his fasts, and although she did not participate actively in the fight for freedom, she became known to the entire political leadership of India . After reaching India's independence, and the rise of Jawaharlal Nehru, now a widower, to the office of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi managed the official residence of his father, and accompanied him on numerous trips abroad. She had married Feroze Gandhi in 1942, which rose to some eminence as a parliamentarian and political integrity, but was rejected by his famous father in law, but Feroze died in 1960 before he could consolidate his own political forces .
In 1964, the year of the death of her father, Indira Gandhi was first elected to Parliament, and she was Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the government of Lal Bahadur Shastri, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack less than two years after taking office. The numerous contenders for the post of prime minister, to agree among themselves, took Indira Gandhi as a compromise candidate, and every thought that would be easily manipulated. But Indira Gandhi showed extraordinary political skills and tenacity and elbowed the Congress dons - Kamaraj, Morarji Desai, and others, out of power. She served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977. She was on the crest of popularity after the victory of India in the 1971 war against Pakistan, and the explosion of a nuclear device in 1974, helped improve his reputation among the Indian middle class as a strong and astute political leader . However, in 1973, New Delhi and north India were rocked by demonstrations angry at high inflation, the poor state of the economy, rampant corruption and low living standards. In June 1975, the High Court of Allahabad found her guilty of using illegal practices during the last election campaign, and ordered him to leave his seat. There were demands for his resignation.
The response of Mrs. Gandhi was to declare a state of emergency, under which her political foes were imprisoned, constitutional rights abrogated, and the press under strict censorship. Meanwhile, the younger of his two sons, Sanjay Gandhi started to run the country like his personal fiefdom, and earned the fierce hatred of many of his policies had victimized. He ordered the removal of slums, and in an attempt to curb the growing population of India, initiated a highly resented program of forced sterilization. In early 1977, confident that had weakened their opposition, Mrs. Gandhi called for new elections, and found himself defeated by a newly formed coalition of several political parties. Her Congress party lost badly at the polls. Many said it was a spent force, but three years later, she would return as prime minister of India. The same year, however, her son Sanjay died in a plane crash.
In the second, after the emergency, the period of his Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was preoccupied by efforts to solve political problems in the state of Punjab. In his attempt to crush the secessionist movement of Sikh militants, led by Jarnail Singh Bindranwale, ordered an assault on Sikh's holiest shrine in Amritsar, called the "Golden Temple". This is where Bindranwale and his armed followers had taken refuge, and it is from the Golden Temple began their campaign of terrorism not only against the government, but against moderate Sikhs and Hindus. "Operation Bluestar", waged in June 1984 led to the death of Bindranwale, and the Golden Temple was stripped clean of Sikh terrorists, however, the Golden Temple was damaged, and Mrs. Gandhi earned the hatred of Sikhs who bitterly resented the desecration of their sacred space. In November of that year, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated in his residence by two of her own Sikh bodyguards, who claimed to avenge the insult heaped upon the Sikh nation.
Mrs. Gandhi acquired a formidable international reputation as a "statesman", and there is no doubt that she was extraordinarily skilled in politics. He was face down, like many other politicians, to thrive on slogans, and one - Garibi Hatao, "eliminating poverty" - became the rallying cry for one of their campaigns. He had an authoritarian streak, and though a cultured woman, rarely tolerated dissent, and did, in many respects, irreparable harm to Indian democracy. Apart from her infamous imposition of internal emergency situation, use the army to resolve internal disputes greatly increased in his time, and encouraged a culture of sycophancy and nepotism. At his death, his eldest son, Rajiv Gandhi, was sworn in as head of the Congress Party and Prime Minister.