Indira Gandhi
Overview
 
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara ( Indirā Priyadarśinī Gāndhī ; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term (1980–84).
Quotations

India wants to avoid a war at all costs but it is not a one-sided affair, you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Press conference, New Delhi (October 19, 1971), quoted in "Indian and Pakistani Armies Confront Each Other Along Borders" by Sydney Schanberg|Sydney H. Schanberg, The New York Times (October 20, 1971), page 6C

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.

"The Embattled Woman Who Relishes Crosswords, Children...and Running India," People (June 30, 1975)

My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.

Quoted in "Indira's Coup," profile by Oriana Fallaci, The New York Review of Books (September 18, 1975)

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

Encyclopedia
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara ( Indirā Priyadarśinī Gāndhī ; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term (1980–84). She was assassinated by Sikh extremists. Gandhi was the second female to hold the office of prime minister (after Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician and the world's first female head of government...

 of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

) and she remains as the world's second longest serving female Prime Minister as of 2011.

Gandhi was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

, the first prime minister of independent India. She adhered to the quasi-socialist policies of industrial development that had been begun by her father. Gandhi established closer relations with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, depending on that nation for support in India’s long-standing conflict with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. She was also the only Indian Prime Minister to have declared a state of emergency in order to 'rule by decree' and the only Indian Prime Minister to have been imprisoned after holding that office.

Early life and career

Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 into the politically influential Nehru Family
Nehru-Gandhi family
The Nehru–Gandhi family or Nehru - Feroze Gandhi family is an Indian political family which has been dominant in the Indian National Congress for most of India's history since independence...

. Indira Gandhi's father was Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 and her mother was Kamla Nehru. Her grandfather, Motilal Nehru
Motilal Nehru
Motilal Nehru was an early Indian independence activist and leader of the Indian National Congress, who remained Congress President twice, and...

, was a prominent Indian nationalist leader. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

, was a pivotal figure in the Indian independence moveer of Independent India.

In 1934–35, after finishing school
Modern School (New Delhi)
Modern School, commonly known as Modern, is a co-educational private school in New Delhi, India. It was founded in 1920 by Lala Raghubir Singh and Sir Sobha Singh. Considered to be one of the elite schools, Modern is also referred to as the Eton of India. It is the first private school established...

, Indira joined Shantiniketan, a school set up by Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

. Subsequently, she went to England and sat for the University of Oxford entrance examination, but she failed, and spent a few months at Badminton School
Badminton School
Miriam Badock established a school for girls in 1858 at Badminton House in Clifton. By 1898 it had become known as Miss Bartlett's School for Young Ladies....

 in Bristol, before passing the exam in 1937 and enrolling at Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, and was one of the first women's colleges to be founded there...

. During this time, she frequently met Feroz Gandhi, whom she knew from Allahabad, and who was studying at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

. Indira married Feroz in 1942. Nehru eventually accepted the marriage. But, for political gains, Indira manipulated the spelling of Feroze's last name from "Ghandhy" to Hindu-sounding "Gandhi" . She had no relation to Mohandas K. Gandhi, either by blood or marriage.

She returned to India in 1941. In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the first Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

. After her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

 (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.-Early life:...

's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

The then Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 President K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

 was instrumental in making Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister after the sudden demise of Shastri. Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmaneuver opponents. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. She led India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 as Prime Minister during the decisive victory of East Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 over Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in 1971 war and creation of an independent Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. She imposed a state of emergency in 1975. Congress Party and Indira Gandhi herself lost the next general election for the first time in 1977
Indian general election, 1977
India held general elections to the 6th Lok Sabha. This sixth general elections, which were conducted for 542 seats from 542 constituencies, represented 27 Indian states and union territories. These 542 constituencies were remain same till Indian general elections, 2004 for the 14th Lok Sabha.The...

. Indira Gandhi led the Congress back to victory in 1980 elections
Indian general election, 1980
India held general elections to the 7th Lok Sabha. The Janata Party came into power riding the public anger against the Congress and the Emergency but its position was weak...

 and Gandhi resumed the office of the Prime Minister. In June 1984, under Gandhi's order, the Indian army forcefully entered the Golden Temple
Harmandir Sahib
The Harmandir Sahib also Darbar Sahib , also referred to as the Golden Temple, is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab . Construction of the gurdwara was begun by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, and completed by his successor, Guru Arjan Dev...

, the most sacred Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 Gurdwara, to remove armed insurgents present inside the temple. She was killed on 31 October 1984 in retaliation for this operation
Operation Blue Star
Operation Blue Star ) 3– 6 June 1984 was an Indian military operation, ordered by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, to remove Sikh separatists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar...

 by her bodyguards.

Legislative career

When Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, the Congress was split in two factions, the socialists led by Gandhi, and the conservatives
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 led by Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai was an Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977–79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress...

. Rammanohar Lohia called her Gungi Gudiya which means 'Dumb Doll'. The internal problems showed in the 1967 election where the Congress lost nearly 60 seats winning 297 seats in the 545 seat Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

. She had to accommodate Desai as Deputy Prime Minister of India
Deputy Prime Minister of India
The Deputy Prime Minister of India is a member of the Indian cabinet in the Indian government. The post is not a constitutional post and seldom carries any specific powers. Generally a Deputy Prime Minister also holds other key portfolios like Home minister or Finance Minister...

 and Minister of Finance. In 1969 after many disagreements with Desai, the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 split. She ruled with support from Socialist and Communist Parties for the next two years. In the same year, in July 1969 she nationalized banks.

War with Pakistan in 1971

The Pakistan army conducted widespread atrocities against the civilian populations of East Pakistan.
An estimated 10 million refugees fled to India, causing financial hardship and instability in the country. The United States under Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 supported Pakistan, and mooted a UN resolution warning India against going to war. Nixon apparently disliked Indira personally, referring to her as a "witch" and "clever fox" in his private communication with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 (now released by the State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

). Indira signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
The Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation was a treaty signed between India and the Soviet Union in August 1971 that specified mutual strategic cooperation...

, resulting in political support and a Soviet veto at the UN. India was victorious in the 1971 war, and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 was born.

Foreign policy

Gandhi invited the late Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

 to Shimla
Shimla
Shimla , formerly known as Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the British Raj in India. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills," a term coined by the British...

 for a week-long summit. After the near-failure of the talks, the two national leaders eventually signed the Shimla Agreement, which bound the two countries to resolve the Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 dispute by negotiations and peaceful means. Due to her antipathy for Nixon, relations with the United States grew distant, while relations with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 grew closer.

She was criticized by some for not making the Line of Control
Line of Control
The term Line of Control refers to the military control line between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which, to this day, does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but is the de facto border...

 (LoC) a permanent border while a few critics even believed that Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Azad Kashmir borders the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north west, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China to the north and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, to the east.A...

 should have been extracted from Pakistan, whose 93,000 prisoners of war were under Indian control. But the agreement did remove immediate United Nations and third party interference, and greatly reduced the likelihood of Pakistan launching a major attack in the near future. By not demanding total capitulation on a sensitive issue from Bhutto, she had allowed Pakistan to stabilize and normalize. Trade relations were also normalized, though much contact remained frozen (sealed) for years.

Nuclear weapons program

Gandhi contributed and further carried out the vision of Jawarharalal Nehru, former Premier of India, to develop the program. Gandhi gave authorization of developing nuclear weapons in 1967, in response to the Test No. 6 by People's Republic of China. Gandhi saw this test as Chinese nuclear intimidation, therefore, Gandhi promoted the views of Nehru to establish India's stability and security interests as independent from those of the nuclear superpowers.

The program became fully mature in 1974, when dr. Raja Ramanna
Raja Ramanna
Raja Ramanna , D.Phil., was an Indian nuclear scientist and a prominent physicist, is best known for his leadership directing the research integral for the development of Indian nuclear programme in its early stages. Having started and joined the nuclear programme in 1964, Ramanna worked under...

 reported to Gandhi that India has ability to test the first nuclear weapon. Gandhi gave verbal authorization of this test
Nuclear testing
Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine the effectiveness, yield and explosive capability of nuclear weapons. Throughout the twentieth century, most nations that have developed nuclear weapons have tested them...

, and preparations were made in a long-constructed army base, the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 Pokhran Test Range. In 1974, India successfully conducted an underground nuclear test, unofficially code named as "Smiling Buddha
Smiling Buddha
The Smiling Buddha, formally designated as Pokhran-I, was the codename given to Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974 at 8:05 a.m....

", near the desert village of Pokhran
Pokhran
Pokhran is a city and a municipality located in Jaisalmer district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is a remote location in the Thar Desert region and served as the test site for India's first underground nuclear weapon detonation.-Geography:Pokhran http://marupradesh.org/ located at...

 in Rajasthan. As the world was quiet by this test, a vehement protest came forward from Pakistan. Great ire was raised in Pakistan, Pakistan's Prime minister Zulfi Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

 described this test as "Indian hegemony" to intimidate Pakistan. Gandhi directed a letter to Bhutto and, later to the world, describing the test as for peaceful purposes
Peaceful nuclear explosions
Peaceful nuclear explosions are nuclear explosions conducted for non-military purposes, such as activities related to economic development including the creation of canals...

 and India's commitment as to develop its programme for industrial and scientific use.

Green Revolution

Special agricultural innovation programs and extra government support launched in the 1960s finally transformed India's chronic food shortages into surplus production of wheat, rice, cotton and milk, the success mainly attributed to the hard working majority Sikh farmers of Punjab. Rather than relying on food aid from the United States – headed by a President whom Gandhi disliked considerably (the feeling was mutual: to Nixon, Indira was "the old witch"), the country became a food exporter. That achievement, along with the diversification of its commercial crop production, has become known as the "Green Revolution". At the same time, the White Revolution was an expansion in milk production which helped to combat malnutrition, especially amidst young children. 'Food security', as the program was called, was another source of support for Gandhi in the years leading up to 1975.

Established in the early 1960s, the Green Revolution was the unofficial name given to the Intense Agricultural District Program (IADP) which sought to insure abundant, inexpensive grain for urban dwellers upon whose support Gandhi—as indeed all Indian politicians—heavily depended. The program was based on four premises: 1) New varieties of seed(s), 2) Acceptance of the necessity of the chemicalization of Indian agriculture, i.e. fertilizers, pesticides, weed killers, etc., 3) A commitment to national and international cooperative research to develop new and improved existing seed varieties, 4) The concept of developing a scientific, agricultural institutions in the form of land grant colleges.

1971 election victory and second term

Indira's government faced major problems after her tremendous mandate of 1971. The internal structure of the Congress Party had withered following its numerous splits, leaving it entirely dependent on her leadership for its election fortunes. Garibi Hatao
Garibi Hatao
Garibi Hatao was the theme and slogan of Indira Gandhi's 1971 election bid and later also used by her son Rajiv Gandhi. The slogan and the proposed anti-poverty programs that came with it were designed to give Gandhi an independent national support, based on rural and urban poor...

(Eradicate Poverty) was the theme for Gandhi's 1971 bid. The slogan and the proposed anti-poverty programs that came with it were designed to give Gandhi an independent national support, based on rural and urban poor. This would allow her to bypass the dominant rural castes both in and of state and local government; likewise the urban commercial class. And, for their part, the previously voiceless poor would at last gain both political worth and political weight.

The programs created through Garibi Hatao
Garibi Hatao
Garibi Hatao was the theme and slogan of Indira Gandhi's 1971 election bid and later also used by her son Rajiv Gandhi. The slogan and the proposed anti-poverty programs that came with it were designed to give Gandhi an independent national support, based on rural and urban poor...

, though carried out locally, were funded, developed, supervised, and staffed by New Delhi and the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 party. "These programs also provided the central political leadership with new and vast patronage resources to be disbursed... throughout the country." Scholars and historians now agree as to the extent of the failure of Garibi Hatao in alleviating poverty – only about 4% of all funds allocated for economic development went to the three main anti-poverty programs, and precious few of these ever reached the 'poorest of the poor' – and the empty sloganeering of the program was mainly used instead to engender populist support for Gandhi's re-election.

Corruption charges and verdict of electoral malpractice

On 12 June 1975 the High Court of Allahabad
High Courts of India
India's unitary judicial system is made up of the Supreme Court of India at the national level, for the entire country and the 21 High Courts at the State level. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories...

 declared Indira Gandhi's election to the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 void on grounds of electoral malpractice. In an election petition filed by Raj Narain
Raj Narain
Raj Narain was an Indian politician who, as a candidate of Janata Party for the Lok Sabha in 1977, ran for office in Rae Bareli constituency and defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India...

 (who later on defeated her in 1977 parliamentary election from Rae Bareily
Raebareli
Raebareli is a city and a municipal board in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the administrative headquarters of Raebareli District....

), he had alleged several major as well as minor instances of using government resources for campaigning. The court thus ordered her to be removed from her seat in Parliament and banned from running in elections for six years. The Prime Minister must be a member of either the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 (Lower house in the Parliament of India
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

) or the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

 (the Higher house of the Parliament). Thus, this decision effectively removed her from office. Mrs Gandhi had asked one of India's best legal minds and also one of her colleagues in government, Mr Ashoke Kumar Sen
Ashoke Kumar Sen
Ashoke Kumar Sen was an Indian barrister, a former Cabinet minister of India, and an Indian parliamentarian....

 to defend her in court. It has been written that Mrs Gandhi was told she would only win if Mr Sen appeared for her.

But Gandhi rejected calls to resign and announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court. The verdict was delivered by Mr Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha
Jagmohanlal Sinha
Jagmohanlal Sinha was a former Indian Permanent Judge. He was known mostly for his 1975 ruling in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain on the election of then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in which he declared the election invalid...

 at Allahabad High Court. It came almost four years after the case was brought by Raj Narain, the premier's defeated opponent in the 1971 parliamentary election. Gandhi, who gave evidence in her defence during the trial, was found guilty of dishonest election practices, excessive election expenditure, and of using government machinery and officials for party purposes. The judge rejected more serious charges of bribery against her.

Indira insisted the conviction did not undermine her position, despite having been unseated from the lower house of parliament, Lok Sabha, by order of the High Court. She said: "There is a lot of talk about our government not being clean, but from our experience the situation was very much worse when [opposition] parties were forming governments". And she dismissed criticism of the way her Congress Party raised election campaign money, saying all parties used the same methods. The prime minister retained the support of her party, which issued a statement backing her. After news of the verdict spread, hundreds of supporters demonstrated outside her house, pledging their loyalty. Indian High Commissioner BK Nehru said Gandhi's conviction would not harm her political career. "Mrs Gandhi has still today overwhelming support in the country," he said. "I believe the prime minister of India will continue in office until the electorate of India decides otherwise".

State of Emergency (1975–1977)

Gandhi moved to restore order by ordering the arrest of most of the opposition participating in the unrest. Her Cabinet and government then recommended that President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was the fifth President of India from 1974 to 1977.-Early life and background:Fakhruddin's grandfather, Khaliluddin Ali Ahmed, of Kacharighat near Golaghat, Assam, married in one of the families who were the relics of Emperor Aurangzeb's bid to conquer Assam Ahmed was born on...

 declare a state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

, because of the disorder and lawlessness following the Allahabad High Court decision. Accordingly, Ahmed declared a State of Emergency caused by internal disorder, based on the provisions of Article 352 of the Constitution, on 26 June 1975.

Rule by decree

Within a few months, President's Rule
President's rule
President's rule is the term used in India when a state legislature is dissolved or suspended and the state is placed under direct federal rule...

 was imposed on the two opposition party ruled states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 thereby bringing the entire country under direct Central rule or by governments led by the ruling Congress party.
Police were granted powers to impose curfews and indefinitely detain citizens and all publications were subjected to substantial censorship by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India)
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is a branch of the Government of India is the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to information, broadcasting, the press and films in India....

. Inder Kumar Gujral
Inder Kumar Gujral
Inder Kumar Gujral served as the 12th Prime Minister of India. Gujral was the first PM to govern exclusively from the Rajya Sabha; , only he and Manmohan Singh have done so.-Early life:...

, a future prime minister himself, resigned as Minister for Information and Broadcasting to protest Sanjay Gandhi's interference in his work. Finally, impending legislative assembly elections were indefinitely postponed, with all opposition-controlled state governments being removed by virtue of the constitutional provision allowing for a dismissal of a state government on recommendation of the state's governor.

Indira Gandhi used the emergency provisions to grant herself extraordinary powers.

"Unlike her father Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

, who preferred to deal with strong chief ministers in control of their legislative parties and state party organizations, Mrs. 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...Even so, stability could not be maintained in the states..."


It is alleged that she further moved President Ahmed to issue ordinances
Decree
A decree is a rule of law issued by a head of state , according to certain procedures . It has the force of law...

 that did not need to be debated in the Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

, allowing her to rule by decree
Rule by decree
Rule by decree is a style of governance allowing quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group, and is used primarily by dictators and absolute monarchs, although philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben have argued that it has been generalized since World War I in all modern states,...

.

Simultaneously, Gandhi's government undertook a campaign to stamp out dissent including the arrest and detention of thousands of political activists; Sanjay was instrumental in initiating the clearing of slums around Delhi's Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, Delhi
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā , commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal,in the year 1644 CE and completed in the year 1658 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India...

 under the supervision of Jag Mohan, later Lt. Governor of Delhi, which allegedly left thousands of people homeless and hundreds killed, and led to communal embitterment in those parts of the nation's capital; and the family planning program which forcibly imposed vasectomy
Vasectomy
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream...

 on thousands of fathers and was often poorly administered.

Elections

After extending the state of emergency twice, in 1977 Indira Gandhi called for elections, to give the electorate a chance to vindicate her rule. Gandhi may have grossly misjudged her popularity by reading what the heavily censored press wrote about her. In any case, she was opposed by the Janata Party
Janata Party
The Janata Party was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the state of emergency imposed by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Indian National Congress...

. Janata, led by her long-time rival, Desai and with Jai Prakash Narayan as its spiritual guide, claimed the elections were the last chance for India to choose between "democracy and dictatorship." Indira's Congress party was crushed soundly in the elections which followed. Indira and Sanjay Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi was an Indian politician. The younger son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi, he was a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family...

 both lost their seats, and Congress was cut down to 153 seats (compared with 350 in the previous Lok Sabha), 92 of which were in the south.

Removal, arrest, and return

The downfall of Indira Gandhi began after India won the war against Pakistan in 1971. The Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty with electoral corruption for the 1971 elections. In 1975, Indira Gandhi called a State of Emergency under Article 352 in which she ordered the arrest of her opposition, who later joined together and formed the Janata Party
Janata Party
The Janata Party was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the state of emergency imposed by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Indian National Congress...

  In 1977, Indira Gandhi and her party, Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

, lost the election to the Janata Party, a coalition of virtually all of Indira opponents. After the elections, Gandhi found herself without work, income or residence. The Congress Party split during the election campaign of 1977: veteran Gandhi supporters like Jagjivan Ram
Jagjivan Ram
Babu Jagjivan Ram , known popularly as Babuji, was a freedom fighter and a social reformer hailing from the scheduled castes of Bihar in India. He was from the Chamar caste and was a leader for his community...

 and her most loyal Bahuguna
Bahuguna
Bahuguna is an Indian surname common in Uttrakhand in northern India.According to the family history, the land of Odali village was purchased by ancestors from a lady of Dungri Village. According to the book Bahuguna Vansh Charit written by Dr...

 and Nandini Satpathy
Nandini Satpathy
Nandini Satpathy , was an Indian politician and author, and was the former Chief Minister of Orissa.-Family:...

 ,the three were compelled to part ways and form a new political entity CFD (Congress for Democracy) primarily due to intra party politicking and also due to circumstances created by Sanjay Gandhi.The prevailing rumour was that Sanjay had intentions of dislodging Indira and the trio stood between that.

Once the Janata Party came into power, they aimed to return all Indian citizens the freedoms taken away when Indira Gandhi declared the State of Emergency. The leader of the Janata Party was Jayaprakash Narayan
Jayaprakash Narayan
Jayaprakash Narayan , widely known as JP Narayan, Jayaprakash, or Loknayak, was an Indian independence activist and political leader, remembered especially for leading the opposition to Indira Gandhi in the 1970s and for giving a call for peaceful Total Revolution...

 who kept the party united. The other party leaders of the Janata Party were Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai was an Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977–79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress...

, Charan Singh, Raj Narain
Raj Narain
Raj Narain was an Indian politician who, as a candidate of Janata Party for the Lok Sabha in 1977, ran for office in Rae Bareli constituency and defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India...

  and Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who served as the tenth Prime Minister of India three times – first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004. After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from...

. Unable to govern owing to fractious coalition warfare, the Janata government's Home Minister, Choudhary Charan Singh, ordered the arrest of Indira and Sanjay Gandhi on several charges, none of which would be easy to prove in an Indian court. The arrest meant that Indira was automatically expelled from Parliament. These allegations included that Indira Gandhi “‘had planned or thought of killing all opposition leaders in jail during the Emergency’”. However, this strategy backfired disastrously. Her arrest and long-running trial, however, gained her great sympathy from many people who had feared her as a tyrant just two years earlier.The Janata coalition was only united by its hatred of Indira (or "that woman" as some called her). With so little in common, the government was bogged down by infighting and Gandhi was able to use the situation to her advantage. She began giving speeches again, tacitly apologizing for "mistakes" made during the Emergency. Jayaprakash Narayan died on 8 October 1979, which broke the unity of the Janata Party and Desai took his place. Desai resigned in June 1979, and Charan Singh was appointed Prime Minister by Reddy after Gandhi promised that Congress would support his government from outside.

After a short interval, she withdrew her initial support and President Reddy dissolved Parliament in the winter of 1979. In elections held the following January, Congress was returned to power with a landslide majority.

Currency crisis

During the early 1980s, Indira failed to arrest the 40 percent fall in the value of the Indian Rupee from 7 to 12 against the US Dollar. However, it is argued that the Reserve Bank of India had decided to devalue to rupee to make Indian exports more competitive.

Operation Blue Star and her death

In July 1982, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the head of the Sikh religious institution the Damdami Taksal
Damdami Taksal
The Damdami Taksal is a 300 years old educational organization said to have been founded by the tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh. According to the Damdami Taksal, it was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the reading , analysis and recitation of the Sikh scriptures by Guru Gobind...

 based in the northern Indian state of Punjab, led a campaign for the implementation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution for greater rights to the Sikhs. In response to this, Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian army to shoot Bhindrawale. The State of Punjab was closed to international media, its phone and communication lines shut. To this day the events remain controversial with a disputed number of victims; Sikhs seeing the attack as unjustified and Bhindrawale being declared the greatest sikh martyr of the 21st century by Akal Takht
Akal Takht
The Akal Takht of the Timeless One or Seat of God. It is one of the five seats of temporal authority of the Sikhs equivalent to any parliament of world sovereign country. Akal means The Timeless One - another term for God. Takht means 'seat' or 'throne' in Persian...

 (Sikh Political Authority) in 2003.

On 31 October 1984, two of Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh
Satwant Singh
Satwant Singh was a Sikh bodyguard to the Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, who on October 31, 1984 assassinated Indira Gandhi at her residence along with another bodyguard, Beant Singh....

 and Beant Singh
Beant Singh (assassin)
Beant Singh , born in Jaitu in the Faridkot district of Punjab , was one of Indira Gandhi's assassins...

, shot her with their service weapons in the garden of the Prime Minister's residence at 1 Safdarjung Road, New Delhi as she was walking past a wicket gate guarded by Satwant and Beant. She was to be interviewed by the British actor Peter Ustinov
Peter Ustinov
Peter Alexander Ustinov CBE was an English actor, writer and dramatist. He was also renowned as a filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, author, screenwriter, comedian, humourist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster and television presenter...

, who was filming a documentary for Irish television. According to information immediately following the incident, Beant Singh shot her three times using his side-arm, and Satwant Singh fired 30 rounds. Beant Singh and Satwant Singh dropped their weapons and surrendered. Afterwards they were taken away by other guards into a closed room where Beant Singh was shot dead. Kehar Singh was later arrested for conspiracy in the attack. Both Satwant and Kehar were sentenced to death and hanged in Tihar jail in Delhi.

Mrs Indira Gandhi was brought at 9.30 AM to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
All India Institute of Medical Sciences is a premier medical college and teaching hospital based in New Delhi, India. The Institute operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare ....

, where doctors operated on her.She was declared dead at 2.20PM. The postmortem examination was conducted by team of Doctors headed by Dr T D Dogra. He stated that as many as 30 bullets were sustained by Mrs Indira Gandhi, from two sources, a SLR and a Pistol.The assailants had fired 31 bullets at her, of which 30 had hit; 23 had passed through her body while seven were trapped inside.Dr T D Dogra extricated bullets to establish the identity of the weapons and to correlate each weapon with the bullets recovered by ballistic examination. The bullets were matched with respective weapons at CFSL Delhi. Subsequently Dr T D Dogra appeared in the court of Shri Mahesh Chandra as an expert witness (PW-5), the testimony lasted several sessions. The cross examination was conducted by Shri P N Lekhi, the defense counsel.
She was cremated on 3 November near Raj Ghat. Her funeral was televised live on domestic and international stations including the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

.
Following her funeral thousands of Sikhs were burnt alive (govt. estimates`5000) and millions rendered homeless. On a live TV show Rajiv Gandhi said about the carnage that 'when a big tree falls the earth shakes' with the tree being a reference to Indira.

Family and personal life

Initially, her younger son Sanjay
Sanjay Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi was an Indian politician. The younger son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi, he was a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family...

 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
Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India . He took office after his mother's assassination on 31 October 1984; he himself was assassinated on 21 May 1991. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office at the age of 40.Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira...

 to quit his job as a pilot and enter politics in February 1981. Over a decade later, Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India . He took office after his mother's assassination on 31 October 1984; he himself was assassinated on 21 May 1991. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office at the age of 40.Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira...

 was assassinated.

Indira was known for her closeness with her personal yoga guru, Dhirendra Brahmachari
Dhirendra Brahmachari
Dhirendra Brahmachari , born Dhirendra Choudhary, was the yoga mentor of Indira Gandhi - a former Prime Minister of India. He ran ashrams in Delhi, Jammu, Katra and Mantalai and wrote books on yoga....

, who not only helped her in making certain decisions but 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."

Legacy

The Indira Awaas Yojana
Indira Awaas Yojana
Indira Awaas Yojana is a Government of India social welfare programme to provide housing for the rural poor in India. The differentiation is made between rural poor and urban poor for a separate set of schemes operate for the urban poor...

, a central government low-cost housing programme for the rural poor, is named after her. The international airport at New Delhi is named Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport is the primary international airport of the National Capital Region of Delhi, India, situated in West Delhi, 16 km southwest of New Delhi city centre. Named after Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, it is the busiest airport in India in...

 in her honour.

A negative legacy Mrs. Gandhi will be associated with is that of fostering a culture of nepotism.

See also

  • Jawaharlal Nehru
    Jawaharlal Nehru
    Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

  • Rajiv Gandhi
    Rajiv Gandhi
    Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India . He took office after his mother's assassination on 31 October 1984; he himself was assassinated on 21 May 1991. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office at the age of 40.Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira...

  • Sanjay Gandhi
    Sanjay Gandhi
    Sanjay Gandhi was an Indian politician. The younger son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi, he was a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family...

  • List of assassinated Indian politicians
  • List of Prime Ministers of India
  • Nehru-Gandhi Family
    Nehru-Gandhi family
    The Nehru–Gandhi family or Nehru - Feroze Gandhi family is an Indian political family which has been dominant in the Indian National Congress for most of India's history since independence...

  • Operation Blue Star
    Operation Blue Star
    Operation Blue Star ) 3– 6 June 1984 was an Indian military operation, ordered by Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, to remove Sikh separatists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar...

  • The State of Emergency in India 1975–77


Further reading

  • Ved Mehta
    Ved Mehta
    Ved Parkash Mehta is a writer who was born in Lahore, British India to a Hindu family. He lost his sight at the age of four as the result of an attack of cerebrospinal meningitis...

    , A Family Affair: India Under Three Prime Ministers (1982) ISBN 0-19-503118-0
  • Pupul Jayakar
    Pupul Jayakar
    Pupul Jayakar was an Indian cultural activist and writer, most known for her work towards the revival of traditional and village arts, handlooms and handicrafts in post-independence India, as well as organizing a series of Indian arts festivals in the 1980s in France, US and Japan that are...

    , Indira Gandhi: An Intimate Biography (1992) ISBN 9780679424796
  • Katherine Frank
    Katherine Frank
    Katherine Frank is a noted American author and biographer, now living in England. Her works include a highly-acclaimed biography of Lucie Duff Gordon, and the more controversial biography of Indira Gandhi.-External links:...

    , Indira: the life of Indira Nehru Gandhi (2002) ISBN 0-395-73097-X
  • Ramachandra Guha
    Ramachandra Guha
    Ramachandra Guha is an Indian writer whose research interests have included environmental, social, political and cricket history. He is also a columnist for the newspapers The Telegraph , and The Hindustan Times.-Early life and education:Born in Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand, India in 1958, Guha studied...

    , India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy (2007) ISBN 978-0-06-019881-7
  • Inder Malhotra, Indira Gandhi: A personal and political biography (1991) ISBN 0-340-53548-2
  • Indira Gandhi - Iron Lady of India by Dr Sulakshi Thelikorala

External links



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