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Indira Gandhi Biography

Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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Who was Indira Gandhi?

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, a notable woman in the history of The Indian politics, the Iron Lady, was the first woman prime minister of India. She was an icon of the Indian National Congress. Indira Gandhi father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was the very first Prime Minister of India to support Mahatma Gandhi in the fight for independence. Indira Gandhi was the second prime minister to serve for a longer period of time, first from 1966 to 1977 and second from 1980 to her death in 1984. From 1947 to 1964, she continued as Chief of Staff in the Jawaharlal Nehru administration, which was highly integrated. In 1959, she was elected president of the Congress.

Indira Gandhi, as Prime Minister, was seen as ferocious, weak and extraordinary with the centralization of power. From 1975 to 1977, she placed an emergency in the country to suppress the political opposition. India gained popularity in South Asia with major economic, military and political changes under her leadership. Indira Gandhi was elected by the India Today Magazine in 2001 as the world's greatest Prime Minister. In 1999, BBC called her the "Woman of the Millennium."

Birth and Education

Born on November 19, 1917, Indira Gandhi family was an illustrious family. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. Indira Gandhi Education was at prime institutions like Ecole Nouvelle, Bex, Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils’ Own School, Poona and Bombay, Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan and Somerville College, Oxford. A number of universities worldwide awarded her honorary doctoral degree. She also received a Citation of Distinction from Columbia University with an outstanding academic record. Smt. Indira Gandhi was deeply involved in the fight for independence. In her childhood, she established the 'Bal Charkha Sangh' and also in 1930 the 'Vanar Sena' of kids to assist the Congress Party in the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was arrested in September 1942 and served in the riot-affected areas of Delhi with Gandhi's supervision in 1947.

Marriage and Political Journey

Indira Gandhi Husband was Feroze Gandhi. On 26 March 1942, she married him and had two children. In 1955, she became a member of the working committee for the Congress and the Party's central election. She was appointed to the Central Parliamentary Congress Board in 1958. She was Chairman, National Council Integration for A.I.C.C. and President, All India Youth Congress, Women's Department, 1956. In 1959 she was President of the Indian National Congress, serving until 1960 and from January 1978 again.

She was Information and Broadcasting Minister (1964- 1966). From January 1966 through March 1977, she held the highest office as Indian Prime Minister. At the same time, from September 1967 until March 1977, she was Minister of Atomic Energy. From 5 September 1967 to 14 February 1969, she was additionally appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From June 1970 to November 1973, Gandhi headed the Ministry of Home Affairs and from June 1972 to March 1977 was Minister of Space. She was President of the Planning Commission from January 1980. From 14 January 1980, she again presided over the Prime Minister's Office.

Organisations and Institutions

Indira Gandhi has been affiliated with a number of organizations and institutions, such as Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust. She was the Swaraj Bhavan Trust Chairman. In 1955, Bal Sahyog, Bal Bhavan Board and the Children's National Museum were also affiliated with her.   In Allahabad, she established Kamala Nehru Vidyalaya. During 1966-77, she was also linked to several major institutions including the University of Jawaharlal Nehru and the North-Eastern University. She was also a member of the Delhi University Court, the Indian Delegation to UNESCO (1960-64), a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO from 1960-64 and a member of the National Defense Council from 1962. She has also been involved with the Sangeet Natak Academy, the National Integration Council, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society and the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.

In August 1964, Indira Gandhi also became a Rajya Sabha member and served until February 1967. During the fourth, fifth and sixth sessions, she was a Lok Sabha member. In January 1980, she was elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha, from Rae Bareli (U.P.) and Medak (Andhra Pradesh). She preferred the Medak seat to be held and gave up the Rae Bareli seat. In 1967-77 and again in January 1980, she was appointed as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.


To her credit, she had many achievements. In 1972, she was the receiver of Bharat Ratna, Mexican Academy Award for Liberation of Bangladesh (1972), FAO's 2nd Annual Medal (1973) and Nagari Pracharini Sabha's Sahitya Vachaspati (Hindi) in 1976.  In 1953, Gandhi was also awarded the Mothers' Award, U.S.A., the Italian Islbella d'Este Award for excellent diplomatic work, and the Howland Memorial Prize from Yale University. According to a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion, she was the woman most respected by the French for two years, in 1967 and 1968. She was the world's most respected female in 1971, according to a special Gallup Poll Survey in the U.S.A. She was awarded Diploma of Honour by the Argentine Society in the year 1971 for the Protection of Animals.

Indira Gandhi Death

Indira Gandhi, the Iron Lady of India, died in 1984 on October 31. She was killed by two of her bodyguards. Her words, spoken at a public rally in Bhubaneswar just the previous day, had become prophetic. Indira Gandhi was reading from a speech prepared by her information advisor, HY Sharada Prasad. For a few moments, by removing the script written, Indira Gandhi talked about the chances of a tragic end to her life. She said, “I'm here today, and maybe tomorrow I won't be here. Nobody knows how many attempts to shoot me have been made. If I live or die, I do not care. I've lived a long life, and I'm proud that I've spent my entire life helping my country.”


Indira Gandhi History is perhaps one of the most popular Indian leaders in the world. She was India's first and only female Prime Minister, in addition to being the daughter of one of the founding fathers of the country, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Internationally, her strong presence helped to develop India's place as an emerging global superpower. At the time of her tenure, she was dubbed 'The Iron Lady of India' by many. She was praised as a 'goddess' by many political leaders after leading India to victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee naming her 'Goddess Durga' in particular. Her tenure was not short of controversy, for all her successes. 

Her declaration of a national emergency, which resulted in a ban on the press and media, received criticism from many; from the governments of the people and the opposition. While aimed at removing Sikh extremists from a shrine, Operation Blue Star was a highly contentious problem and was eventually seen as the cause of her death in 1984. Nonetheless, as one of India's greatest Prime Ministers, she leaves behind a legacy. After her assassination, Indira Gandhi was succeeded by her mother, Rajiv Gandhi.

FAQs on Indira Gandhi Biography

1. What is Indira Gandhi Date of birth?

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, a notable woman in the history of Indian politics. Born on November 19, 1917, Indira Gandhi family was an illustrious family. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru.

2. Who was the first Woman Prime Minister of India?

The first women Prime Minister of India to serve three consecutive terms was Indira Gandhi. She was succeeded as PM by Lal Bahadur Shastri. Indira Gandhi was Jawaharlal Nehru's only child.

3. Who is Indira Gandhi?

The only woman who served as India's Prime Minister was Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Born into a political family, she was, after her father, the second longest-serving prime minister in India.