The Life of Indira Gandhi - Sahasra Ravuri, 8th Grade, Connecticut

Indira Gandhi was an Indian politician and a main figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the third Prime Minister of India and was also to this date, the only women prime minister in India thus far. She started as a little girl who was interested in what was happening in her community, and eventually grew into one of India’s best Prime Ministers.


Indira Gandhi was born on November 19 1917 in Allahabad India as the child of Jawaharlal Nehru who was one of the chief figures in India’s struggle to achieve independence from Britain. Indira actually had a younger brother but he died when he was very young. Indira spent a lonely childhood with only her mother because her father dedicated himself to India’s fight for independence. This struggle resulted in Nehru being sent to jail numerous times for not obeying the British. Her mother was also not very active in Indira’s life because she was often bedridden due to illness. She later suffered an early death in 1936 due to tuberculosis. After her mother passed away she attended a Badminton school for a brief period before attending a Swiss boarding school, and later studying at Somerville College, Oxford. On March 26 1942, Indira married Feroze Gandhi. Being inspired by Mahatma Gandhis’ movements towards independence, Feroze changed his last name from Ghandy to Gandhi. Many people did not support Indira and Feroze marriage because of their different religions. Feroze was Parsi while Indira was Hindu. Eventually, Indira was old enough to enter politics and begin her career.


In 1947, Nehru was appointed as newly independent India’s Prime Minister; his daughter, Indira Gandhi, agreed to travel to New Delhi with him to serve as a hostess and welcome any diplomats and leaders to India. Later, in 1955 she was elected to the important 21-member working committee of the Congress Party. After four years passed, she was named as the president of the Congress Party. Nehru died in 1964 Lal Bahadur Shastri became the new Prime Minister in Nehru’s place. Indira took on the role of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Shastri’s terms as Prime Minister ended abruptly as he died two years after being elected. Among the rest of the Congress party leaders, they all decided that Indira should be the new Prime Minister. After just a few years Indira gained popularity for initiating successful programs. In 1971, she gave her support to the Bengali movement to separate East and West Pakistan, this provided a refuge for ten million Pakistani civilians who escaped to India to escape the raiding Pakistani army. She eventually offered troops and hands to help those refugees fight back.


In 1984, the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, was taken over by Sikhs seeking an autonomous state. In response to this, Indira sent Indian troops to regain the temple by force. In the rapid gunfire, hundreds of Sikhs were killed, this ignited an uprising within the Sikh community. On October 31 of 1984, Indira was assassinated outside her home by two of her trusted bodyguards seeking revenge for the events at the temple.

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