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Early Life of Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 in Allahabad to Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru. As we all know her father Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of Independent India who initially led India's political struggle for independence from British rule. But however her early life was not very memorable for her for it was the time when her family was frequently visited by Mohandas Gandhi who just then returned from his exile from South Africa. Mohandas Gandhi slowly influenced the family of Indira. So most of the time her father Jawaharlal Nehru went out to fight for Indian independence which involved a number of meetings in different parts of the country. So Indira Gandhi was deprived of her normal childhood because of the frequent absence of her parents. In her young ages Indira Gandhi felt very in secured and was mostly taken care of by her grandfather Motilal Nehru. Slowly the intensity of freedom struggle was increasing during which both Indira's father and grandfather were first jailed for their activities. During this time Indira was of only four years old and her mother was also jailed frequently because of her involvement in the freedom struggle.

Early Life of Indira
Indira was the only child to her parents though she a younger brother who died at a much young age. Most of the time Indira was with her mother Kamala Nehru in the absence of her father who was frequently imprisoned and was living at their family estate house at Anand Bhavan in Allahabad. So Indira Gandhi always felt loneliness and had an unhappy childhood. Indira attended school at irregular intervals till she completed her matriculation in 1934. After her matriculation Indira Gandhi studied at Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan where she in an interview with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was named by him as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru. However she was not able to continue her studies here because she had to get back to her mother who was being treated for her tuberculosis in Europe. SO Indira left to Europe to attend her mother and simultaneously she also pursued her education at the University of Oxford. Kamala Nehru suffered from tuberculosis and was very often bed ridden and she also passed away at a very young age. After Indira's mother’s death Indira was totally under the control of care takers and was mostly taught by tutors at home. Indira also had a very limited contact with her father and it was mostly through letters. After the death of Kamala Nehru before Indira registered herself with the Somerville College in 1937 to study history she attended the Badminton School for a short period of time. At Somerville College Indira had to take the entrance examination twice; having failed at her first attempt, with a poor performance in Latin. However her performance was quite satisfactory at Oxford where she did well in history, political science and economics, but her grades in Latin—a compulsory subject—remained poor. Indira Gandhi proved to be a strong willed and highly intelligent young woman.

Indira Gandhi's entry into politics

Indira Gandhi's entry into politics During Indira Gandhi’s stay in Europe for her studies had continual trouble with her health and was frequently visited by doctors. So in order to take treatment she made frequent trips to Switzerland which caused lot of distractions in her studies. It was during this time the Nazi armies were quickly capturing Europe. Indira made all efforts to get back to England through Portugal but was unfortunately stranded there for nearly two months. But however she survived to enter into England in 1941 and from there returned back to India even without completing her studies at Oxford. It was during her stay in UK Indira Gandhi met Feroze Gandhi who belonged to a Parsi family in Gujarat. But she knew him from Allahabad who was studying at the London School of Economics. Feroze was one of the youngest members of the then Indian National Congress party. Finally their marriage was confirmed and they got married in Allahabad according to Adi Dharm rituals though Feroze belonged to a Parsi family. But however initially there were lot of objections from the Nehru family because of Feroze religion Zoroastrianism. Once they were married Indira Gandhi gave birth to her eldest son Rajiv Gandhi in 1944 and it was the time when both his parents were in and out of British prisons. So in 1947 after the independence Feroze and Indira Gandhi settled in Allahabad and after moved to Lucknow where Feroze became the editor of the National Herald newspaper which was founded by Motilal Nehru. But slowly the marriage between Feroze and Indira Gandhi was loosening its strength and by 1949 Indira Gandhi along with her two sons Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi left Lucknow and went to Delhi to live with her father Nehru and assist him in all his political duties thereby acting as an official hostess. In 1964 after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru Indira Gandhi 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's Political career and Achievements

Indira Gandhi's Political career and AchievementsLal Bahadur who was succeeded Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister who had an unexpected death in two years after assuming office. So the Congress party appointed Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister of India who was heading the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting. SO Indira Gandhi became the first Women Prime Minister and the third Prime Minister of Independent India in 1966. After assuming to office Indira Gandhi proved herself to be extremely well with her political skills, determination and perseverance. Great Congress heads like Kamaraj, Morarji Desai and many appreciated her tenacity. Indira Gandhi during her tenure as Prime Minister brought about lot of changes in the country which gained enormous popularity for introducing successful programs that transformed India into a country self-sufficient in food grains—an achievement known as the Green Revolution which was also known as the Intense Agricultural District Program (IADP) officially. India reached a state of exporting food grains. Indira Gandhi was instrumental in White Revolution whose aim was to combat malnutrition amongst children. She was very keen on making banking easier where in the year 1969 in order to encourage the Indian economy fourteen Major Banks was nationalized.

After the banks were nationalized the number of branches of various banks advanced from 8200 to over 60,000 which included both the rural and urban areas. Thus it was during the period of Indira Gandhi banking was made very easy even to the uneducated. Again after her tenure of office for the first five years she was once again re-elected in the 1971 Lok Sabha General elections. She signed peace treaties with many countries, including Pakistan on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. India’s first nuclear missile test was conducted under her leadership. The Famous Pokhran test was conducted in Rajasthan in 1974. She played a major role in supporting the Bengalis to split east from West Pakistan where she provided refuge for the ten million Pakistani civilians. Finally the Indian army headed by Indira Gandhi under the support of Soviet Union defeated the Pakistani army and this victory led to the creation of Bangladesh. After nearly forty years of the formation of Bangladesh the country offered Indira Gandhi with the highest state honor award, Bangladesh Swadhinata Sanmanona. This was received by her daughter in law and the President of Congress party Sonia Gandhi. Indira Gandhi also takes the credit of being the first woman Prime Minister to produce budget in the Parliament.

Indira Gandhi served three consecutive terms as prime minister, between 1966 and 1977, and another term beginning in 1980. Unfortunately because of the problem of the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984 which was captured by the Sikh extremists wanting for an autonomous state. Indira Gandhi responded to it by sending the Indian troops to be set free. But in the bombardment of the gun fire which took place nearly hundreds of Sikhs were killed, which caused a revolt within the Sikh community. On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated outside her home by two of her trusted Sikh bodyguards, in quest of vengeance for the events at the temple. The airport in Delhi is named after her as Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport has been termed as the world's second best airport. In the year 1971 Indira Gandhi was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna during her tenure as Prime minister. Indian National Congress established the annual Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1985, given in her memory on her death anniversary. In order to honour the great leader Indira Gandhi, the central government has established the Indira Awaas Yojana which is a low-cost housing programme for the rural poor. The Indira Gandhi National Open University more popularly known as the IGNOU, the largest university in the world, is also named after her.