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Indira Gandhi or Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was one of the prime figures of the congress party, a prominent statesperson and a great leader. She held the charge for 11 years and was the second most popular prime minister of India after her father, i.e. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi was known for her intrepid decisions; decisions which led to war and victory, decisions which led to the creation of another country and decisions which cost her own life. From assisting her father in the political events to becoming the prime minister and changing the shape of India, here are some of the facts that every Indian should know about our Iron Lady.
Chose Duty Over Love
Indira Nehru was married to Feroz Gandhi in 1942 but after the birth of Rajiv Gandhi in 1944 and Sanjay Gandhi in 1946, she had to choose between being a homemaker or being politically active. She decided to go for the latter as she was determined to serve her countrymen like her father.
Her Iron-Willed Nature Led Her To Become Congress President
Indira Gandhi became the congress president in 1959 from Bangalore. Her strong determination led to dismiss of communist state government in Kerala and she was re-elected as the congress president in 1979, then again in 1984.
Strong And Decisive
Her strong decisive nature helped her in becoming the broadcasting minister in 1964 and then the prime-minister in 1966. For instance- The language riots which broked in Madras in 1965 were resolved due to the immediate actions taken by Indira Gandhi by going in public and delivering the speeches for assuring the public.
Recognized Her As 'Durga'
Atal Bihari Vajpayee recognized Indira Gandhi as Durga due to her courage regardless of being in the opposition. She was compared to to this entity because of her boldness, compassion, decisiveness and influencing leadership skills.
The credit for the self-sufficiency that India has today in terms of food and related supplies goes to none other than Indira Gandhi. She motivated the Indian scientists to work with international counterparts and brought changes to the then running policies regarding same. Since then, India has had less dependency on imported food and is reliable in itself by having much of the sector shared by agriculture.
Creation Of Bangladesh
When the Pakistani forces were pounding over the Eastern territories, it was Indira Gandhi who extended her support to the latter and provided the refugees with adequate food and shelter supplies. When United States supported Pakistan, it was Indira Gandhi who supported and helped the Bangladeshi freedom fighters by handing them arms and training facilites. Under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, the combined troop of India and Bangladesh marched towards the Pakistani army and defeated them. This is how Indira Gandhi brought Bangladesh to its existence.
The Powerhouse Prime Minister
Did you know that Indira Gandhi was mocked as “Goongi Goodhiya” during her first year as the prime minister? This was done by the opposition because of her bosses who tried to constrain her. But despite the suppressing opposition, she came back to the surface when she was re-elected as the Prime Minister in 1971. It was in this year when she supported Bangaldesh. Her governance helped the nation to fight against several serious issues like poverty, food shortages, inflation, regional disputes, etc. Under her leadership, India saw much better years of development than ever before.
On June 25, 1975, the then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed declared Emergency minutes before the clock struck twelve in the midnight. Indira Gandhi saw the civil disputes flourishing in the nation as well as she was disappointed by the slow rates of economic development. Therefore, she prepared a “20-point” economic programme to counteract these issues. But, the motive strayed away form its initial path and ended up hurting common citizens and taking their freedom away. Hence, till date, it’s being criticised by many people.
16 days before the Golden Temple massacare took place, Indira Gandhi paid a visit to the temple to oversee the situation herself. According to the sources, the priest of the temple demanded that the army should be taken back and the pilgrims should be set free. But despite every demand and plead, Indira Gandhi continued with her decision of launching the attack.
Indira Gandhi paid visit to US two times in order to seek help regarding the issues of food shortages and inadequate technologies. Although in 1966, her visit didn’t prove to be fruitful because of her good relations with Russian government, in 1982, when she visisted US under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, she was successful in signing an agreement for cooperation in science and technology on the Tarapur nuclear plant.
Although it was Indira Gandhi who decided to extend the hand of support towards Eastern Pakistan (now Bnagladesh), she herself was seen in “extremely good terms” with the then President of Pakistan, Zulfikhar Ali Bhutto. Indira Gandhi personally saw the rooms for the President and her daughter and overwhelmigly overlook all the preparations. This meeting has been considered as a very controversial one.
Inspiration For Women
Being the first female President of India itself makes her an inspiring role model for all the women. During the era when women were taken as merely “things” and were not given equal rights and opportunity, the rise of Indira Gandhi enlightened the lives of innumerous women suffering from injustice. Her epithet, “Iron Lady of India”‘ is wholly justified by her service and contibution to the development of India.
Operation Blue Star
On June 01, 1984, Indira Gandhi decided to launch the attack codenamed as “Operation Blue Star”. The army used loudspeakers to encourage the militants to surrender and release the trapped pilgrims, but all came to dust. Hence, on June 05, 1984, the army opened an attack upon the militants in the complex as per Gandhi’s orders. The fighting ended on June 08, 1984 which resulted in the death of many militants and citizens. This incident provoked the rage of people from Sikh community which ultimately led to the fatal end of Indira Gandhi.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984 by her two bodyguards named Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. On that day, at approximately 09.00 in the morning, when Indira Gandhi walked out of her house, Beant Singh shot her with 3 bullets in her abdomen. Followed by 30 more shots from Satwant Singh’s gunmachine, Indira Gandhi was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, fate was not with her this time and she was declared dead.