Indira Gandhi is most famous for being a political leader and is known as the "Iron Lady of India." She was the first and only woman to hold the office of Prime Minister in India, which she held for most of the period from 1966 to 1984.Continue Reading
Indira Gandhi is the daughter and only child of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. After her father’s death, Indira was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1960. She was known for being politically ruthless and authoritarian.
Gandhi’s political career was filled with a lot of ups and downs. During her time as Prime Minister, the Indian government was fraught with corruption at all levels. In 1977, the Indian high courts charged and convicted Gandhi with a minor infraction during the country’s election process. She was asked to resign her position, but she refused. Gandhi lost her bid for Prime Minister in the next election, but in 1980, she was re-elected in a landslide victory.
After the 1980 election, Gandhi worked to repress a Sikh extremist movement. When the group held a large gathering inside the Golden Temple, Gandhi ordered approximately 70,000 soldiers to break up the gathering. The siege resulted in the deaths of 450 people.
As a result of the actions she took against the extremist group, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on Oct. 31, 1984, by two trusted bodyguards, who were actually members of the Sikh group. With a point-blank shot to the head and more than 30 gunshots wounds to the body, Gandhi died on the way to the hospital.
Indira Gandhi was also known for being an eloquent speaker, being quoted with such phrases as, “People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights,” and, “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”Learn more about Modern Asia