Timeline History

Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (November 19, 1917 October 31, 1984) was Prime Minister of India from January 19, 1966 to March 24, 1977, and again from January 14, 1980 until her assassination on October 31, 1984.
Daughter of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and mother of another, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi was one of India's most notable and controversial political leaders. In spite of her famous surname, she was of no relation to Mahatma Gandhi.

During 1959 and 1960, Gandhi ran for and was elected the President of the Indian National Congress. Her term of office was uneventful. She also acted as her father's chief of staff. Nehru was known as a vocal opponent of nepotism, and she did not contest a seat in the 1962 elections.
Nehru died on May 24, 1964, and Gandhi, at the urgings of the new Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, contested elections and joined the Government, being immediately appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting. She went to Madras when the riots over Hindi becoming the national language broke out in non-Hindi speaking states of the south. There she spoke to government officials, soothed the anger of community leaders and supervised reconstruction efforts for the affected areas. Shastri and senior Ministers were embarrassed, owing to their lack of such initiative. Minister Gandhi's actions were probably not directly aimed at Shastri or her own political elevation. She reportedly lacked interest in the day-to-day functioning of her Ministry, but was media-savvy and adept at the art of politics and image-making.
When the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 broke out, Gandhi was vacationing in the border region of Srinagar. Although warned by the Army that Pakistani insurgents had penetrated very close to the city, she refused to relocate to Jammu or Delhi. She rallied local government and welcomed media attention, in effect reassuring the nation. Shastri died in Tashkent, hours after signing the peace agreement with Pakistan's Ayub Khan, mediated by the Soviets.

Gandhi's later years were bedevilled with problems in Punjab. A local religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was first set up by the local Congress as an alternative to the regional Akali Dal party, but once his activities turned violent he was excoriated as an extremist and a separatist. In September 1981, Bhindranwale was arrested in Amritsar, but was released twenty five days later because of lack of evidence. After his release, he relocated himself from his headquarters at Mehta Chowk to Guru Nanak Niwas within the Golden Temple precincts.[1]
Disturbed by the spread of militancy by Bhindranwale's group, Gandhi gave the Army permission to storm the Golden Temple to flush out Bhindranwale and his followers on June 3, 1984. Many Sikhs were outraged at the perceived desecration of their holiest shrine, which remains controversial in terms of timing and effect to this day.
On October 31, 1984, two of Indira Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh assassinated her in the garden of the Prime Minister's Residence at No. 1, Safdarjung Road in New Delhi. As she was walking to be interviewed by the British actor Peter Ustinov filming a documentary for Irish television, she passed a wicket gate, guarded by Satwant and Beant; when she bent down to greet them in traditional Indian style, they opened fire with their semiautomatic machine pistols. She died on her way to hospital, in her official car, but was not declared dead till many hours later.
Indira Gandhi was cremated on November 3, near Raj Ghat and the place was called Shakti Sthal.



Deepthi.com, 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
Contact webmaster@deepthi.com for comments and suggestions.