500+ Words Essay on Indira Gandhi
“My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.”- Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was India’s first and still the only woman Prime Minister. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and a central Indian National Congress political figure.
She has served the second-longest tenure as the country’s prime minister. Her duties as a prime minister began in January 1966 till March 1977 and again from January 1980 till her assassination in October 1984. She was also known as the Iron Lady of India.
Early Life of Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was born in 1917 in the city of Allahabad. Her father was Jawaharlal Nehru, who at that time was an active member in the freedom struggle of India and later became the first prime minister of free India.
Her childhood was quite lonely. Her younger brother died very young and hence she was left as the only child. Her mother was mostly bedridden and suffered an early death due to tuberculosis.
Her father was mostly away, and the only way they communicated with each other was through letters. She met her husband, Feroze Gandhi, in Great Britain when she was abroad for pursuing her higher studies at the Oxford University and later gave birth to two sons; Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.
After getting married and coming back to India, she served as her father’s personal assistant during his tenure as India’s first prime minister. Upon her father’s death, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha and was also elected as the leader of the Indian National Congress Party.
Indira Gandhi – First Tenure as Prime Minister
During her first period as prime minister, she faced many challenges and difficulties and was often referred to as “Goongi Gudiya” for being a mere puppet of the Congress Party. She accepted Morarji Desai, another member of the Congress Party, as the vice or deputy prime minister.
Indira Gandhi was the first national leader to recognize Bangladesh as a country. She helped Bangladesh by sending India’s armed forces against Pakistan, thus ending their conflict. Indira Gandhi won the 1971 national elections, but her defeated opponent made a charge against her that she had used unfair and foul means to win the elections.
The supreme court ruled against her, which meant that she had to remain out of and away from politics for at least six years. She thus decided to take matters in her own hands and declared a situation of emergency in the country.
She even jailed her political opponents and undertook emergency powers. During this time, sterilization on a large scale was also initiated in order to control new births and to get the country’s population to slow down.
Indira Gandhi’s Policies, Programs and Initiatives
Soon after the declared emergency, Indira Gandhi introduced a twenty-point program which aimed at curbing inflation and punishing smugglers, tax invaders, black marketers and other such criminals.
Abundant rainfall also proved to be fruitful, and the harvest during those two years came out to be more than enough. As a result of all this, prices did come down, and the production indexes rose drastically.
However, some of her extreme measures during the time of emergency were not taken very well by the people. These measures included sterilization for families who already had two children, freeze on the increase of wages and more worker discipline.
As India was an agrarian economy, Indian leaders always sought to focus on rural agriculture, and their aim was to increase production to counter the problems of poverty, unemployment and mass hunger.
Indira Gandhi adopted the Green Revolution ideology and promoted the use of high yielding variety seeds, pesticides and fertilizers and modern technology in agriculture.
Indira Gandhi also nationalized 14 private sector banks. These 14 banks contained the country’s 70% deposits which were transferred to the central government. There were two main reasons to nationalise private banks. The first one was that the working nature of these banks was utterly unpredictable.
Many private banks had previously failed and were unable to give the people’s deposits back to them. The second reason was that these banks only catered to the prominent industrialists and business people. Indira Gandhi’s government was focused on granting loans to farmers and small -scale workers as well.
Under Indira Gandhi’s tenure as prime minister, Rakesh Sharma, an Indian Air Force Pilot was the first Indian to be sent into space. He spent close to 8 days in space being a part of studies and experiments. He was also awarded the Ashoka Chakra upon his arrival.
A great fall and an eventual rise
After unpopular policies and an emergency rule like that, Indira Gandhi was thrown out of power by the Janata Party and was even imprisoned for a short while. After that, she made a new party; The Congress(I) Party wherein the I signified Indira.
She, with her new party, won a seat in the Lok Sabha and her party once again came into power. By then she was grooming her elder son, Sanjay Gandhi to step into politics but his untimely death in a plane crash left her with little choice. She thus resorted to grooming her younger son; Rajiv Gandhi for such roles.
Indira Gandhi – Assassination
During the early 1980’s, the Sikhs revolted against her because they wanted Punjab to be given the status of an autonomous state. They even took the help of violence. In 1982, the revolting Sikhs forfeited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is considered to be the holiest place for the Sikhs.
Because of the growing tensions, in 1984, Indira Gandhi ordered an army attack on the Golden Temple where approximately 450 Sikhs were put to death. Not more than five months later she was shot with bullets in her garden by her two own Sikh bodyguards as revenge for her attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar.