Remembering Indira - India's iron lady

Subscribe to Oneindia News

Remembering Indira - India's iron lady
Nation celebrates the 96th birth anniversary of one of its most powerful leaders today - Indira Gandhi. Her birthday, November 19, falls 5 days after the birthday of her father Jawaharlal Nehru. 

Known as 'Iron Lady of India, Gandhi had proven during her term as India's Prime Minister that she has more guts and courage than most of the men who preceded/succeeded her. Inadvertently, November 19 is also celebrated worldwide as 'International Men's Day'.

Gandhi assumed the position of India's prime minister for the first time in 1966, after her father's demise. Times Magazine cover in 1966 read, "Troubled India in a Woman's Hands." But very soon, India witnessed Indira's transition from a 'mute doll' or 'gungi gudiya' to a powerful leader who led India during India-Pak war in 1971.

From a 'gungi gudiya', Indira Gandhi came to be known as the Iron Lady

She never yielded to separatist forces. She could tackle the insurgency problems in North-Eastern regions to a large extend. However, her military offensive in Nagaland to suppress the insurgent forces is believed to have hurt the ethnic groups in the area who still continue with the rebellion.

Indira is known for her role in the sucessful 'Operation Blue Star' in 1984, which earned her the wrath of Sikh community. She was months later assassinated by two Sikh security men.

Her death triggered one of the most heinous genocides India has ever seen - Sikh riots. A violent farewell for a lady who lived a turbulent life.

She is also known for bringing about many crucial economical reforms like nationalisation of banks. Anil Padmanabhan of Mint writes that it was Gandhi who laid foundation of economic reforms which is widely believed to have started in 1991. To solve India's food crisis, which was very severe, Indira decided to revive the country's agriculture sector using the powerful tool called 'Green revolution'. This was a vital move, as country no longer had to depend on foreign aids. Her policies helped the government tackle inflation.

Indira gandhi also encouraged scientific research in India and it was during her tenure the first nuclear programme was carried out in the country.

Gandhi hardly tried to please anyone. Indira's political ideologies didn't often agree with that of her party. She was more a 'socialist' in her policies. She added the term 'socialism' to the preamble and her acts of 'bank nationalisation' etc is seen as evidences to her inclination towards leftist ideologies. She initiated programmes like 'garibi hatao', an effort towards bringing social equality.

Indira ruled with an iron fist. She cracked down on state leaders who were not loyal to her. In 1975, Allahabad High Court declared her election to Lok Sabha invalid on grounds of electoral malpractice. This led to widespread protests and calls for Indira's resignation. Gandhi refused to step down and soon, she declared a state of emergency in the country, the first time ever for an Indian leader to do so.

Described as the most controversial 2 years in India's history, the emergency period saw hundreds of arrests and crack downs. Ms Gandhi did not let anyone to speak against her. Human rights violations were reported across the country and forced sterilisation of millions of people were reported.

In spite of the emergency period and undemocratic, decisive ways she worked in, Indira gandhi is celebrated as one of the greatest leaders India ever had. If it was not for her, the country would have remained as a poor third world member who survives on foreign aids. If it was not for her, one of the largest political families in the country wouldn't have got an illustrious legacy to boast of.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and senior leader Mohsina Kidwai after paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 96th birth anniversary at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying homage to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 96th birth anniversary at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

President Pranab Mukherjee paying homage to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 96th birth anniversary at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi release balloons at Shakti Sthal during celebration of 96th birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting Programme Officer award to The New College (Chennai) at the Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards 2012-13 function in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting Programme Officer award to Hira Lal Ram Niwas P G College, Sant Kabir Nagar (UP) at the Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards 2012-13 function in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during celebration of 96th birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi paying homage to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 96th birth anniversary at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speakar Meira Kumar and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi while paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde with Minister for Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal before paying tributes to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Tourists pay floral tribute to Former Prime Minster Late Indira Gandhi on the occasion of her birth anniversary at Anand Bhawan in Allahabad on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during celebration of 96th birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi during celebration of 96th birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her memorial Shakti Sthal in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Oneindia News

Please Wait while comments are loading...