62 years since “Woman of the Millennium” – Indira Gandhi, sworn in as president of Indian National Congress 

Let us try and understand the relevance of Indira Gandhi and her contribution to India and its people.

2021 marks 62 years of Indira Gandhi as she followed the footsteps of her family legacy and inherited political consciousness thereby entered into the world of politics. Let’s have a brief look at some of the major instances of “India’s daughter of destiny”.

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Indira Gandhi became 69th president of the Indian National Congress. She was elected as the president of Indian National Congress on 2nd February 1959. Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi Nehru was born on 19 November 1917. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru. She was the first and only Indian female Prime Minister that India has ever produced.

No past Indian Prime Minister was as passionate as Indira Gandhi. She was one of the messianic leaders of India. The opponents of Indira Gandhi blamed her for the establishment of authoritarian government, and promoting colonial policy, she was also held responsible for weakening democratic institutions.

No other leader had an impacted and long-lasting tenure as her. Her legacy will be a topic of debate for the coming generations. Her contributions will be acknowledged for both good and bad. The contemporary way of describing the Indira Gandhi government would be to look back on the details of its strategies, initiatives, achievements and shortcomings. Such an initiative will tend to yield both convergence and differences that were associated with her government.

Let us try and understand the relevance of Indira Gandhi and her contribution to India and its people.

Read more: Why is ‘Father of Nation’ death anniversary remarked as ‘Shaheed Divas?

The Political journey of Indira Gandhi.

When Nehru became the first Prime Minister of independent India in 1947, Indira Gandhi served as the hostess during his tenure. In 1959 Indira Gandhi was accorded as the president of the Indian National Congress.

After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Indira Gandhi was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Indira also went ahead and took up the responsibility as the head of Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Indira Gandhi took the responsibility of Prime Minister after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. This marked the history as for the first time India got its female Prime Minister.

In 1967 the Indian National Congress retained its power and Indira Gandhi was re sworn as the Prime Minister for the second time.

In the 1971 General Elections, the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Indira Gandhi led a mass movement which focused on reducing poverty. Congress won its game with this campaign and Indira Gandhi continued with her term of Prime Minister.

1971, Indira Gandhi extended her support towards the segregation of East from West Pakistan. In 1972 Indira Gandhi was accused of misconduct in the National Elections.

In 1975 Indira Gandhi was convicted by Allahabad High court for the charges of electoral corruption. She was prohibited for 6 years for taking part in the general. In the response to the judgement of Allahabad High Court, Indira Gandhi declared ‘state emergency’ on 25th June 1975.

Indira Gandhi released the withdrawal of emergency on 21 March 1977. Thereafter the general elections took place and ‘Morarji Desai’ from the Janta Party won the elections and he succeeded Indira Gandhi and became the new prime minister.

In 1980 Indira Gandhi made a subsequent comeback as the Janta party failed to resolve the poverty crisis of the nation. Indira Gandhi took advantage of this failure of the Janta Party. And she was elected as the Prime Minister for the third time on 14 January 1980 by the members of Medak constituency.

The 1984 operation Blue Star was the Indian Army’s largest internal security mission. This operation was a solution given by Indira Gandhi to control the situation of law and order in Punjab. The operation focused on removing the Sikh militants who were collecting weapons in the Harmandir Sahib Complex formerly known as the Golden Temple. Thousands of Sikh militants died in this operation.

The major Economic Reforms under the governance of Indira Gandhi.

The first major decision taken by Indira Gandhi was to “Nationalise all the banks in 1969”. The next major move which she played was “ Nationalising the insurance sector and coal sector” completely.

In 1973 she passed the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Act which removed the private sector completely. Everything was under the control of the government. She also enacted the Foreign Exchange Violations Act during the same year, which citizens of India were restrained from holding any amount of foreign currency. In 1973 she also tried to “Nationalise Food Grain” trade but failed terribly.

The Green revolution took place under the guidance of Indira Gandhi, in 1940. In which there was a great increase in the production of food grains.

The fourth, fifth and sixth five-year plan was passed under the constituency of Indira Gandhi.

In Indian policy and India’s corporations, Indira Gandhi is identified for encouraging a culture of favouritism. Throughout that time she ruled India for more than 16 years and she was committed to and faithfully pursued the planning path for the ‘Nehru Goals’ of social-economic and technology development. Her concern for the disabled, the poor and the minorities was real. She made Indian food autonomous and, thanks to the Green Revolution, which rescued India from disgraceful dependence on food imports.

The unfortunate assassination of Indira Gandhi.

On 31 October 1984, after the completion of operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi was on her way to be interviewed by British actor Peter Ustinov at her residence in Safdarjung Road in New Delhi, who was filming a documentary for the Irish Television.

As soon as she passed through the wicket gate. Her two Sikh bodyguards Satwant and Beant Singh opened fire and killed Indira Gandhi. Both Satwant Singh and Beant Singh were considered responsible for the death of Indira Gandhi. Beanet Singh was captured and killed by the Border Police officers Tarsem Singh Jamwal and Ram Saran. While Satwant was arrested as he tried to escape.

Soon Indira Gandhi was taken to All Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi where she was declared dead. The postmortem examination was done by a team of the doctors which was headed by Tirath Das Dogra.

Four days of riots triggered post the assassination and over 8,000 Indian Sikhs lost their lives in retaliation. Salma Sultan gave the first news of the assassination of Indira Gandhi on Doordarshan channel on 31 October 1984, ten hours later, after she was killed.

The Justice Thakkar Commission was set up to probe into the entire matter. Satwant Singh and the person behind the conspiracy Kehar Singh were sentenced to death. Both of them were executed on 6th January 1989.

Without an outline of Indian history, the life of Indira Gandhi is complex to interpret entirely. Indira was chronically trapped in the warring forces and divisions of the different regions and interests of India, and her governance history reads like a true laundry of rioters, civil wars and revolutions on her political choice. Which is validated by her assassination.

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