Indira Gandhi

(Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi)
Born: 11/19/1917
Birthplace: Allahabad, India

Following her parents' example — they had joined the Indian independence movement after a visit from Mohandas Gandhi in 1919 — Indira Gandhi began fighting for Indian independence from Great Britain at around age 11, forming the Monkey Brigade, which among other activities, spied on the police. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, eventually became India's first Prime Minister. Two years after his death in 1964, Indira Gandhi assumed her father's post as the leader of the world's largest democracy. She was credited with India's increased industrialization and food production, but her regime received its share of criticism. She supported the breakaway province of East Bengal in its bid to achieve independence from India's rival Pakistan in 1971, sending Indian troops to the region in support. Her election in 1972 drew charges of electoral fraud, of which she was convicted in 1975. She responded by declaring a state of emergency and sending her political opponents to prison. Her party lost power in 1977, although she helped to form the Congress (I) (“I” for Indira) party, with which she regained power in 1978. During the 1980s, several Indian states sought independence, including Sikhs in the Punjab province. In response to a violent intervention to oust Sikh guerrillas from the Golden Temple of Armister, two of Gandhi's bodyguards, both Sikh's, assassinated her. She was succeeded by her son, Rajiv.

Died: New Delhi, India , 10/31/1984
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