In 1917, Smt. Indira Gandhi was born as the daughter of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru into an illustrious family. She first attended Ecole Nouvelle, a prestigious French running school, and then went on to study at Bex (Switzerland), Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils' School, Poona and Mumbai (India), Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan (India) and Somerville College, Oxford.
Her academic accomplishments include being awarded honorary doctoral degrees from a variety of universities around the globe. She started in her youth with her dream to help India's freedom struggle by starting 'Bal Charkha Sangh' where she also became head of its 'Vanar Sena'.
In 1941 she was imprisoned for signing the Quit India Movement which encouraged people to leave their jobs and services in the government sector that were illegal. In 1947 she led riots affecting areas at the time of Independence while still under Gandhi's guidance.
Smt. Gandhi got married to Feroze Gandhi on March 26, 1942, and had two sons. She became a Member of the Congress Working Committee in 1955 and the Central Election of the party in 1958. In 1959 she was made a Member of the National Integration Council of A.I.C.C., President of All India Youth Congress and Women's Department in A.I.C.C. She served as President of the Indian National Congress from 1959 to 1960 and then again from 1978 until 1980.
Smt. Indira Gandhi had been Minister for Information and Broadcasting (1964-1966). Then she held the highest office as the Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977. Concurrently, she was the Minister for Atomic Energy from September 1967 to March 1977. She also held the additional charge of the Ministry of External Affairs from September 5, 1967, to February 14, 1969.
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Smt. Gandhi headed the Ministry of Home Affairs from June 1970 to November 1973 and was Minister for Space from June 1972 to March 1977. From January 1980 she was Chairperson of the Planning Commission. She again chaired the Prime Minister's Office from January 14, 1980.
Some of the main organizations and institutions that Indira Gandhi was involved with include the Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust, Swaraj Bhavan Trust, Bal Sahyog, Bal Bhavan Board, Children's National Museum. One of her projects included founding the Kamala Nehru Vidyalaya in Allahabad. She was also involved with certain big-name institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University and North-Eastern University during 1966-77.
She also served as a member of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO (1960-64), a Member of the Executive Board of UNESCO from 1960-64, and a Member of the National Defence Council in 1962. She was also associated with Sangeet Natak Academy, National Integration Council, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, and Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha during 1951-55.
Mrs. Gandhi also became a Member of the Rajya Sabha in August 1964 and served there until February 1967. She was a Member of Lok Sabha during the fourth, fifth, and sixth sessions. She was elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli (U.P.) and Medak (Andhra Pradesh) in January 1980. She chose to retain the Medak seat and relinquished the Rae Bareli seat. She was chosen as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1967-77 and again in January 1980.
She saw the world as an integrated process, where activities and interests are different facets of lifestyle and not separated into compartments or labeled under different headings.
She is a highly distinguished and respected personality. She was named the recipient of Bharat Ratna in 1972, the Mexican Academy Award for Liberators of Bangladesh (1972), the 2nd Annual Medal, FAO (1973), and Sahitya Vachaspati (Hindi) by Nagari Pracharini Sabha in 1976. In 1953, she received the Mothers' Award from the United States of America.
For two consecutive years in 1967 and 1968, she was chosen as one of the women most admired by the French according to a poll conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion. According to a special Gallup Poll Survey in the United States in 1971, she was chosen as the most-admired person in the world. The institution conferred upon her a Diploma of Honor for the protection of animals in 1971.
Her famous publications include 'The Years of Challenge' (1966-69), 'The Years of Endeavour' (1969-72), 'India' (London) in 1975; 'Inde' (Lausanne) in 1979, and numerous other collections of speeches and writings. She traveled widely in India and all over the world.
Smt. Gandhi paid visits to neighboring countries, like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. She also made visits to many countries like France, Germany, Hungary, and Italy.
Smt. Gandhi was one to visit the majority of the countries in the world like Algeria and Argentina. Even though she visited a lot of countries, some were more frequently visited than others - like Japan, Jamaica and Jordan were some of the most frequent ones that she could be found in at any given time.
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