INDIATOP NEWS

PM Modi remembers Indira Gandhi on birth centenary

 

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid his tributes to former counterpart Indira Gandhi on her birth centenary on Sunday.

“Tributes to former PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary,” he tweeted.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also paid their tributes to Gandhi on her birth centenary.

A central figure in Indian politics, Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India.

Born on November 19, 1917, Gandhi served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977, and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian prime minister after her father Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime minister.

While she began her educational stint at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, Gandhi was unable to complete her course, and subsequently continued her education from the University of Oxford.

Following the demise of her mother, she briefly attended the Badminton School before enrolling at Somerville College in 1937 to study history.

Gandhi served as her father’s personal assistant and hostess during his tenure as Prime Minister between 1947 and 1964.

She was elected Congress President in 1959. Upon her father’s death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

However, in the Congress Party’s parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 (upon the death of Shastri) she defeated her opponent Morarji Desai to become a leader, and subsequently Shastri’s successor as Prime Minister of India.

As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India’s influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia.

Citing fissiparous tendencies and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and press was censored.

 

Among the awards conferred upon her, Gandhi, in 1971, was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour after leading India to victory against Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971.

In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. She was assassinated by Sikh nationalists in 1984, less than a month before her 67th birthday.

Sonia, Pranab remember ‘Iron Lady’ Indira Gandhi

On the occasion of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s birth centenary, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi paid her tributes to the “Iron Lady” while talking about her compassion towards helping the poor and oppressed, and her contribution towards the freedom struggle.

“I have heard Indiraji being referred to as the Iron Lady. But iron was only one of the elements in her character; generosity and humanity were just as prominent traits. She fought, yes — but not for personal ascendancy. She fought for her principles, against vested interests and agendas,” she said while addressing the gathering prior to the inauguration of the “A Life of Courage” exhibition curated by the staff of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust and EKA Archives.

Sonia added: “She could not tolerate any form of bullying, coercion and unfairness — that was fundamental to her character. That is what inspired her in all her battles – those she took on and those that she faced.”

Hailing her as someone who fought for India’s dignity and independence against the dominance of superpowers, Sonia opined that in spite of the plethora of challenges posed during her stint as Prime Minister, Indira “faced them all with courage, fortified by her dedication to making India strong, united and prosperous.”

“She fought for secularism and against those who wanted to divide society on religion and caste lines. In all her efforts she was sustained by the faith reposed in her by her fellow countrymen and women. That love was her inspiration and her reward,” she said.

Meanwhile, former President Pranab Mukherjee, who also addressed the gathering, stated that Indira Gandhi “can never be erased from the pages of history.”

“My career as a parliamentarian was mentored by Indira Gandhi. Her steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive actions made her a towering personality. She never hesitated to call a spade a spade,” he said.

The former president also took to twitter to pay tributes to the former prime minister.

“Remembering Indira Gandhi on her Birth Centenary. Her steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive actions made her a towering personality. Undoubtedly and rightfully India’s Iron Lady,” he tweeted.

A central figure in Indian politics, Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India.

 

Earlier in the day, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also paid their tributes to Gandhi on her birth centenary.

The Congress frontrunner also welcomed veteran leaders such as Sheila Dikshit and Dr. Karan Singh at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on Indira Gandhi. (ANI)

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