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On Death Anniversary, Some Defining Moments Of Indira Gandhi As PM

On Death Anniversary, Some Defining Moments Of Indira Gandhi As PM

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On Death Anniversary, Some Defining Moments Of Indira Gandhi As PM

Indira Gandhi is the second longest serving Prime Minister of the country.

The nation paid homage to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 34th death anniversary on Wednesday.

Congress president and grandson Rahul Gandhi, along with UPA chairperson and daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, and former PM Manmohan Singh paid tribute to her at Shakti Sthal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paidhis tribute to the first female Prime Minister of India.

She was assassinated on 31 October 1984, by two of her bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, at her Safdarjung Road residence in Delhi.

Indira Gandhi – Life And Political Career

Early life of Indira Gandhi

Early life of Indira Gandhi

Born on 19 November 1917 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the only child of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru.

After school and early college, Indira went to Shantiniketan in West Bengal and later, went to study in Switzerland and Oxford University in London. She was married Feroze Gandhi and had two sons, Rajiv Gandhi (who later became Prime Minister himself) and Sanjay Gandhi.

In 1959, she was appointed as the president of Indian National Congress and assisted her father from 1947 till 1964. After her father’s death, Indira became a Cabinet minister under Lal Bahadur Shastri. She became Prime Minister of the country in 1966 after Shastri’s death.

Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister

Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister

Indira Gandhi served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was the second-longest serving PM of the country, the first being her father Jawaharlal Nehru.

Here are some defining moments that her tenure as Prime Minister will be remembered for.

Nationalization of Banks – 1969

Nationalising the banks

Nationalising the banks

On 19 July 1969, Indira Gandhi passed the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Ordinance, nationalising 14 privately-owned banks of India.

The banks owned nearly 70% of the India’s deposits which were transferred to the government to promote economic equality.

These 14 banks included the Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Dena Bank, Syndicate Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra,Union Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Canara Bank and United Bank of India.

Liberation Of Bangladesh – 1971

Garibi Hatao Program

Garibi Hatao Program

Army of Pakistan conducted a widespread genocide in East Pakistan resulting in the increased refugee flow into India from East Pakistan. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to intervene in the civil war by supporting the creation of a separate state for ethnic Bengalis through Mukti Bahini.

Consequently, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a pre-emptive strike on Indian Air Force bases which trigged the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

After carrying out several strikes against Pakistan, the Indian Air Force controlled the skies of East Pakistan within a week. The Indian Navy had destroyed most of the navy ships and tankers of Pakistan.

As a result, Pakistani surrendered on 16 December 1971 and Bangladesh was created. Chief of Indian Army Sam Manekshaw, who was later honoured with the designation of Field Marshal, played a key role in the victory.

(ReadField Marshal Sam Manekshaw, A Towering Figure Whose Legend Lives On)

 The Emergency – 1975

The state of emergency in the country

The state of emergency in the country

During the 1970s, the opposition parties and social activists protested against the Indira Gandhi-led Central government over rising inflation, declining economy and corruption.

In 1975, Allahabad High Court gave a verdict that Indira Gandhi had used illegal practices to win the elections. This judgment further fuelled the demonstrations against her.

The court also ordered her to vacate her seat. But Indira Gandhi declared “an emergency, due to the turbulent political situation in the country”, instead of resigning, on 26 June, 1975.

During this period, members of the opposition political parties were imprisoned, constitutional rights were abrogated, and restrictions were imposed on the press.

The day is referred as ‘Black Day’ in Indian democracy. The period lasted for 19 months.

She was defeated by the Janata Dal combine, led by Morarji Desai and Jai Prakash Narayan in the elections that followed once Emergency was lifted in 1977.

First Nuclear Test – 1974

Indira Gandhi addressing the nation on first nuclear programme

Indira Gandhi addressing the nation

On 18 May 1974, the government headed by Indira Gandhi carried out India’s first successful nuclear test in the deserts of Pokhran, Rajasthan. The code name assigned to the nuclear test was ‘Smiling Buddha’ (MEA designation: Pokhran-I).

With this, India became the world’s sixth nuclear power after the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China to successfully test out a nuclear bomb.

India carried out its second round of nuclear tests, Pokhran 2, in 1998.

(ReadPokhran 2: When Top Scientists Wore Army Uniforms To Avoid Surveillance)

Operation Blue Star –1984

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed supporters who were seeking a separate “Khalistan” entered the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib complex) in Amritsar, Punjab,in mid-1983.

Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to flush out the militants from the temple premises. This mission, known as ‘Operation Blue Star’, was carried out in early June, 1984.

The army entered the temple’s premises armed with heavy artillery and killed Bhindranwale and his troops. But there were high civilian casualties and damage to the Golden Temple itself. This inflamed communal tensions in the country.

The assassination day

The assassination day

Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards at her residence on the morning of 321 October 1984 as an act of revenge. This was followed by large-scale anti-Sikhs riots in several parts of the country.

(Note- All the photos have been taken from website- indiragandhi.in)

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