The birth anniversary of the first female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, falls today, 19 November. Gandhi was born on 19 November, 1917, as Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi and was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the country.
This year marks the 104th birth anniversary of Gandhi, who was well-known for her formidable personality. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to mark the occasion and pay tribute to the former PM.
I pay my tributes to former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi Ji on her birth anniversary.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 19, 2021
The only female prime minister of the country to date, Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards on 31 October, 1984. The assassination came just a few months after she had ordered the storming of the Harmandir Sahib under Operation Blue Star.
Gandhi was shot 31 times by her bodyguards, out of which only one bullet missed her. While seven bullets remained inside her body, 23 of them passed right through her.
Gandhi made an entry into politics after being elected as the President of the Indian National Congress in the year 1959. In 1964, she became a member of the Rajya Sabha and served in former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s cabinet as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting after her father’s demise in 1964.
Gandhi remains popular even year’s after her death, with the BBC declaring her the “Woman of the Millennium” in the year 1999
Gandhi remains the second-longest-serving Prime Minister till date, remaining in power from January 1966 to March 1977 and from January 1980 to October 1984. She was responsible for many key reforms such as the abolition of privy purses given to the erstwhile royal families and the nationalisation of banks.
After India emerged victorious in the 1971 war against Pakistan, which led to the creation of an independent Bangladesh, Gandhi was awarded the Bharat Ratna. The former Prime Minister was so powerful that the phrase “India is Indira and Indira is India” was coined by then Congress party president DK Barooah in 1977.
In 2020, Time Magazine named her as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women who defined the 20th century.