Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi, daughter of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is the only women who served as the Prime Minister of India. Born in the political family, she was the second longest serving Prime Minister of the country after her father. She was appointed the President of Congress party in 1959 and also served as her father's personal assistant from 1947 till 1964. After Nehru's death in 1964, she served as a Cabinet minister under Lal Bahadur Shastri's leadership but later became Prime Minister of the country in 1966 after Shastri's sudden death. From 1966 to 1977, she was able to retain the position but lost after an emergency was imposed by her in 1975 leading to a national discontent and countrywide protests. She returned to power in 1980 and during this time she ordered storming of Sikh Holy Shrine Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar and was assasinated on October 31, 1984 by her two Sikh bodyguards. Violence erupted in several parts of the country after her death in which Sikhs were killed by angry protesters. She was known for her strong personality and also went to war with Pakistan supporting the Independence Movement in East Pakistan leading to formation of Bangladesh. In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named 'Woman of the Millennium' by a BBC poll.
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Jayaprakash Narayan: Reluctant messiah of a turbulent time

Jayaprakash Narayan would have been 115 today. In an India that is very different, but is dominated once again by a single political force, what is the significance of his righteous but, in the long term, unworkable, message?

October 10, 1977, Forty Years Ago: Sabotaged Arrest

Deshmukh said that these crimes were more serious than the alleged corruption by her and her party caucus. He ridiculed the “fantastic” report about a plot to assassinate Mrs Gandhi.

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September 27, 1977, forty years ago: Janata on Indira

By justifying the Emergency, Mrs Gandhi was challenging the verdict given by the people during the polls and denying the people’s sovereignty. “She is pursuing the same technique which she was following during the Emergency,” Chandrashekhar said.

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Targetting intellectuals is an old method of fascism, says historian Aditya Mukherjee

In a seminar organised by Congress to mark the birth centenary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, historian Mridula Mukherjee alleged that RSS had an anti-Muslim and anti-Christian ideology. Speaking at the seminar Mridula said that RSS “always do things and then claim that they did not have any hand in that deed”. “At the […]

September 13, 1977, Forty Years Ago

JP’s AIR Interview In an interview to All India Radio, Jayaprakash Narayan spoke of the inevitability of a “struggle” in achieving “total revolution”, but said it might not necessarily be on the lines of Marxian “class struggle”. The reason why it would not be a class struggle in the Marxian sense was due to the […]

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Forty Years Ago: September 8, 1977: Shah Commission

Misuse of government-controlled media by the Congress government before and during the March Lok Sabha poll will be one of the first cases to be taken up by the Shah Commission for public hearing later this month.

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‘CIA discussed political scenarios in event of Indira Gandhi’s death’

A sanitised copy of the report ‘India in the Mid-1980s: Goals and Challenges’ was released by the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is similar to India’s Right to Information Act.

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August 8, 1977, Forty Years Ago; Keeping out Indira

Union Health Minister Raj Narain ruled out the possibility of Indira Gandhi returning to power for another 30 years.

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Remove ‘defamatory’ references to Indira, Rajiv from textbook: Congress-NCP

Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt demanded that the references, to the Emergency and the Bofors scandal, be removed from the history and political science textbook. Congress members said the government-approved textbooks should contain an account of history, not a political commentary.

Forty Years Ago, June 28, 1977: Karnataka Crisis

K.H. Patil’s dismissal was caused by the chief minister’s resentment of the high command’s decision to appoint him the PCC chief despite Devraj Urs’s appeal to get the post filled through election.

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Forty Years Ago, July 27, 1977: Morarji’s Apology

Prime Minister Morarji Desai apologised in the Lok Sabha that the Leader of the Opposition, Y.B. Chavan, had not been given a seat in the front row at the swearing-in ceremony of the new president, Sanjiva Reddy. Desai made this gesture when a Congress member, Vayalar Ravi, raised the issue.

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Pranab Mukherjee, the survivor

Pranabda is very good at keeping secrets. In fact, Indiraji used to say, “Whenever Pranabda is given any confidential information, it never comes out of his belly. What comes out is only the smoke from his pipe.”

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Forty Years Ago, July 26, 1977: President Sworn In

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was sworn in as the sixth President of the Republic. In his acceptance speech, he said that he would provide “the harmonising touch that is required for healing the old wounds, promoting better understanding and removing the lingering fears and suspicions”.

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40 years of Emergency: Here is what happened over the two years that changed India’s history

Steeped in the need for economic development, the Emergency allowed Gandhi to carry out mass arrests of ministers and have complete control over what the media published. It also resulted in her son carrying out forced sterilisation drives in Delhi and slum clearance programs.

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Memories of another June

Dictatorial rule can only be imposed when a majoritarian government is in power; a majoritarian government was then in power with a strong energetic and popular prime minister as head of government prior to the days of the Emergency of June 1975. Alas, constitutional dignitaries and even some judges of the highest court failed us.