On the occasion of Mother’s day, we bring to you a list of seven powerful and influential mothers in India who cemented their legacy in the annals of history.
Indira Gandhi was the first woman Prime Minister of India. The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru, Indira made her political plunge after her father’s death in 1964. She married Feroze Gandhi and the couple had two sons Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. She served as PM for three consecutive terms until 1984, when she was assassinated. Her elder son Rajiv Gandhi became the youngest Prime Minister of India at the age of 40. While campaigning for the general elections in 1991, he was assassinated by a LTTE suicide bomber. Her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi, who was rumoured to succeed Indira Gandhi, died in a horrific plane crash in 1980.
Sheila Dikshit has been the longest-serving Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013 and led the Congress to three consecutive electoral victories in the national capital. In 2014, she was sworn in as the Governor of Kerala but a few months later she resigned. Dikshit was married to Vinod Dikshit, an IAS officer. The couple had two children – a daughter Latika Syed and son Sandeep Dikshit, who is a member of the Congress party and a former MP.
Sonia Gandhi, wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance. On December 2017, she resigned as Congress president, a post she held for 19 years, and was succeeded by her son Rahul Gandhi. After her husband’s death, Sonia stayed away from politics till 1997 and an year later she was nominated as Congress president. The couple had a son Rahul Gandhi and a daughter Priyanka Vadra. While Sonia Gandhi is a Lok Sabha member from Rae Bareli, Rahul is a legislator from Amethi – both are considered Congress bastions. Priyanka is married to a businessman Robert Vadra.
Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Prasad Yadav, has served three times as the Chief Minister of Bihar. She became the first woman chief minister of Bihar following her husband’s resignation due to the corruption charges in the fodder scam. The couple have nine children, including seven daughters and two sons. Her younger son Tejaswi Yadav was the deputy Chief Minister of Bihar in Nitish Kumar’s ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government, which collapsed after 20 months following corruption allegations against Lalu Prasad and family. Rabri Devi’s elder son Tej Pratap was minister for health in the Bihar government.
Vijaya Raje Scindia
Vijaya Raje Scindia was popularly known as the Rajmata of Gwalior. In 1941, she married Jiyajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior, and took the name Vijayaraje. They had four daughters and a son. Their elder daughter Vasundhara Raje is a BJP member and a two-term Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Their youngest daughter, Yashodara Raje, won Lok Sabha seat from Gwalior and has been a Cabinet minister in the Madhya Pradesh government. Their only son Madhavrao Scindia was a nine-term member of the Lok Sabha and a Union minister from Congress. He died in a plane crash and his son Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia is also an MP from Guna constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
Nandini Satpathy was the first woman Chief Minister of Odisha from June 1972 to December 1976. When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India, Satpathy was appointed as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Her husband Devendra Satpathy too was an active politician and served two times as Lok Sabha MP from Dhenkanal, Odisha. They had two sons Nachiketa and Tathagata Satpathy. The younger of the two sons, Tathagata, represents the Dhenkanal constituency and was elected for the fourth time in 2014.
Maneka Gandhi is Indira Gandhi’s younger daughter-in-law. She a seven-time MP and is currently serving as the Union Minister of Woman and Child Welfare in the Narendra Modi government. She is also an animal rights activist and has been a minister in four governments till now. Her husband Sanjay Gandhi won Amethi on a Congress ticket in the 1980 general elections but died five months later due to an air crash. Their only child, Varun Gandhi, is a Lok Sabha member and represents Sultanpur constituency. Like her mother, Varun too is a member of the Bhartiya Janata Party.