Indira Gandhi
6th President of India
In office:

June 10, 1962 - June 15, 1974

Preceded by: Jawaharlal Nehru
Succeded by: Morarji Desai

November 19 1917, Kolkata, India

Died: April 24 1988, Delhi, India (age 70)
Nationality: Indian
Political party:

Liberal (until 1966)


Spouse: Feroze Gandhi
Children: Rajiv, Sanjay
Alma mater: University of Madrid
Occupation: Social Worker, Politician
Religion: Hindu

Pre Presidential Life

Indira was born in 1917 to Indian nationalist Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1921 India was granted statehood and she and her family moved from their small residence in Kolkata to a large house in central Delhi. In 1923 her grandfather Motilal Nehru became Indian President.

In 1936 she went to Spain to attend the university of Madrid. She returned to India in late 1938. When in 1939 General Bose launched a military coup she and her family fled India and settled in California. Whilst in California Indira helped her father in his attempts to organise a resistance against Bose's dictatorial regime. In 1953 uprisings in Mumbai and Ceylon showed the unpopularity of Bose and that June Indira and her father returned to India to a hero's welcome. Less than a month later Bose was toppled from power and her father became acting President. In 1954 India had its first ever Presidential election, her father won by a large majority.
Indira Gandhi returns to india

The famous image of Indira and her fathers return to India on June 28th 1953

In 1962 her father could not stand for a fourth term, so Indira put forward her candidacy for the Liberal nomination. She won the nomination (although almost entirely because of her fathers endorsement). She went on to win the Presidential Election and on June 10th 1962 became India's 6th President.

Home affairs policies

In August 1962 Indira began her anti-slums campaign and began slum clearances in Delhi and Mumbai. This was done by simply destroying the slums and relocating the inhabitants in new pre-fabricated, model communities in the countryside.

By July 1965 India had an energy crisis, most of its energy was made by coal powered power plants around Mumbai and in Southern India, meaning that much of the countryside did not have enough energy. So on July 21st Mrs Gandhi announced that India would launch its own modern and clean nuclear energy programme. Construction began on 15 nuclear power plants within 2 weeks and the first of these were operational in February 1967. By 1969 India had over 30 nuclear power plants and a new national grid that supplied water, gas and electricity to the whole country.

3 of these nuclear power plants were to be used by the government to produce nuclear weapons and India launched its first nuclear test on July 5th (Indian Independence day) 1970. By 1971 India had 6 atomic warheads and by the time Mrs Gandhi left office there were 28 nuclear missiles in India's stockpile.

Foreign affairs policies

In March 1963 Indira sent a personal note to the Pakistani leader, General Musa Khan, requesting talks to resolve the tense political situation. General Khan replied by stating that Pakistan was not interested in India's grovelings and that "we require no relationship with India". That November though Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian border guards in the disputed town of Rajinba. Mrs Gandhi replied by launching a full scale invasion of Pakistan. By January 1964 over 20,000 people had been killed and the frontline had moved little, however in June 1964 General Khan sent a diplomat to Delhi to organise a ceasefire and two weeks later an agreement was reached that gave Rajinba to India. India had always had a close relationship with the US. In 1964 US President John F. Kennedy became the first US president to make a state visit to India. The Indian army had had US army advisors since 1954 and possessed one of the best trained armies in Asia by 1964.

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