Indira Gandhi (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: By serving as prime minister of India for almost two decades, Gandhi carried on a family tradition of political leadership, maintained her country’s nonaligned status, and attempted to enact social reforms to eliminate poverty and hunger in her Third World democracy.
On November 19, 1917, a daughter was born to Jawaharlal and Kamala Nehru in Allahabad, India. As she grew up in her grandfather Nehru’s home, Indira Gandhi enjoyed the privileges of the Brahman class, but the home was periodically invaded by police and her parents and grandparents arrested for their involvement in the nationalist movement against British colonial power. Such a disruptive childhood probably explains the reserve and aloofness Indira exhibited throughout her life. It certainly explains the sporadic nature of her early education. Indira’s father attempted to supplement that education by writing her letters from prison, later published as Glimpses of World History (1934-1935). Combined with knowledge gleaned from the conversations of relatives and their political friends such as Mahatma Gandhi, these history lessons served as the foundation for Indira’s work.
After the death of her mother, whom she admired greatly, in 1936, Indira continued to study in England for a time. She believed that her father needed her at home, however, since he had been elected president of the Congress Party...
(The entire section is 1963 words.)
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