The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.
Introduction, Childhood, Education and Important Incidents of Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was the first and so far the only woman Prime Minister of India. She was one of the greatest women of her time. Her life started with an unending quest to achieve something as is said by someone that “Great minds have purposes others have wishes”. She was indeed the most dedicated lady having a commendable personality and leadership qualities.
There are so many examples in this book which would reflect the different aspects of her nature and her individuality. Her daring attitude reflected the vigour that made her stand and excel in the Indian society which is generally dominated by male counterparts.
Childhood And Education
Indira Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 at Allahabad in Ananda Bhavan. She was the only daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru. She belonged to a very respected and highly qualified family.
Her grandfather, Motilal Nehru, was a famous advocate and was a well known figure of Northern India. Swaroop Rani was Indira’s grandmother and was a god-fearing lady. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru was well-educated and was the member of Indian National Congress. Her mother also participated in the Nationalist Movement. When Indira Gandhi was born, she was loved by each and every member of Ananda Bhavan, being the only child in the family. Even Sarojini Naidu, the Nightingale of India and close friend of family, was very delighted and sent a telegram which read “new soul of India is born, congratulations!”
Indira Gandhi was nicknamed Indu by her father. She was brought up in a princely manner, dressing up expensively and playing with the most expensive toys. Her grandfather Motilal Nehru was at the peak of his legal career at that time so she was provided with the best education. But the state of India was pathetic. India was being ruled by Britishers, who came to India for trade but took hold of everything and started’ruling India. The people of India were suffering.
Under the tyrannical rule of Britishers, they were forced to lead a painful life and violence was inflicted upon them by the foreign rulers who were indifferent to their sorrows.
At that time, India was politically inactive. No one was able to rebel against authority. Lack of courage and fear made people timid and without any clear aim to free their country from the clutches of British people. There was no one to motivate people and guide them properly. At that time Mahatma Gandhi had just returned from South Africa where he had fought for poor people and succeeded.
He suffered at the hands of Britishers who humiliated him calling him “Black” and comparing him with the dogs. He decided to start freedom movement in India. Jawaharlal Nehru met Mahatma Gandhi in 1916 at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress and he was so much impressed by his power over mind and body, that he became his follower. Being a man of convictions, Jawaharlal Nehru believed in the power of Mahatma Gandhi to help India attain the freedom.
So he joined Congress which was the only mass-based organisation of India fighting for the cause of people. Motilal Nehru wanted his son to become barrister. It so happened that Rowlett Bill was passed that strengthened the government to arrest anybody anywhere on the basis of suspicion. This made people angry and Congressmen protested everywhere in India.
Public meetings in protest were being held in every nook and corner of country and the British government was furiously suppressing such demonstrations with lathi charge and firings. In April 1919, a public meeting was being held in Jalianwalan Bagh in Amritsar when General Dyer, a ruthless British General, blocked the entrance of the walled garden by stationing troops at the gate.
He issued shooting orders. Being the only entrance, no one was allowed to escape and this created commotion. The army fired non-stop for 10 minutes killing and injuring hundreds of people. Motilal Nehru was so horrified and stunned by this incident that he gave up all his riches and from the life of luxury and comforts, the whole family started leading life of austerity. This incident indeed changed the life of Indira Gandhi as she, for the first time, started facing hardships and developed the virtue of perseverance which had very positive effect on her later life.
Indira Gandhi was very close to her mother who was a lonely yet courageous lady adapting herself to the environment in which she had to bring up her daughter alone as Nehruji had became so committed to the cause of India’s freedom that he had little time for his daughter. Indira Gandhi’s fondness for her mother grew when she started suffering from poor health.
She was admitted to one sanatorium after another and in the end, she died at the age of 37 years. On Kamala’s death, Mahatma Gandhi wrote a note to Indira praising Kamala Nehru having rare qualities and wished that all these qualities would be transferred to Indira Gandhi in equal measure. He blessed her with long life to fulfill her commitments and carve her virtues.
For the next five years, Indira was a lonely soul. She could not be properly ’ educated because of her mother’s ill health and she changed schools so many times that it was very difficult for her to keep track of her studies. In 1923, she was admitted in a school in Allahabad. In 1926, she went to Switzerland and studied in Geneva and Berne. After that, again she came back to Allahabad and studied in St. Mary’s Convent in Allahabad.
Though her education was not systematic, still she was determined to live up to the expectations of her father. She took up Western education to broaden her horizon. She was also taught so many things by the letters wrote to her by her father jawahar Lal Nehru from Jail. He wrote thirty letters on history and other aspects of life. Through his letters he told her to be courageous and also have strong character as character was the foundation upon which all else was built. He advised her not to hide anything as hiding arouses fear and insecurity which destroys one’s potential arid ability.
Important Incidents Affecting Her Childhood
There are so many incidents in the life of Indira Gandhi that left a great impact on her. Once it so happened that both Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru were arrested and were fined Rs. 500. Since they did not pay the fine, the police took most of the expensive articles for auctioning. Little Indira felt so bad and helpless that she started fighting with Police.
This incident aroused so much hatred against Britishers in little Indira that she resolved to always fight the evil in future. She converted her anger into resolutions. When she was twelve years old, as she was not allowed to work for Congress because she was quite young, she started her own organisation called “Vanar-Sena”. She was able to gather six thousand children in the very first meeting.
At that age also, she had pleasing personality to convince people and leadership quality to make people follow her. The organisation used to do small duties like writing notices, serving water, cooking and carrying messages etc. She knew that “The price of greatness is responsibility.” She was ready to accept responsibility and she was taught by her family that “our first responsibility is to the community.”
Once when Mahatma Gandhi gave nation a call to boycott foreign goods, Indira Gandhi also stopped wearing foreign clothes as the elders of the family were also following the suit. As she was the only child in Ananda Bhavan, she used to play with dolls. One day one relative mocked at her saying that if she had discarded foreign clothes, she should also get rid of foreign dolls.
Although Indira Gandhi was emotionally attached to her doll, but still she was so much committed to the cause that she burnt her doll. She was depressed but at the same time she was satisfied that she had contributed though in small way, to the great cause of freedom.
The incident clearly reflects her dedication towards her country.
Indira’s childhood had been unique. The emotional security of the great love of her parents juxtaposed with the insecurity of their absence. Father was always in prison or on the move; Mother was increasingly bedridden. Loneliness became a part of her life.
This loneliness made her draw towards Feroze Gandhi who was warm hearted and friendly. He first proposed to Indira when she was sixteen before she was sent to Shantiniketan but she turned him down. She went ahead to join Shantiniketan founded by famous Nobel Poet Rabindranath Tagore. There she was very popular among students and Rabindranath Tagore considered her as an asset to the Shantiniketan.