Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) She was the nation's daughter, and she was loved by a lot of people.

Indira Gandhi was an Indian politician and the only female Prime Minister of the country.Strong-willed, autocratic and determined to govern an almost ungovernable nation that seemed always in strife, Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister four times and the dominant figure in India for almost two decades.She was born to politics and power, the granddaughter of Motilal Nehru, an early leader of the Indian independence movement, and daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, who led India as Prime Minister in its first 17 years of independence from Britain. She served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. As Prime Minister, Indira was known for centralisation of power and political ruthlessness. Her political career was littered with controversies as well as allegations of highhandedness, corruption and nepotism. She clamped a state of emergency in India from 1975 to 1977. She was also criticized for carrying out the Operation Blue-Star in Punjab that eventually scripted her assassination on 31 October 1984. Indira Gandhi left behind her a lasting political legacy and her family became one of the most prominent political names in India.

The Gandhi family,Rajiv entered politics out of a sense of family duty. Sonia Gandhi was vehemently opposed to the idea, given the explosive nature of Indian politics but finally supported her husband's decision. After the assassination of his mother in 1984, the Indian National Congress party leaders nominated him to be Prime Minister.

Mrs. Gandhi served as her widowed father's official hostess, and after she moved into the position he once held, she became, behind her father and Mohandas K. Gandhi, the most commanding figure in modern Indian history. She was often accused of trying to build an Indian dynasty by planning to have her son Sanjay succeed her, and after his death in a plane crash in 1980 she was said to be arranging for her other son, Rajiv, to fill her role.As Prime Minister, Mrs. Gandhi presided over the world's most populous democracy, a nation of 700 million people. During her tenure the Government made limited headway against such age-old Indian problems as overpopulation, hunger, caste, inadequate sanitation and chronic religious strife among the majority Hindus, Moslems and other sects.Her years in power were turbulent, coming to a climax last June in a violent showdown with the minority Sikhs, when Mrs. Gandhi ordered Indian Army troops to attack the Golden Temple, the Sikhs' holiest place of worship, at Amritsar in the northern state of Punjab. Unable to permanently stave off challenges to her power, Gandhi stepped down with her defeat in the 1977 election. She was briefly jailed in 1978 on charges of corruption, but the following year she won election to the Lok Sabha, the lower level of parliament. In 1980, she returned to power as prime minister.That same year, Gandhi's son Sanjay (b. 1946), who had been serving as her chief political adviser, died in a plane crash in New Delhi. The prime minister then began preparing her other son, Rajiv (b. 1944), for leadership.During the early 1980s, Gandhi faced increasing pressure from secessionist factions, particularly from Sikhs in Punjab. In 1984, she ordered the Indian army to confront Sikh separatists at their sacred Golden Temple in Amritsar, resulting in several hundred reported casualties, with others estimating the human toll to be significantly higher.On October 31, 1984, Gandhi was shot and killed by two of her bodyguards, both Sikhs, in retribution for the attack at the Golden Temple.

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher with the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi .Thatcher, who described former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi as a member of her own family.

Indira Gandhi meeting with  US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962.

Indira Gandhi with her father Jawaharlal Nehru the first Indian Prime minister.

Indira Gandhi stands with her two sons, Rajiv and Sanjay, in the garden of their Delhi home.

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