The only daughter of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi was destined for politics and was born on November 19, 1917. First appointed prime minister in 1966, she garnered widespread public support for agricultural improvements that led to India’s self-sufficiency in food grain production as well as for her success in the Pakistan war, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. After serving three terms, Gandhi was voted out of office for her increasingly authoritarian policies, including a 21-month state of emergency in which Indians’ constitutional rights were restricted.
In 1980, however, she was reelected to a fourth term. Following a deadly confrontation at the Sikh’s holiest temple in Punjab four years later, Gandhi was assassinated by two of her bodyguards on October 31, 1984, ushering her son Rajiv into power and igniting extensive anti-Sikh riots.
“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”