Change and Elegance
December, 6th, 2010
Indira Gandhi (No relation to Mohandas Gandhi) was a strong political activist throughout her life, even in her childhood Indira would prove that what was most important to her was her country, her people and the freedom of both. To better understand the Indira Gandhi’s methodology and political contributions, it is necessary to first analyze the political state of her country, as well as her background and career as a whole.
Indira was born into the Nehru family whom had a strong political background all on its own. Indira’s father, Jawaharlal, and her grandfather, Motilal, were both members of the Indian National Congress, which was very sympathetic toward the rising nationalism of the Indian middle class (Butler 27). This meant that from the day of her birth, Indira would be thrown into a world of insurgency, riot and political upheaval. Her father sums up her upbringing in a letter he sends to Indira, “You were a child of a turbulent world.” (Butler 33) Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, formerly Indira Priyadarshini Nehru, was born on November, 19th, 1917 in Allahabad, India. Her father, Jawaharlal, was a lawyer, member of the Indian National Congress and also leader of the Indian Nationalist movement. Her mother, kamala Nehru, was a deeply religious woman and differed greatly from Jawaharlal. It has been noted that there were huge differences between the lifestyle of Jawaharlal and Kamala, mainly in traditions as the Nehru’s followed a more-western and sophisticated lifestyle. (http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/indira-gandhi-47.php) Indira, because of this, was presented the opportunity to be influenced by both her strong diplomatic father as well as her spiritual loving mother. Having the influence of her mother was important because her father was engulfed in his political agenda, “I became wholly absorbed in the movement...I almost forgot my family, my wife, my daughter.” (Butler 27) However, it was the influence of her father that started her down her political path. At just the age of four, Indira joined her parents in the burning of European textiles in a campaign of noncooperation, burning her favourite doll which had been made of foreign material. This was in a way, Indira’s first, albeit minor, contribution to the fight for Indian independence. Indira later states “I felt as if I was murdering someone.” (Butler 29) Showing that even at the age of four, Indira showed an understanding and devotion to the cause her father was so desperately fighting for. Indira had numerous other influences because her grandfather, Motilal Nehru, was a prominent member of Indian National Congress. Due to this, many noted leaders and party activists would often visit the Nehru household, one of the more notable leaders being Mohandas Gandhi himself. Indira attended many prominent schools to help her decide her own pathway in life. This included Santiniketan College, Badminton Prep School and Oxford University. However, just as her father before her, and his father before him, Indira would find her place in India leading its people, which could very well have been a result of her politically surrounded childhood.
Indira lead a very active life, helping Mohandas Gandhi during riots and being at her father’s side at the glorious moment when India won its independence. (Butler 65) Driving an ambulance during World War II and tending to Mohandas Gandhi during the clash of Muslims and Hindus in their fight for separation, doing everything from preventing the lynching of numerous men as well as preaching to the leaders of both religions, encouraging them to set their differences aside. Indira played an active role in the attempt to bring peace to India. It came as no surprise that once Indira left the life she had been living to pursue a quieter life with her husband and children in Lucksnow, Uttar Pradesh India, she returned to her father’s side in the decision that...