Many people wonder if there is any family connection between Indira Gandhi, the former prime minister of India, and Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement. The answer is no. They are not related by blood or marriage. Here are some facts to clear up the confusion.
Indira Gandhi’s Family Background
Indira Gandhi was born as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru on 19 November 1917 in Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India (present-day Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India). She was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, who became the first prime minister of independent India, and Kamala Nehru, a freedom fighter and social activist. She belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community, which is a Hindu Brahmin caste.
Indira Gandhi married Feroze Gandhi in 1942. Feroze Gandhi was a Parsi journalist and politician, who was also involved in the freedom struggle. He was not related to Mahatma Gandhi, but shared a common surname. The name “Gandhi” is derived from the Sanskrit word “gandha”, which means perfume or fragrance. It is a common surname among Gujaratis, Parsis and Sindhis.
Indira and Feroze had two sons: Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi followed his mother’s footsteps and became the prime minister of India in 1984, after her assassination. He was also assassinated in 1991 by a suicide bomber. Sanjay Gandhi was a politician and a close adviser to his mother. He died in a plane crash in 1980.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Family Background
Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India (present-day Gujarat, India). He was the youngest of four children of Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi, who was the diwan (chief minister) of Porbandar state, and Putlibai Gandhi, a devout Hindu woman. He belonged to the Modh Bania caste, which is a Hindu merchant caste.
Mahatma Gandhi married Kasturba Makhanji Kapadia in 1883, when they were both 13 years old. Kasturba was also from the same caste and region as Mahatma Gandhi. They had four sons: Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas. All of them participated in the freedom movement in some way or another.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist who opposed his policies of non-violence and religious tolerance. He is widely regarded as the Father of the Nation in India and one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi: A Political Association
Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi were not related by blood or marriage, but they had a close political association. Indira’s father Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the closest associates and followers of Mahatma Gandhi. He was also one of the founding members of the Indian National Congress (INC), which was the main political party that led the independence movement.
Indira grew up in an atmosphere of political activism and social service. She was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and principles from a young age. She joined the INC in 1938 and became an active member of its youth wing. She also participated in various campaigns and movements launched by Mahatma Gandhi, such as the Quit India Movement in 1942.
Indira became the prime minister of India in 1966, after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri, who succeeded her father. She was the first woman to hold this position in India and one of the longest-serving prime ministers in history. She faced many challenges and crises during her tenure, such as wars with Pakistan and China, internal conflicts, economic problems and political opposition.
Indira adopted some of Mahatma Gandhi’s policies and programs, such as promoting secularism, democracy, social justice and rural development. She also launched some initiatives that were inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, such as Operation Flood (a dairy development program), Operation Blue Star (a military operation to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple) and Smiling Buddha (India’s first nuclear test).
However, Indira also deviated from some of Mahatma Gandhi’s values and methods, such as non-violence, civil disobedience and decentralization. She imposed a state of emergency in 1975, suspending civil liberties and democratic rights. She also faced allegations of corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism. She was criticized by many for being too ambitious, ruthless and power-hungry.
Indira Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi had a complex and contradictory relationship. They shared a common surname, a common political party and a common goal of serving India. They also respected and admired each other. However, they also had different personalities, ideologies and approaches. They were not related by blood or marriage, but they were related by history and destiny..