The Iron Lady of India reshaped and redefined how Indians perceive the concept of democracy and women empowerment. Indira Gandhi’s life is a lesson for not only Indians but the world at large, particularly women. Her journey as the first woman prime minister of India is a legacy to look upon. Her journey to being the Iron Lady of India is one inspiring and enlightening story that still engages minds and is written by authors who are still fascinated by her charisma.
Know more about the first woman prime minister of India and her life that can teach us and what are the key takeaways from her story.
One of the core reasons why Indira Gandhi remains celebrated even today is her image as a woman leader who successfully headed one of the largest democracies in the world. She became the prime minister when it was not really common for women to even join politics. Many people were ready to slander her simply because they were uncomfortable with the idea of a woman’s authority over male comrades in politics.
It was a common practice to call her a hegemon and question her worth because she did not have to struggle to get to the top position. But Indira Gandhi proved her worth with her defining decisions that illuminated the fact that she was far above the gossip. And it could not have been easy for her as she had no other woman predecessor to look up to and learn from. Yet, she carved a way that was uniquely her own and drew a roadmap to take India to an international position that India had never experienced before simultaneously demonstrating to the women of the country that women can do anything.
She knew how to stand by her own principles
One of the crucial things that Indira Gandhi taught us is to never doubt our decisions. Whether calling upon the emergency or helping Bangladesh in the liberation war, she has always been strong and bold at decision-making. Many politicians expressed opposing sentiments concerning her decisions. But she took constructive criticism in her stride and as a result, people to date genuinely identify and respect Indira Gandhi for the strength of her personality. She was a woman with an extremely powerful mind and was known for her bold decisions. During her time, India witnessed some unparalleled international issues, the most challenging being the Indo-Pakistan war and the Bangladesh Liberation War. Indira Gandhi single-handedly made bold decisions to outline and actionably illustrate India’s stand concerning those situations. Through her various decisions, she had made it clear to the world that it was not important whether a man is serving at the helm of the administration of a country or a woman, what is important is how the leader handles volatile situations.
Developing an unmissable connection with the masses
The innate ability to instantly connect with people from all walks of life was one of the most excellent attributes of Indira Gandhi, which the party looks up to and tries to uphold and emulate to even to this day. One of the leader’s most crucial political approaches has always been connecting with the mass at a grassroots level. India is a country where a large population comprises the common man and woman. Often, it is difficult for them to air their opinion or express their thoughts and be aware of their rights unless a leader comes their way to speak on behalf of them and sees that their fundamental rights and demands are justifiably met and addressed as equal citizens. Indira Gandhi could effortlessly do it and no one could stand in her way of becoming the leader of the common Indians. People could easily get close to her, speak to her, and be greeted by her on the streets just as another fellow Indian.
Through her leadership, she portrayed that every Indian citizen is essential and their rights matter for the country’s growth and their well-being is a matter of the highest degree.
Being the leader that she was
Indira Gandhi was the first female prime minister. She was the second longest-serving and the first woman prime minister of India after her father, Pandit Nehru. Her ministership witnessed challenging times on account of the telling global situations. New countries were being formed; nations were unfettering themselves from the shackles of colonialism: the world was experiencing all sorts of upheavals during her time. And, in such a situation, internal politics in India was only becoming more and more difficult.
There were severe issues of hunger and unemployment and mass outrage. Indira Gandhi single-handedly tackled every difficulty. She established India as an important country on the map of the world and laid the ground for very strong and mutually beneficial international relationships which still holds for India’s international diplomacy and foreign policies even in the current times.
Politics is home to complexities, perplexities, and contradictions. History has perhaps invariably been biased, especially regarding women who run governments. The same was the case for Indira Gandhi. Yet Indian political history is incomplete without the name of the Iron Lady of India. From strengthening her political party to building one of the largest democracies in the world, Indira Gandhi changed the way the world looked at India. People often think that Indira Gandhi was a solely authoritarian figure, but instead, the definition of her power should be as a statesman of great stature and power. It is best to attribute her as one of the best leaders India has ever seen.