“I have lived a long life, and I am proud that I spend the whole of my life in the service of my people. I am only proud of this and nothing else. I shall continue to serve until my last breath, and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it.” — Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi: Early Life and Family
Born on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad, India, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the sole child of Kamala and Jawaharlal Nehru. As a member of the Indian National Congress, Nehru had been influenced by party leader Mahatma Gandhi, and dedicated himself to India’s fight for independence.
When she was 12, Indira played an even bigger role in India’s struggle for self-determination by leading children in the Vanar Sena (the name means Monkey Brigade;
it was inspired by the monkey army that aided Lord Rama in the epic Ramayana).
The group grew to include 60,000 young revolutionaries who addressed envelopes, made flags, conveyed messages and put up notices about demonstrations. It was a risky undertaking, but Indira was happy to be participating in the independence movement.
Gandhi survived and succeeded in a male-dominated society. It is evident from her challenges and controversies that she was an exciting and inspiring leader during that period. There are several lessons you can learn from her leadership. Here are some of them.