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Personal Style and Leadership Qualities of Indira Gandhi

Assuming people are more or less equal, one person or group of people cannot claim an absolute monopoly on truth. But Indira Gandhi did precisely that. In her book, My Truth (1980), Indira Gandhi outlined various principles of life and governance that, at times, echoed of arrogance and absolutism. Although very little of the Fabian school of thought could be found in her attitudes toward politics and religion, she nevertheless continued to advocate an economic program of populism that included land reforms, construction of rural housing, liquidation of rural indebtedness, abolition of bonded labor, expansion of worker participation in industry, and the enhancement of employment opportunities for women.

Indira Gandhi governed much like she preached. Social problems were ripe inside India under the leadership of Mrs. Gandhi in the 1970s. This social conflict provided the backdrop and pretext for Gandhi's recourse to government by decree in 1975. India, the largest democracy in the world, was deeply divided along ethnic and religious grounds as well as social castes. Religious conflict became ever more heightened with rising political instability in the surrounding countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Indira Gandhi and the ruling Congress party pledged a multitude of economic reforms, and carried out some of their pledges, India's economy remained relatively weak because of the vast size of the population.

In March of 1975 Indira Gandhi displayed her zealous penchant for intolerance of dissent. After a court found her guilty of illegal campaign practices in the 1971 elections and tried to remove her from office, Mrs. Gandhi responded by declaring a state of emergency, arresting her critics, and imposing rigid censorship on the media-all under the justification of restoring law and order in society.

Seizing strong authoritarian powers over the economy did succeed in producing some positive results. Mrs. Gandh...

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Personal Style and Leadership Qualities of Indira Gandhi. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:36, August 17, 2017, from
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