January 1966: Indira Gandhi

Wednesday, January 19
     Mrs. Indira Gandhi, daughter of the late Jawaharlal Nehru, was elected today to be India's next prime minister, the first woman in modern times to head the government of a major nation. India's ruling Congress party automatically elevated Mrs. Gandhi to prime minister by electing her leader of its majority faction in parliament. Thus to the shoulders of this 48-year-old widow fell India's immense problems -- problems which her father wresteled with for 17 years until his death in 1964 and which his successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, attacked vigorously until a heart attack killed him Jan. 11. Although she gave no hint of what policies she will follow, Mrs. Gandhi is expected to continue the previous government's pragmatic socialism at home and nonalignment in foreign affairs.
     -- Associated Press: @

Monday, January 24
     Indira Gandhi became India's third prime minister, taking office with a cabinet made up largely of holdovers from the regimes of her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Taking the oath with Mrs. Gandhi were the cabinet ministers whose appointments she announced earlier. The key positions were left in the hands of men appointed by Nehru or Shastri. 
     -- Associated Press: @

-- Photo from Bettman/Corbis, February 1966

* "The Lady Who Now Leads India" (Life magazine, January 28, 1966): @
* "The Lady Who Leads 480 Million" (Life, March 25): @
* Summary from Prime Minister's Office of India: @
* Summary from "Heads of States and Governments" (Harris M. Lentz III, 2013): @
* "A Political and Economic Dictionary of South Asia" (2006): @
* "The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy" (2015): @
* "The Making of India: A Political History" (Ranbir Vohra, 2015): @
* "Women of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide" (Torild Skard, 2015): @
* "A History of Modern South Asia" (Ian Talbot, 2016): @ 

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