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Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,027 ratings  ·  126 reviews
On the morning of October 31, 1984, as she walked through her garden, smiling, with hands raised and palms pressed together in the traditional Indian namaste greeting, Indira Nehru Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards. She died as she had lived, surrounded by men, yet isolated. It was a violent end to a life of epic drama.
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Hardcover, 592 pages
Published 2002 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 2001)
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Rithun Regi
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My dad once told me that he hated and loved Indira Gandhi to equal measure. Her life was never her choice. Being born in the illustrious Nehru household with both her father and grandfather Congress Presidents ensured that she would be earmarked for greatness. Her own father never wanted dynasty politics for India, but she could be nothing less than the Empress of India or Mother Indira as she was lovingly referred to by the masses. She won the Bangladesh war and imposed the Emergency on the inf ...more
Sahil Sood
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In her letter to Dorothy Norman, a female American photographer, writer and social activist, and also Indira's closest friend and confidante, Indira expressed what it meant to grow up in the Nehru household, in the midst of political turmoil and unrest spreading throughout India, a country on the brink of achieving independence from the bicentennial rule of British Empire:
Since earliest childhood I have been surrounded by exceptional people and have participated in exceptional events...The circ
Arun Divakar
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Over stale, machine made coffee in office a colleague asked me Do you think India is a democracy ? Biting back the Yes that close to three decades of being an Indian have instilled in me, I asked Why ? He grins and then replies I am just wondering why in the so-called largest democracy in the world, only one family has the right to rule !! This made perfect sense to me for ever since independence, one member or the other from the Nehru family has been on the center stage of Indian politi ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Indira is India and India Indira.

What better way to understand the history of post independent India to the modern age than reading the biography of arguably the most controversial yet one of a prominent maker of modern India - Indira Nehru Gandhi!
What a life she led! Great upbringing, romantic affairs, family feuds, political maneuvers, wars, nepotism, corruption, assassinations - her story had every possible ingredient of a riveting life. Surrounded by who's-who of architects of Indian indepe
Srikar Vantaku
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indian-politics
IG was close to her mother. Kamala Nehru (Wife of Nehru) was always unwell. Her relation with Nehru was primarily through letters, yet there was a strange personal distance between the two . Indira kept unwell most of the time till she became the PM. She was diffident yet strong willed, missed her mother after her death and generally depressed (Beware, she could pass on a little to the reader as well).
There, I had summarised two-thirds of this book.

The book gives a vivid picture of Indira in h
Nita Kohli
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a massive book of about 700 pages but I just flew through it. I never felt tired or burdened with the facts and the in depth information laid by this book. I was turning page after page and it is one of those rarest books I have read that I felt depressed when it ended.
Why did I decide to read this? Because I have a keen interest in reading about Indian politics and lives of some of our prominent leaders. Indira Gandhi is one of such leaders, daughter of Nehru and the only Indian woman P
Himanshu Khurana
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliantly researched book by Katherine Frank on the life of one of the most controversial and powerful Prime Ministers of India- Indira Gandhi. It systematically begins by tracing the origins of the Nehru clan right from their migration from the valley of Kashmir to the great plains of north India. In the initial chapters, the author investigates the politically surcharged and exposed atmosphere in which Indira was brought up. Her father was continually absent from their household due to his ...more
Sreelekha Menon
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant biography.A must read for all Indians.Katherine Frank portrays an era when India was Indira and Indira was India.Through tumultous times of Indian independence struggle and the ensuing partition to the reign of Indira and to her untimely death,the biography not only tells us the life of Indira Nehru Gandhi ,it chronicles the events and people in that era.

One more thing about the book.She has not portrayed Mrs Gandhi as a messiah or a villain.She speaks facts as presented to her.Nothi
Jack Fontane
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
definitely one good book..... after the initial warmup of 50 pages... found it tough to put it down..... so many events, people, incidents which i have just heard as rumours as a kid .....all coming back substantiated w/ evidence.... afterall she was the Greatest Leader India ever had..... her outisde & inside.... especially the 200-last page were just flying......
Garima Siwach
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book, well researched and beautifully written. Attempting to understand Indira Nehru Gandhi is a challenging pursuit, but with each page, I felt that I was uncovering a new layer into her life and her mind. Rightly stated as a life of epic drama, there were moments when I fell in complete awe immediately followed by moments of extreme repulsion. Frank's narration is objective, with pieces of history woven together to form a story that will keep you hooked. I highly recomme ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Indira is someone who got fascinated with politics, she was someone who was forced into politics. Right from her birth, she was actively or passively active in politics whereabouts of her parents. Her whole family was indulged in the fight for freedom. She was destined to be the one she became. Even when she had the choice to leave all that behind and start anew she chose to serve the country. With this cane power, and popularity, and love and support by citizens of India. But this also made her ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful biography on someone I didn't know very well at all. The author struck a good balance of explaining the context that the West might not understand (especially since much of the story is from 40-80 years ago) while also probably being detailed enough for people who lived through it and followed the story of Indira to be reminded of information long forgotten. Indira is quite a character, better than something most fiction could come up with (Rushdie was inspired by her to write Midnight ...more
Suyash Singh
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aaaa
Very good book
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-written and (from the looks of it,) well-researched.

Technically unrelated, but I now want to know the rest of the Maruti story; how the Suzuki shares kept on increasing and how it went on to become this giant, successful thing it is today.
And I would like to read through some reliable, worth-reading works on Sanjay Gandhi as well. So feel free to recommend, thanks!
Paridhi Gupta
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant Book! The story of Indira in itself is captivating and nothing short of historical fiction. However, the layer of objectivity and bias-free writing, gives the text more weight. Worth every minute, hour and day.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Extremely long and detailed account of Indira's life. Starting with pre independence to her assassination, the events and sources quoted to produce this book are appreciated. ...more
Shruti Jain
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Frank beautifully captures India’s modern history from the vantage point of the Nehru household and Indira Gandhi’s tryst with Indian politics.
Sajith Kumar
Title: Indira – The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi
Author: Katherine Frank
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2001 (First)
ISBN: 9780002556460
Pages: 567

Indira Gandhi’s tenure as prime minister of India is remarkable for many firsts. It was the first time that a woman could achieve the country’s topmost political spot. It was then that the country had won a major war in more than a millennium of history. It was also the first time that a democratically elected politician imposed an autocratic regime on the peop
Pradeep Nair
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An 'unputtdownable' biography. It's studded with lots of information, not surprising, considering the in-depth research Katherine Frank has done. The book starts with Motilal Nehru and ends with the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The books gives a great insight into the person Indira Gandhi was -- as granddaughter of Motilal Nehru, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, husband of Feroze Gandhi, mother of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi, mother-in-law of Sonia and Maneka Gandhi, grandmother of Rahul, Priyanka an
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
a boring book about the first lady prime minister of India. there is way too much random information from her life which gets tiring to read after some time. book abandoned.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book early last year.

It was extremely interesting and intriguing to get a glimpse at the the birth of the largest democracy in this world. We are able to get a detailed look at Indira's extremely interesting life as the first woman PM in India and an extremely powerful woman leader at a time when the world of politics was dominated by men.

As someone who intends to enter politics later in life, this book was extremely enlightening. We not only investigate Indira but people who influe
Rupesh Choudhari
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi written by Katherine Frank is one of the good book to read.
This is the book which we can read to understand the strength which Indira had, so that many people influence on her thoughts.
This books tells the story of “Indira Gandhi” and author collected good data to maintain integrity of Indira’s life. The way author describes the “Indira’s life is very prominent to engage readers.
Indira is strong girl from her child hood and very close to her “Mamma" Kamal Nehru a
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good read. After reading I got to learn how these famous people come on top. As a child Indira had pathetic childhood. Later on in life she was torn apart between her love for her father and husband. And later due to her son Sanjay Gandhi's wrongs , she suffered the major setback in her life. She knew at times that he was wrong but she was blinded in her son's love and though she wanted to but still couldn't say NO to anything to Sanjay . ...more
Uday Saripalli
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Quite frankly would have appreciated a much more un-biased view from a supposedly nuetral foreign writer. Much of the story told is know and in public domain. Wherever the controversial bits appear, mind you they are few and far between, the same get an opinion from the writer that is invariably favourable to the Gandhi family and shows them in the kindest of light.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fabulous book on a fabulous character.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
For a woman who never aspired to enter mainstream politics, let alone be a prime minister, Indira Gandhi became the first and so far the only woman prime minister of India and was in power for 11 years and 59 days! Hers was the tenure that brought in a new wave of politics known for its shrewdness and lack of appetite for dissent. Indira and her government swiftly moved away from the principle based politics that was the hallmark of Jawaharlal Nehru’s and set the tone for future governments to f ...more
Ritika Chhabra
Originally published on Just A Girl High On Books.

I don't usually begin this way, but I need to pin-point this out before I talk of any other thing about the review. I need to applaud the writer for the ample amount of time given to this book. Not only because of the huge mass of pages it has, but also because of the amount of time she would have probably spent in researching over her issues. The interviews she is said to have taken, the amount of time going over the unpublished sources—all of t
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
My experience below is how I felt the book was and I would try to restrain myself from talking about Indira as a person .

So , as per me , there are two major parts of this biography .One part , which I thoroughly enjoyed was the journey of Indira Nehru from a meek sickly girl to the woman in power and politics. I enjoyed this part, It was well researched , a lot of nuances came from the letters between different parties . The facts were stated without any major judgements and I really enjoyed i
Reader Variety
The less you know about India and Indira Gandhi (and her father Nehru), the more interesting is this book. There is a lot of personal minute detail about Indira herself, so there are probably better sources for the bigger picture geopolitical view, but worth slogging through to really understand some of the incredibly complex issues that she had to face as the first female Prime Minister of India.

Some interesting points:

- Nehru, and Indira, thought of themselves as from Kashmir as their ancestor
Dixit Nagpal
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, how naive I was to think that I wont find something really new in this book about Nehru-Ganfhi empire since I have read about them and heard about them while growing up however there is a lot more to this mysterious dynasty. Yea it would be right to call it a Dynasty. I dint like Nehru and Indira both foe their respective decision on India partition and Amritsar Massacre. Nehru had a time and influence to put a foot down and never let the partition happen and then Indira showed the similar ...more
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37 likes · 3 comments
“Thus, both Mountbatten and Nehru stipulated that the ultimate fate of Kashmir should be settled ‘by reference to the people’, and on 2 November Nehru broadcast on All India Radio that ‘we are prepared when peace and law and order have been established to have a referendum’.” 0 likes
“Nehru reiterated this pledge in a telegram to the new Pakistani Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, and added ‘we have agreed to an impartial international agency like the United Nations supervising any referendum’.” 0 likes
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