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6 January 2017



From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, India’s first – and so far only – woman prime minister would subvert the political establishment and dominate India’s public life. After Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi (1917-84) was the most powerful woman of the twentieth century. ‘As a child I wanted to be like Joan of Arc,’ Mrs Gandhi told a close adviser. ‘I may yet be burnt at the stake.’ ‘She ended up achieving a certain kind of political martyrdom. But the broader political legacy of the era she dominated was to imprint on the political imagination of Indians the vital necessity of democracy.’

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