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By Kathleen Redman
1 Indira Gandhi is one of the most well-known and strongest female political leaders of the 20th century. Indira was born in Allahabad, India in 1917, into a political family. She was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, who later became prime minister of India, and Kamala Nehru. Perhaps because of her parents' involvement in Indian politics, Indira sought a political life very early on.
At the age of 13, Indira founded a children's political organization and became a member of Vanas Sena, a group for children who supported India's freedom from British rule. Despite her and her parents' strong love for India, she was sent to England to attend college at Oxford University. She continued her fight for Indian independence while in England, joining the Indian National Congress Party.
Indira returned to India where she joined, and was later elected, president of the National Congress Party -- a little more than a decade after her father had been elected prime minister of India. Several years after she joined the party, she was arrested by the British and put in prison for 13 months. During that same year, 1942, she married Feroze Gandhi. They had two children together.
During her father's term as Prime Minister, Indira served in many political organizations, most of which supported rights for workers, children and poor people. Indira became a strong voice for underprivileged Indians. When her father died in 1964, she was elected to Indian Parliament, where she stayed until 1966, when she was elected prime minister. Her election followed a nationwide tour in which she gained the love and support of millions of working-class Indians. In 1971, she won reelection by an overwhelming majority of votes.
Her rule as prime minister was full of hard times both for the people and the government of India. She saw India through a war with Pakistan over disputed territory, which gave India many economic problems. In 1975, during the worst of India's economy, there were riots all across India, and Indira responded by imposing emergency rule and imprisoning thousands of political opponents.
Indira lost much of her popularity and was voted .....
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