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    Indira Gandhi ' the greatest woman' - BBC

    Indira Gandhi the 'greatest woman'
    Indira Gandhi was India's first female prime minister

    Indira Gandhi has been voted the greatest woman of the last 1,000 years in a poll by BBC News Online.

    India's first woman prime minister had been running equally with Queen Elizabeth I in the first half of November but pushed ahead to top the poll by a large majority.

    The top 10 included Marie Curie and Mother Teresa as well as Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    The vote was the eleventh in BBC News Online's monthly Your Millennium series. In December you can vote for the greatest man of the last 1,000 years.

    To inspire you, United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and Virgin boss Richard Branson have contributed their personal top-10 lists.

    Tough politician

    Indira Gandhi was a popular politician but she is likely to be a controversial choice for the greatest woman of the last 1,000 years.

    Your top 10
    1. Indira Gandhi
    2. Elizabeth I
    3. Mother Teresa
    4. Marie Curie
    5. Margaret Thatcher
    6. Joan of Arc
    7. Emmeline Pankhurst
    8. Everywoman
    9. Aung San Suu Kyi
    10. Eleanor Roosevelt

    The only child of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi was herself elected prime minister in 1966. She served four terms, three of which were consecutive.

    She studied at Visva-Bharati University, Bengal and Oxford University. In 1938 she joined the National Congress party and became active in India's independence movement.

    As prime minster in 1971, Indira Gandhi led India in a war against Pakistan to separate East and West Pakistan and establish the nation of Bangladesh.

    Her role in the war was only one of her controversial actions. When Sikh extremists used terror to demand an independent state in Punjab, she ordered an army attack on their refuge, the holiest Sikh shrine, 'Golden Temple' in Amritsar. The June 1984 attack killed 450 people.

    Five months later Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards in revenge.

    BBC News Online readers from across the world took part in the millennium poll and those who voted for Indira Gandhi praised her leadership skills and strength.

    Khalid Ahmed said: "She was a true feminist to the core, a woman of substance who helped the country to tide through a testing phase, possessed all the virtues of a woman and fought valiantly for women's rights in a man's world."

    And according to Geetha Sankaran she was "a dynamic leader and worked for the uplifting of India and its women."

    Click here to see the full results of November's vote.

    I think its really sad that she's been voted the "greatest woman". She was responsible for the Punjab problem (among other things). So many people lost their lives unnecessarily. The problems in Assam were also her legacy so was the horrible emergency. India has had to pay a very heavy price because of her.


      She was a mass leader in a Male dominated India. Very charismatic, shrewd, savvy , good orator. A good politician.


        >Very charismatic, shrewd, savvy , good orator. A good politician.

        You forgot to mention she was an evil hag.


          BBC conducted a poll to find out from their readers as to whom they
          believe was the greatest woman of this millennium. Indira Gandhi
          surpassed Mother Teresa and Queen Elizabeth among others as the
          greatest woman.

          Such polls are neither scientific nor are they reliable indicators of
          the truth. Indira Gandhi was the first prime minister of India and her
          name and fame was partially due to her close family relations with the
          first male prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, her father.

          Indira was never a political personality and was shielded from the
          rough and tumble of freedom movement by her father. Jawaharlal Nehru
          abandoned any chances of being a person of prominence like his father,
          a successful lawyer, Motilal Nehru in his early age. Jawaharlal Nehru
          became a spiritual heir to Mahatma Gandhi and courted arrest in Mahatma
          Gandhi's civil disobedience struggle to overthrow British imperialist

          Indira's rise to power was a freak show. She was selected for one and
          only one reason that she carried the name "Gandhi," no relation to
          Mahatma Gandhi and her prominent profile as she accompanied her father
          on most all major national and international diplomatic functions.

          Later in her life, Indira turned dictatorial and scuttled all free
          speech fundamental rights of the citizens under a false pretext that
          such drastic measures are required to hold the fractious elements of
          the country together. Bunch of baloney. Her administration was
          lackluster. She was charged with election malpractice, arrested and
          punished in front of her blind followers.

          Indira threw the old guard Congress fogies just as soon as she
          managed to circle herself with her Yesmen. That silly tradition of
          Indira Gandhi became a centerpiece of Congress party. Sonia Gandhi,
          Indira's Italian born, Roman Catholic daughter-in-law is doing the
          exact thing that Indira Gandhi initiated and maintained in a democracy,
          a cabal of goons to advise her.

          The Sikhs rejoiced at her assassination at the hands of her personal
          bodyguards, who happened to be Sikh. Sikhs don't like Indira Gandhi.
          Saffron simians don't like Indira Gandhi, Intellectuals who suffered
          humiliation under her emergency rule do not like Indira Gandhi. I don't
          like Indira Gandhi for her cruelty and authoritarianism.

          I like her as a woman but would not have voted for her as the
          greatest woman of the millennium, heck, not even of this century. She
          was a wild woman of the west of the type of "Annie," famous sharp
          shooter of American west. She was easy on her trigger finger and had
          that cocky attitude of being the first this and first that most of
          which were mere accidents not of her capabilities or strengths coming
          from woman's heart.

          Women politicians like Indira Gandhi, however, must take the rocky
          road as they have no previous role models available to follow. In this
          regard, as a brave woman of this century, she opened few political
          doors for women, not just Indian women but all the women of the world.
          Benazi Bhutto, the first woman prime minister of Pakistan would not
          have become a prime minister of a Muslim country if it were not for
          Indira Gandhi's pioneering work.

          Indira Gandhi could not manage to control the male dominated politics
          of India. Her fears compounded and made her dictatorial could be the
          valid argument in her behalf. It does not exonerate her cruelty and
          total disregard for the democratic ways of solving her problems. She is
          famous and she shall be a beacon for many women of the world but that
          does not make her the greatest woman of this millennium.
          Sid harth


            Indira Gandhi the greatest woman of the mellenium, --- I think it is an insult to all those who suffered at her hands especially those who were forcibly sterlised during her regime. Ask them.


              So you sayingggggg that BBC said that indra was greatest...let me ask you this lets say BBC names me greatest man of all timee would you go for ittt???????? Answer the question!!! Please BBC is british ***** if you believe what ever they say and what ever they do and make you do like puppets thats wrong...NO ONE IS GREATER THAN NO need to relize that you are a human..i hope that you are im assuming....that you are.
              Good point ehsan!


              Till next time***K_I_S_S***


                For once I seem to agree completely with ehsan and Mr. Xtreme !!


                  It seems to me that the producers of these lists when don't have any thing for their media they sit down and just put togather a lsit. These list need not to have any logic. You might remebre lists from the recent past .... 'Nawaz Sherif...srongest person in Asia'....'Benazir Bhutto...most beautiful women'... Ha ha ha ha...


                    The regime of Mrs. Indira Gandhi is remembered among other things, the imposition of emergency. Perhaps that was the time India came the closest to loosing its democratic fabric. The question however is, whether it is a failure that such a thing ever happened, or whether it is a success that such a thing happened only once and ultimately democracy is retained. I prefer to assume the latter. Considering the kind of diversity that India is made up of, the fact that India could retain its secular and democratic frabric for more that 50 years, is no small acheivement. It is easy to talk about the failuires of Mrs. Gandhi (and the congress), however, it would be unfair to strip the Congress and Mrs. Gandhi the credit for the overall success of India in maintaining Democracy and secularism. If, in place of the Congress, it is the Hindu right wing that ruled for 50 years, I am doubtful if India would have remained as Democratic and as secular as it is today. For the reason that Indira Gandhi is at least partly responsible for retaining of democracy (ultimately) and Secularism and the quest for equality in a country that is most difficult to govern in the whole world, I reckon that she deserves to be the Woman of the millenium. -- Vijay

                    Samuel Johnson wrote: PM
                    In my opinion, Mrs. Gandhi was definitely the Woman of the Millenium. Lot of criticism is laid on her but she proved her mettle to the world. She bacame the Leader of a Country where the womanfolk are actually not allowed to grow. She stayed long enough as the Prime Minister to prove her detractors wrong.


                      NG wrote: Politicians come and go; I do not think they achieve anything of a permanent nature like the scientists, doctors, technologists, social workers or philosophers. I do not think this selection is really appropriate.

                      There are a few persons who are ahead of herfor the woman of the Millennium.Curie the only person to have been awarded Nobel Prizes two times,mother Teressa for having practised rather than preaching for the uplift of the poor and served humanity with devotion,Joan of Arc who was burnt to death even before she completed her teens for being aggressive in executing what she considered as good for the people etc.