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Indira Nehru Becoming Indira Gandhi

Indira Nehru Becoming Indira Gandhi

I was reading some online materials just to make my understanding clear, once again, about the relationship between Nehru and Gandhi family, especially how Indira Nehru came to be known as Indira Gandhi. After reading those materials I thought to write down it to make my understanding even clearer.

Indira Nehru is the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. Indira was married to Feroze Jehangir Ghandy (not Gandhi) who was a Persian of Zoroastrian ethnic religion in origin. In the past there were two main ethnic groups in Persia (present day Iran). One is Parsis and another is Iranis. During the Arabian Muslim conquest of Persia many Parsis migrated to India, mainly Gujarat to evade the Muslim conquest to save their religious and ethnic identity. Feroze Jehangir Ghandy was a descendant of that Parsis ethnic group of Persia.

Jawaharlal Nehru did not approve their marriage first and he went to Mahatma Gandhi to ask him persuade Indira not to marry Feroze Jehangir Ghandy. The reason behind this is not clear though. But he was unsuccessful.

In 1942 Feroze Ghandy and Indira Nehru ties their knot in marriage. The marriage was ritualized in Hindu customs.  Feroze first proposed Indira for marriage in 1933 when Indira was just 16 years old and she and her mother rejected the proposal. While in London together, they grew closer and eventually married off in 1942, after almost 9 years of the first proposal.

Feroze Ghandy has nothing to do with the title “Gandhi” as used by Mahatma Gandhi. Later Feroze Ghandy changed the spelling of his name to Gandhi as he was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. After the marriage Indira Nehru came to be known as Indira Gandhi as she took her husband’s title. Two sons were born to them in 1944 and in 1946 consecutively. They are Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.

I used to think that Indira Gandhi is somehow related to Mahatma Gandhi (M.K. Gandhi), but not. Her title has descended from her husband. After Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India and after her, son Rajiv Gandhi also became Prime Minister. Rajiv Gandhi is the youngest prime minister in the history of India. He became Prime Minister at the age of 40 after the assassination of her mother Indira Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated in 1991.

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