The life of Indira Gandhi

A chapter of Indian history came to a close Wednesday with the assassination of Indira Gandhi. She had ruled the world's largest democracy for 16 of the last 19 years. Below are the major events of her life.

Nov. 19, 1917: Indira Nehru is born. Her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was India's first prime minister.

1942: Within a month of her marriage, Indira and husband Feroze Gandhi (no relation to Mohandas Gandhi) are jailed for joining anti-British ''Quit India'' Movement.

Aug. 15, 1947: India gains independence from Britain.

Feb. 1, 1959: Indira Gandhi becomes president of Congress Party.

May 27, 1964: After Nehru's assassination, Mrs. Gandhi becomes minister of information and broadcasting.

Jan. 24, 1966: Gandhi becomes prime minister following death of Lal Bahadur Shastri.

1966-69: Gandhi oversees partial normalization of relations with Pakistan and marked growth in food production after acute shortages. With split into conservative and Gandhi factions in 1969, Congress Party loses its political ascendancy.

March 1971: Gandhi wins reelection with huge majority in Parliament.

December 1971: India wins decisively in war with Pakistan, resulting in conversion of East Pakistan into independent nation of Bangladesh.

1974: India explodes nuclear device.

June 12, 1975: High court rules Gandhi's 1971 election void because of electoral fraud.

June 26, 1975: Government declares internal emergency. Hundreds of political opponents are jailed, democracy is suspended, and press censorship is imposed.

Jan. 18, 1977: Gandhi announces end of emergency, calls for elections.

March 22, 1977: Gandhi is swept out of power by Janata Party; Morarji Desai becomes prime minister.

Oct. 3, 1977: Gandhi is arrested on charges of corruption and misuse of power which were later dropped.

December 1978: Gandhi is expelled from Congress Party and forms breakaway Congress (I) - I for Indira.

July 15, 1979: Desai resigns after revolt within Janata coalition.

Oct. 2, 1979: Gandhi is arrested for unspecified charges and released the next day.

Jan. 3-6, 1980: Gandhi regains power with decisive election victory.

June 23, 1980: Sanjay, Gandhi's younger son and likely political heir, dies in plane crash.

July 18, 1980: India launches rocket to join five other countries in the space club.

1982: Gandhi visits both Moscow and Washington to underline New Delhi's nonalignment.

1982 to the present: In northern state of Punjab, opposition Sikh Akali Dal Party mounts lengthy campaign in support of religious and political demands, including greater autonomy. Extremists join in the campaign and violence becomes almost a way of life in Punjab.

February 1983: Elections in northeast state of Assam erupt in clashes between Assamese Hindus and Bengali-speaking Muslims. Some 5,000 people die. Congress (I) wins the vote, which had been bitterly opposed by Assamese militants wanting to evict illegal Bangladesh immigrants from the state.

March 1983: Gandhi takes over leadership of world nonaligned movement.

April 1, 1984: Government announces that it would amend the Constitution to recognize Sikhism as a separate religion.

June 5-6, 1984: Indian Army raids the Sikhs' Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, to flush out extremist Sikhs holed up there. Hundreds die in the assault , which unites Sikhs in an anti-Gandhi mood.

Aug. 15, 1984: N.T. Rama Rao, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh State, is ousted, causing backlash against Congress (I). A month later he is reinstated.

Oct. 9, 1984: Indian government returns control of entire Golden Temple complex to sect's leaders.

Oct. 31, 1984: Gandhi is assassinated.

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