A passionate advocate for India's independence, Prime Minister Indira Priyadarshini ("Dearly Beloved") Gandhi (1917-1984) was born in Allahabad, the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru.
"My public life started at the age of 3," she said. "I have no recollection of games, children's parties or playing with other children." A student of Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi attended Oxford University.
"We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to vibrantly alive in repose," said charismatic leader who was called "The Empress of India" and held her country together for almost 20 years.
A great nationalist with a commanding presence, she progressed quickly through the Congress Party and was elected to Parliament in 1964, the year of her father's death. She said, "I am not ambitious. I don't care for honors."
She rose to power as Prime Minister twice, in 1966-1977 and 1980-1984. An advocate for democracy, on her watch, India won the war against Pakistan in 1971 and established the new state of Bangladesh.
"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist," she once said.
On the night before she was assassinated by her own bodyguard, she observed, "I donít mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation."
"Martyrdom does not end something, it only a beginning."
Do the work; don't worry about the credit.