A family in power

Breaking down the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty


Photo by SAM MATHEWS on Unsplash

An important family that has been part of India’s history is Nehru-Gandhi.

Jayla Wixom, Staff writer

One of the most powerful families in India, the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty is a strong force in the politics of the country. The family is believed to have had power since the 1600s, according to Wikipedia, although the connections become especially clear in the 1800s.
In 1857, there was an Indian rebellion and Gangadhar Nehru, who was a direct descendent of the leaders that proceeded him, was the father of a freedom fighter (Motilal Nehru – 1861-1931) and the grandfather of the first Prime Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru – 1889-1964) of the country. He also served as Congress President twice.
Other leaders in the family included Gangadhar’s eldest son (Bansi Dhar Nehru), who worked for the British government; and Motilal’s brother (Nandial Nehru – 1845-1887) who was Prime Minister of Khetri, one of the states within the country of India.
Motilal’s legacy continued in the next generation. Besides the accomplishments of his son Jawaharlal, his daughter Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900-1990) served as a diplomat and later President of the UN General Assembly. His daughter-in-law Kamala Nehru (1907-1967) was an “active member of the All India Congress Committee,” Wikipedia explains. His nephew Brijal Nehru (1884-1964) was the Finance Minister of another Indian state.
Jawaharlal’s daughter Indira Priyadarshini Nehru (1917-1984) became the first female Prime Minister of India, better known as Indira Gandhi. Her husband, Feroze Gandhi (1912-1960) was a journalist and a politician.
Brijal’s son Braj Kuma Nehru (1909-2001) was a diplomat and ambassador and later served as a governor for different Indian states.
The family has continued to grow and influence the political climate of India. Arun Nehru (1944-2013) was the great grandson of Nandlal and served as a politician and union minister during the 1980s. Indira and Feroze’s son Rajiv Gandhi (1944–1991) became the sixth Prime Minister of India, following in his mother’s footsteps.
Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi became President of the Indian National Congress in 1998, although she was originally born in Italy. She currently serves as a Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance.
A more current list of leaders in the family include Rahul Gandhi, who is the son of Rajiv and Sonia, served as the president of the Congress Party for two years and is being considered for Prime Minister (gulfnews.com). His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress.

While these people have influenced the Indian government for generations, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty starts with a man named Ghiyasuddin Ghazi. “He was the City Kotwal i.e. police officer of Delhi prior to the uprising of 1857, under the Mughal rule” (engrave.in). It is likely that they will continue to have an impact on the country even as it struggles with modern problems like COVID outbreaks, agricultural distress and sanitation challenges. (Major issues in India).

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