Indira Priyadarshini (19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the primary and, to date, the sole lady Prime Minister of the Republic of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and all over again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister, after her father. Here I will share my analysis on the topic- Indira Gandhi and her German teacher, Frank Oberdorf.

She was the sole child (a younger brother was born, but died young), and grew up with her mother, Kamala Nehru, at the Anand Bhavan; a large family estate in Allahabad. She had a lonely and unhappy childhood. Her father was usually away, directing political activities or imprisoned, while her mother was frequently bed-ridden with illness, and later suffered an early death from tuberculosis. She had restricted contact together with her father, mostly through letters.

Indira was mostly taught at home by tutors and intermittently attended school until matriculation in 1934. Later she went on to study at the Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. It was during her interview that Rabindranath Tagore named her Priyadarshini, literally “looking at everything with kindness” in Sanskrit, and she came to be known as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru.

Indira Gandhi had been a momentous part of Indian history, which reined the nation exceptionally. Unlike her booming career, Indira’s personal life was hit by several rocks and landed her in a controversial space unnumbered times.

Katherine Frank, in his book “The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi” wrote that Indira Gandhi’s first love was her German teacher in Santiniketan.

Katherin Frank alleging in his book “ The life of Indira Gandhi” (published by Harper Collins in London) focusing on her intimate side—from her first love, a German teacher at Shantiniketan, to her long pre-marital relationship with Feroze Gandhi and then Mathai, Dinesh Singh, and Dhirendra Brahmachari.

To mold Indira in keeping with his aspirations, Nehru sent the young Indira to Shantiniketan, the school of the great poet, Tagore. Indira was expelled from the school at Shantiniketan by Tagore for her “wrong” habits. Santiniketan is a settlement near to Bolpur inside the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 kilometers north of Kolkata. It was created notable by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The town housed Viswa-Bharati which became a Central University in 1951. Indira Gandhi was one amongst it’s a lot of famous students and was identified for her after hour activities at the University.

Indira Gandhi and her German teacher

Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) was called an aggressive young lady and a hyper leader. Indira Gandhi was the only kid of Kamla and Nehru. The young Indira was found in bed with her German Teacher at Shantineketan–Frank Oberdorf. She always had a big libido, probably inherited from her father.

In Viswabharati University at Shantiniketan Frank Oberdorf (A German teacher on the staff at Santiniketan). She was attracted to Frank Oberdorf, a German who taught her French at Shantiniketan. “Oberdorf declared his love for Indira and he probably loved her for herself, not for her family,” Frank writes. Soon she was asked by her family to go away Shantiniketan, but “she did not want to leave the Abode of Peace, or possibly Frank Oberdorf, or both,” observes Frank. Then Tagore spoke to her and sent her off to Europe. Indira left reluctantly. Oberdorf still “hovered in the wings” and later caught up with her in London, but Indira declined his invitation to join him in Germany for the Christmas holiday.

Pupul Jayakar’s Indira Gandhi: A Biography is of seminal importance also supporting the relation between young Indira and her German teacher Frank Oberdorf. It was in Shantiniketan that she met Frank Oberdorf, a German who taught her French. Frank Oberdorf met Rabindranath Tagore in South America in 1922 and, deeply interested in Indian culture, had come to Shantiniketan in 1933. Indira was 16, he was 34. Deeply attracted by Indira, he had no inhibitions in expressing his admiration. Indira reacted; angry at what she thought was an effort to tease her. They quarreled. She insisted that affairs within the country were too serious to ignore; he persisted.

She continues to offer him a relationship, he persisted in love and for a brief period, they looked into each other’s eyes. He was a stranger to her family. She might unburden herself; share with him several of her despairs and her loneliness. She might speak of her dearly admired, ill mother and of her fears for the future.

Indira Gandhi and her German teacher

He continued to call her beautiful, unique. She said she knew exactly what she looked like and what he or anyone else said made no difference to her.

In reply to a letter from Frank Oberdorf in early 1946, after a silence of nine years, she wrote: “In March of 1942, I got married. Unlike you, I have not been able to have any domestic life. Now I have a tiny low son and he can shortly be 2 years previous…We are still leading very busy lives – with a great deal of traveling all over the country. All folks never appear to be within the same city at the identical time. As you see from the above address, I am now living in my father’s house.”

Invited by Frank Oberdorf to go with him to Germany, the arrogant 19-year-old Indira surfaced. On 13 October 1936, she wrote to Frank Oberdorf that her going with him to Germany was out of the question, not because of public opinion but she did not love him. Frank did not give up but continued to write and sent her a large bouquet of flowers on her birthday.

Ref: Indira Gandhi-A Biography by Pupul Jayakar (Pub:Penguin India)

The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank (Pub: Harper Collins UK)

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