Famous Personalities of India : Vijayalakshmi Pandit
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Pandit, Vijayalakshmi (1900-1990), one of India's most famous women, was distinguished for her work in government and for her interest in the women's movement. Madame Pandit was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1947 and ambassador to the United States in 1949. From 1953 to 1954, she served as the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly. She then became Indian high commissioner in Britain. She became ambassador to Ireland in 1955 and ambassador to Spain in 1958, and held both posts until 1961. She was governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra from 1962 to 1964, and served in India's Parliament from 1964 to 1967. She retired from public life in 1968.

Madame Pandit was born in Allahabad, India. Like her father and brother, Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru, she took a prominent part in India's struggle for independence and was jailed several times. Her brother served as India's prime minister from 1947 to 1964. Indira P. Gandhi--her niece and Jawaharlal's daughter--became prime minister of India in 1966. In 1977, Madame Pandit campaigned against her niece's political party, Congress, because she opposed the way it had restricted freedom in India.

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