During her studies at Somerville College, Oxford University, England, in the late 1930s she became a member of the Indian League, a staunch supporter of freedom based in London. After completing her studies from Oxford, she returned to India in 1941 and joined the Indian independence movement. She served her father as a non-official private assistant during her father's tenure as India's first Prime Minister in the 1950s. He was appointed as a Rajya Sabha member in 1964 after the death of his father. She then became the Information and Broadcasting Friend in Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet. Right before the beginning of the Quit India movement, an extreme and vigorous national uprising started by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Party. In September 1942, he was released on 13 May 1943 after spending more than 243 days in jail, arrested by the British authorities. During the Partition chaos of India in 1947, he helped organize refugee camps and provide medical care for millions of refugees from Pakistan. This was his first major public service. When India's first general election came to a close in 1951, Indira was busy campaigning for both her father and her husband who were contesting from Rae Bareli constituency. Indira contested elections during 1959 and 1960 and was elected President of the Indian National Congress. His tenure was eventless. She was playing the role of her father's chief of staff.
When Mrs. Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, the Congress was divided into two factions, Socialist under Mrs. Gandhi and conservative under Morarji Desai. Morarji Desai called them "" dumb dolls "". Internal problems emerged in the 1967 election where the Congress lost about 60 seats and gained 297 seats in the Lok Sabha with 545 seats. He had to take Desai as India's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of India. The Indian National Congress split in 1969 after a disagreement with Desai over several issues. They ran the rule for the next two years with support from socialists and communist parties. In July 1969, he nationalized banks. Gandhi's government had to face major difficulties after his tremendous mandate of 1971. On June 12, 1975, the Lok Sabha election of Indira Gandhi was declared void by the Allahabad High Court on the basis of alleged corruption charges in an election petition filed by Raj Narayan.