Rajiv Gandhi: The Visionary
Rajiv Gandhi was born on the 20th of August 1944 in Mumbai and went on to serve as the Prime Minister of India for 6 years.
Yesterday, on his birth anniversary, many politicians tweeted to express their thankfulness to the man and paid their warm tributes.
“On his birthday, tributes to former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi Ji”, Narendra Modi tweeted.
Rahul Gandhi paid his tributes to his father at the Veer Bhumi Rajiv Gandhi Memorial on his 76th birth anniversary.
He also tweeted “Rajiv Gandhi was a man with a tremendous vision, far ahead of his times. But above all else, he was a compassionate and loving human being. I am incredibly lucky and proud to have him as my father. We miss him today and every day.”
Some interesting facts about the life of Rajiv Gandhi:
- Rajiv Gandhi was known to be the youngest Prime Minister of India. It all happened when his mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguard on October 31, 1984.
- In that same year, the congress contested under the guidance and leadership of Rajiv Gandhi and won over 404 seats out of 533.
- It was considered to be one of the biggest wins and therefore Rajiv Gandhi became the youngest Prime Minister in history by the age of 40.
- He served as the sixth Prime Minister and was considered the last member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to hold the position of Prime Minister in India.
- The name Rajiv was given to him after his maternal grandmother Kamala Nehru.
- Kamala, which means lotus, used to worship goddess Laxmi. In other words, it is called Rajiv and so in that manner, he was given that name.
- While in London, Rajiv Gandhi studied three years of engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge. However, he did not obtain a degree and then went on to study mechanical engineering at the Imperial College, London but unfortunately did not complete that either.
- After returning to India, he joined the Flying Club in Delhi and trained as a pilot.
- His passion won him a professional job by Indian Airlines which paid him around Rs 5,000. Later in an interview, he mentioned that he never believed in mugging textbooks.
- He also mentioned that the passion for flying first came up when his grandfather first took him to a gliding club.
- Some of his other hobbies were mentioned to be music and computer programming. He preferred mostly rock music and his favorite rock band was known to be The Rolling Stones.
- Rajiv Gandhi met his love Sonia Gandhi, at a Greek Restaurant. He expressed his love to her with a poem on a paper napkin and a fine bottle of champagne and gave it to her with the help of the manager.
- In 1968, they were married and settled in Delhi. Sonia Gandhi’s real name was Edvige Antonio Albina Maino at first but after their marriage, she changed it to Sonia Gandhi. After a few years, they had two kids Rahul and Priyanka.
- He was a very versatile person who remained uninvolved in political behavior despite being born into a political family.
- After his brother’s death in a plane crash and his mother’s assassination, he began to get involved in politics.
- One of his first actions as the Prime Minister was passing the Anti-Defection law in 1985 which mentioned that any elected member of the Parliament or the Assembly is not permitted to join the Opposition party until the next election is cast.
- In 1986, he announced the National Policy on Education which briefed about the modernization and expansion of higher education programs in India.
- He contributed in many helpful ways to serve our country and develop it in a way beneficial to the citizens.
- He also founded the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya System in the same year which was an institution based on the central government. It was done for the upliftment of free residential education from classes VI to XII in rural areas.
- This led to creating Public Call Offices in those rural areas for spreading telephone facilities. He was also awarded the responsibility of the 1982 Asian Games along with Buta Singh, the then sports minister.
- Apart from his passion for flying, he excelled in photography as well. His love and his keen interest in portraits dragged many publishers to author a book of all his photographs, but his modest mind declined every time.
- It all happened after his death in 1995, where Sonia Gandhi came out with his collection of photographs and published a book called Rajiv’s world: Photographs by Rajiv Gandhi. The book is considered to be a memory of all his good times and displays of what mattered to him the most through a lane of four decades.
- All he wanted was to maintain unity in the country. He contributed in many ways to make our country a better place to live in. The main objective was the construction of a better and developed 21st-century in India.
- His fight against corruption and nepotism earned him the nickname Mr. Clean, as it was believed that even the opposition party had clearly very little to criticize about him.
- He was brutally attacked by one of the guests of honor, Vijayamunige Rohana de Silva. Rajiv managed to escape the attack while Silva was taken under custody.
- Sadly, he was assassinated on May 21, 1991, by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka in a planned suicide bombing attack.