Rajiv Gandhi Wiki | Education | Wife | Date Of Birth | International Stadium
Rajiv Gandhi Wiki | Education | Wife | Date Of Birth | International Stadium | Rajeev Gandhi | Fathers of Cogresss | Father of Indian National Congress. He was born in one of the most prominent political families of India. He became the third generation in his family to become the Prime Minister of India – after his maternal grandfather, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and mother Smt. Indira Gandhi. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India at the age of 40.
The developmental projects launched by him included the overhaul of national education policy and major expansion of the telecom sector. Rajiv Gandhi also emerged as one of India’s more controversial Prime Ministers due to his alleged involvement in the Bofors scandal worth Rs. 640 million.
His aggressive efforts to curb the LTTE in Sri Lanka led to his untimely assassination by the group in Sriperambudur in 1991. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian recognition, posthumously in 1991.
Early Life and Education
Rajiv Gandhi was born on 20 August 1944, into the country’s eminent political dynasty – the Nehru-Gandhi family. His mother, Indira Gandhi was the first and the only woman Prime Minister of India. Feroze Gandhi, a key member of the Indian National Congress and the editor of The National Herald newspaper, was his father.
Rajiv Gandhi initially attended the Welham Boys’ School and subsequently went to the elite Doon School in Dehradun. Later, he went to the United Kingdom to study at the Cambridge University. Rajiv met Sonia Maino (later Sonia Gandhi) from Italy at Cambridge University.
After his return from the United Kingdom, Rajiv Gandhi exhibited least interest in politics and focused onto becoming a professional pilot. He, later worked for Indian Airlines, as a pilot.
Entry into Politics
Rajiv had no inclination to follow his family’s tradition and join politics. It was his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi who was being groomed to take up the helms of the political legacy. But Sanjay’s premature death in a plane crash changed Rajiv’s destiny. The senior members of the Indian National Congress party approached Rajiv Gandhi to persuade him to join politics but Rajiv was reluctant and said “no” to them.
His wife, Sonia Gandhi, also stood by Rajiv’s position of not entering into politics. But after constant request from his mother Indira Gandhi, he decided to contest. His entry was criticized by many in the press, public and opposition. They saw the entry of Nehru-Gandhi scion into politics as a forced-hereditary-participation.
Within a few months of his election as a Member of Parliament from Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajiv Gandhi acquired significant party influence and became an important political advisor to his mother. He was also elected as the general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and subsequently became the president of the Youth Congress.
Prime Minister of India
Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her bodyguards at her New Delhi residence, Rajiv Gandhi was sworn as the Prime Minster. The Congress Party, riding high on the tragedy, witnessed a landslide victory in the parliamentary following elections.
The economic policies adopted by Rajiv Gandhi were different from his predecessors like Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. He introduced policies that bordered on light-footed reforms of the existing economic agenda of the country which was based on protectionism following a Soviet model. These reforms paved way for the more extensive linearization efforts of the economy in 1991. Another major decision during his tenure as Prime Minister was the decision to do away with the license and quota Raj. He reduced tax on technological industry, reformed import policies related to telecommunication, defense, and commercial airline. He put emphasis on introduction of contemporary technological advances in various sectors. Thus modernizing industries to attract higher foreign investment in the economy.
Going against the traditional socialism. Rajiv Gandhi decided to improve the bilateral relationships with the United States of America and subsequently expanded the economic and scientific cooperation with it. A revived foreign policy, emphasizing on the economic liberalization and information and technology moved India closer to the West.
On Anti-Sikh Riots Post-election
While commenting on the anti-Sikh riots, which followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi in Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi said, “‘ When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes”. The statement was widely criticized both within and outside the Congress Party. Many viewed the statement as “provocative” and demanded an apology from him. To deal with the anti-Sikh riots, that followed the death of his mother. Rajiv Gandhi signed an accord with Akali Dal president Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, on 24 July, 1985. The key points of the pact were:
(1) Along with ex-gratia payment to those innocent killed in agitation or any action after 1-8-1982, compensation for property damaged will also be paid.
(2) All citizens of the country have the right to enroll in the Army and merit will remain the criterion for selection.
(3) For all those discharged, efforts will be made to rehabilitate and provide gainful employment.
On 21 May, 1991, on his way towards the dais, Rajiv Gandhi was garlanded by many Congress supporters and well-wishers. At around 10 pm, the assassin greeted him and bent down to touch his feet. She then exploded an RDX explosive laden belt attached to her waist-belt. The act of violence was reportedly carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In retaliation to the involvement of Indian Peace-keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.
Later, On Sonia Gandhi Wife of Rajiv Gandhi made a International Stadium and named Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.