Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Feroze Gandhi and Indira Gandhi. He was the sixth Prime Minister of India. He was born on 20th day of August, 1944 in Mumbai.
Since childhood Rajiv was modest and attractive. His composure of taciturnity added graceful solemnity to his character. As a pilot of Indian Airlines, Rajiv had kept himself aloof from the thorny path of politics. His tender personality was rather unsuitable in Indian Politics.
But this calm and comely man could not but join politics in 1982 at the behest of his mother after the premature demise of Sanjay Gandhi, his only brother in an air-crash. Rajiv’s active political life began when he was elected to the Loksabha from Amethi in 1981 in a by-election. A year later he became one of the general Secretaries of the Congress (I) Party. That was how Rajiv Gandhi became a name in Indian Politics.
But black pall of doom came down upon the Gandhi family on 31st October in 1984. Rajiv’s mother, Priyadarshini Indira Gandhi was gunned down at her residence by her own bodyguards. It was a trust with destiny. Mother’s mantle fell on him. And Rajiv Gandhi became a man in the history of this country by succeeding his mother as the Prime Minister of India.
Soon he was elected the president of the Congress (I) Party. On 24th December in 1984 was held the eighth General Election of free India. The Congress (I) Party zoomed to unprecedented success under Rajiv’s leadership. The Party had bagged 402 seats out of 508 Parliamentary seats. He himself was re-elected from Amethi. He was sworn in as the youngest prime minister of India at the age of forty.
With the dream to make a United India and to pilot the country to 21st century, young and enthusiast Rajiv took up the toughest task of the then trouble-torn India. To put an end to the long-continued Punjab problem, Rajiv signed a historical agreement known as the Rajiv-Longowal Pact. He also succeeded in making the agitating leaders of Assam come to the negotiating table. All these activities may come fruitful or not, but these reflect the man behind – a man of good will, courage, sincerity, honesty and above all, moral endeavors.
Rajiv has been sometimes dubbed a wayward dreamer of a highly uplifted India. However, a cursory glimpse on the economic steps taken up by him for the amelioration of the unemployed youths, the deprived peasants and the underprivileged fair sex of India would prove that he was not without a statesman’s far-sightedness. ‘Jawahar Rozgar Yojana’, ‘India Housing Projects’, ‘Indira Mahila Yojana’, etc. were the expressions of his pure feelings for the countrymen. The most powerful trait of Rajiv was his truly democratic bent of mind. He championed the cause of decentralization of power in India. That was why he moved the ‘Nagarpalika Bill’ and the ‘Panchayati Raj Bill’ in the parliament.
Even the sternest critics of him couldn’t but admire his goodness and shining personal trait.
On 21st May, 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur near Chennai. It was a result of suicide bombing. Rajiv is no more but his dream remains. He had, by his sheer personal charisma cut a niche in the psyche of people of home and abroad.
The Indians have paid their tribute to this young dreamer of a ‘United India’ with Bharat Ratna.