Rajiv Gandhi was the eldest son of Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi. He was born on 20 August, 1944 in Mumbai. In 1984, he became the seventh and youngest Prime Minister of India after the assassination of his mother. For pursuing an Engineering degree he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge but was not able to complete his degree. Then he went to Imperial College London. He entered politics in 1980 after the death of his brother Sanjay Gandhi. Let's study some unknown and interesting facts about Rajiv Gandhi through this article.
10 unknown and interesting facts about Rajiv Gandhi
1. Rajiv Gandhi was born on 20 August, 1944 in Mumbai. He was only three years old when India became independent and his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of independent India. Do you know that Rajiv Gandhi's name was kept as Rajiv because the name of Jawaharlal Nehru's wife was Kamala which means goddess Lakshmi and 'Rajiv' word means Kamal or Lotus flower which is used to worship goddess Lakshmi. Rajiv Gandhi spent his childhood days with his grandfather at Murthy House, where Indira Gandhi served her father unofficially as a personal assistant.
2. Rajiv Gandhi went to Welham Boys' School in Dehradun for some time but soon he was sent to the elite Doon School located in the foothills of Himalayas. Later, his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi was also sent to this school where the two stayed together. After leaving school, Rajiv went to Trinity College, Cambridge but soon he shifted to Imperial College in London. He studied mechanical engineering from there but could not be able to complete his course due to some reason.
3. In 1966, Rajiv Gandhi came to India and till then his mother Indira Gandhi had become the Prime Minister of India. Rajiv Gandhi was very interested in music. He liked Western and Hindustani classical and modern music. He also had a passion for listening to radio and doing photography.
Among all the mentioned hobbies Pilot was his biggest obsession. So, he went to Delhi and took pilot training from Flying Club and in 1970 as a pilot, he started working in Indian Airlines. This shows that he was not interested in politics. So far, his brother Sanjay Gandhi had entered politics with his mother.
4. Rajiv Gandhi's met Edvige Antonio Albina Maino in London. In 1968, he married Edvige Antonio Albina Maino in New Delhi and renamed her Sonia Gandhi. They have two children, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.
5. Why Rajiv Gandhi came into politics? We all know that Rajiv Gandhi was not interested in politics, but when his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash on 23 June, 1980, he had joined politics and contested election from his brother's seat Amethi. In 1981, Rajiv Gandhi was made the president of the Indian Youth Congress.
6. Let us now study how Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister?
Rajiv Gandhi's mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguard on 31 October, 1984. In 1984, the Congress contested the Lok Sabha elections from Amethi under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress got 404 out of 533 seats, which was considered the biggest victory in the history. Thus Rajiv Gandhi became the youngest Prime Minister of India at the age of 40.
7. Rajiv Gandhi contributed greatly to the development of the country. He announced a National Policy on Education in 1986 to modernise and expand higher education programs across India. He founded a central government based institution namely Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya System in 1986 for the upliftment of the rural section of the society providing them free residential education from 6th till 12 class. Due to his efforts MTNL established in 1986 and also created public call offices (PCOs) for spreading telephones in rural areas.
8. In post 1990, he introduced measures for reducing Licence Raj allowing business and individuals to purchase capital, consumer goods and import without bureaucratic restrictions. He introduced the age of voting rights as 18 and also included Panchayati Raj. He strongly encouraged youth power and said that the development of the country depends only on the awareness of the youth of the country. That's why Jawahar Rozgar Yojana was started to give jobs to the youth.
9. Rajiv Gandhi sent Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka to help them fight the Tamil insurgents to antogonise LTTE. The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed by Rajiv Gandhi and the Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene, in Colombo on 29 July 1987. Prior to sending the peace army, LTTE chief V Prabhakaran came to meet Rajiv Gandhi in Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi was strict with him. Since then he had been waiting for an opportunity. Rajiv Gandhi was nicknamed Mr Clean because of his fight against corruption.
10. On 21 May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi reached Sriperumbudur, 30 km from Chennai to address a rally where he was assassinated. A woman named Dhanu approached Rajiv Gandhi, bent down to touch his feet and exploded a bomb, which was placed under her dress. His aggressive efforts to curb the LTTE in Sri Lanka led to his untimely assassination by the group in Sriperambudur. In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was posthumously awarded with the Country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna by the Indian Government.
Rajiv Gandhi was simple and influential personality. He always discuss with his party before taking any important decision. He led the country towards modernism, established schools, encouraged youth etc. He wanted to maintain unity in the country and the main objective of him was the construction of a twenty-first century India. In fact, his anti-corruption and nepotism stance earned him the nickname "Mr Clean". He was assassinated on 21 May 1991.