August 20, 2021, marks the 77th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, India’s youngest Prime Minister. The day is marked as Sadbhavana Diwas, aimed at promoting national integration and peace among various communities. Rajiv Gandhi was 40 when he became Prime Minister of India after his mother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated on October 31, 1984. Born in Mumbai (then Bombay), Rajiv Gandhi was three years old when India gained independence and his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of the country.
On Rajiv Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary, we bring you some interesting facts about the leader:
Rajiv Gandhi was forced to take the reins of the Congress party and the country after the assassination of his mother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.
He studied at Welham Prep in Dehra Dun before he moved to the iconic Doon School. He went to Trinity College in Cambridge and from there, joined Imperial College (London). Though he enrolled for a course in mechanical engineering, he didn’t complete it.
Rajiv Gandhi met Sonia Gandhi at Cambridge. In 1968, they married and Sonia Gandhi moved into the house of her mother-in-law, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Rajiv Gandhi had a passion for music – Western and Hindustani classical – and photography.
Politics didn’t interest Rajiv Gandhi initially. He was a pilot and joined the Indian Airlines in 1970.
Rajiv Gandhi had to take on a bigger role in politics after the death of his more ambitious brother Sanjay Gandhi in a plane crash in 1980. Rajiv Gandhi contested the polls from his brother’s seat Amethi. He became the president of the Indian Youth Congress in 1981.
Rajiv Gandhi earned the epithet “Mr Clean” due to his promise to root out corruption from the country.
Rajiv Gandhi also loved to drive and often took the wheels during his election campaigns or other tours.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi passed the anti-defection law in 1985, according to which an elected Member of Parliament could not join an opposition party till the next election.
Rajiv Gandhi is remembered as a charismatic politician who took big steps to facilitate India’s IT revolution. He was assassinated in 1991 by a suicide bomber while he was campaigning in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur.