Rajiv Gandhi birth anniversary: known facts about the reluctant PM
After the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi became the youngest Indian PM at the age of 40. Here is a look at his life outside politics.
The last of the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as prime minister of India was Rajiv Gandhi, a reluctant participant in politics. His introduction into politics was sparked by the 1980 plane disaster that claimed the life of his brother Sanjay Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi, who was 40 years old when his mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, was the country’s youngest prime minister.
Rajiv Gandhi was born in Mumbai on August 20, 1944. When Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of an independent India, he was only three years old.
As we remember Rajiv Gandhi on his 78th birth anniversary, here are five lesser-known facts about the former PM:
1.In 1970, Rajiv Gandhi began working for Air India after completing his pilot training at the Delhi Flying Club. Rajiv stated that his interest in flying began when his grandfather first brought him to the Gliding club in an interview with actor Simi Garewal. “I liked it, and I still like it. You have some freedom as a result. It sort of removes you from everything,” Rajiv had said in the interview.
2. Rajiv Gandhi had a passion for photography. He had been reportedly approached by a publisher to bring out a book of photographs, but he declined. After his death, his wife, Sonia Gandhi published the book Rajiv’s world: Photographs by Rajiv Gandhi, in 1995, which had photographs clicked by the former PM over four decades.
3. Rajiv Gandhi gained the moniker “Mr Clean” after pledging to eradicate corruption from the nation. Additionally, the Opposition had virtually little to mock him with because he was a newcomer to politics. But after the Bofors scandal, in which several Congressmen, including Gandhi, were accused of having ties to a Swedish weaponry manufacturer, damaged Rajiv’s reputation, the media stopped using the insult. Later, however posthumously, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court both cleared him of all charges.
4. Rajiv Gandhi loved to drive and was perhaps one of the only prime ministers in the country to drive himself during his election campaigns or on other tours.
5. After the sudden death of Sanjay Gandhi, the Shankaracharya Swami Shri Swaroopanand, visited Indira Gandhi and Rajiv. It was during this meeting that Shankaracharya Swami suggested that Rajiv should enter politics.