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Rajiv Gandhi birth anniversary: Five interesting facts about the former Prime Minister

Updated on: 19 August,2023 03:28 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary is also known as Sadbhavana Diwas as the day is dedicated to the cause of encouraging peace, national integration, and communal harmony among all religions in the country

Rajiv Gandhi birth anniversary: Five interesting facts about the former Prime Minister

Rajiv Gandhi. File Pic

Rajiv Gandhi, who served as the seventh Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989, was born on August 20, 1944. Named after his maternal grandmother Kamala Nehru, wife of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi was the last member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to hold the post of Prime Minister of India. 


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.


Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary is also known as Sadbhavana Diwas as the day is dedicated to the cause of encouraging peace, national integration, and communal harmony among all religions in the country.


The All India Congress Committee established the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award in 1992 as a tribute to Raji Gandhi’s contribution to promoting communal harmony, national integration and peace.

Rajiv Gandhi took over the charge of the Congress in 1984 following the assassination of his mother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He became India's youngest Prime Minister at the age of 40 when he assumed office in October 1984. He served as the Prime Minister of India till December 2, 1989. 

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991.

On Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary, we bring you some interesting facts about the leader:

  • 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). 
  • 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.
  • Upon returning to India, Rajiv Gandhi obtained a commercial pilot's licence from the Delhi Flying Club and became a pilot with Indian Airlines. Politics didn't interest Rajiv Gandhi initially. He was a pilot and joined 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.
  • 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.

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