Remembering Rajiv Gandhi on his 76th birth anniversary: Rare pictures of former PM

Updated: 20 August, 2020 10:24 IST
  • Rajiv Gandhi was born on August 20, 1944, to Indira and Feroze Gandhi in Bombay. In 1951, Rajiv Gandhi and his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi were admitted to Shiv Niketan school, where according to his teachers, Rajiv was shy and introvert, and 'greatly enjoyed painting and drawing'. All pictures/mid-day archives

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  • Did you know Rajiv Gandhi was named after his maternal grandmother Kamala Nehru, wife of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru?

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  • Rajiv Gandhi initially joined Welham Boys' School and later moved to Doon School in Dehradun in 1954. In 1961, Rajiv was sent to London to study A-levels. From 1962 to 1965, Rajiv Gandhi studied engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not obtain a degree. In 1966, he began a course in mechanical engineering at Imperial College, London, but did not complete it.

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  • Rajiv Gandhi returned to India in 1966, the year his mother became the Prime Minister of India. He went to Delhi and became a member of the Flying Club, where he was trained as a pilot. In 1970, he was employed as a pilot by Air India. At that time, he did not harbour any intention of joining politics.

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  • In 1968, Rajiv Gandhi married Edvige Antonia Albina Maino, after three years of courtship. She changed her name to Sonia Gandhi. Their first child, Rahul Gandhi, was born in 1970. Two years later, the couple had a daughter, Priyanka Gandhi, who is married to Robert Vadra.

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  • After Rajiv Gandhi's younger brother Sanjay Gandhi died in an air crash, Shankaracharya Swami Shri Swaroopanand, a saint from Badrinath, visited the family's house to offer his condolences and advised Rajiv Gandhi not to fly aeroplanes and instead 'dedicate himself to the service of the nation'.

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  • Several members of the Congress party signed a proposal and went to Indira Gandhi, urging her to tell Rajiv Gandhi to enter politics. Indira Gandhi told them it was Rajiv's decision. Rajiv Gandhi made his foray into politics on February 16, 1981, when he addressed a national farmers' rally in Delhi. At that time, he was still an employee of Air India.

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  • Rajiv Gandhi was sworn-in as the seventh Prime Minister of India on October 31, 1984, the same day his mother was assassinated by her bodyguards. He was 41 and became the youngest Prime Minister of India.

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  • Rajiv Gandhi led the Congress Party to a landslide victory in elections to the Lok Sabha in December 1984, and his administration took vigorous measures to reform the government bureaucracy and liberalise the country's economy.

    In photo: Former Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Anatoly Dobrynin, meets Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May, 1987.

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  • On relations with Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto, Rajiv Gandhi had said that Bhutto and he had agreed to work together and remove the suspicions and misgivings that characterised Indo-Pak relations and build bridges of friendship, understanding, and cooperation.

    In photo: Rajiv Gandhi in conversation with former Pakistan prime minster Benazir Bhutto.

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  • In 1987, Rajiv Gandhi was attacked by a Sri Lankan sailor while the Indian premier was inspecting a guard of honour in Colombo.

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  • Post-1990, Rajiv Gandhi 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.

    In photo: Rajiv Gandhi and ex-Pakistan President Zia Ul-Haq meet at New York on October 23, 1985.

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  • Rajiv Gandhi encouraged the power of youth and said that the development of the country depends only on the awareness of the youth of the country. Jawahar Rozgar Yojana was one of the schemes launched to create job opportunities for the youth.

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  • Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, in a public meeting while campaigning for a Lok Sabha Congress candidate in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. A woman approached him and bent down to touch his feet and the bomb placed under her dress exploded. He was cremated at Veer Bhumi, located on the banks of river Yamuna.

    In photo: Rajiv Gandhi with Simi Garewal.

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  • In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was posthumously awarded India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna by the Union Government.

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  • Here are some candid photos of the Rajiv Gandhi with singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika.

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  • Leader of the Tibetan people His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama - Tenzin Gyatso - in conversation with Rajiv Gandhi on January 18, 1988.

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  • In photo: Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.

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About The Gallery

Rajiv Gandhi, who served as the seventh Prime Minister of India, was also India's youngest PM at the age of 41. From flying planes for Air India to becoming the leader of the masses and from encouraging youth to introducing the age of voting rights as 18, Rajiv Gandhi lived an illustrious life. On his 76th birth anniversary, take a look at some rare images of the former Prime Minister of India.

First Published: 20 August, 2019 09:37 IST