He was an average student with no remarkable academic achievements or pursuits. It is here he met Sonia, an Italian young girl whom he married later. After completing his studies he took up the profession of a commercial pilot, a profession he liked.
Rajiv Gandhi was enjoying the thrill of his profession and the solace of a happy family life, when suddenly he was forced to enter politics at the demise of his younger brother, Sanjay Gandhi, who was the right-hand of Indira Gandhi, then prime Minister of India.
In 1981, he won the election in the pi ace of his late brother and became a political advisor to his mother. For about three years, he served the congress party as its youth wing leader and toured the country extensively in this capacity.
However, the tragic assassination of his mother in 1984 compelled him to become the leader of the party and assume the office of Prime Minister of the country. In the general elections that soon followed in 1984 the congress party under Rajiv’s leadership was able to obtain absolute majority and was able to form government. The young Rajiv, who was only forty when he became the Prime Minister, the second time, was able to bring into politics his youthful energy, enthusiasm and vision.
During the five years that Rajiv held the helms of the country, he was able to achieve a great deal of success. The credit of initiating the process of modernisation and globalisation of Indian economy goes to him.
He was man with a modern outlook and clear vision. Under his leadership India made gigantic leaps in the industrial, telecom and communication sectors. Perhaps the most outstanding legacy of Rajiv Gandhi was that he was able to put India into international focus and boosted India’s image in the international arenas.
Within a few years, he became a recognised world figure with clear world vision and leadership qualities. The introduction of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana and Panchayati Raj were other notable achievements of Rajiv Gandhi.
However, towards the last leg of his term as Prime Minister was marked by ‘Bofors scam’, which tarnished his image considerably, which eventually resulted in the rout of Congress party in the general election of 1989. From 1989, till his death Rajiv Gandhi worked as a good opposition leader and tried to lift up the fallen image of his party.
It was during one of his public rallies at a place called Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu that he was assassinated by the Tamil terrorists on May 21, 1991. Thus, ended the life of a promising leader of India. His samadhi in New Delhi is known as Shantivan, a symbol of peace and harmony.
With the sudden assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, India lost one of the best Indian leaders who could have changed the very fortunes of our land. There is no doubt that he would have taken India into great heights of glory and achievements. His untimely death is a staggering loss to India. His assassination is a great tragedy not only for India, but also for the entire world.