Rajiv Gandhi, the eldest son of Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi, was born on 20 August, 1944 in Mumbai. Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, served as the sixth Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989. He took charge of office after the assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi (the then PM) in 1984. The former Prime Minister was the youngest to hold the PM office at the age of 41. But, in a tragic turn of events, he was killed in a bomb blast in Tamil Nadu while campaigning for a Congress candidate in 1991. On his 28th death anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about Rajiv Gandhi's life, his hobby and his political career. Here are 9 Inspirational Quotes by Rajiv Gandhi.
Here Are Some Lesser Known Facts About India's Ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi
- Rajiv Gandhi’s full name was Rajiv Ratna Gandhi. He got his name from his grandmother's name Kamala Nehru. Rajiv and Kamala in Sanskrit mean "Lotus", which is used to worship the goddess Lakshmi.
- Gandhi had studied mechanical engineering, but he chose to pursue a career as an airline pilot.
- Rajiv Gandhi, the youngest prime minister of India at 41, was also a keen photographer. This hobby was a source of immense pleasure for him.
- After meeting Edvige Antonio Albina Maino (Sonia Gandhi), the love of his life in London, Rajiv Gandhi married her in New Delhi in 1968.
- While studying at Cambridge, he met Sonia at a restaurant. He was so mesmerised by her beauty that he wrote a poem on a paper napkin and sent it to her with a bottle of wine.
- The couple settled in Delhi to a domestic life with their children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
- Upon return to India in 1966, he got his commercial pilot's license and joined the state-owned Indian Airlines, the domestic carrier and remained a pilot until he entered politics.
- Rajiv Gandhi never wanted a political career even though his family was intensely into politics. But he had to after his mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassination in 1984.
- Rajiv Gandhi served as an adviser to his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the remainder of her career.
- Rajiv Gandhi too was assassinated while campaigning for the 1991 Lok Sabha elections on May 21 in 1991 at Sriperumbudur. A woman approached Gandhi, bent down to touch his feet and detonated a bomb, which was placed under her dress.
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Gandhi never wanted to enter politics though he belonged to an intensely political family that served India for generations, both during the freedom struggle and afterwards. But, after his brother Sanjay's death in a plane crash in 1980, he reluctantly entered politics at the behest of Indira. In 1981, he won his brother's Parliamentary seat of Amethi and became a member of the Lok Sabha. As part of his political grooming, Rajiv was made a general secretary of the Congress and was given a crucial responsibility in organising the 1982 Asian Games.