Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

Better a brain drain than a brain in the drain

Rajiv Gandhi, India

Rajiv Gandhi was the former Prime Minister of India. He became the 6th and the youngest Prime Minister of India at the age of 40. He attended college in the United Kingdom and returned as a professional pilot to India in 1966. He stayed out of politics and led a domestic life with his wife and two children in Delhi. However, after the death of his younger brother, he reluctantly entered politics. Rajiv’s first political achievement was winning the Amethi Lok Sabha elections in the year 1981. After the assassination of the them Prime Minister and his mother, Indira Gandhi, he was made the ‘Prime Minister’ of India. Rajiv contributed towards expanding and revamping the education sector. ‘Indira Gandhi Open University’ was established under his guidance and the new education policy. Besides the laurels, his office tenure was mired in controversies.

Gandhi was from the politically powerful Nehru–Gandhi family, which had been associated with the Indian National Congress party. For much of his childhood, his maternal grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister. Gandhi attended college in the United Kingdom. He returned to India in 1966 and became a professional pilot for the state-owned Indian Airlines. In 1968, he married Sonia Gandhi; the couple settled in Delhi to a domestic life with their children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. For much of the 1970s, his mother Indira Gandhi was prime minister and his brother Sanjay Gandhi an MP; despite this, Rajiv Gandhi remained apolitical. After Sanjay’s death in a plane crash in 1980, Gandhi reluctantly entered politics at the behest of Indira. The following year he won his brother’s Parliamentary seat of Amethi and became a member of the Lok Sabha—the lower house of India’s Parliament. As part of his political grooming, Rajiv was made general secretary of the Congress party.

On the morning of 31 October 1984, his mother was assassinated by one of her bodyguards; later that day, Gandhi was appointed Prime Minister.He had worked so hard after the moment he was given the power. But with great power comes great responsibilities. His time as PM of India is considered as the most controversial period known in India.In 1988, he reversed the coup in Maldives, antagonising militant Tamil groups such as PLOTE, intervening and then sending peacekeeping troops to Sri Lanka in 1987, leading to open conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In mid-1987, the Bofors scandal damaged his corruption-free image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 election.

he once escaped the hands of death during a rally inspection in Sri lanka.On 30 July 1987, a day after Gandhi went to Sri Lanka and signed the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, an honour guard named Vijitha Rohana hit him on his shoulder with his rifle; Gandhi’s quick reflexes saved him from injury. The guard was then dragged off by his security personnel.The guard said his intention was to kill Gandhi because of “the damage he had caused” to Sri Lanka. Wijemuni was imprisoned for two-and-a-half years for the assault.

Rajiv Gandhi was campaigning for the upcoming elections in southern states of India. On 21 May, after campaigning in Visakhapatnam, his next stop was Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. About two hours after arriving in Madras (now Chennai), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues. When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he left his car and began walking towards the dais where he was to deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. The assassin, Dhanu (Thenmozhi Rajaratnam), approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDXexplosive-laden belt tucked below her dress at exactly 10:10 PM. Gandhi, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed, along with 43 others who were grievously injured. The assassination was caught on film by a local photographer, Haribabu whose camera and film was found intact at the site despite him also dying in the blast.

Categories: Culture and History, India