Rajiv Gandhi was an unusual Indian politician. He had seen each his grandfather and mom as prime ministers and grown up in a political dwelling — but he maintained a distinct professional id as a pilot and tried to dwell a regular urban upper-middle-class life, till his brother, Sanjay Gandhi’s air crash altered the trajectory of his family and Indian politics. Responding to the decision of his mom, Indira, over the objections of his spouse, Sonia, Rajiv Gandhi entered politics — solely to turn into prime minister inside three years, as his mom fell to assassins.
This distinct background lent Rajiv Gandhi a fresh perspective when he swept to energy. His historic 1985 handle to the Congress, throughout its centenary, was a blistering critique of the best way the party functioned (and it is probably not a coincidence that Rahul Gandhi is equally ambivalent about his party’s political tradition). He brought technology to governance, empowered Panchayati raj institutions, engineered home peace agreements,
shepherded a rapprochement with China, promoted training for the marginalized, and mentored a generation of young leaders and technocrats who proceed to play a role in Indian public life. But finally, Rajiv Gandhi acquired ensnared in the same political culture he so disapproved of. He practiced id politics with disastrous consequences (Shah Bano being the most obvious instance), mishandled Kashmir (the scars of the rigged 1987 elections are nonetheless current), acquired accused of corruption (which, to be honest, by no means acquired confirmed within the case of Bofors but left questions about his political judgment), and led India right into a disastrous military conflict in trying to keep peace in Sri Lanka, with tragic consequences.
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