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Prime Ministers of India

Dr. Manmohan Singh

 

Dr. Manmohan Singh (born 26 September 1932) is the 14th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. He is also the first non-Hindu to hold the office. Earlier, during his tenure as the Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996, Singh was widely credited for carrying out economic reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system

Background
An economist by profession, Singh was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987 and the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996. He is also a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, currently serving his fourth term.

Manmohan Singh is a graduate of Panjab University, Chandigarh, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Oxford. After serving as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Singh was appointed as the Union Minister of Finance in 1991 by then-Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for carrying out economic reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system.

Following the 2004 general elections, Singh was unexpectedly declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. He was sworn in as the prime minister on 22 May 2004, along with the First Manmohan Singh Cabinet. After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, Singh was reappointed as the Prime Minister of India on 22 May 2009.

Childhood and education
Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab (now in Chakwal District, Pakistan), British India, into a Sikh family. He lost his mother when he was very young, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. He was a hard working student who studied by candlelight, as his village did not have electricity. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar, India. He attended Panjab University, Chandigarh studying Economics and attaining his bachelor's and master's degrees in 1952 and 1954 respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of St John's College. (In the Oxbridge tradition, holders of the BA degree with honours are entitled in due course to an MA degree.) He won the Wright's Prize for distinguished performance in 1955 and 1957. He was also one of the few recipients of the Wrenbury scholarship. In 1962, Singh completed his DPhil from the University of Oxford where he was a member of Nuffield College. The title of his doctoral thesis was "India’s export performance, 1951-1960, export prospects and policy implications", and his thesis supervisor was Dr I M D Little. From this thesis he published the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".

In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2006, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St. John's College further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

Early Career
After completing his D.Phil, Singh worked for UNCTAD (1966–1969). During the 1970s, he taught at the University of Delhi and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Trade with then Cabinet Minister for Foreign Trade Lalit Narayan Mishra and for Finance Ministry of India. In 1982, he was appointed the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and held the post until 1985. He went on to become the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987.

Finance Minister of India In 1991, India's then-Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be the Finance Minister. At the time, India was facing an economic crisis. Rao and Singh implemented policies to open up the economy and change the socialist economic system to a capitalist economy. The economic reform package included dismantling Licence Raj that made it difficult for private businesses to exist and prosper, removal of many obstacles for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and initiating the process of the privatization of public sector companies. These economic reforms are credited with bringing high levels of economic growth in India, and changing the annual 3%, to an average of 8–9% economic growth in the following years. However, in spite of these reforms, Rao's government was voted out in 1996 due to non-performance of government in other areas.

Career in the Rajya Sabha Singh was first elected to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, in 1991 and was re-elected in 2001 and 2007. From 1998 to 2004, while the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power, Singh was the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In 1999, he ran for the Lok Sabha from South Delhi but was unable to win the seat.

Prime ministership

14th Lok Sabha After the 2004 general elections, the Indian National Congress stunned the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) by becoming the political party with the single largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. In a surprise move, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi declared Manmohan Singh, a technocrat, as the UPA candidate for the Prime Minister post. Despite the fact that Singh had never won a Lok Sabha seat, his considerable goodwill and Sonia Gandhi's nomination won him the support of the UPA allies and the Left Front. He took the oath as the Prime Minister of India on 22 May 2004, becoming the first person of Sikh faith and the first non-Hindu to hold the office in predominantly Hindu-majority India.

Foreign policy
Manmohan Singh's Government has continued the pragmatic foreign policy that was started by P.V. Narasimha Rao and continued by Bharatiya Janata Party's Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Prime Minister has continued the peace process with Pakistan initiated by his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Exchange of high-level visits by top leaders from both countries have highlighted his tenure, as has reduced terrorism and increased prosperity in the state of Kashmir. Efforts have been made during Singh's tenure to end the border dispute with People's Republic of China. In November 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India which was followed by Singh's visit to Beijing in January 2008. A major development in Sino-Indian relations was the reopening of the Nathula Pass in 2006 after being closed for more than four decades. In 2007, the People's Republic of China became the biggest trade partner of India, with bilateral trade expected to surpass US$60 billion by 2010. However, there is a growing trade imbalance. Relations with Afghanistan have also improved considerably, with India now becoming the largest regional donor to Afghanistan. During Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to New Delhi in August 2008, Manmohan Singh increased the aid package to Afghanistan for the development of more schools, health clinics, infrastructure, and defense.

Singh's government has worked towards stronger ties with the United States. He visited the United States in July 2005 initiating negotiations over the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. This was followed by George W. Bush's successful visit to India in March 2006, during which the declaration over the nuclear agreement was made, giving India access to American nuclear fuel and technology while India will have to allow IAEA inspection of its civil nuclear reactors. After more than two years for more negotiations, followed by approval from the IAEA, Nuclear Suppliers Group and the US Congress, India and the U.S. signed the agreement on 10 October 2008.

In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2006, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St. John's College further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

Prime Minister Singh was given the honor of being granted the first official state visit to the White House during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. The visit took place in November 2009, and several discussions took place, including on trade and nuclear power. It was set during a wider visit to the United States by Dr. Singh.

During Singh's tenure as Prime Minister, relations have improved with Japan and European Union countries, like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Relations with Iran have continued and negotiations over the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline have taken place. New Delhi hosted an India–Africa Summit in April 2006 which was attended by the leaders of 15 African states. Relations, have improved with other developing countries, particularly Brazil and South Africa. Singh carried forward the momentum which was established after the "Brasilia Declaration" in 2003 and the IBSA Dialogue Forum was formed.

Manmohan Singh's government has also been especially keen on expanding ties with Israel. Since 2003, the two countries have made significant investments in each other and Israel now rivals Russia to become India's defense partner. Though there have been a few diplomatic glitches between India and Russia, especially over the delay and price hike of several Russian weapons to be delivered to India, relations between the two remain strong with India and Russia signing various agreements to increase defense, nuclear energy and space cooperation.

Economic Policy
Dr. Singh, along with the former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, have presided over a period where the Indian economy has grown with an 8–9% economic growth rate. In 2007, India achieved its highest GDP growth rate of 9% and became the second fastest growing major economy in the world.

Singh's government has continued the Golden Quadrilateral and the highway modernization program that was initiated by Vajpayee's government. Singh has also been working on reforming the banking and financial sectors and has been working towards reforming public sector companies. The Finance ministry has been working towards relieving farmers of their debt and has been working towards pro-industry policies. In 2005, Singh's government introduced the VAT tax that replaced the complicated sales tax. In 2007 and early 2008, inflation became a big problem globally.

Healthcare and education
In 2005, Prime Minister Singh and his government's health ministry started the National Rural Health Mission, which has mobilized half a million community health workers. This rural health initiative, was praised by the prominent American economist, Jeffrey Sachs, in an article, in Time magazine.

Dr. Singh has announced that eight more Indian Institutes of Technology will be opened in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh. The Singh government has also continued the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, begun by his predecessor, Mr. Vajpayee. The programme has included the introduction and improvement of mid-day meals and the opening of schools all over India, especially in rural areas, to fight illiteracy. The ancient Nalanda University shall be restarted in Bihar.

Security and Home Affairs
Dr. Singh's government has been criticised by opposition parties for revoking POTA and for the many bomb blasts in various cities, like in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Jaipur, etc. and for not being able to reduce the Naxal terrorism that is menacing rural areas in Eastern and Central India. Singh's government has, however, extended the ban on the radical Islamic terror group Student's Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Terrorism in Kashmir has, however, reduced significantly during the Singh administration.

Legislation
The important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the Right to Information Act were passed by the Parliament in 2005 during his tenure. While the effectiveness of the NREGA has been successful at various degrees, in various regions, the RTI act has proved crucial in India's fight against corruption.

Criticism
Some opposition parties have criticized Singh's election as a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, arguing that he was not eligible to become a Member of Parliament from a state where he does not reside.

Manmohan Singh has been criticized by the Leader of Opposition and prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Lal Krishna Advani, for being the "weakest Prime Minister until now". Opposition parties in India, particularly the BJP, allege that Sonia Gandhi, the current Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, enjoys greater say in government affairs than the Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh and government officials have strongly rebuked the charge.

Dr. Singh is also the only Indian Prime Minister to have never won a Lok Sabha election.

On 22 July 2008, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) faced its first confidence vote in the Lok Sabha after the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led Left Front withdrew support from the government over India approaching the IAEA for Indo-US nuclear deal. The President had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prove the majority. The UPA won the trust vote with 275–256, after two days of debate and deliberations. The vote was delayed by one hour due to allegations from the opposition BJP party that certain coalition allies of the government had bribed certain opposition parliamentarians to abstain from the confidence vote.

15th Lok Sabha
India held general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in five phases between 16 April 2009 and 13 May 2009. The results of the election were announced on 16 May 2009. Strong showing in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh helped the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) form the new government under the incumbent Singh, who became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 to win re-election after completing a full five-year term. The Congress and its allies was able to put together a comfortable majority with support from 322 members out of 543 members of the House. The oppossition having accepted defeat admitted that the specific targeting of Singh as "weak PM" was wrong and had benefited Singh instead.This lead to infighting in the BJP and criticism of Mr.Advani by many prominent leaders of the BJP. The tally of 322 seats included those of the UPA and the external support from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other minor parties.

On 22 May 2009, Manmohan Singh was sworn in as the Prime Minister at the Asoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan. As is the norm, earlier, on 18 May 2009, he submitted his resignation as the Prime Minister to President Pratibha Patil.

Personal life
Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. However, the family has largely stayed out of the limelight. Their three daughters - Upinder, Daman and Amrit, have successful, non-political, careers. Upinder Singh is a professor of history at Delhi University. She has written six books, including Ancient Delhi (1999) and A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India (2008). Daman Singh is a graduate of St. Stephen's College, Delhi and Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Gujarat, and author of The Last Frontier: People and Forests in Mizoram and a novel Nine by Nine. Amrit Singh is a staff attorney at the ACLU.

Singh has undergone multiple cardiac bypass surgeries, most recently in January 2009. He resumed his duties on 4 March 2009.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee

 

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born December 25, 1924), is an Indian statesman, who served as the eleventh Prime Minister of India. After a brief stint as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from March 19, 1998 until May 19, 2004. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Lucknow until 2009, and has since retired from active politics.

Education and Personal Life
He earned a masters degree in political science from the Victoria College (now Laxmibai College) and DAV College, Kanpur.He is well-known for being a poet, eminent journalist, and has published a book of poetry. He is a bachelor, and has adopted daughters of Mrs & Mr. B. N. Kaul: Nandita (Nanni) and Namita (Gunu). Nandita is a doctor in US and Namita lives in Delhi. Nandita is married to Ashok Nanda, a software engineer and Namita is married to Ranjan Bhattacharya and has a daughter. He is the first and thus far, only, bachelor Prime Minister of India.

Early Political Career
Vajpayee's first contact with politics occurred in 1942, when he was arrested during the Quit India movement. He soon became a close follower and aide to Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS). Vajpayee was at Mookerjee's side when he went on a fast-unto-death in Kashmir in 1953, to protest what the BJS claimed inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors in Kashmir. Mookerjee's fast and protest ended the identity carrogram, the centerpiece of national security in the Cold War world, especially with neighboring China being a nuclear power. (In 1974, India had become the sixth nuclear power of the world when she conducted an underground nuclear test at Pokhran.) Although he resigned in 1979 when the government politically attacked the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he had established his credentials as an experienced statesman and a respected political leader. During this tenure, he also became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi (in 1977), the "most unforgettable" moment in his life by his own admission.

The rise of the BJP
The Janata government did not last long. Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister, and the Janata party was dissolved soon after. The BJS had devoted political organization to sustain the coalition and was left exhausted by the internecine wars within the Janata Party.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, along with many BJS and RSS colleagues, particularly his long-time and close friends Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980. Vajpayee became its first President. The BJP was a strong critic of the Congress (I) government that followed the Janata rule, and while it opposed the Sikh militancy that was rising in the state of Punjab, it also blamed Indira Gandhi for divisive and corrupt politics that fostered the militancy at national expense. Leader Darasingh opines that Vajpayee thus "brought in Hindu-Sikh harmony."

Although it supported Operation Bluestar, the BJP strongly protested violence against Sikhs in Delhi that broke out in 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by one of her Sikh bodyguards. Vajpayee was known and commended for protecting Sikhs against Congress-followers seeking to avenge the death of their leader. The BJP was left with only two parliamentary seats in the 1984 elections; the party, however, had established itself in the mainstream of Indian politics, and soon began expanding its organization to attract young Indians throughout the country. During this period Vajpayee remained center-stage as party President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, but increasingly hard-line Hindu nationalists began to rise within the party and define its politics.

The BJP became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Movement, which was led by activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the RSS, and was seeking to build a temple dedicated to Lord Rama at the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. Hindu activists believed the site was the birthplace of the Lord, and thus qualified as one of the most sacred sites of Hinduism.

On December 6, 1992, hundreds of VHP and BJP activists broke down an organized protest into a frenzied attack, and brought down the mosque. Over the following weeks, waves of violence between Hindus and Muslims erupted in various parts of the country, killing over 1000 people. The VHP was banned by the government, and many BJP leaders including Lal Krishna Advani were arrested briefly for provoking the destruction. Although widely condemned by many across the country for playing politics with sensitive issues, the BJP won the support of millions of conservative Hindus, as well as national prominence.

With victory in assembly elections of Gujarat and Maharashtra in March 1995, and a good performance in the elections to the Karnataka assembly in December 1994 propelled the BJP to the centerstage. During the BJP session at Mumbai in November 1995, BJP President L.K.Advani declared that Vajpayee would be the Prime Minister of India if the BJP won next parliamentary elections held in May 1996.

Prime Minister of India

First Term: May 1996
Political energy and expansion made BJP the single-largest political party in the Lok Sabha elected in 1996. Asked to form the government, A.B. Vajpayee was sworn in as Prime Minister, but the BJP failed to gather enough support from other parties to form a majority. Vajpayee resigned after just 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner a majority.

Second Term: 1998-1999
After the fall of two governments by the third-front between 1996 and 1998, the Parliament was dissolved and fresh elections were held. These elections again put the BJP at the head. This time, a cohesive bloc of political parties lined up with it to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and A.B. Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister. The NDA proved its majority in parliament. Towards the end of 1998 however, the AIADMK under J. Jayalalitha withdrew its support from the 13-month old government. The government lost the ensuing vote of confidence motion by a single vote. As the Opposition was unable to come up with the numbers to form the new government, the country returned to elections with Vajpayee remaining the "care-taker Prime Minister".

Third Term: 1999-2004
On October 13, 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time. The BJP-led NDA had won 303 seats in the 543 seat Lok Sabha in the aftermath of Kargil operations, thereby securing a comfortable, stable majority. The coalition government that was formed lasted its full term of 5 years – the only non-Congress government to do so.

A national crisis popped up in December 1999, when an Indian Airlines flight (IC 814 from Nepal) was hijacked by Pakistani terrorists and flown to Taliban ruled Afghanistan. The hijackers made several demands including the release certain Kashmiri terrorists like Maulana Masood Azhar, from prison. The government ultimately caved in and Jaswant Singh, the Indian External Affairs minister, flew with the terrorists to Afghanistan and exchanged them for the passengers. No explanation was given by the Indian government for the External Affairs minister personally escorting the terrorists. The crisis also worsened the relationship between India and Pakistan, as the hijacked plane was allowed to re-fuel in Lahore, and all the hijackers, except one, were Pakistanis.

National Highways Development Project, foreign policy and economic reform
Vajpayee oversaw his National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana begin construction, in which he took a personal interest.

Domestically, the BJP led government was under constant pressure from its ideological mentor, the RSS, and the hard-line VHP to enact the Hindutva agenda. But owing to its dependence on coalition support, it was impossible for the BJP to push items like building the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya, repealing Article 370 which gave a special status to the state of Kashmir, or enacting a uniform civil code applicable to adherents of all religions. The BJP was however accused of saffron-ising (saffron is the color of the flag of the RSS, symbol of the Hindu nationalism movement) the official state education curriculum and apparatus. Home Minister L.K. Advani and HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi were indicted in the 1992 Babri Mosque demolition case for inciting the mob of activists. The RSS also routinely criticized the government for free-market policies which introduced foreign goods and competition at the expense of home industries and products.

In March 2001, the Tehelka group released incriminating videos of the BJP President Bangaru Laxman, senior army officers and NDA members accepting bribes from journalists posing as agents and businessmen. While the scandals were not linked to Vajpayee personally, the Defence Minister George Fernandes was forced to resign following this Barak Missile Deal Scandal, another scandal involving the botched supplies of coffins for the soldiers killed in Kargil, and the finding of an inquiry commission that the Government could have prevented the Kargil invasion. These developments as well as an ambiguous response of the economy to the reforms, reduced the Vajpayee administration's popularity and undermined its future.

Vajpayee again broke the ice in the Indo-Pak relations by inviting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to Delhi and Agra for a joint summit and peace talks. His second-major attempt to move beyond the stalemate tensions involved inviting the man who had planned the Kargil invasions, but accepting him as the President of Pakistan, Vajpayee chose to move forward. But after three days of much fanfare, which included Musharraf visiting his birthplace in Delhi, the summit failed to achieve a breakthrough as President Musharraf declined to leave aside the issue of Kashmir.

Attack on Parliament
On December 13, 2001, a group of masked, armed men with fake IDs stormed the Parliament building in Delhi. The terrorists managed to kill several security guards, but the building was sealed off swiftly and security forces cornered and killed the men, who were later proven to be Pakistan nationals. Coming just three months after the September 11 attacks upon the United States, this fresh escalation instantly enraged the nation. Although the Government of Pakistan officially condemned the attack, Indian intelligence reports pointed the finger at a conspiracy rooted in Pakistan. Prime Minister Vajpayee ordered a mobilization of India's military forces, and as many as 500,000 servicemen amassed along the international boundary bordering Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kashmir. Pakistan responded with the same. Vicious terrorist attacks and an aggressive anti-terrorist campaign froze day-to-day life in Kashmir, and foreigners flocked out of both India and Pakistan, fearing a possible war and nuclear exchange. For as long as two years, both nations remained perilously close to a terrible war.

The Vajpayee administrations passed the Prevention of Terrorist Act against vigorous opposition of non-NDA parties. Human rights groups have condemned the act which gives wide authority to the government to crack down and hold anybody. Its repeal was advocated by human rights organisations.

But the biggest political disaster hit between December 2001 and March 2002: the VHP held the Government hostage in a major standoff in Ayodhya over the Ram temple. At the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the Babri mosque, the VHP wanted to perform a sheela daan, or a ceremony laying the foundation stone of the cherished temple at the disputed site. Tens of thousands of VHP activists amassed and threatened to overrun the site and forcibly build the temple. A grave threat of not only communal violence, but an outright breakdown of law and order owing to the defiance of the government by a religious organization hung over the nation.

Post 2004 elections
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was widely expected to retain power after the 2004 general election. The parliament had been dissolved before the completion of term in order to capitalize on the perceived 'feel-good factor' and BJP's recent successes in Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The BJP hoped to capitalise on the slogan "India Shining" and released many ads touting the economic growth of the nation.

However, the coalition sidestepped controversial and ideological questions in favour of bread-and-butter economic issues during the campaign and subsequently lost almost half its seats, with several prominent cabinet ministers being defeated. The Indian National Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi became the single largest party and, along with many minor parties, formed the United Progressive Alliance. With the conditional support of the leftist parties from the outside, the UPA formed a government under Dr Manmohan Singh.

Vajpayee attended the swearing-in ceremony of the new government despite his party's decision to boycott it. Vajpayee was criticized for sacrificing core issues like Hindutva and the Ram Temple inorder to please Muslim voters (the BJP lost the Muslim vote by a heavy margin). Vajpayee expressed his anger and frustration at being blamed and at a high-level party meeting, he decided to give up the position of the Leader of the Opposition to Lal Krishna Advani. However, he retained his post as Chairman of the NDA.

In December 2005, Vajpayee announced his retirement from active politics, declaring that he would not participate in the next general election. At a rally in the western city of Mumbai, Vajpayee said "I will not participate in any electoral politics. There are many other leaders to take forward the work which I and other senior leaders have been doing. In a now famous statement at the BJP's silver Jubilee rally at Mumbai's historic Shivaji Park, Vajpayee announced that "from now onwards, Lal Krishna Advani and Pramod Mahajan will be the Ram-Laxman (the two godly brothers much revered and worshipped by Hindus) of the BJP."

Vajpayee was hospitalized at AIIMS for chest infection and fever and on February 6, 2009 he was put on ventilator as his conditioned worsened. It may be noted that at 84, he does not have diabetes or high blood pressure and he is on one kidney for the past 25 years.Vajpayee underwent several knee replacement surgeries during the 90's. Unable to participate in the campaign for the 2009 general election due to his health, he wrote a letter urging voters in his Lucknow constituency to back BJP candidate Lalji Tandon. Finally Lalji Tandon was able to retain the Lucknow seat of Vajpayee even though NDA suffered electoral reverses in that state by just managing to win 15 of the total 80 seats. The tall apolitical image of Vajpayee was said to be the main reason behind Lalji's success in Lucknow even though BJP's position was poor in Uttar Pradesh.


Inder Kumar Gujral

 

Inder Kumar Gujral (born 4 December 1919) served as the 13th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.

Born in the town of Jhelum in Western Punjab, now in Pakistan, he actively took part in India's freedom struggle, and was jailed in 1942 during the 'Quit India Movement'. He belongs to a famous Khatri (merchant caste) family of Gujral clan.

Son of Late Shri Avtar Narain Gujral and Late Smt. Pushpa Gujral, Shri Gujral is M.A., B.Com. Ph.D. & D.Litt. (Hons. Causa). He was born at Jhelum (in undivided Punjab) on 4 December 1919. He and Smt. Shiela Gujral were married on May 26, 1945.

Shri Gujral belongs to a family of freedom fighters: both his parents participated in the freedom struggle in Punjab. At the young age of eleven, he himself actively participated in the freedom struggle in 1931 and was arrested and severely beaten by the police for organising movement of young children in the Jhelum town. In 1942, he was jailed during the Quit India Movement.

Minister in Indira Gandhi government
In the tumultuous days of June 1975, he was minister of Information and Broadcasting. On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad high court gave a verdict that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used unfair means in elections of 1971 and termed her election null and void.

Later, Gujral was appointed Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union as the Indian envoy to Moscow.

In Janata Dal
Gujral left the Congress Party in the mid-1980s and joined the Janata Dal. The Dal was a third-party with mainly socialist leanings and regional bases. In the 1989 elections, Gujral was elected from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in the V. P. Singh cabinet. In 1989 V. P. Singh sent him to Srinagar to seal the deal with the kidnappers in the case of the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed. The largest issue he had to deal with in this cabinet role was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to the first Gulf War of January 1991. As India's representative, he personally met with Iraq's Saddam Hussein. His hug with Hussein during the meeting remains a matter of controversy. In the 1991 mid-term parliamentary elections, Gujral contested from Patna constituency in Bihar against Janata Dal (S) candidate and then-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. However, the election was countermanded following complaints of large-scale irregularities.

In 1992, Gujral was elected to Rajya Sabha and remained a key Janata Dal leader.

After 1996 elections, when the United Front government was formed at the center under the leadership of H. D. Deve Gowda, he was again named Minister of External Affairs. During this second tenure, he propounded his 'Gujral Doctrine', which called for better relations with neighbours.

Before becoming the Prime Minister of India in April 1997, he served the country as Union Minister or Minister of State holding different portfolios in the Ministries of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information & Broadcasting, Works & Housing, Planning and Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister
The Congress party was supporting the United Front government from outside, but decided to withdraw support, which led to the collapse of the government in April 1997. In order to avoid elections, a compromise was reached. The Congress party agreed to support another United Front government under new leader, provided its concerns—such as not being consulted before taking important decisions and being marginalized—were addressed. The United Front elected Gujral as new leader and he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 April 1997.

Gujral inherited the bitterness between the Congress Party and the United Front from his predecessor, H.D. Deve Gowda. However he maintained good relations with the Congress Party, which supported his government from outside. Within a few weeks in office, Gujral faced trouble, not from the Congress party but within his own Janata Dal. The Central Bank of India asked for the permission from the governor of Bihar A. R. Kidwai to prosecute the state chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a corruption case related to the purchase of fodder for the cattle (see Fodder Scam). The state governor granted the permission for the prosecution of the chief minister and demand for the resignation of Yadav was raised both from within and out of the United Front. However, Yadav sternly rejected the demand. Prime Minister Gujral just exhorted Yadav to step down without actually taking any action against his government. When Gujral transferred the CBI director Joginder Singh, who was investigating the case against Yadav, many people considered this as an attempt on the part of Prime Minister to protect Yadav. When Yadav felt that he no longer enjoyed a commanding position in Janata Dal, he left the party and formed his own 'Rashtriya Janata Dal' (RJD) on 3 July 1997. Out of 45 Janata Dal members of parliament, 17 left the party and supported Yadav. However, the new party continued in the United Front and Gujral's government was saved from immediate danger.

Prime Minister Gujral continued in the office for over 11 months, including 3 months as caretaker Prime Minister. During this time, he attempted to improve relations with Pakistan.

One of the most controversial decisions of his government was recommendation of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh, following unruly scenes in the state assembly on 21 October 1997. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Kalyan Singh sought vote of confidence when the violence and unruly scenes took place in the assembly. However President K.R. Narayanan refused to sign the recommendation and sent it back to the government for reconsideration. The Allahabad high Court also gave a decision against President's rule in Uttar Pradesh.

In early November 1997, parts of interim report of Jain Commission inquiring into the conspiracy aspects of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case were leaked to the press. Reportedly, the Jain Commission had indicted the political party, Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), for tacitly supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was responsible for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. The DMK was part of the ruling coalition at the center and the Union Cabinet had ministers belonging to the DMK. The Congress Party first demanded the tabling of the report on the floor of the parliament. The report was tabled on 19 November 1997. When it was confirmed that the Jain Commission had in fact held the DMK responsible for supporting the LTTE, the Congress party demanded that the ministers belonging to the DMK be dropped. There was exchange of letters between Congress President Sitaram Kesri and Prime Minister Gujral. However, Gujral refused to budge. In a public function in Calcutta on 23 November 1997, he gave a hint of what was to follow saying 'mid-term elections are around the corner'. The Congress Party finally withdrew support from his government on 28 November 1997. Gujral resigned following this withdrawal. As no alternative government could be formed, the only alternative was mid-term elections, as Gujral had foreseen.

The elections were held in February-March 1998. Gujral contested again from Jalandhar constituency in Punjab with the support of Akali Dal. The Akali Dal, though a part of BJP-led coalition, opted to support Gujral because during his Prime Ministerial tenure, Gujral declared that the central government will share the expenses on stamping out terrorism in Punjab during 1980s and early 1990s, along with the state government of Punjab. That eased the strain on economy of Punjab to a great extent and the Akali Dal decided to support Gujral. Gujral defeated Umrao Singh of the Congress Party by over 131,000 votes.

In the 12th Lok Sabha, Gujral actively opposed the BJP-led coalition government. In a debate in Lok Sabha on 29 May 1998, he pointed out some of the drawbacks of the government in handling of the nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran. He also opposed the government's decision to impose President's rule in Bihar. However Gujral actively supported Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to Lahore in February 1999 and signing of Lahore Declaration with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. On 19 April 1999, when the BJP-led government sought vote of confidence on the floor of the Lok Sabha after the withdrawal of support by AIADMK, Gujral opposed the government.

Gujral Doctrine
The Gujral Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours as spelt out by Gujral, first as India’s External Affairs Minister and later as the Prime Minister. Among other factors, these five principles arise from the belief that India’s stature and strength cannot be divorced from the quality of its relations with its neighbours. It, thus, recognises the supreme importance of friendly, cordial relations with neighbours. These principles are:

  • With neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity, but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust.
  • No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region.
  • No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another.
  • All South Asian countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

According to Gujral, these five principles, scrupulously adhered to, would achieve a fundamental recasting of South Asia’s regional relationships, including the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan. Further, the implementation of these principles would generate a climate of close and mutually benign cooperation in the region, where the weight and size of India is regarded positively and as an asset by these countries.

It has come out in India Today, an Indian news magazine, that I K Gujral, during his tenure as PM, as part of his doctrine, wound up the Research and Analysis Wing's (R&AW) - India's external intelligence agency - covert operations in Pakistan. Acting in the belief of earning the 'goodwill' of Pakistan, he shut down R&AW's covert activities, and gave details of R&AW's assets in Pakistan, which were painstakingly built over many years. It has been alleged that this led to physical elimination of R&AW's human assets through extrajudicial means by Pakistan's intelligence agencies. This has been severely criticized in the light of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and signifies the final futility of his doctrine - belief in the 'inherent goodwill' of openly hostile neighbours. This is his defining legacy. Manmohan Singh also followed the same lines and signed a controversial pact with Pakistan in Egypt.

Aftermath
Gujral did not contest the 1999 elections and retired from active politics. In 2004, his son Naresh Gujral unsuccessfully contested with an Shiromani Akali Dal seat from Jalandhar, Punjab constituency in the Indian General Elections.

Personal life
Gujral speaks fluent Urdu, and spends part of his leisure time writing Urdu couplets. His brother Satish Gujral is a prominent painter and architect. Gujral and his wife Shiela Gujral, a poet and the author of several books have two sons; Naresh & and Vishal Gujral. He has two granddaughters; Deeksha and Diva Gujral and a grandson; Anichya Gujral.

He is a member of the Club of Madrid.


H. D. Deve Gowda

 

Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda (born 18 May 1933) was the 14th Prime Minister of the Republic of India (1996–1997) and the 14th chief minister of the state of Karnataka (1994–1996).

Born into a farming family, he won his first seat in the Karnataka state assembly in 1962, rising to become Karnataka's chief minister. In the late 1970s Deve Gowda rose in the Janata Party and was an important figure in reuniting its successor, the Janata Dal party, after the original group splintered in 1980. Deve Gowda was instrumental in attracting to the party divergent castes. When the Congress party was defeated in the 1996 general elections and Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao resigned, Deve Gowda became prime minister of the United Front coalition government after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to form a government.

Biography
Deve Gowda was born in 1933 in Haradanahalli village of Holenarasipura taluk, Hassan District in Karnataka.

A Civil Engineering diploma holder, he plunged into politics at an early age when he joined the Indian National Congress Party in 1953 and remained a member till 1962. He was the President of Anjaneya Co-operative Society and later as a member of Taluk Development Board, Holenarasipura.

Jaswant Singh is also the most influential person in the BJP not from a RSS background.

In 1962, Deve Gowda contested from Holenarasipur constituency as an independent candidate for Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections and became a MLA. Later he was elected from the same constituency for three more consecutive terms: the fourth (1967-71), the fifth (1972-77), and the sixth (1978-83) Assemblies.

Later he resigned his membership of the sixth Assembly on 22 November 1982. As a member of the seventh and the eighth Assemblies, he served as the Minister of Public Works and Irrigation. He resigned from the Cabinet in 1987 in protest against insufficient allocation of funds for irrigation.

He became the President of Janata Party twice at state level and president of the state Janata Dal in 1994. He was elected the leader of the Janata Dal Legislative Party and on 11 December 1994 he assumed office as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka. He then contested as a candidate from Ramanagar constituency and won by a thumping majority.

His leadership of the Third Front (a group of regional parties and Non-Congress and Non-BJP combine) led to his Prime Minister's job. Deve Gowda resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 30 May 1996 to be sworn in as the 11th Prime Minister of India.

He is the president of the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) political party in India and currently a member of Parliament (MP) representing his home town Hassan district in Karnataka. The JD-S had formed a coalition with the Congress party government led by Dharam Singh. There are allegations of nepotism owing to his two children H.D. Revanna and H.D. Kumaraswamy being powerful in this government. Revanna had served as a minister in that government.

In January 2006, H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of Deve Gowda took support of around 40 JD(S) MLAs and the BJP to bring down the Dharam Singh led coalition government. This prompted Devegowda to resign from his post as party president owing moral responsibilities for failing to save the Dharam Singh government.

However, in February 2006, he withdrew his resignation and suspended 40 JD(S) MLAs of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, including his son and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, from the primary membership of the party. It was speculated that the entire political fiasco was orchestrated by Deve Gowda to elevate his son to the political summit. Recently, Mr. Gowda has openly supported his son's move to align with the BJP, provided it stuck to a common development agenda. He has also suggested that he would be willing to coordinate the BJP-led alliance on a national level, going against his previous adamant stance against dealing with the BJP. The stance led a split in his party, the Janata Dal.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee

 

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born December 25, 1924), is an Indian statesman, who served as the eleventh Prime Minister of India. After a brief stint as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from March 19, 1998 until May 19, 2004. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Lucknow until 2009, and has since retired from active politics.


P. V. Narasimha Rao

 

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004), who was commonly known as P. V. Narasimha Rao, served as the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He led one of the most important administrations in India's modern history, overseeing a major economic transformation and several incidents affecting national security. Rao accelerated the dismantling of the license raj. Rao, also called the "Father of Indian Economic Reforms," is best remembered for launching India's free market reforms that rescued the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse. He was also commonly referred to as the Chanakya of modern India for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.

Rao's term as Prime Minister was an eventful one in India's history. Besides marking a paradigm shift from the industrializing, mixed economic model of Jawaharlal Nehru to a market driven one, his years as Prime Minister also saw the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a major right-wing party, as an alternative to the Indian National Congress which had been governing India for most of its post-independence history. Rao's term also saw the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya which triggered one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the country since its independence.

Rao's later life was marked by political isolation due to his association with corruption charges. Rao was acquitted on all charges prior to his death in 2004 of a heart attack in New Delhi. He was cremated in Hyderabad.

Early Life
PV's father was P. V. Ranga Rao. He belonged to a wealthy Telugu Brahmin family from a village called Vangara, Bheemadevarpalle sub-district in the Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Narasimha Rao was popularly known as PV. He studied at Fergusson College and at the Universities of Mumbai and Nagpur where he obtained Bachelor's and Master's degrees in law. He could speak 17 languages including Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Oriya with a fluency akin to a native speaker. His mother tongue was Telugu. In addition to eight Indian languages, he spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian. Along with his cousin Pamulaparthi Sadasiva Rao, PV edited a Telugu weekly magazine called Kakatiya Patrika from 1948 to 1955.

Narasimha Rao has three sons and five daughters. His eldest son P. V. Rangarao was an education minister in Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy cabinet and MLA from HanmaKonda Assembly Constituency for two terms. His second son P. V. Rajeshwar Rao was a Member of Parliament from Secunderabad Lok Sabha Constituency.

Political Career
Narasimha Rao was an active freedom fighter during the Indian Independence movement and joined full time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. Narasimha Rao served brief stints in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet (1962–1971) and as Chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh (1971–1973).

When the Indian National Congress split in 1969 Rao stayed on the side of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and remained loyal to her during the Emergency period (1975 - 77). He rose to national prominence in 1972 for handling several diverse portfolios, most significantly Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs (1980-1984), in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. In fact it is speculated that he was in the running for the post of India's President along with Zail Singh in 1982.

Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that made him make a comeback. As the Congress had won the largest number of seats in the 1991 elections, he got the opportunity to head the minority government as Prime Minister. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years, the first to hail from South India and also the first from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Since Rao had not contested the general elections, he then participated in a by-election in Nandyal to join the parliament. N.T.Rama Rao (then leader of the Chief Opposition party of Telugu Desam) did not want to put a contestant against Rao, because he was the First Prime Minister of India from Andhra Pradesh, and NTR did not want to create an obstacle on his path. By that, Rao won from Nandyal with a victory margin of a record 5 lakh (500,000) votes and his win was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records. His cabinet included Sharad Pawar, himself a strong contender for the Prime Minister's post, as defence minister. He also broke convention by appointing a non-political economist and future prime minister, Manmohan Singh as his finance minister.

Economic Reforms
Rao's major achievement generally considered to be the liberalization of the Indian economy. The reforms were adopted to avert impending international default in 1991. The reforms progressed furthest in the areas of opening up to foreign investment, reforming capital markets, deregulating domestic business, and reforming the trade regime. Rao's government's goals were reducing the fiscal deficit, Privatization of the public sector, and increasing investment in infrastructure. Trade reforms and changes in the regulation of foreign direct investment were introduced to open India to foreign trade while stabilizing external loans. Rao's finance minister, Manmohan Singh, an acclaimed economist, played a central role in implementing these reforms.

National security, foreign policy and crisis management
Rao energized the national nuclear security and ballistic missiles program, which ultimately resulted in the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests. It is speculated that the tests were actually planned in 1995, during Rao's term in office, and that they were dropped under American pressure when the US intelligence got the whiff of it. Another view was that he purposefully leaked the information to gain time to develop and test thermonuclear device which was not yet ready. He increased military spending, and set the Indian Army on course to fight the emerging threat of terrorism and insurgencies, as well as Pakistan and China's nuclear potentials. It was during his term that terrorism in the Indian state of Punjab was finally defeated. Also scenarios of plane hijackings, which occurred during Rao's time ended without the government conceding the terrorists' demands. He also directed negotiations to secure the release of Doraiswamy, an Indian Oil executive, from Kashmiri terrorists who kidnapped him, and Liviu Radu, a Romanian diplomat posted in New Delhi in October 1991, who was kidnapped by Sikh terrorists. Rao also handled the Indian response to the occupation of the Hazratbal holy shrine in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists in October 1993. He brought the occupation to an end without damage to the shrine. Similarly, he dealt with the kidnapping of some foreign tourists by a terrorist group called Al Faran in Kashmir in 1995 effectively. Although he could not secure the release of the hostages, his policies ensured that the terrorists demands were not conceded to, and that the action of the terrorists was condemned internationally, including by Pakistan.

Rao also made diplomatic overtures to Western Europe, the United States, and China. He decided in 1992 to bring into the open India's relations with Israel, which had been kept covertly active since they were first established by Indira Gandhi in 1969, and permitted Israel to open an embassy in New Delhi. He ordered the intelligence community in 1992 to start a systematic drive to draw the international community's attention to alleged Pakistan's sponsorship of terrorism against India and not to be discouraged by US efforts to undermine the exercise. Rao launched the Look East foreign policy, which brought India closer to ASEAN. He decided to maintain a distance from the Dalai Lama in order to avoid aggravating Beijing's suspicions and concerns, and made successful overtures to Tehran. The 'cultivate Iran' policy was pushed through vigorously by him. These policies paid rich dividends for India in March 1994, when Benazir Bhutto's efforts to have a resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir failed, with opposition by China and Iran.

Rao's crisis management after the March 12, 1993 Bombay bombings was highly praised. He personally visited Bombay after the blasts and after seeing evidence of Pakistani involvement in the blasts, ordered the intelligence community to invite the intelligence agencies of the US, UK and other West European countries to send their counter-terrorism experts to Bombay to examine the facts for themselves.

Babri Mosque riots and the Latur earthquake
Members of the VHP demolished the Babri Mosque (which was constructed by India's first Mughal emperor, Babar) in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. The site is believed by Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama and is believed by the Hindu Community to be a place of a Hindu temple created in the early 16th century. The destruction of the disputed structure, which was widely reported in the international media, unleashed large scale communal violence, the most extensive since the Partition of India. Hindus were indulged in massive rioting across the country, and almost every major city including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bhopal struggled to control the Unrest. A strong earthquake in Latur, Maharashtra, also killed 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in 1993. Rao was applauded by many for using modern technology and resources to organize major relief operations to assuage the stricken people, and for schemes of economic reconstruction.

Corruption scandals
The most negative aspects, though none of them turned out to be true, of Rao's legacy were his direct and indirect associations with various corruption charges. These charges were, for the most part, viewed as fuelled by those in his party who were opposed to his return as a major player again. Some of the more prominent examples were:

In July 1993, Rao's government was facing a no-confidence motion, because the opposition felt that it did not have sufficient numbers to prove a majority. It was alleged that Rao, through a representative, offered millions of rupees to members of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), and possibly a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal, to vote for him during the confidence motion. Shailendra Mahato, one of those members who had accepted the bribe, turned approver. In 1996, after Rao's term in office had expired, investigations began in earnest in the case.

In 2000, after years of legal proceedings, a special court convicted Rao and his colleague, Buta Singh (who is alleged to have escorted the MPs to the Prime Minister). Rao appealed to a higher court and remained free on bail. The decision was overturned mainly due to the doubt in credibility of Mahato's statements (which were extremely inconsistent) and both Rao and Buta Singh were cleared of the charges in 2002.

Rao, along with fellow minister K.K. Tewary, Chandraswami and K.N. Aggarwal were accused of forging documents showing that Ajeya Singh had opened a bank account in the First Trust Corporation Bank in St. Kitts and deposited $21 million in it, making his father V.P. Singh its beneficiary. The alleged intent was to tarnish V.P. Singh's image. This supposedly happened in 1989. However only after Rao's term as PM had expired in 1996, was he formally charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation for the crime. Less than a year later the court acquitted him due to lack of evidence linking him with the case. All other accused, Chandraswami being the last, were also eventually acquitted.

Lakhubhai Pathak, an Indian businessman living in England alleged that Chandraswami and K.N. Aggarwal alias Mamaji, along with Mr. Rao, cheated him out of $100,000. The amount was given for an express promise for allowing supplies of paper pulp in India, and Pathak alleged that he spent an additional $30,000 entertaining Chandraswami and his secretary. Rao and Chandraswami were acquitted of the charges in 2003, due to lack of evidence. Despite this, it remained a large black mark on Rao's administration.

Later Life
In the 1996 general elections Rao's Congress Party was badly defeated and he had to step down as Prime Minister. He retained the leadership of the Congress party until late 1996 after which he was replaced by Sitaram Kesri. According to Congress insiders who spoke with the media, Rao had kept an authoritarian stance on both the party and his government, which led to the departure of numerous prominent and ambitious Congress leaders during his reign. Some of them were: Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Arjun Singh, Madhavrao Scindia, Mamata Banerjee, G.K. Moopanar and P.Chidambaram.

Rao rarely spoke of his personal views and opinions during his 5-year tenure. After his retirement from national politics Rao published a novel called The Insider (ISBN 0-670-87850-2). The book, which follows a man’s rise through the ranks of Indian politics, resembled events from Rao’s own life. (See Gonzo journalism.) Rao, however denied any connection.

Rao suffered a heart attack on 9 December 2004, and was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he died 14 days later at the age of 83.

Controversy after death
For one thing, the Gandhi dynasty’s penchant to bury non-dynasty leaders as immaterial has kept PVN in the forgotten category. His body was refused entry into the AICC headquarters, and they turned down the family’s request for a site to bury him in the capital.

He was cremated with full state honours in Hyderabad, after the then Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y.S.Rajashekhar Reddy intervened. His body was kept in state at the Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad. His funeral was attended by the incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president L.K. Advani, the Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and many other dignitaries.


Chandra Shekhar

 

Chandra Shekhar Singh (July 1, 1927 - July 8, 2007) was the 9th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.

Early years
He was born on July 1, 1927 to a farming family in Ibrahimpatti - Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Chandra Shekar did his Master of Arts (MA) at Allahabad University. He was known as a firebrand in student politics. After graduation, he became active in socialist politics.

Political life
He came under the spell of Acharya Narendra Dev, a fiery Socialist leader in the beginning of his political career. From 1962 to 1967, Shekhar belonged to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper house of the Parliament of India. He had a nationwide padayatra in 1984 to know the country better, which he claimed gave the jitters to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. He was called a "Young Turk".

After his predecessor, V.P. Singh, resigned, he led a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal, known as the Samajwadi Janata Party. The Indian National Congress decided to extend outside support to his government to avoid snap elections, and Shekhar held a bare majority in a coalition with both the Communist parties and the BJP. The relationship crumbled quickly, as the Congress party accused him of spying on Rajiv Gandhi, their leader at that time. The Congress Party then boycotted Parliament and as Shekhar's faction only had about 60 MPs, he resigned in a nationally televised address on March 6, 1991. He remained in office until national elections could be held later that year.

Shekhar was known for abiding by the parliamentary conventions and was honoured with the inaugural Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1995.

Chandra Shekhar was a member of the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament. He led Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya), (Socialist People's Party (National)). Starting in 1977, he won election to the Lok Sabha eight times from Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The only election that he lost was in 1984 against Mr. Jagganath Chaudhary of Congress(I).

Shekhar suffered from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the plasma cell. On May 3, 2007, he was hospitalised in critical condition after his condition had deteriorated. Shekhar died at the age of 80 in New Delhi on July 8, 2007. He was survived by two sons. One of them, Neeraj Shekhar contested and won the Ballia Lok Sabha which was vacated through his father's death.


V. P. Singh

 

Vishwanath Pratap Singh (25 June 1931(1931-06-25) - 27 November 2008) was the 8th Prime Minister of the Republic of India and the 41st Raja Bahadur of Manda.

Early Life
He was born in the Rathore Royal Family of Manda to Raja Bhagwati Prasad Singh of Daiya and was later adopted by Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh of Manda in 1936, whom he succeeded in 1941. V. P. Singh studied at Colonel Brown School, Dehradun for five years, and entered local politics in Allahabad during the Nehru era. He married 25 June 1955, Rani Sita Kumari, born 1936 in Deogarh, Udaipur, daughter of Rawat Sanngram Singh II of Deogarh. He soon made a name for himself in the state Congress Party for his unfailing rectitude, a reputation that he would carry with him throughout his career.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
He was appointed by Indira Gandhi as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1980, when the Congress came back to power after the Janata Party interregnum. As Chief Minister, he cracked down hard on the dacoity, or banditry, problem, that was particularly severe in the rural districts of the south-west. He received much favourable national publicity when he offered to resign following a self-professed failure to stamp out the problem, and again when he personally oversaw the surrender of some of the most feared dacoits of the area in 1983.

Cabinet Minister for Finance and Defence
Called to the Centre following Rajiv Gandhi's massive mandate in the 1984 General elections, he was appointed to the pivotal post of Finance Minister, where he oversaw the gradual relaxation of the license Raj as Rajiv had in mind. During his term as Finance Minister, he oversaw the reduction of gold smuggling by reducing gold taxes and the excellent tactic of giving the police a portion of the smuggled gold that they found. He also gave extraordinary powers to the Enforcement Directorate of the Finance Ministry, the wing of the ministry charged with tracking down tax evaders, then headed by Bhure Lal. Following a number of high-profile raids on suspected evaders - including Dhirubhai Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan - Rajiv was forced to sack him as Finance Minister, possibly because many of the raids were conducted on industrialists who had supported the Congress financially in the past. However, Singh's popularity was at such a pitch that only a sideways move seemed to have been possible, to the Defence Ministry.

Once ensconced in North Block, Singh began to investigate the notoriously murky world of defence procurement. After a while, word began to spread that Singh possessed information about the Bofors defence deal that could damage the Prime Minister's reputation. Before he could act on it, he was dismissed from the Cabinet and, in response, resigned his memberships in the Congress Party and the Lok Sabha.

In Opposition

Janata Dal
Together with associates Arun Nehru and Arif Mohammad Khan, Singh floated an opposition party named the Jan Morcha. He was re-elected to Lok Sabha in a tightly contested by-election from Allahabad, defeating Sunil Shastri. On 11 October 1988, the birthday of the original Janata coalition's spiritual leader Jayaprakash Narayan, the Janata Dal was formed by merger of Jan Morcha, Janata Party, Lok Dal and Congress (S), in order to bring together all the centrist parties opposed to the Rajiv Gandhi government, and V. P. Singh was elected the President of the Janata Dal. A federation of the Janata Dal with various regional parties including the DMK, TDP, and AGP, came into being, called the National Front (India), with V. P. Singh as convener and N. T. Rama Rao as President.

General Elections of 1989
The National Front fought the elections in 1989 after coming to an electoral understanding with the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Left Front that served to unify the anti-Congress vote. The National Front, with its allies, earned a simple majority in the Lok Sabha and decided to form a government. The Communists and the BJP declined to serve in the government, preferring to support it from outside.

Election as Prime Minister
In a dramatic meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament on 1 December, V. P. Singh proposed the name of Devi Lal as Prime Minister, in spite of the fact that he himself had been clearly projected by the anti-Congress forces as the 'clean' alternative to Rajiv and their Prime Ministerial candidate. Devi Lal, a Jat leader from Haryana stood up and refused the nomination, and said that he would prefer to be an 'elder uncle' to the Government, and that Singh should be PM. This last part came as a clear surprise to Chandra Shekhar, the former head of the erstwhile Janata Party, and Singh's greatest rival within the Janata Dal. Shekhar, who had clearly expected that an agreement had been forged with Lal as the consensus candidate, stormed out of the meeting and refused to serve in the Cabinet.

Singh held office for slightly less than a year, from 2 December 1989 to 10 November 1990.

Prime Minister

Punjab, Kashmir and Pakistan
He faced his first crisis within few days of taking office: terrorists kidnapped the daughter of his Home Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir). His government agreed to the demand for releasing militants in exchange; partly to end the storm of criticism that followed, he shortly thereafter appointed Jagmohan, a controversial former bureaucrat, as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, on the insistence of the BJP who were concerned that an insufficiently hard line was being taken with the separatist elements in the state. Jagmohan subsequently inflamed opinion in the Valley when he ordered troops to fire on the funeral procession of the unofficial head of Kashmiri Islam, the Mirwaiz. In contrast, in Punjab, Singh replaced the hardline Siddhartha Shankar Ray as Governor with another former bureaucrat, Nirmal Kumar Mukarji, who moved forward on a timetable for fresh elections. Singh himself made a much-publicised visit to the Golden Temple to ask forgiveness for Operation Bluestar and the combination of events caused the long rebellion in Punjab to die down markedly in a few months. V. P. Singh also withdrew the IPKF from Sri Lanka and thwarted the efforts of Pakistan under Benazir Bhuto to start a border war.

Reservation for Backward Classes
Singh himself wished to move forward nationally on social justice-related issues, which would in addition consolidate the caste coalition that supported the Janata Dal in North India, and accordingly decided to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission which suggested that a fixed quota of all jobs in the public sector be reserved for members of the historically disadvantaged so-called Other Backward Classes. (Generally abbreviated OBCs, these were Hindu castes, and certain non-Hindu caste-like communities, which, though not untouchable, had been socially and educationally backward). This decision led to widespread protests among the youth in urban areas in North India.

Tussle with Dhirubhai Ambani
In 1990, the government-owned financial institutions like the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the General Insurance Corporation stonewalled attempts by the Reliance group to acquire managerial control over Larsen & Toubro. Sensing defeat, the Ambanis resigned from the board of the company. Dhirubhai, who had become L&T's chairman in April 1989, had to quit his post to make way for D. N. Ghosh, former chairman of the State Bank of India.

Babri Masjid
Meanwhile the BJP was moving its own agenda forward: in particular, the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation, which served as a rallying cry for several radical Hindu organisations, took on new life. The party president, Lal Krishna Advani, toured the northern states on a rath - a bus converted to look like a mythical chariot - with the intention of drumming up support. Before he could complete the tour by reaching the disputed site in Ayodhya, he was arrested on Singh's orders on the charges of disturbing the peace and fomenting communal tension. The kar-seva (demolition of the mosque and construction of the temple) proposed by Advani on 30 October 1990 was prevented by stationing troops at the site. This led to the BJP's suspension of support to the National Front government. V. P. Singh faced the vote of confidence saying that he occupied the high moral ground, as he stood for secularism, had saved the Babri Masjid at the cost of power and had upheld the fundamental principles which were challenged during the crises; `What kind of India do you want?', he asked of his opponents of various shades in Parliament before losing the vote 142-346; only the portion of the National Front remaining loyal to him (see below) and the Left front supported him in the vote.

Chandra Shekhar
Chandra Shekhar immediately seized the moment and left the Janata Dal with several of his own supporters to form the Samajwadi Janata Party or the Socialist People's Party. Although he had a mere 64 MPs, Rajiv Gandhi, the leader of the Opposition, agreed to support him on the floor of the House; so he won a confidence motion and was sworn in as Prime Minister. He lasted only a few months before Gandhi withdrew support and fresh elections were called. He tried his best to get support till the last minute but failed.

Aftermath
Singh contested the new elections but his party was relegated to the opposition chiefly due to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi during the election campaign, and he later retired from active politics. He spent the next few years touring the country speaking about matters related to issues of social justice and his artistic pursuits, chiefly painting. In the H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral governments of the late 1990s, Singh acted as a sort of elder statesman and adviser for the successors to the National Front coalition. In 1992, Singh was the first to propose the name of the future President K. R. Narayanan as a (eventually successful) candidate for Vice President. Later the same year in December, he led his followers to Ayodhya to oppose the Kar seva proposed by L. K. Advani, and was arrested before he could reach the site; the Masjid was demolished by the kar sevaks a few days later. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and ceased his public appearances.

Jan Morcha relaunch
When his cancer went into remission in 2003, he once again became a visible figure, especially in the many groupings that had inherited the space once occupied by his Janata Dal. Ironically, his caste-based social justice policies had caused the rise of parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party that were formed around caste identities; his own notion of populist socialism was thus squeezed out of the electoral marketplace. To remedy this, he relaunched the Jan Morcha in 2006 with Raj Babbar as President, and began the slow process of aggregation of smaller parties in the North with a view to contesting the 2007 Uttar Pradesh elections.

Agitation at Dadri
Singh was placed under arrest in Ghaziabad as he and his supporters were proceeding towards a hauling where prohibitory orders under Section 144 had been imposed to join the farmers agitating against the acquisition of land at Dadri by the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Industries and demanding adequate compensation. Later, Singh and CPI General Secretary A. B. Bardhan were again arrested on the U. P. border when they were proceeding to Dadri. However, Singh and Babbar were later able to evade the police, reaching Dadri on 18 August 2006, and ploughing the land in solidarity with the farmers.

Death V. P. Singh died after a long struggle with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) and renal failure at Apollo Hospital in Delhi on 27 November 2008. He was cremated at Allahabad on the banks of the River Ganga on 29 November 2008, his son Ajeya Singh lighting the funeral pyre.

After the party drew a blank in the 2007 UP elections, Raj Babbar joined the Congress, and Singh's elder son Ajeya Pratap Singh took over the reins of the party in anticipation of the 2009 General elections. In March 2009 Ajeya Singh announced that Jan Morcha was to be merged with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Ajeya Singh and other members were inducted into the LJP and Ajeya was declared a Vice President of the party and its candidate from Fatehpur Lok Sabha constituency. However, later, Ram Vilas Paswan joined hands with the Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav and the RJD of Laloo Prasad Yadav, to form a Fourth front, and Mulayam Singh declared that the LJP would not contest any seats in UP. Ajeya Singh then contested as Jan Morcha candidate from Fatehpur, but lost to Rakesh Sachan of the SP.

The Jan Morcha was renamed as the National Jan Morcha in June 2009 and dedicated to farmer's causes and to forging a third alternative in national politics. A month later, the Jan Morcha merged with the Indian National Congress.


Rajiv Gandhi

 

Rajiv Ratna Gandhi (20 August 1944 – 21 May 1991), the elder son of Indira Nehru and Feroze Gandhi, was the 7th Prime Minister of India from his mother's death on 31 October 1984 until his resignation on 2 December 1989 following a general election defeat. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office (at the age of 40).

Rajiv Gandhi was a professional pilot for Indian Airlines before entering politics. While at Cambridge, he met Italian-born Sonia Gandhi whom he later married. He remained aloof from politics despite his mother being the Indian Prime Minister, and it was only following the death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 that Rajiv entered politics. After the assassination of his mother in 1984 after Operation Blue Star, Indian National Congress party leaders nominated him to be Prime Minister.

Rajiv Gandhi led the Congress to a major election victory in 1984 soon after, amassing the largest majority ever in Indian Parliament. The Congress party won 411 seats out of 542. He began dismantling the License Raj - government quotas, tariffs and permit regulations on economic activity - modernized the telecommunications industry, the education system, expanded science and technology initiatives and improved relations with the United States.

In 1988, Rajiv reversed the coup in Maldives antagonising the militant Tamil outfits such as PLOTE. He was also responsible for first intervening and then sending Indian troops (Indian Peace Keeping Force or IPKF) for peace efforts in Sri Lanka in 1987, which soon ended in open conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group. In mid-1987, the Bofors scandal broke his honest, corruption-free image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 elections.

Rajiv Gandhi remained Congress President until the elections in 1991. While campaigning, he was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) group. His widow Sonia Gandhi became the leader of the Congress party in 1998, and led the party to victory in the 2004 elections. His son Rahul Gandhi is a Member of Parliament and the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee.

Rajiv Gandhi was posthumously awarded the Highest National Award of India, Bharat Ratna, joining a list of 40 luminaries, including Indira Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi was an active amateur radio operator, and used the callsign VU2RG.

Early life & Education
Rajiv is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, although they share the same surname. Rajiv's father, Feroze, was one of the younger members of the Indian National Congress party, and had befriended the young Indira, and also her mother Kamala Nehru, while working on party affairs at Allahabad. Subsequently, Indira and Feroze grew closer to each other while in England, and they married, despite initial objections from Jawaharlal due to his religion (Zoroastrianism), in March 1942.

Rajiv was born in 1944 in Mumbai, during a time when both his parents were in and out of British prisons. In August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister of independent India, and the family settled in Allahabad, and then at Lucknow, where Feroze became the editor of The National Herald newspaper (founded by Motilal Nehru). However, the marriage was faltering and, in 1949, Indira and the two sons moved to Delhi to live with Jawaharlal, ostensibly so that Indira could assist her father in his duties, acting as official hostess, and helping run the huge residence. Meanwhile, Feroze continued alone in Lucknow. Nonetheless, in 1952, Indira helped Feroze manage his campaign for elections to the first Parliament of India from Rae Bareli.

After Feroze Gandhi had a heart attack in 1958, the family was reconciled briefly when they vacationed in Kashmir. However, Feroze died soon afterwards from a second heart attack in 1960.

By the time of his father's death, Rajiv was away at a private boarding school for boys: initially at the Welham Boys' School and later The Doon School. He was sent to London in 1961 to do A levels. In 1962, he was offered a place at Trinity College, Cambridge to study engineering. Rajiv stayed at Cambridge until 1965 and left the university without a degree mainly because he did not appear in the final Tripos examinations. In 1966, he was offered a place at the Imperial College London. He again left Imperial College after a year without a degree.

Prime minister
Elected to Sanjay's Lok Sabha (parliamentary) constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh state in February 1981, Gandhi became an important political advisor to his mother. It was widely perceived that Indira Gandhi was grooming Rajiv for the prime minister's job, and he soon became the president of the Youth Congress - the Congress party's youth wing.

Gandhi was in West Bengal when his mother was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by her bodyguards. Top Congress leaders, as well as President Zail Singh pressed Rajiv to become India's Prime Minister, within hours of his mother's assassination by two of her Sikh bodyguards. Commenting on the anti-Sikh riots in the national capital Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi said, "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes"; a statement for which he was widely criticised. Many Congress politicians were accused of orchestrating the violence. Soon after assuming office, Rajiv asked President Zail Singh to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections, as the Lok Sabha completed its five year term. Rajiv Gandhi also officially became the President of the Congress party.

The Congress party won a landslide victory — with the largest majority in history of Indian Parliament — giving Gandhi absolute control of government. He also benefited from his youth and a general perception of being Mr. Clean, or free of a background in corrupt politics. Rajiv thus revived hopes and enthusiasm amongst the Indian public for the Congress. Gandhi began leading in a direction significantly different from his mother's socialism. He improved bilateral relations with the United States — long strained owing to Indira's socialism and close friendship with the USSR — and expanded economic and scientific cooperation.

Security policy
Rajiv authorized an extensive police and Army campaign to contain terrorism in Punjab. A state of martial law existed in the Punjab state, and civil liberties, commerce and tourism were greatly disrupted. There are many accusations of human rights violations by police officials as well as by the militants during this period. It is alleged that even as the situation in Punjab came under control, the Indian government was offering arms and training to the LTTE rebels fighting the government of Sri Lanka. The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed by Rajiv Gandhi and the Sri Lankan President J.R.Jayewardene, in Colombo on 29 July 1987. The very next day, on 30 July 1987, Rajiv Gandhi was assaulted on the head with a rifle butt by a young Sinhalese naval cadet named Vijayamunige Rohana de Silva, while receiving the honour guard. The intended assault on the back of Rajiv Gandhi's head however glanced off his shoulder. Though the embarrassed Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene initially attempted to pass off the bizarre assault as "Rajiv tripped a little and slightly lost his balance", Rajiv Gandhi while en route to New Delhi asserted to J.N. Dixit "Of course, I was hit." Rajiv's government also suffered a major setback when its efforts to arbitrate between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE rebels backfired.

With his speech while addressing the Joint Session of the US Congress and India, he famously said, "India is an old country, but a young nation; and like the young everywhere, we are impatient. I am young and I too have a dream. I dream of an India, strong, independent, self reliant and in the forefront of the front ranks of the nations of the world in the service of mankind."

Economic policy
He increased government support for science and technology and associated industries, and reduced import quotas, taxes and tariffs on technology-based industries, especially computers, airlines, defence and telecommunications. He introduced measures significantly reducing the License Raj, allowing businesses and individuals to purchase capital, consumer goods and import without bureaucratic restrictions. In 1986, he announced a National Policy on Education to modernize and expand higher education programs across India. He founded the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya System in 1986 which is a Central government based institution that concentrates on the upliftment of the rural section of the society providing them free residential education from 6th till 12 grade. His efforts created MTNL in 1986, and his public call offices, better known as PCOs, helped spread telephones in rural areas.

Assassination
Rajiv Gandhi's last public meeting was at Sriperumbudur on 21 May 1991, in a village approximately 30 miles from Madras, Tamil Nadu, where he was assassinated while campaigning for the Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha Congress candidate. The assassination was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber Thenmozhi Rajaratnam also known as Gayatri and Dhanu. At 10:10 p.m., the assassin Dhanu approached him in a public meeting and greeted the former Prime Minister. She then bent down to touch his feet (an expression of respect among Indians) and detonated a belt laden with 700 grams of RDX explosive tucked under her dress. The former Prime Minister along with many others were killed in the explosion that followed. The assassination was caught on film through the lens of a local photographer, whose camera and film were found at the site. The cameraman himself also died in the blast but the camera remained intact.

The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial was built at the site recently and is one of the major tourist attractions to the small industrial town.

The Supreme Court judgement, by Judge Thomas, confirmed that the killing was carried out due to personal animosity of the LTTE chief Prabhakaran towards Mr Rajiv Gandhi arising out of his sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka and the alleged IPKF atrocities against Srilankan Tamils. However, it should be noted that the Rajiv Gandhi administration had already antagonised other Tamil militant organisations like PLOTE for reversing the military coup in Maldives back in 1988.

The judgment further cites the death of Thileepan in a hunger strike and the suicide by 12 LTTE cadres in a vessel in Oct 1987.

In the Jain Commission report, various people and agencies are named as suspected of having been involved in the murder of Rajiv Gandhi. Among them, the cleric Chandraswami was suspected of involvement, including financing the assassination. The interim report of the Jain Commission created a storm when it accused Karunanidhi of a role in the assassination, leading to Congress withdrawing its support for the I. K. Gujral government and fresh elections in 1998. LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham told the Indian television channel NDTV that the killing was a "great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy which we deeply regret." A memorial christened Veer Bhumi was constructed at his cremation spot. The International Airport constructed at Hyderabad has been named after Rajiv Gandhi and was inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.


Indira Gandhi

 

Born on November 19, 1917 in an illustrious family,Smt. Indira Gandhiwas the daughter of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Being academically inclined, she studied at Ecole Nouvelle, Bex (Switzerland), Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils' Own School, Poona and Bombay, Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan and Somerville College, Oxford. She was conferred Honorary doctoral degree by a host of Universities such as Andhra, Agra, Bangalore, Vikram, Punjab, Gurukul, Nagpur, Jamia Milia, Poona, El Salvador of Buenos Aires, Waseda of Tokyo, Moscow State, Oxford, Charles of Prague, Mauritius, Baghdad and the U.S.S.R. With an impressive academic background she also got the Citation of Distinction from the Columbia University. Smt. Indira Gandhi was actively involved in the freedom struggle. In her early childhood she founded the Bal Charkha Sangh and in 1930, the 'Vanar Sena' of children to help the Congress party during the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned in September 1942, and worked in riot-affected areas of Delhi in 1947 under Gandhiji's guidance.

She got married to Feroze Gandhi on March 26, 1942 and had two sons.

Smt. Gandhiwas a Member, Congress Working Committee and Central Election of the party in 1955; Member, Central Parliamentary Board of Congress, 1958; Chairperson, National Integration Council of A.I.C.C.; President, All India Youth Congress, 1956 and Women's Dept. A.I.C.C.; President, Indian National Congress, 1959-60; and Indian National Congress from January 1978.

From 1964 to 66 she was the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Then she held the highest office as the Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 14, 1980. Concurrently, she was the Minister for Atomic Energy from September 1967 to March 1977; and Minister for Space from June 1972 to March 1977, and from January 1980 was Chairperson, Planning Commission. From 1966-1977 she was the President of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; and Chairperson, Hindi Salahkar Samiti. She held the additional charge of the Ministry of External Affairs from September 5, 1967 to February 14, 1969; Ministry of Finance from July 16, 1969 to June 26, 1970; Ministry of Home Affairs from June 1970 to November 1973; Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from March 1971 for a while; and Ministry of Defence from January 1980.

Smt. Indira Gandhi was associated with a large number of organisations and institutions, some of which are: President, Board of Trustees of Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital; Trustee, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust; Chairperson, Swaraj Bhavan Trust; Founder and Chairperson, Bal Sahyog, New Delhi in 1954; Chairperson, Bal Bhavan Board and Children's National Museum, New Delhi in 1955; Founder and President, Kamala Nehru Vidyalaya, Allahabad; Vice Chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board, 1953-57; Life-Patron, Indian Council for Child Welfare; Vice-President, International Council of Child Welfare; Patron-in-chief, Indian Council for Affairs, 1960; Patron, Foreign Students Association in India. She was Chancellor Visva Bharati University; Jawaharlal Nehru University and North-Eastern University 1966-77; Member, Delhi University Court; Indian Delegation to UNESCO, 1960-64; Member, Executive Board of UNESCO, 1960-64; Member, National Defence Council 1962; Executive Committee of National Defence Fund, 1962; Chairperson, Citizen's Central Council 1962; and Sangeet Natak Academy 1965-74. She was also a Member, National Integration Council; President, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha; Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society and Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund; Patron, Indian Society of International Law.

After having held such important positions, she also became a Member, Rajya Sabha, August 1964-February 1967; Member, Fourth Lok Sabha 1967-71; Fifth Lok Sabha 1971-77; and Sixth Lok Sabha during November-December 1978. She was elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha from Rae Bareli (U.P.) and Medak (Andhra Pradesh), January 1980. She chose to retain the Medak seat and relinquished the Rae Bareli seat. She was chosen as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in 1967-77 and for the Congress Parliamentary Party from January 1980.

She found recreation in whatever she did and equal relaxation in being close to nature, in different forms of art, in physical activities like hiking in the mountains, or even reading about an unfamiliar subject.

Interested in a wide array of subjects, she viewed life as an integrated process, where activities and interests are different facets of the whole, not separated into compartments or labeled under different heads.

She had many achievements to her credit. She was the recipient of Bharat Ratna, 1972; Mexican Academy Award for Liberation of Bangladesh 1972; 2nd Annual Medal, FAO, 1973; Sahitya Vachaspati (Hindi) by Nagari Pracharini Sabha, 1976. She also received Mothers' Award, U.S.A., 1953; Islbella d'Este Award of Italy for outstanding work in diplomacy, Yale University's Howland Memorial Prize; for two consecutive years in 1967 and 1968 was the woman most admired by the French according to a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion. According to a special Gallup Poll Survey in U.S.A. in 1971 she was the most admired person of the world and Diploma of Honour was conferred by the Argentine Society in 1971 for the Protection of Animals.

Her famous publications are The Years of Challenge 1966-69; The Years of Endeavour 1969-72; India (London) 1975; Inde (Lausanne) 1979 and numerous other collection of speeches and writings. She travelled widely in India and all over the world, paid official visits to many countries such as: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Bolivia, Egypt, France, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, U.A.E., the United Kingdom, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and United Nations Headquarters.


Charan Singh

 

Chaudhary Charan Singh (23 December 1902 – 29 May 1987) was the sixth Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980.

Born into a Aryan Kshatriya Jaat family of Tevatia clan in 1902, Charan Singh entered politics as part of the Independence Movement. After independence he became particularly notable in the 1950s for opposing and winning a battle against Nehru's socialistic and collectivist land use policies, for the sake of the Indian Farmer, which endeared him to the agrarian communities throughout the nation, particularly in his native Uttar Pradesh.

The leader of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, a major constituent of the Janata coalition, he was disappointed in his ambition to become Prime Minister in 1977 by Jayaprakash Narayan's choice of Morarji Desai. He settled at the time for the largely honorary post of Deputy Prime Minister of India. However, the internal stresses of the coalition's government caused him to leave the government with the former Lok Dal, after being promised by Mrs. Gandhi the support of the Congress Party on the floor of the House in any efforts to form a government. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with the support of just 64 MPs.

During his term as Prime Minister the Lok Sabha never met. The day before the Lok Sabha was due to meet for the first time the Indian National Congress withdrew their support from his Bharatiya Lok Dal Government. Choudhary Charan Singh resigned and fresh elections were held six months later.

He continued to lead the Lok Dal in opposition till his death in 1987, when he was succeeded as party president by his son Ajit Singh. His association with the causes dear to farming communities in the North caused his memorial in New Delhi to be named Kisan Ghat.

The university of Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh, India, is named after him (Chaudhary Charan Singh University).

Early Years - Pre Independence India
Charan Singh's ancestor was the prominent leader of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh (in present day Haryana). Maharaja Nahar Singh was sent to the gallows in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. In order to escape the oppression from the British Government following their defeat, the Maharaja's followers, including Charan Singh's grandfather moved eastward to district Bulandshaher in Uttar Pradesh.

Charan Singh was born on 23 December 1902 in village Noorpur, town Hapur, Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. He was a good student, and received a Masters of Arts degree in 1925 and Law degree in 1926 from Meerut University.

In February 1937 he was elected Chhaprouli (Baghpat) to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces) at the age of 34. In 1938 he introduced an Agricultural Produce Market Bill in the Assembly which was published in the issues of The Hindustan Times of Delhi dated 31 March 1938. The Bill was intended to safeguard the interests of the farmers against the rapacity of the traders. The Bill was adopted by most of the States in India, Punjab being the first state to do so in 1940.

Charan Singh followed Mahatma Gandhi in non-violent struggle for independence from the British Government, and was imprisoned several times. In 1930 he was sent to jail for 6 months by the British for contravention of the salt laws. He was jailed again for one year in November 1940 for individual Satyagraha Movement. In August 1942 he was jailed again by the British under DIR and released in November 1943.

Independent India
In 1952, he became the Revenue Minister of state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in independent India. He was dedicated to enforcing and implementing the provisions of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act of which he was the major architect. It has been argued by leading political scientists that success of Indian Democracy lies in successful implementation of this reform. Pakistan on the other hand did not have similar reforms, and the power is concentrated amongst the few powerful landlords or Zamindar who run their lands as their private fiefdom, and use their influence to further their wealth.

Charan Singh opposed Nehru on his Soviet Style Economic reform. Charan Singh was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India. Being a son of a farmer, Charan Singh opined that the right of ownership was important to the farmer in remaining a cultivator. Charan Singh's political career suffered due to his open criticism of Nehru's economic policy.

Charan Singh left the Congress party in 1967, and formed his own political party. With the help and support of Raj Narain and Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya, he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1967, and later in 1970. In 1975, he was jailed again, but this time by then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, daughter of his former rival Nehru. She had declared the state of 'Indian Emergency (1975-1977)' and jailed all her political opponents. The Indian populace voted her out, and the opposition party, of which Chaudhary Charan Singh was a senior leader came into power. He served as Deputy prime minister and home minister in Janata government headed by Morarji Desai.

He became Prime Minister in 1979 after Morarji Desai. His speech to the nation on India's Independence Day (15 August 1979) was very prophetic in which he identified Pakistan's nuclear ambition as a major threat to India. He also mentioned that Indian labour laws had to be refined if India were to become competitive in world economy. He also opened high level diplomatic relations with Israel, which Indira Gandhi's government which took office following the 1980 elections curtailed.'

Charan Singh died on 29 May 1987. He was survived by his wife, Gayatri Devi and 6 children. His grandson Jayant Chaudhary is recently elected to 15th Lok Sabha from Mathura.

Charan Singh has written several books. Some of them are: 1). India's Economic Policy - The Gandhian Blueprint 2). Economic Nightmare of India - Its Cause and Cure 3). Cooperative Farming X-rayed


Morarji Desai

 

Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (29 February 1896 – 10 April 1995) was an Indian independence activist and the Prime Minister of India from 1977-79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress. He is the only Indian to receive the highest civilian awards from both India and Pakistan, the Bharat Ratna and Nishaan-e-Pakistan.

Early Life
Morarji Desai was born into an Anavil Brahmin family in Bhadeli, Valsad in Bombay Presidency (now in Gujarat). After graduating from Wilson College, Mumbai, he joined the civil service in Gujarat. Later, he left the service of the British in 1924 and joined the civil disobedience movement against British rule in India in 1930. He spent many years in jail during the freedom struggle and owing to his sharp leadership skills and tough spirit, he became a favourite amongst freedom-fighters and an important leader of the Indian National Congress in Gujarat. When provincial elections were held in 1934 and 1937, Desai was elected and served as the Revenue Minister and Home Minister of the Bombay Presidency.

In Government
Before the independence of India, he became Bombay's Home Minister and later was elected as Chief Minister of Bombay State in 1952. The state was home to Marathi linguistic movements, with calls for the creation of a separate linguistic state. Considered as a tough leader, Desai was also known for pioneering beliefs and enforcing strict discipline and authority and thus possessed a radical mindset. By Desai's orders in 1960, a demonstration by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was fired upon by the police resulting in the deaths of 105 demonstrators. 105 demonstrators were killed in the incident leading to public outrage that shook the central government. The incident led to the formation of the present State of Maharashtra.

As Home Minister, Desai outlawed any portrayals of indecency (which included "kissing" scenes) in films and theatrical productions. Although a staunch Gandhian, Desai was socially conservative, pro-business, and in favour of free enterprise reforms, as opposed to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's socialistic policies.

Rising in Congress leadership, Desai was at odds with Prime Minister Nehru and his allies, and with Nehru's age and health failing, he was considered as a possible contender for the position of Prime Minister. Outflanked in the leadership contest after Nehru's death in 1964 by the Nehruvian Lal Bahadur Shastri, Desai remained content to build support within the ranks.

After Shastri's death in 1966, he contested for Prime Minister and fought a closely-contested election with Indira Gandhi. Desai obtained 169 votes but lost to Indira Gandhi who garnered 351.

Split of 1969
Initially Desai stayed out of the Cabinet, biding his time. As the young Indira Gandhi's government became embroiled in controversy following a poor harvest, currency devaluation, and rising disenchantment in the country, Desai's influence grew in strength and he returned to the Cabinet in 1967. He demanded the powerful position as the Minister for Home Affairs, but he settled for the Ministry for Finance, with the added title of Deputy Prime Minister. Relations between Desai and the young Prime Minister were strained at best.

In 1969, Indira Gandhi and her allies engineered a major schism in the Congress Party, and her leftist supporters within the Congress Party formed the Congress (R), later to become the Congress (I) Party. Desai and the rest of the Congress establishment cohered to form the Congress (O) Party. But in the General Elections held in 1971, the Congress (O) was drubbed owing to Indira Gandhi's popularity.

In a petition filed by veteran socialist leader Raj Narain, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was convicted in June 1975 of wrongfully using government machinery for election work and corruption, Desai joined Jaya Prakash Narayan and Raj Narain in organising mass protests throughout the country calling for her resignation. In a show of intolerance towards any sort of opposition, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency and had all the opposition leaders including Desai arrested.

When Indira called for elections in January 1977, she lost to Raj Narain from Rae Bareilly, and with many opposition groups, including the Congress (O), joined with longtime rivals, regional parties and blocs of rival ideologies to form the Janata Party. It won 356 seats, close to 2/3 majority, and for the first time since independence, the dominance of the ruling Congress Party was broken. Morarji Desai finally came into office as the Prime Minister when Jaiprakash Narayan picked him as the man most likely to keep the coalition united.

At the time, he was 81 years old but still healthy and vigorous, without any particular ailments.

Prime Minister
Desai led a fractious coalition government, and thus failed to achieve much owing to continuous in-wrangling and much controversy. With no party in leadership of the coalition, rival groups vied to unseat Desai. Controversial trials of prominent Congress leaders, including Indira Gandhi over Emergency-era abuses worsened the fortunes of his administration. Desai worked to improve relations with neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan and restored normal relations with China, for the first time since the 1962 war. He communicated with Zia-ul-Haq and established friendly relations and diplomatic relations were also re-established with China. His government undid many amendments made to the constitution during emergency and made it difficult for any future government to impose national emergency.

Since India's first nuclear test in 1974, Desai kept India's nuclear reactors stating "they will never be used for atomic bombs, and I will see to it if I can help it". In 1977, the Carter administration sold India, heavy water and uranium for its nuclear reactors but required American on-site inspection of nuclear materials. Desai declined, seeing the American stance as contradictory, in light of its own nuclear arsenal.

Retirement & death In 1979, Raj Narain and Charan Singh pulled out of the Janata Party, forcing Desai to resign from office and retire from politics at the age of 83. Desai campaigned for Janata Party in 1980 General Election as a senior politician but did not contest the election himself.

In retirement, he lived in Bombay, and died at the age of 99. He had been honoured much in his last years a freedom-fighter of his generation.

Kanti Desai, Morarji Desai's son, was often criticized for being corrupt and using his father's name as an influence. During Desai's retirement, the family was evicted from their apartment in 'Oceanea' Complex in Mumbai by a court order issued by Justice Chandrachud. Sharad Pawar, then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, provided him with permanent Govt Residence in Mumbai until his death.

It's bizarre but true that Morarji Desai is most often remembered for his championing of Urine Therapy. He told journalist Khushwant Singh that he was advised to try drinking his own urine when in his 40s to cure piles (hemorrhoids), and he got immediate results. Thereafter he continued the practice and was quite open about it, saying that you should not do anything you would be ashamed of.

Morarji Desai was a strict follower of Mahatma Gandhi's principles and a moralist.

Feud with R&AW Morarji Desai had described the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency, as the praetorian guard of Indira Gandhi and had promised to stop all activities of the R&AW after becoming prime minister. He closed down much of the agency, and reduced its budget and operations. B. Raman, the former head of the Counter-Terrorism Division of R&AW and noted security analyst, reveals that, in an unguarded moment, Morarji Desai indiscreetly told Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq that he was aware of Islamabad's nuclear schemes.

It is understood that Moshe Dayan was sent on a mission to intercede with Morarji Desai for permission to enable Israeli Tanker aircraft to land refuel and take off from an IAF base in Gujrat supporting a mission the Israeli's planned, to destroy Pak Nuclear facilities, then coming up, as they had done at Osirak in Iraq. Dayan was disguised as a Sikh gentleman on a private visit for the purpose. The request was turned down and the mission did not materialize.

Social Service Morarji Desai was a true Gandhian follower, social worker, institution builder and a great reformer. He was the Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith (university established by Mahatma Gandhi). Even during his term as the Prime Minister he used to visit and stay at Vidyapith during the month of October. He exemplified simplicity and used to write post cards himself even when he held the office of Prime Minister. Sardar Patel deputed him to conduct meetings of farmers in Kaira district which finally led to the establishment of the AMUL Cooperative movement. During his rule, he withdrew intervention in Public Distribution System and rationing shops were literally lost due to cheap sugar and oil available in the market.

Urine Therapy
Morarji Desai was a practitioner of urine therapy. In 1978 he spoke to Dan Rather on 60 Minutes about urine therapy. Desai stated that urine therapy was the perfect medical solution for the millions of Indians who cannot afford medical treatment. Desai claimed that he drank a pint of his own urine every day.


Indira Gandhi

 

Born on November 19, 1917 in an illustrious family,Smt. Indira Gandhiwas the daughter of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Being academically inclined, she studied at Ecole Nouvelle, Bex (Switzerland), Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils' Own School, Poona and Bombay, Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan and Somerville College, Oxford. She was conferred Honorary doctoral degree by a host of Universities such as Andhra, Agra, Bangalore, Vikram, Punjab, Gurukul, Nagpur, Jamia Milia, Poona, El Salvador of Buenos Aires, Waseda of Tokyo, Moscow State, Oxford, Charles of Prague, Mauritius, Baghdad and the U.S.S.R. With an impressive academic background she also got the Citation of Distinction from the Columbia University. Smt. Indira Gandhi was actively involved in the freedom struggle. In her early childhood she founded the Bal Charkha Sangh and in 1930, the 'Vanar Sena' of children to help the Congress party during the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was imprisoned in September 1942, and worked in riot-affected areas of Delhi in 1947 under Gandhiji's guidance.


Gulzari Lal Nanda

 

Gulzarilal Nanda (4 July 1898 - 15 January 1998) was an Indian politician and an economist with specialization in labor problems. He was the interim Prime Minister of India twice for thirteen days each: the first time after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, and the second time after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. (Both his terms ended after the ruling Indian National Congress party procedurally elected a new prime minister.) The Government of India honored Nanda with a Bharat Ratna award in 1997.

Early Life
Nanda was born on 4 July 1898 in Sialkot in the Punjab Province of British India into a Hindu Gujjar family . (After the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, Sialkot became a part of the Punjab Province of Pakistan.) Nanda received his education in Lahore, Agra, and Allahabad.

Nanda worked as a research scholar on labor problems at Allahabad University (1920-1921), and became a Professor of Economics at National College in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1921. The same year, he joined the Indian Non-Cooperation Movement against the British Raj. In 1922, he became secretary of the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association where he worked until 1946. He was imprisoned for Satyagraha in 1932, and again from 1942 to 1944.

Member of Bombay Legislative Assembly In the British Raj, Nanda was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly in 1937, and served as parliamentary secretary (for Labor and Excise) to the Government of Bombay from 1937 to 1939. As Labour Minister of the Bombay Government during 1946-50, he successfully piloted the Labor Disputes Bill in the state assembly. He served as a Trustee of the Kasturba Memorial Trust. (Kasturba was the wife of Mahatma Gandhi.) He served as secretary of the Hindustan Mazdoor Sevak Sangh (Indian Labor Welfare Organization), and Chairman of the Bombay Housing Board. He was a member of the National Planning Committee. He was largely instrumental in organizing the Indian National Trade Union Congress, and later became its president.

In 1947, Nanda went to Geneva, Switzerland as a government delegate to the International Labor Conference. He worked on The Freedom of Association Committee of the Conference, and visited Sweden, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the UK to study labor and housing conditions in those countries.

In March 1950, Nanda joined the Indian Planning Commission as its vice-chairman. In September 1951, he was appointed Planning Minister in the Indian Government. He was also given charge of the portfolios of Irrigation and Power. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bombay in the general elections of 1952, and was reappointed Minister for Planning, Irrigation, and Power. He led the Indian Delegation to the Plan Consultative Committee held in Singapore in 1955, and the International Labor Conference held in Geneva in 1959.

Nanda was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 1957 elections, and was appointed Union Minister for Labour, Employment and Planning, and later, as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. He visited the Federal Republic of Germany, Yugoslavia, and Austria in 1959.

Nanda was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in the 1962 elections from the Sabarkantha constituency in Gujarat. He initiated the Congress Forum for Socialist Action in 1962. He was Union Minister for Labour and Employment during 1962 - 1963, and Minister for Home Affairs during 1963 - 1966.

Interim Prime Minister
Nanda was the interim Prime Minister of India twice for fourteen days each: the first time after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, and the second time after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. Both his terms were uneventful, yet they were important because of the potential danger to the country following Nehru's death soon after a war with China in 1962, and Shastri's death after a war with Pakistan in 1965.

Personality A principled politician, he found himself out of tune with the changed circumstances. And did not owe any property. He had lived in a rented house in New Delhi's Defence Colony from which he was evicted since he could not pay its rent and moved to Ahmedabad where he lived with his daughter. What sets him apart from almost all the other freedom fighters who held high offices in independent India is his complete insulation from desire material. He had no source of income and would not accept funds from his children or from any well wisher. A friend, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, forced him to sign an application for the freedom fighter's pension of Rs 500 per month.


Lal Bahadur Shastri

 

Lal Bahadur "Shastri" Shrivastav (2 October 1904 - 11 January 1966) was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.

Early Life
Lal Bahadur was born on 2 October in the year 1904 in Ram Nagar,Ahmedabad Mughalsarai, United Provinces, British India as Lal Bahadur Shrivastav. His father Sharada Shrivastav Prasad was a poor school teacher, who later became a clerk in the Revenue Office at Allahabad. When Lal Bahadur was three months old, he slipped out of his mother's arms into a cowherder's basket at the ghats of the Ganges. The cowherder, who had no children, took the child as a gift from God and took him home. Lal Bahadur's parents lodged a complaint with the police, who traced the child, and returned him to his parents.

Lal Bahadur's father died when he was only a year and a half old. His mother Ramdulari Devi took him and his two sisters to her father's house and settled down there. Lal Bahadur stayed at his grandfather Hazari Lal's house till he was ten. Since there was no high school in their town, he was sent to Varanasi where he stayed with his maternal uncle and joined the Harischandra High School. While in Varanasi, Shastri once went with his friends to see a fair on the other bank of the Ganges. On the way back he had no money for the boat fare. Instead of borrowing from his friends, he jumped into the river and swam to the other bank.

As a boy, Lal Bahadur loved reading books and was fond of Guru Nanak's verses. He revered Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter. After hearing a speech of Mahatma Gandhi at Varanasi in 1915, he dedicated his life to the service of the country. He also dropped his surname Shrivastav, as it indicated his caste and he was against the caste system. During the non-cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921, he joined processions in defiance of the prohibitory order. He was arrested but let off as he was a minor. He then enrolled at the nationalist Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi. During his four years there, he was greatly influenced by the lectures of Dr. Bhagawandas on philosophy. Upon completion of his course at Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926, he was given the title Shastri ("Scholar"). The title was a bachelor's degree awarded by the Vidya Peeth, but it stuck as part of his name. He also enrolled himself as a life member of the Servants of the People Society and began to work for the upliftment of the Harijans at Muzaffarpur. Later he became the President of the Society.

In 1927, Shastri married Lalita Devi of Mirzapur. In spite of the prevailing hefty dowry tradition, Shastri accepted only a charkha and a few yards of khadi as dowry. In 1930, he threw himself into the freedom struggle during Mahatma Gandhi's Salt Satyagraha. He was imprisoned for two and a half years. Once, while he was in prison, one of his daughters fell seriously ill. He was released for fifteen days, on the condition that he not take part in the freedom movement. However, his daughter died before he reached home. After performing the funeral rites, he voluntarily returned to prison, even before the expiration of the period. A year later, he asked for permission to go home for a week, as his son had contracted influenza. The permission was given, but his son's illness was not cured in a week. In spite of his family's pleadings, he kept his promise to the jail officers and returned to the prison.

Later, he worked as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of U.P. in 1937. In 1940, he was sent to prison for one year, for offering individual Satyagraha support to the freedom movement. On 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi issued the Quit India speech at Gowalia Tank in Mumbai, demanding that the British leave India. Shastri, who had just then come out after a year in prison, traveled to Allahabad. For a week, he sent instructions to the freedom fighters from Jawaharlal Nehru's hometown, Anand Bhavan. A few days later, he was arrested and imprisoned until 1946. Shastri spent almost nine years in jail in total. During his stay in prison, he spent time reading books and became familiar with the works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers. He also translated the autobiography of Marie Curie into Hindi language.

In Government
Following India's independence, Shastri was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in his home state, Uttar Pradesh. He became the Minister of Police and Transport under Govind Ballabh Pant's Chief Ministership. As the Transport Minister, he was the first to appoint women conductors. As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he ordered that Police use jets of water instead of lathis to disperse unruly crowds.

In 1951, he was made the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, with Jawaharlal Nehru as the President. He was directly responsible for the selection of candidates and the direction of publicity and electioneering activities. He played an important role in the landslide successes of the Congress Party in the Indian General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.

In 1951, Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet from 1951 to 1956. In 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident at Mahbubnagar it led to 112 deaths. However, Nehru did not accept his resignation. Three months later, he resigned accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu that resulted in 144 deaths. While speaking in the Parliament on the incident, the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, stated that he was accepting the resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Shastri was in any way responsible for the accident. Shastri's unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by the citizens.

In 1957, Shastri returned to the Cabinet following the General Elections, first as the Minister for Transport and Communications, and then as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1961, he became Minister for Home. As Union Home Minister he was instrumental in appointing the Committee on Prevention of Corruption under the Chairmanship of K. Santhanam.

Prime Minister
Jawaharlal Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964 and left a void. The then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making and installing Shastri as Prime Minister on 9 June. Shastri, though mild-mannered and soft-spoken, was a Nehruvian socialist and thus held appeal to those wishing to prevent the ascent of conservative right-winger Morarji Desai.

In his first broadcast as Prime Minister, on 11 June 1964, Shastri stated:

“There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the cross-roads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us there need be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking to right or left. Our way is straight and clear – the building up of a socialist democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for all, and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with all nations.”

Shastri worked by his natural characteristics to obtain compromises between opposing viewpoints, but in his short tenure he was ineffectual in dealing with the economic crisis and food shortage in the nation. However, he commanded a great deal of respect in the Indian populace, and he used it to gain advantage in pushing the Green Revolution in India; which directly led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, although he did not live to see it. During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer"), underlining the need to boost India's food production. Apart from emphasizing the Green Revolution, he was instrumental in promoting the White Revolution. Greatly impressed by a visit to the Kaira district in October 1964, he urged the rest of the country to learn from the successful experiment at Anand. The National Dairy Development Board was formed in 1965 during his tenure as Prime Minister.

Though he was Socialist, Shastri stated that India cannot have a regimented type of economy. During his tenure as Prime Minister, he visited Russia, Yugoslavia, England, Canada and Burma in 1965.

War with Pakistan
The problem for Shastri's administration was Pakistan. Laying claim to half of the Kutch peninsula, Pakistan sent incursion forces in August 1965, which skirmished with Indian tank divisions. In his report to the Lok Sabha on the confrontation in Kutch, Shastri stated:

“In the utilization of our limited resources, we have always given primacy to plans and projects for economic development. It would, therefore, be obvious for anyone who is prepared to look at things objectively that India can have no possible interest in provoking border incidents or in building up an atmosphere of strife... In these circumstances, the duty of Government is quite clear and this duty will be discharged fully and effectively... We would prefer to live in poverty for as long as necessary but we shall not allow our freedom to be subverted.”

Under a scheme proposed by the British PM, Pakistan obtained 10%, in place of their original claim of 50% of the territory. But Pakistan's aggressive intentions were also focused on Kashmir. When armed infiltrators from Pakistan began entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Shastri made it clear to Pakistan that force would be met with force. Just in September 1965, major incursions of militants and Pakistani soldiers began, hoping not only to break-down the government but incite a sympathetic revolt. The revolt did not happen, and India sent its forces across the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control) and threatened Pakistan by crossing the International Border near Lahore as war broke out on a general scale. Massive tank battles occurred in the Punjab, and while Pakistani forces made some gains, Indian forces captured the key post at Haji Pir, in Kashmir, and brought the Pakistani city of Lahore under artillery and mortar fire.

On 17 September 1965, while the Indo-Pak war was on, India received a letter from China. In the letter, China alleged that the Indian army had set up army equipment in Chinese territory, and India would face China's wrath, unless the equipment was pulled down. In spite of the threat of aggression from China, Shastri declared "China's allegation is untrue. If China attacks India it is our firm resolve to fight for our freedom. The might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity.". The Chinese did not respond, but the Indo-Pak war resulted in great personnel and material casualties for both Pakistan and India.

The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. In a broadcast to the nation on the day the of ceasefire, Shastri stated:

“While the conflict between the armed forces of the two countries has come to an end, the more important thing for the United Nations and all those who stand for peace is to bring to an end the deeper conflict... How can this be brought about? In our view, the only answer lies in peaceful coexistence. India has stood for the principle of coexistence and championed it all over the world. Peaceful coexistence is possible among nations no matter how deep the differences between them, how far apart they are in their political and economic systems, no matter how intense the issues that divide them.”.

Death at Tashkent
After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.

The next day Shastri, who had suffered two heart attacks earlier, died supposedly of a heart attack at 1:32AM. He was the only Indian Prime Minister, and indeed probably one of the few heads of government, to have died in office overseas.

Mystery of Shastri's Death
Although officially it was maintained that Shastri died of heart attack, his widow, Lalita Shastri kept alleging that her husband was poisoned. Many believed that Shastri's body turning blue was an evidence of his poisoning. Indeed a Russian butler attending to him was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Shastri, but was later absolved of charges.

In 2009, when Anuj Dhar, author of CIA's Eye on South Asia, asked the Prime Minister's Office under an RTI plea (Right to Information Act), that Shastri's cause of death be made public, the PMO refused to oblige, citing that this could lead to harming of foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges.

The PMO did inform however that it had in its possession one document related to Shastri's death, but refused to declassify it. The government also admitted that no postmortem examination had been conducted on him in USSR, but it did have a report of a medical investigation conducted by Shastri's personal physician Dr. R.N. Chugh and some Russian doctors. Furthermore, the PMO revealed that there was no record of any destruction, or loss, of documents in the PMO having a bearing on Shastri's death. As of July 2009, the home ministry is yet to respond to queries whether India conducted a postmortem and if the government had investigated allegations of foul play.

Circumstances of Shastri's death do indeed make a case for close inquiry. On the night of January 11, Shastri was awakened by a severe coughing fit. Dr. R.N. Chugh came to his aid. Shastri was unable to speak and pointed to a flask kept nearby. A staffer brought some water which Shastri sipped. Shortly afterward, Shastri became unconscious and attempts to revive him proved futile.

A cold case forensic enquiry which keeps these facts in consideration, could point to three causes - in order of probability.

  • Myocardial Infarction (ordinarily known as Heart Attack)
  • Café Coronary (impaction of food in windpipe - in this case, drops of water)
  • Poisoning by some very quick acting poison, say cyanide although its probability is minimal.

Memorial
All his lifetime, Shastri was known for honesty and humility. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, and a memorial "Vijay Ghat" was built for him in Delhi. Several educational institutes, Shashtri National Academy of Administration (Mussorie) is after his name these were some examples. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute was named after Shastri due to his role in promoting scholarly activity between India and Canada.


Gulzari Lal Nanda

 

Gulzarilal Nanda (4 July 1898 - 15 January 1998) was an Indian politician and an economist with specialization in labor problems. He was the interim Prime Minister of India twice for thirteen days each: the first time after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, and the second time after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. (Both his terms ended after the ruling Indian National Congress party procedurally elected a new prime minister.) The Government of India honored Nanda with a Bharat Ratna award in 1997.


Jawaharlal Nehru

 

Jawaharlal Nehru(14 November 1889–27 May 1964) was an Indian statesman who was the first, and is to date the longest-serving, prime minister of India, having served from 1947 until 1964. A leading figure in the Indian independence movement, Nehru was elected by the Congress party to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, and later when the Congress won India's first general election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important figure in the international politics of the post-war era. He is frequently referred to as Pandit Nehru ("pandit" being a Sanskrit and Hindi honorific meaning "scholar" or "teacher") and, specifically in India, as Panditji (with "-ji" being a suffix to the honorific).

The son of a wealthy Indian barrister and politician, Motilal Nehru, Nehru became a leader of the left wing of the Indian National Congress when still fairly young. Rising to become Congress President, under the mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader, advocating complete independence from the British Empire. In the long struggle for Indian independence, in which he was a key player, Nehru was eventually recognized as Gandhi's political heir. Throughout his life, Nehru was also an advocate for Fabian socialism and the public sector as the means by which long-standing challenges of economic development could be addressed by poorer nations.

Education
Nehru was educated in Britain at Harrow School, an independent school for boys in Harrow on the Hill, in West London, followed by Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.

Life and Career
Nehru was given the singular honour of raising the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15 August 1947, when India gained Independence. Nehru's appreciation of the virtues of parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism coupled with concerns for the poor and underprivileged are recognised to have guided him in formulating policies that influence India to this day. They also reflect the socialist origins of his worldview. His long tenure was instrumental in shaping the traditions and structures of independent India. He is sometimes referred to as the "Architect of Modern India". His daughter, Indira Gandhi, and grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, also served as Prime Ministers of India.

India's First Prime Minister
Nehru and his colleagues had been released as the British Cabinet Mission arrived to propose plans for transfer of power. Once elected, Nehru headed an interim government, which was impaired by outbreaks of communal violence and political disorder, and the opposition of the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were demanding a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. After failed bids to form coalitions, Nehru reluctantly supported the partition of India, according to a plan released by the British on 3 June 1947. He took office as the Prime Minister of India on 15 August, and delivered his inaugural address titled "A Tryst With Destiny"

Nehru and his colleagues had been released as the British Cabinet Mission arrived to propose plans for transfer of power. Once elected, Nehru headed an interim government, which was impaired by outbreaks of communal violence and political disorder, and the opposition of the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were demanding a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. After failed bids to form coalitions, Nehru reluctantly supported the partition of India, according to a plan released by the British on 3 June 1947. He took office as the Prime Minister of India on 15 August, and delivered his inaugural address titled "A Tryst With Destiny"

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity."

However, this period was marked with intense communal violence. This violence swept across the Punjab region, Delhi, Bengal and other parts of India. Nehru conducted joint tours with Pakistani leaders to encourage peace and calm angry and disillusioned refugees. Nehru would work with Maulana Azad and other Muslim leaders to safeguard and encourage Muslims to remain in India. The violence of the time deeply affected Nehru, who called for a ceasefire and UN intervention to stop the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Fearing communal reprisals, Nehru also hesitated in supporting the annexation of Hyderabad State.

In the years following independence, Nehru frequently turned to his daughter Indira to look after him and manage his personal affairs. Under his leadership, the Congress won an overwhelming majority in the elections of 1952. Indira moved into Nehru's official residence to attend to him. Indira would virtually become Nehru's chief of staff and constant companion in his travels across India and the world.

Economic Policies
Nehru presided over the introduction of a modified, Indian version of state planning and control over the economy. Creating the Planning commission of India, Nehru drew up the first Five-Year Plan in 1951, which charted the government's investments in industries and agriculture. Increasing business and income taxes, Nehru envisaged a mixed economy in which the government would manage strategic industries such as mining, electricity and heavy industries, serving public interest and a check to private enterprise. Nehru pursued land redistribution and launched programmes to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production. He also pioneered a series of community development programs aimed at spreading diverse cottage industries and increasing efficiency into rural India. While encouraging the construction of large dams (which Nehru called the 'new temples of India'), irrigation works and the generation of hydroelectricity, Nehru also launched India's programme to harness nuclear energy.

For most of Nehru's term as prime minister, India would continue to face serious food shortages despite progress and increases in agricultural production. Nehru's industrial policies, summarised in the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, encouraged the growth of diverse manufacturing and heavy industries, yet state planning, controls and regulations began to impair productivity, quality and profitability. Although the Indian economy enjoyed a steady rate of growth, chronic unemployment amidst widespread poverty continued to plague the population.

Education and Social Reform
Jawaharlal Nehru was a passionate advocate of education for India's children and youth, believing it essential for India's future progress. His government oversaw the establishment of many institutions of higher learning, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management. Nehru also outlined a commitment in his five-year plans to guarantee free and compulsory primary education to all of India's children. For this purpose, Nehru oversaw the creation of mass village enrollment programmes and the construction of thousands of schools. Nehru also launched initiatives such as the provision of free milk and meals to children in order to fight malnutrition. Adult education centres, vocational and technical schools were also organised for adults, especially in the rural areas.

Under Nehru, the Indian Parliament enacted many changes to Hindu law to criminalize caste discrimination and increase the legal rights and social freedoms of women. A system of reservations in government services and educational institutions was created to eradicate the social inequalities and disadvantages faced by peoples of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Nehru also championed secularism and religious harmony, increasing the representation of minorities in government.

Natinal Security and foreign policy
Nehru led newly independent India from 1947 to 1964, during its first years of freedom from British rule. Both the United States and the Union Soviet Socialist Republic have competed to make India an ally throughout the cold war.

Although having promised in 1948 to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir under the auspices of the U.N. but as Pakistan failed to pull back troops as per UN resolution and as Nehru grew increasingly wary of the U.N., he declined to hold a plebiscite in 1953. He ordered the arrest of the Kashmiri politician Sheikh Abdullah, whom he had previously supported but now suspected of harbouring separatist ambitions; Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad replaced him. On the international scene, Nehru was a champion of pacifism and a strong supporter of the United Nations. He pioneered the policy of non-alignment and co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement of nations professing neutrality between the rival blocs of nations led by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Recognising the People's Republic of China soon after its founding (while most of the Western bloc continued relations with the Republic of China), Nehru argued for its inclusion in the United Nations and refused to brand the Chinese as the aggressors in their conflict with Korea. He sought to establish warm and friendly relations with it despite the invasion of Tibet in 1950, and hoped to act as an intermediary to bridge the gulf and tensions between the communist states and the Western bloc. This policy of pacifism and appeasement with respect to China soon came unraveled when China annexed Aksai Chin, the region of Kashmir adjoining Tibet in 1962 that led to the Sino-Indian war.

Nehru was hailed by many for working to defuse global tensions and the threat of nuclear weapons. He commissioned the first study of the human effects of nuclear explosions, and campaigned ceaselessly for the abolition of what he called "these frightful engines of destruction." He also had pragmatic reasons for promoting de-nuclearisation, fearing that a nuclear arms race would lead to over-militarisation that would be unaffordable for developing countries such as his own.

In 1956 he had criticised the joint invasion of the Suez Canal by the British, French and Israelis. Suspicion and distrust cooled relations between India and the U.S., which suspected Nehru of tacitly supporting the Soviet Union. Accepting the arbitration of the UK and World Bank, Nehru signed the Indus Water Treaty in 1960 with Pakistani ruler Ayub Khan to resolve long-standing disputes about sharing the resources of the major rivers of the Punjab region.

Final years
Nehru had led the Congress to a major victory in the 1957 elections, but his government was facing rising problems and criticism. Disillusioned by intra-party corruption and bickering, Nehru contemplated resigning but continued to serve. The election of his daughter Indira as Congress President in 1959 aroused criticism for alleged nepotism, although Nehru disapproved of her election, partly because he considered it smacked of "dynastism"; he said, indeed it was "wholly undemocratic and an undesirable thing", and refused her a position in his cabinet. Indira herself was at loggerheads with her father over policy; most notably, she used his oft-stated personal deference to the Congress Working Committee to push through the dismissal of the Communist Party of India government in the state of Kerala, over his own objections. Nehru began to be frequently embarrassed by her ruthlessness and disregard for parliamentary tradition, and was "hurt" by what he saw as an assertiveness with no purpose other than to stake out an identity independent of her father.

Although the Pancha Sila (Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence) was the basis of the 1954 Sino-Indian treaty over Tibet, in later years, Nehru's foreign policy suffered through increasing Chinese antagonism over border disputes and Nehru's decision to grant asylum to the Dalai Lama. After years of failed negotiations, Nehru authorized the Indian Army to annex Goa from Portugal in 1961. See liberation of Goa. While increasing his popularity, Nehru received criticism for opting for military action.

In the 1962 elections, Nehru led the Congress to victory yet with a diminished majority. Opposition parties ranging from the right-wing Bharatiya Jana Sangh and Swatantra Party, socialists and the Communist Party of India performed well.

In a matter of months, the border disputes with China turned into open conflict. Nehru assumed that as former victims of imperialism (India being a colony itself) they shared a sense of solidarity, as expressed in the phrase "Hindi-Chini bhai bhai" (Indians and Chinese are brothers). He was dedicated to the ideals of brotherhood and solidarity among developing nations. Nehru, naively, did not believe that one fellow Socialist country would attack another; and in any event, he felt secure behind the impregnable wall of ice that is the Himalayas. Both proved to be severe miscalculations of China's intentions and military capabilities. Following reports of his intention to confront Chinese occupation of the disputed areas—summarised in a memorable statement that he had asked the Army to "throw them (Chinese) out" - China launched a pre-emptive attack.

In a matter of days, a Chinese invasion of northeastern India exposed the weaknesses of India's military as Chinese forces came as far as Assam. Widely criticised for his government's insufficient attention to defence, Nehru was forced to sack the defence minister Krishna Menon and seek U.S. military aid. Nehru's health began declining steadily, and he was forced to spend months recuperating in Kashmir through 1963. Some historians attribute this dramatic decline to his surprise and chagrin over the invasion of India by the Chinese, which he perceived as a betrayal of trust. Upon his return from Kashmir in May 1964, Nehru suffered a stroke and later a heart attack. He died in the early hours of 27 May 1964. Nehru was cremated in accordance with Hindu rites at the Shantivana on the banks of the Yamuna River, witnessed by hundreds of thousands of mourners who had flocked into the streets of Delhi and the cremation grounds.

Legacy
As India's first Prime minister and external affairs minister, Jawaharlal Nehru played a major role in shaping modern India's government and political culture along with sound foreign policy. He is praised for creating a system providing universal primary education, reaching children in the farthest corners of rural India. Nehru's education policy is also credited for the development of world-class educational institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institutes of Technology, and the Indian Institutes of Management.

Nehru is credited for establishing a widespread system of affirmative action to provide equal opportunities and rights for India's ethnic groups, minorities, women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Nehru's passion for egalitarianism meant that he put the state to work to try and end widespread practices of discrimination against women and depressed classes, though with limited success in his lifetime.

Nevertheless, Nehru's stance as a unfailing nationalist led him to also implement policies which stressed commonality among Indians while still appreciating regional diversities. This proved particularly important as post-Independence differences surfaced since British withdrawal from the subcontinent prompted regional leaders to no longer relate to one another as allies against a common adversary. While differences of culture and, especially, language threatened the unity of the new nation, Nehru established programs such as the National Book Trust and the National Literary Academy which promoted the translation of regional literatures between languages and also organized the transfer of materials between regions. In pursuit of a single, unified India, Nehru warned, "Integrate or perish."

Commemoration
In his lifetime, Jawaharlal Nehru enjoyed an iconic status in India and was widely admired across the world for his idealism and statesmanship. His birthday, 14 November, is celebrated in India as Children's Day in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Children across India remember him as Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru). Nehru remains a popular symbol of the Congress party which frequently celebrates his memory. Congress leaders and activists often emulate his style of clothing, especially the Gandhi cap, and his mannerisms. Nehru's ideals and policies continue to shape the Congress party's manifesto and core political philosophy. An emotional attachment to his legacy was instrumental in the rise of his daughter Indira to leadership of the Congress party and the national government.

Many documentaries about Nehru's life have been produced. He has also been portrayed in fictionalised films. The canonical performance is probably that of Roshan Seth, who played him three times: in Richard Attenborough's 1982 film Gandhi, Shyam Benegal's 1988 television series Bharat Ek Khoj, based on Nehru's The Discovery of India, and in a 2007 TV film entitled The Last Days of the Raj. In Ketan Mehta's film Sardar, Nehru was portrayed by Benjamin Gilani. Nehru's personal preference for the sherwani ensured that it continues to be considered formal wear in North India today; aside from lending his name to a kind of cap, the Nehru jacket is named in his honour due to his preference for that style.

Numerous public institutions and memorials across India are dedicated to Nehru's memory. The Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi is among the most prestigious universities in India. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port near the city of Mumbai is a modern port and dock designed to handle a huge cargo and traffic load. Nehru's residence in Delhi is preserved as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. The Nehru family homes at Anand Bhavan and Swaraj Bhavan are also preserved to commemorate Nehru and his family's legacy.

Criticism
D. D. Kosambi, a well-known Marxist historian criticised Nehru in his article for the bourgeoisie class exploitation of Nehru's socialist ideology for its own purposes. Jaswant Singh, a former BJP leader, viewed Nehru, not Mohammad Ali Jinnah, as causing the partition of India, mostly referring to his highly centralised policies for an independent India in 1947, which Jinnah opposed in favour of a more decentralised India. The split between the two was among the causes of partition. Singh was later expelled from the BJP for having favourable views on Jinnah.

 

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