Rajiv’s sudden entry into politics
Before Rajiv Gandhi joined politics,he was a pilot by profession and worked for Indian Airlines for around 10-12 years.The death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 forced him to join politics. In the subsequent year, Rajiv fought elections from Amethi and became a member of Lok Sabha.
An accidental PM
His mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated on October, 31 1984. Rajiv then took the oath to become the country’s Prime Minister the very same night. Veteran journalist Vir Sanghvi, in one of his articles in Hindustan Times, said, “Post Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination, many global think tanks questioned whether India would survive as a nation. It was his five years in office, from 1984-1989, that showed the world that India was here to stay.
Rajiv, a passionate photographer
Sonia in her book, Rajiv’s World, wrote that photography to Rajiv Gandhi was a source of immense pleasure and satisfaction. Photography to Rajiv was an extension to himself. He was not too open about his interest in it in public, though. A request by one of Rajiv’s publisher friend asking him to author a book based on his photographs was turned down.
When Priyanka met her father’s killer
On March 17, 2008, Nalini, one of the accused in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, could not believe Priyanka Gandhi had come to meet her in jail. In an interview to The Hindu, Nalini said, “Priyanka asked me, my father was a good person. He was very soft. Why did you do this? Whatever was the reason, things could have been resolved with dialogue. Immediately after this, both of us broke into tears.” Nalini said her meeting with Priyanka Gandhi was life changing.
That tragic day
Rajiv was assassinated on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur while campaigning for the Congress Lok Sabha candidate from that region. In one of her interviews with Vir Sanghvi, Sonia Gandhi mentioned that she had thought of accompanying Rajiv to Sriperumbudur but there was an issue of space in the airplane. So, she decided against going.
Rajiv Gandhi’s killers have been in jail for over 27 years and are currently going through life imprisonment.They were earlier awarded death penalty which was later commuted into life imprisonment on Sonia's intervention.