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“Bharat’s Ratna” Rajiv Gandhi

By Abhishek Mishra

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Rajiv Gandhi believed and said – ‘We need a new vision of humanity, a vision based on truth and non-violence, a vision that will nourish life in all its myriad beautiful forms. In the unfolding of this vision, the spiritual experience of humankind must play its part. It is an experience of love, of breaking away from one’s narrow grooves, of reaching out beyond oneself, of exploring the infinite possibilities of oneself’

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He was born on 20th August, 1944, 3years earlier we received our Independence. This day India had forecasted and witnessed to honor him as pillar of strength in days to come ahead for the people of the nation.

Rajiv Gandhi was our 6th Prime Minister of India. On his 69th Birthday, I want pay Tribute to the Legend who turned around India to a new vision. We all know he was the youngest Prime Minister and embraced all the teething troubles of that time with a smile. His youth iconic stature gave shine to the evolving youth and today we stand successful on the foundation which he laid in his era. So let us stand tall and Salute the apostle of peace, man of principle and integrity, for taking us to the transformed India which we are breathing in. Let us spend a moment from our buzzing life to remember his passion and hard work he contributed to our nation, his life and blood to bring magnetism to revolutionizing the masses in an all-inclusive approach. We are reaping the most valued seeds nurtured in his period.

Today on 20th August, 2013, lets us celebrate his Appearance Day through the launch of UPA’s flagship programme- Food Security Scheme and make him feel honored, which will render welfare through sufficient basic diet to citizen who belong to our deprived side of society and less capable to support themselves. Approximately 70 per cent of the population will benefit out of this 1.25 Lakh Crore welfare scheme which aims to cater at a very reasonable food distribution to rural and urban India. Under the scheme, rice will be available at Rs. 3 a kilogram, and wheat at Rs. 2 a kilogram. The monthly supply ranges from three to seven kilograms per person, depending on their level of income. Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi has chaired such schemes and policies along with the core Congress group and has been streamlining the foresight of Shri Late Rajiv Gandhi.

Rajiv Gandhi was deeply concerned about the situation of the feeble, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, not only in India, but all over the world. He said, ‘the good of the people is the chief law.’ Rajiv was the messiah of the poor.

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Anticipated by poetess Sarojini Naidu on his first birthday when she wrote him the first Deepawali greeting, “In a free India which will be, you will achieve a splendid manhood and be a leader among those who dedicate their talents, their time, their hope, their faith and service to the redeeming of humanity from evil. The world will be your country and all mankind your kindred. To the little one, celebrating so unconsciously your first festival of lights, you will be yourself a living and imperishable flame to light the world.” Indeed her prediction transformed to reality and did justice with his in born traits, these were traits that had rarely visited the highest echelons of power and revealed him as the highest leader ever witnessed in history of mankind.

His strength was shone when he sworn in as Prime Minister on the same day that his mother’s funeral pyre. When it was meant to shed tears, instead he addressed the nation, “This is no time to mourn. It is time to act”. India got the first real glimpse of this extraordinary man in his most agonizing moment.

Rajiv Gandhi blessed India with transformational change in policies and approach towards development. During his regime, a few vital amongst all the initiatives taken were the introduction of computers in India, increased government support for science and technology and associated industries, and reduced import quotas, taxes and tariffs on technology-based industries, specifically computers, airlines, defence and telecommunications. The bilateral relations with the United States were improved, economic and scientific cooperation was expanded. He focused towards reducing the red tape in the governance and freeing administration from bureaucratic tangles. He also introduced a national education policy in 1986 to modernize and develop higher education programs pan India. He believed and said, “I want a result oriented bureaucracy, not a procedure oriented bureaucracy.”

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I was eight years old and I remember the scorching sun and dusty air of atmosphere where large groups of people were gathering up to have a glimpse of the mass leader. Large number of jeeps, massive hoardings and paraphernalia. Rajiv Gandhi storming his way ahead with crowd screaming with praises and slogans. Not much to my knowledge and politically amateur thought to myself that he could be like one of the characters of super heroes from my comic. Later to my sudden attention I realized his long step towards my Grandfather (Shri Uma Shankar Mishra) and me. I stood next to my Grandfather holding his fingers until, I was introduced while he bent down to pull my cheeks, and asked my name? I reluctantly sneaked behind my Grandfather. He slipped his fingers through my hair while I felt he is no doubt a handsome hero and his presence attracts so many people. That was the first and last time I met my hero. I never knew it would be soon that my hero would vanish forever. His last moments touch many lives and I was one them. The dark night prevailed when we were at Raebareli, sleeping on the terrace. I remember party workers rushing up the stairs shouting and calling for Dadaji, and the phone bell rang to wake us all.  I could see tears in Dadaji’s eyes. He left there and then. And soon it was silence all around.

Rajiv Gandhi was an unassuming legend who rose to an unattainable stature, determined by the sense of duty. The best tribute to him would be that each one of us imbibes the moral of sacrifice he wanted his countrymen to learn. He belonged to Mankind, and truly epitomized ‘Sarvadharma Sambhava’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

He dreamt of one world, one mankind, and peaceful co-existence. Let us strive to make his dream come true. He also comprehended India as a global power much before the world began paying attention to us and said, “As we build today, so will be the tomorrow. Together, we will build an India of the 21st Century. Together, we will face challenges and obstacles to progress. Together, we will create an India, that is strong, wise, and great– a frame of peace and tolerance.”

I miss him, India misses him, and the World misses him and will continue to miss him for generations to come.

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