(Last Updated on : 07-04-2014)
Sanjay Gandhi was born on 14th December 1946 to Indira Gandhi and politician Feroze Gandhi. He was younger of the two siblings. His elder brother was Rajiv Gandhi
. Born into the famous Nehru clan, Sanjay Gandhi grew up to become one of the most influential leaders in Congress. Inspite of his authoritarian ways, he was widely popular amongst his followers.
Early Life of Sanjay Gandhi
Sanjay Gandhi had his early education from Welham Boys' School where he studied up to class 6. Afterwards, along with his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi, he went to study at Doon School in Dehradun
. He moved to England for further studies. However, he had never attended college. He had worked as an apprentice with Rolls-Royce Limited, a British car and aero-engine manufacturing company. It was probably his love for cars which led to the establishment of Maruti Udyog at a time when Sanjay Gandhi rose to power.
Career of Sanjay Gandhi
He was a born leader. Thus, he took little time to become one of the most popular leaders in Congress under Indira Gandhi's prime ministership. Inspite of his detractors portraying him as tyrannical, Sanjay Gandhi was the ultimate face for youth congress. He introduced young and fresh faces in the party. His new band of followers would do or die for him. In 1974, Indira Gandhi
declared Emergency. In the name of national security, the emergency period enforced martial law, delayed elections, censored the press, debarred some constitutional freedoms and non congress governments were dismissed. Political leaders, like, Jayaprakash Narayan
and Jivatram Kripalani were arrested as they expressed their views against the emergency. It was at this point of time that Sanjay Gandhi was most active. He played a crucial role during this period. He pioneered a widely circulated family planning programme to limit population growth. However such a step called for a lot of controversies. Subsequently, the Congress government lost the general election of 1977. Janata Dal came into power and Home Minister Charan Singh dictated the arrest of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi; but, due to lack of evidence they were released.
In 1980, Mrs. Gandhi and Indian National Congress
again regained power and Sanjay Gandhi was nominated to a parliamentary seat from Amethi, Uttar Pradesh
Personal Life of Sanjay Gandhi
Sanjay married a Sikh woman, Maneka Gandhi
on 23rd September, 1974. The couple had a son, Varun Gandhi. The nation received a rude shock when Sanjay Gandhi suddenly died in an air crash on June 23, 1980 near Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi.
The life of Sanjay Gandhi is steeped in controversies. Whilst for his friends and acquaintances, he was a true leader who had the ability to think ahead of times, others criticise him as dictatorial and dogmatic. Yet it cannot be denied that he was the one who enabled Congress to fight back in the elections of 1980; he groomed an entire generation of budding leaders, like, Ambika Soni
, Kamal Nath
, Ashok Gehlot
, P.Chidambaram, AK Antony, Jagdish Tytler, Ghulam Nabi Azad
, Ram Chander Rath, Ahmed Patel, Vilasrao Deshmukh
, Janardhan Gehlot, Indersain Reddy, Anand Sharma, etc and was considered the heir apparent after Indira Gandhi.