Rajiv Gandhi was a true nationalist in spirit and sense, having modernised the process of polity and governance through his interventions in the Information and Technology sector and the Panchayati Raj system, creating a difference in the lives of common citizens. A liberal at par, he preserved and safeguarded India’s diversity and differences firmly and upheld the multiplicity of faith by giving each community its due. space and freedom.
Though he was charged with appeasement in the Shah Bano case by his critics, he survived the testing waters, or for that matter, the doing away of the right to property as a legal rather than a fundamental right. Blossoming with a customary charm, Rajiv Gandhi knew of the gaps and shortcomings of rendering a legislation rudderless and ineffective, and taking up exercises for amending and correction.
From the criminalisation of politics to the anti-defection laws, he was an ideologue who practised what he preached. As for his principles, values and beliefs, he was one of the finest Asian statesmen of the century with an open mind and heart for consensus and criticism. Controversies, too, followed him such as the incident of the Ram Temple that stirred people’s emotions, passions and sentiments. Still, he never got boggled and frightened to find an amicable solution and instil courage and conviction in the political leaders of his generation — Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kamal Nath, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and the list is endless.