Rajiv Gandhi: Remembering the leader and his contribution to India’s education system

National leaders around the country paid rich tributes to Rajiv Gandhi, India’s sixth prime minister, on the occasion of his 27th death anniversary this Monday, and reminisced his contribution to the development of the nation.

On this day 27 years ago, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 by a woman operative of the separatist Lankan Tamil outfit LTTE, who greeted him at a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur town with a bomb strapped to her chest.

“My father taught me that hate is a prison for those who carry it. Today, on his death anniversary, I thank him for teaching me to love and respect all beings, the most valuable gifts a father can give a son. Rajiv Gandhi, those of us that love you hold you forever in our hearts,” Congress president and his only son Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet after paying floral tributes on his father’s memorial in Delhi.

Congress national spokesperson P L Punia paid respects to former PM Rajiv Gandhi, tweeting, “Grateful nation salute and pay homage (sic) to its greatest ever-visionary leader late Rajiv Gandhi ji on his death anniversary today.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also took to Twitter and paid homage, “Solemnly and very fondly remembering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary.”

Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar paid tributes to former PM Rajiv Gandhi with a message on Twitter, saying, “My humble tribute to our visionary Former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi ji on the 27th Anniversary of his Martyrdom.”

Congress leader Ashok Gehlot too took to Twitter and paid rich tribute to the former prime minister, saying, “My humble tributes to Bharat Ratna Sh #RajivGandhi on 27th anniversary of his martyrdom. He was a visionary PM, an architect of modern India n a great human being….#RememberingRajivGandhi.”

“Women are the social conscience of a country. They hold our societies together. – Rajiv Gandhi #RememberingRajivGandhi,” the All India Mahila Congress said in a tweet

Among others who paid floral tribute to the former prime minister on his death anniversary include AICC chairperson and his wife Sonia Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi, former president Pranab Mukherjee, former PM Manmohan Singh, and former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit.

On his death anniversary, let’s have a look at some of Rajeev Gandhi’s crucial contributions to the education system in India:

1. Rajiv Gandhi had promulgated the National Policy on Education (NPE) in 1986 which was first launched by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968.

2. Under his wise leadership, the NPE in 1986 emphasized on the removal of disparities to equalise educational opportunities. This paved the way for Indian women to have an equal right to education.

3. Students belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities received more benefits from the NPE during his tenure.

4. The NPE not only promoted the socio-economic development in rural areas but also exposed the dilapidated condition of the Indian education system.

5. Under his dynamic leadership, Operation Blackboard was included in the second phase of the NPE to improve the educational infrastructure at primary schools across the country. The second phase of the NPE also called for expanding scholarships.

6. As part of the NPE, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was also established during his tenure to promote adult education

7. A number of educational institutes for women were set up as part of his agenda during his tenure as prime minister.

8. In 1986, he founded Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya System, a Central government-based education institution, that provides rural populations with free residential education from grades VI to XII.