Sunday, December 10, 2023
P.V.Narasimha Rao

"When I don't make a decision, it's not that I don't think about it. I think about it and make a decision not to make a decision." (Narasimha Rao)

P V Narasimha Rao, termed as the Architect of Modern India who managed to transform India into a major IT hub and a promising economic superpower, was the 9th Prime Minister of India.

Born in 1921 at Karim Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh, Narasimha Rao was a lawyer by profession. He was fluent in 13 languages, including Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu and English and well versed with subjects related to economics, law, history, politics, arts and computer.

In 1940, during the freedom struggle in the state of Hyderabad, PV trained himself as a guerrilla fighter to rebel against the Nizams. He endangered his life as Nizam had ordered to shoot such guerrilla fighters at sight. After independence, PV and his guerrilla team survived the dreadful warfare. Then he entered full time into politics as member of the Indian National Congress.

From 1962 onwards PV held some important portfolios in Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet. He was the Minister of Law and Information (1962-64), Law and Endowments (1964-67), Health and Medicine (1967) and Education. In 1972, he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. During his tenure, Andhra witnessed several achievements like land reforms and strict implementation of land ceiling acts in Telangana region.

Meanwhile in 1969, there was a split in the Indian National congress but PV showed his loyalty to Indira Gandhi. Soon he rose into national level and handled several portfolios such as Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs, in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. In 1980s PV retired from politics but the assassination Rajiv Gandhi made him comeback into politics as the leader of Congress Party. In the 1991 election, Congress secured majority and PV was asked to form the government.

PV is popularly known as 'The Father of Indian Economic Reforms' and 'Chanakya' (after a political genius who lived in ancient India) for his ability to handle tough economic and political legislation. Being a Prime minister, PV had to confront lot of economic and religious adversities. During that time, India was in a pathetic condition where it could sustain only for 15 days after which it had to declare bankruptcy. It was PV's bold and stubborn decisions which helped the country to overcome the economic crisis. He appointed a renowned economic professor, Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister. He abolished License Raj which has been implemented by Jawahar Lal Nehru, introduced SEBI Act of 1992 and the Security Laws.

Rao's term saw the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, which can be described as the worst Hindu - Muslim conflict in India after independence. It was a notable feat of Rao on how he managed the crisis during the 1993 Bombay bomb blast. After his visit to Bombay, he ordered intelligence community to contact intelligence agencies from the US, UK and other West European countries and request them to send their counter-terrorism experts to examine Pakistan's involvement. During his tenure, Jammu and Kashmir was torn apart by terrorist activity. It was he who introduced the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), India's first anti-terrorism legislation. He could succeed in decimating the Punjab separatist movement and neutralising Kashmir separatist movement.

Narasimha Rao, the real Chanakya of Indian politics who gave economic independence to India, passed away on 23rd December 2004, succumbing to heart failure. He will be remembered for his many valuable contributions.

Updated on 4/6/2014