Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao popularly known as PV Narasimha Rao is a son of the soil and a name to reckon with in Indian politics. Born in a remote village called Vangara in Karimnagar district of Telangana state on this day 28th June 1921, P. V. Narasimha Rao, served as the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
PV Narasimha Rao took an active part in the freedom movement and joined full-time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. He served brief stints in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet during 1962–1971 and as Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh between 1971–1973.
After the split in Indian National Congress in 1969, Rao remained with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He rose to national prominence in 1972 for handling several diverse portfolios, most significantly Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs during 1980-1984, in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
In fact, he was nearly retired from politics in 1991 and it was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi he had to make a comeback forcibly only to bail out the country from the deep political crisis.
He remained in the annals of history as the Chanakya of modern India for three historic reasons. First, he was the first Congress leader from outside Gandhi family to have assumed the highest office in the country. Secondly, he was the only Prime Minister to have guts facing the worst consequences of Babri Masjid demolition. Thirdly, he was the only Prime Minister of India to have introduced the Economic Reforms being in Minority that has changed the face of this largest democratic country in the world, the fruits of which we have been enjoying today.
He came to be known as the best administrator and “Father of Indian Economic Reforms” in India’s modern history who faced several challenges during the major economic transformation and several incidents affecting national security. Rao dismantled the license Raj. His free-market reforms rescued the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse.
Unfortunately, Rao’s later life was marked by political isolation due to corruption charges till his death. He was literally left alone in times of crisis by his own party and his close associates. However, he was acquitted of all charges prior to his death due to a heart attack in 2004 in New Delhi. He was cremated in Hyderabad.
PV Narasimha Rao studied at Fergusson College and at the Universities of Mumbai and Nagpur where he obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in law. He was well versed in 17 languages including Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Oriya besides English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian. with a fluency akin to a native speaker.
Narasimha Rao has three sons and five daughters. His eldest son PV Rangarao was an education minister in Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy cabinet and MLA from HanmaKonda Assembly Constituency for two terms. His second son PV Rajeshwar Rao was a Member of Parliament from Secunderabad Lok Sabha Constituency.
(This article is in memory of the son of the soil on his birth anniversary on June 28)