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Sanjay Gandhi

Birthdate: (33)
Birthplace: New Delhi, Delhi, India
Death: June 23, 1980 (33)
New Delhi, Delhi, India (Air crash)
Immediate Family:

Son of Feroze Jehangir Gandhi and Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi
Husband of <private> Gandhi
Father of <private> Gandhi
Brother of Rajiv Ratna Gandhi

Occupation: politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sanjay Gandhi

Sanjay Gandhi (14 December 1946 – 23 June 1980) was an Indian politician, being the younger son of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi and politician Feroze Gandhi was member of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He was the husband of politician Maneka Gandhi and father to Varun Gandhi, also a politician.

Sanjay, along with his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi, studied Grades 1 to 6 at the Welham Boys' School. Rajiv studied Grades 7 to 12 at The Doon School in Dehra Doon. Sanjay studied Grades 7 and half of Grade 8 at the Doon School and the remainder of Grade 8 through Grade 11 at St. Columba's School, Delhi. Sanjay never attended college, but took up an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in Crewe, England [1]. He was very interested in sports cars, and he also obtained a pilot's license. While his elder brother Rajiv was building a career as an airline pilot independent of politics, Sanjay chose to remain close to his mother.

Maruti Udyog, India controversy

In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Cabinet proposed the production of a 'People's car' - a cheap, affordable and efficient indigenous machine that middle-class citizens could afford. While Sanjay had no experience, design proposal or tie-ins with any corporation, he was awarded the contract and the exclusive production license. The criticism that followed this decision was mostly directed at Indira, but the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and victory over Pakistan drowned out the issue. Indira's victory and subsequent Congress landslide in the elections only left Indira Gandhi more powerful. Maruti Udyog, today India's premier automobile manufacturing corporation, was founded by Sanjay Gandhi, but the company did not produce any vehicles during his lifetime. A test model put out as a showpiece of progress was criticized. Public perception turned against Sanjay Gandhi, and many began to speculate of growing corruption. Sanjay Gandhi then contacted Volkswagen AG from West Germany for a possible collaboration, transfer of technology and joint production of the Indian version of the People's Car (Maruti) since VW had previously built and sold 'People's car' in Germany under the name 'VW Beetle' which was a big hit worldwide. Also Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan was contacted to present their design and feasibility of their car to be manufactured in India. Suzuki came to know that the Government of India had contacted Volkswagen AG from West Germany as a possible supplier, it did everything to oust VW from the race to produce India's first People's Car (Maruti 800).[citation needed] It provided the Government a feasible Design of their 'Model 796' (another big hit in Japan and East Asian countries)

[edit] Role during Emergency

See also: Indian Emergency

In 1974, the opposition-led protests and strikes had caused a widespread disturbance in many parts of the country and badly affected the government and the economy. On 26 June 1975, Prime Minister Gandhi declared a national emergency, delayed elections, censored the press and suspended some constitutional freedoms in the name of national security. Non-Congress governments throughout the country were dismissed. Thousands of people, including several freedom fighters like Jaya Prakash Narayan and Jivatram Kripalani who were against the Emergency were arrested.

In the extremely hostile political environment just before and soon after the Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi rose in importance as Indira's advisor. With the defections of former loyalists, Sanjay's influence with Indira and the government increased dramatically, although he was never in an official or elected position. According to Mark Tully "His inexperience did not stop him from using the Draconian powers his mother, Indira Gandhi, had taken to terrorise the administration, setting up what was in effect a police state.[2]

It was said that during the Emergency he virtually ran India along with his friends especially Bansi Lal. It was also said that Sanjay Gandhi had total control over his mother and that the govt was run by the PMH ( Prime Minister House) rather than the PMO (Prime Minister Office).

[edit] Involvement in politics and government

It has been suggested[by whom?] that Sanjay's influence with his mother helped to ensure that the Emergency was declared and it is clear that Sanjay only increased his power with the Emergency (1975–1977). Although he had not been elected and held no office, Sanjay began exercising his new-found influence with Cabinet ministers, high-level government officers and police officers. While many Cabinet ministers and officials resigned in protest, Sanjay reportedly appointed their successors.

In one famous example, Inder Kumar Gujral, the future Prime Minister, resigned from the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting when Sanjay attempted to direct the affairs of his ministry and give him orders. Gujral is reported to have angrily rebuked Sanjay and refused to take orders from an unelected person.He was replaced by V.C Shukla a Sanjay Gandhi Loyal.

Also Kishore Kumar songs were not played on All India Radio as he refused to attend the function of Youth Congress. This was due the fees which he was asking was not agreed by Youth Congress.

[edit] Jama Masjid slum and Family planning controversies

In 1976, Sanjay Gandhi launched a drive to cleanse the city of slums and force their residents to leave the capital. Sanjay reportedly ordered officials of the Delhi Development Authority, headed by his associate Jagmohan, to clear the heavily populated, mostly Muslim slum near the Turkman Gate and Jama Masjid in Delhi. This forced resettlement of more than 250,000 people, which killed at least a dozen as recorded[3] and became a touchstone for the opposition.

Sanjay also publicly initiated a widespread family planning program to limit population growth. But this resulted in government officials and police officers forcibly performing vasectomies in order to meet quotas and in some cases, sterilizing women as well. Officially, men with two children or more had to submit to sterilization, but many unmarried young men, political opponents and ignorant, poor men were also believed to have been sterilized. This program is still remembered and criticized in India, and is blamed for creating a public aversion to family planning, which hampered Government programmes for decades.

[edit] 1977-1980: Disgrace and return

See also: Janata Party

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi opted for fresh elections in 1977 (one year overdue), released her opponents and ended the emergency. But when she and her Congress Party were defeated in a massive landslide by the Janata Party coalition, Sanjay recommended a re-imposition of Emergency which Indira Gandhi decided against. The new Janata Government promptly appointed tribunals to look into Emergency abuses. As Home Minister, Charan Singh ordered the arrest of Indira and Sanjay. Newspapers published reports of Sanjay's alleged abuses: vasectomies, tortures, murders and graft.

Over time, the arrest of Indira Gandhi began to be viewed as unfair and they were soon released for lack of evidence. The Janata coalition begin to crumble and the tribunals collapsed. In 1979, Prime Minister Morarji Desai resigned. His successor was Choudhary Charan Singh, who upon failing to secure support from a majority of MPs who had earlier formed the Janata coalition, turned to Indira Gandhi for support. She promised him that support, but a few months later withdrew it, forcing new elections and the end of Janata's time in power.

Vigorously attacking the confusion in the years of the crumbling Janata government, Mrs Gandhi's heroine-Goddess image of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the tough ruler of the early Emergency years returned her the previous position. She apologized for mistakes during Emergency, and made allies out of key political foes. In January 1980, Mrs. Gandhi and Congress Party returned to power in a landslide. Sanjay was elected to a parliamentary seat from Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh.

[edit] Personal life and family

It has been controversially suggested[by whom?] that Sanjay exercised a deep emotional control over his mother, which was often misused. Some, including Khushwant Singh, have claimed that he tapped his widowed mother's apparent loneliness to build his influence and control over political affairs and national policy.[citation needed] Sanjay Gandhi had married a young Punjabi woman, Maneka Gandhi. They had a tumultuous marriage. The marriage endured, however, and they had a son, Varun Gandhi.

Sanjay's relationship with his elder brother was especially worse, as Rajiv was deeply affected by his mother's situation after her political defeat in 1977. According to accounts provided in Frank's biography of Indira, Rajiv directly blamed Sanjay for her condition, affirming his destructive influence upon his mother and the government.

[edit] Death

Sanjay Gandhi died in an air crash on 23 June 1980 near Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi. He was flying a new aircraft of the Delhi Flying club, and, while performing a loop over his office, lost control and crashed. The only passenger in the plane, Captain Subhash Saxena, was also killed in the plane crash

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Sanjay Gandhi's Timeline

December 14, 1946
New Delhi, Delhi, India
June 23, 1980
Age 33
New Delhi, Delhi, India
June 1980
Age 33