P V Narasimha Rao

Posted March 17th, 2010 by admin

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (Telugu: పాములపర్తి వెంకట నరసింహారావు) (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004), who was commonly known as P. V. Narasimha Rao, served as the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.[1] He led one of the most important administrations in India’s modern history, overseeing a major economic transformation and several incidents affecting national security.[2] Rao accelerated the dismantling of the Licence Raj. Rao, also called the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms,”[3] is best remembered for launching India’s free market reforms that rescued the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse.[4] He was also commonly referred to as the Chanakya of modern India for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.[5][6]

Rao’s term as Prime Minister was an eventful one in India’s history. Besides marking a paradigm shift from the industrializing, mixed economic model of Jawaharlal Nehru to a market driven one, his years as Prime Minister also saw the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a major right-wing party, as an alternative to the Indian National Congress which had been governing India for most of its post-independence history. Rao’s term also saw the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya which triggered one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the country since its independence.[7]

Rao’s later life was marked by political isolation due to his association with corruption charges. Rao was acquitted on all charges prior to his death in 2004 of a heart attack in New Delhi. He was cremated in Hyderabad.[8]

Early life

P.V. Narasimha Rao had “humble social origins”.[5] He was born in a Telugu Niyogi Brahmin family at Vangara village in the present-day Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh(then part of Hyderabad State).[5] [9] His father P. Ranga Rao and mother Rukminiamma hailed from agrarian families.[5]

Narasimha Rao was popularly known as PV. He studied Bachelor’s in arts college, subedari in warangal, and later on went to Fergusson College at the Universities of Mumbai Nagpur where he done Master’s degree in law.[9][10] He could speak 13 languages including Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Oriya with a fluency akin to a native speaker.[11] His mother tongue was Telugu. In addition to eight Indian languages, he spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian.[12] Along with his distant cousin Pamulaparthi Sadasiva Rao, Ch. Raja Narendra and Devulapalli Damodar Rao, PV edited a Telugu weekly magazine called Kakatiya Patrika in the 1940s.[13] PV and Sadasiva Rao used to contribute articles under the pen-name Jaya-Vijaya.[13] [14]

Narasimha Rao has three sons and five daughters. His eldest son P.V. Rangarao was an education minister in Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy cabinet and MLA from HanmaKonda Assembly Constituency for two terms. His second son P.V. Rajeshwar Rao was a Member of Parliament of the 11th Lok Sabha (15 May 1996-4 December 1997) from Secunderabad Constituency.[15] [16]

Political career

Narasimha Rao was an active freedom fighter during the Indian Independence movement[9] and joined full time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. Narasimha Rao served brief stints in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet (1962–1971) and as Chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh (1971–1973).[10]. His tenure as Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is well remembered even today for his land reforms and strict implementation of land ceiling acts in Telangana region. President rule had to imposed to face the ‘Jai Andhra’ movement during his tenure.

When the Indian National Congress split in 1969 Rao stayed on the side of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and remained loyal to her during the Emergency period (1975–77).[12] He rose to national prominence in 1972 for handling several diverse portfolios, most significantly Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs (1980–1984), in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.[10] In fact it is speculated that he was in the running for the post of India’s President along with Zail Singh in 1982.[17]

Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that made him make a comeback.[18] As the Congress had won the largest number of seats in the 1991 elections, he got the opportunity to head the minority government as Prime Minister. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years, the first to hail from South India and also the first from the state of Andhra Pradesh.[2][19] Since Rao had not contested the general elections, he then participated in a by-election in Nandyal to join the parliament. N.T.Rama Rao (then leader of the Chief Opposition party of Telugu Desam) did not want to put a contestant against Rao, because he was the First Prime Minister of India from Andhra Pradesh, and NTR did not want to create an obstacle on his path. By that, Rao won from Nandyal with a victory margin of a record 5 lakh (500,000) votes and his win was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records.[20][21] His cabinet included Sharad Pawar, himself a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post, as defence minister. He also broke convention by appointing a non-political economist and future prime minister, Manmohan Singh as his finance minister. 

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (Telugu: పాములపర్తి వెంకట నరసింహారావు) (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004), who was commonly known as P. V. Narasimha Rao, served as the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.[1] He led one of the most important administrations in India’s modern history, overseeing a major economic transformation and several incidents affecting national security.[2] Rao accelerated the dismantling of the Licence Raj. Rao, also called the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms,”[3] is best remembered for launching India’s free market reforms that rescued the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse.[4] He was also commonly referred to as the Chanakya of modern India for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.[5][6]

Rao’s term as Prime Minister was an eventful one in India’s history. Besides marking a paradigm shift from the industrializing, mixed economic model of Jawaharlal Nehru to a market driven one, his years as Prime Minister also saw the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a major right-wing party, as an alternative to the Indian National Congress which had been governing India for most of its post-independence history. Rao’s term also saw the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya which triggered one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the country since its independence.[7]

Rao’s later life was marked by political isolation due to his association with corruption charges. Rao was acquitted on all charges prior to his death in 2004 of a heart attack in New Delhi. He was cremated in Hyderabad.[8]

Early life

P.V. Narasimha Rao had “humble social origins”.[5] He was born in a Telugu Niyogi Brahmin family at Vangara village in the present-day Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh(then part of Hyderabad State).[5] [9] His father P. Ranga Rao and mother Rukminiamma hailed from agrarian families.[5]

Narasimha Rao was popularly known as PV. He studied Bachelor’s in arts college, subedari in warangal, and later on went to Fergusson College at the Universities of Mumbai Nagpur where he done Master’s degree in law.[9][10] He could speak 13 languages including Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Oriya with a fluency akin to a native speaker.[11] His mother tongue was Telugu. In addition to eight Indian languages, he spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian.[12] Along with his distant cousin Pamulaparthi Sadasiva Rao, Ch. Raja Narendra and Devulapalli Damodar Rao, PV edited a Telugu weekly magazine called Kakatiya Patrika in the 1940s.[13] PV and Sadasiva Rao used to contribute articles under the pen-name Jaya-Vijaya.[13] [14]

Narasimha Rao has three sons and five daughters. His eldest son P.V. Rangarao was an education minister in Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy cabinet and MLA from HanmaKonda Assembly Constituency for two terms. His second son P.V. Rajeshwar Rao was a Member of Parliament of the 11th Lok Sabha (15 May 1996-4 December 1997) from Secunderabad Constituency.[15] [16]

Political career

Narasimha Rao was an active freedom fighter during the Indian Independence movement[9] and joined full time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. Narasimha Rao served brief stints in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet (1962–1971) and as Chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh (1971–1973).[10]. His tenure as Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is well remembered even today for his land reforms and strict implementation of land ceiling acts in Telangana region. President rule had to imposed to face the ‘Jai Andhra’ movement during his tenure.

When the Indian National Congress split in 1969 Rao stayed on the side of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and remained loyal to her during the Emergency period (1975–77).[12] He rose to national prominence in 1972 for handling several diverse portfolios, most significantly Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs (1980–1984), in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.[10] In fact it is speculated that he was in the running for the post of India’s President along with Zail Singh in 1982.[17]

Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that made him make a comeback.[18] As the Congress had won the largest number of seats in the 1991 elections, he got the opportunity to head the minority government as Prime Minister. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years, the first to hail from South India and also the first from the state of Andhra Pradesh.[2][19] Since Rao had not contested the general elections, he then participated in a by-election in Nandyal to join the parliament. N.T.Rama Rao (then leader of the Chief Opposition party of Telugu Desam) did not want to put a contestant against Rao, because he was the First Prime Minister of India from Andhra Pradesh, and NTR did not want to create an obstacle on his path. By that, Rao won from Nandyal with a victory margin of a record 5 lakh (500,000) votes and his win was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records.[20][21] His cabinet included Sharad Pawar, himself a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post, as defence minister. He also broke convention by appointing a non-political economist and future prime minister, Manmohan Singh as his finance minister.

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