Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao served as the Prime Minister of India between 1991–1996 and was the first non-Hindi speaking PM of the country. He was India’s eighth prime minister. He oversaw one of India’s most turbulent phase in recent memory with relative success.
P V Narasimha Rao, had served as a senior minister in the cabinets of both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. He was also generally considered a suitable successor to Rajiv Gandhi. Beyond the identity of a lawyer-turned-politician, however, Rao also left behind the unmatchable legacy of a scholar and linguist.
On his birth anniversary, here’s a look at 10 facts about the former PM:
1. He was the first Prime Minister of India to have hailed from Andhra Pradesh.
2. Born on une 28, 1921, near Karimnagar, in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, PV Narasimha Rao went to Pune's Fergusson College. He then attended the Universities of Bombay and Nagpur, from where he received a degree in law.
3. Rao's mother tongue was Telugu and had an excellent command of Marathi. He could speak 8 Indian languages (Hindi, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu) and 8 foreign languages ( English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian).
4. He was also referred to as 'Chanakya' for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through Parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.
5. He joined the Congress Party as an activist to fight for independence from Britain and was also a member of the Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly. Before becoming India's prime minister, Rao represented Andhra Pradesh in the Lok Sabha.
6. The idea of a nuclear test in India was first mooted by Narsimha Rao, though it was implemented by Atal Bihari Vyajpayee.
7. After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, the Congress picked Rao as its chief and he then assumed charge as the prime minister. Rao started on his mission to reshape India's economy by transforming it into a free-market.
8. In May 1996, after the Congress Party lost the parliamentary elections by a huge margin, Rao resigned as prime minister.
9. Narasimha Rao was the first PM of India to lead a minority government for a full term.
10. He had laid the foundation for trade liberalisation and the re-integration of the Indian economy with the global economy.