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Rajiv Gandhi
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World Leader
    He left Cambridge without getting a degree.
    He originally had no interest in politics, but gave in to pressure from his mother.
    His comment on the anti-Sikh riots that broke out after Indira’s assassination (‘When a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it shakes a little.’) was widely criticized as condoning the violence.
    He would occasionally abandon his motorcade and drive off at high speeds, sometimes causing accidents when the other vehicles tried to catch up.
    He lost re-election following revelations that the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors had bribed members of his government to win defense contracts (1989).
    Initially, his younger brother Sanjay followed a career in politics while he became a pilot for Air India.
    He entered politics only after Sanjay died in a plane crash (1980).
    He increased government support for science and technology.
    He complained about government bureaucracy, ‘In this place, nobody feels responsible for anything.’
    His quick reflexes saved him from serious injury when a Sri Lankan guard swung his rifle at him; he ducked out of the way, with the rifle hitting him in the shoulder instead of the head (July 30, 1987).
    He was killed at a campaign rally by a suicide bomber from the Tamil Tigers.

Credit: C. Fishel

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