The night of May 21, 1991, was a different night alltogether. The sky was filled with thunderous clouds, incessant rain and howling winds were making the night frightful. It was 11 in the night when my father, who was on election duty, came suddenly and gave us the sad news that the beloved leader of the nation Rajiv Gandhi was killed. He was shaking like a leaf and cried like a child. Such was the effect of the assassination of the century. Every single person who heard the news of the incident was in shock. Never in the history of world politics, was a leader assassinated so mercilessly.
On that fateful night, journalist Neena Gopal had finished just one part of an interview with Rajiv Gandhi the last of his life when his car reached the election rally at Sriperumbudur. Moments later, Rajiv Gandhi was dead, blown up by suicide bomber Dhanu, irrevocably changing the course of Indian politics, as Neena Gopal, just yards behind him, watched in horror. In the book The Assasination of Rajiv Gandhi, Gopal reconstructs the chain of events in India and at the LTTE s headquarters in Sri Lanka where the assassination plot was hatched, and follows the trail of investigation that led to the assassins being brought to justice. Drawing on extensive interviews, research and her own vast experience as a journalist, she deftly establishes the background the shortsightedness of India s Sri Lanka policy; the friction between the intelligence agencies and between the agencies and the external affairs ministry; the many warnings that went unheeded; and the implacable hatred that LTTE supremo Prabhakaran felt for Rajiv Gandhi. Bringing all these complex threads together, the book takes us step by step to Sriperumbudur as Rajiv Gandhi walked inexorably to his death on that tragic May evening twenty-seven years ago.
The Assasination of Rajiv Gandhi
By: Neena Gopal
published by: Penguin Random House India
Rajiv Gandhi was one leader, who was seen as the messiah of the poor at the time of his assassination. The high point of his previous tenure are many—he was elected with one of the biggest majorities in Indian political history, he forged peace with the Sikhs, extended a hand of friendship to the Mizos, reached out to Islamabad and Beijing, took the first steps towards empowering the poorest of the poor of the country by introducing panchayati raj and was exponential in understanding the potential of the middle class of the country—but his misadventures in Sri Lanka did him in.
In a nutshell, this book is a gripping account of one of the craziest, in humanitarian, in fact barbarian act of the century. The book describes how the conspiracy was hatched and accomplished in very detailed manner and a must read for all those who has interest in political history of this country.
By Nilabh Krishna