India Insight

Rajiv Chowk: that’s Rajiv Gandhi, not Goswami, Wikipedia

Rajiv Gandhi was the former prime minister of India. Rajiv Goswami was a Delhi student who set himself on fire in 1990 to protest job reservations for India’s so-called backward classes. Gandhi has a place named for him in the middle of New Delhi: Rajiv Chowk.

This is true everywhere but on Wikipedia. The online, user-maintained site’s entries for Rajiv Chowk (formerly Connaught Place), which is in Delhi’s central business district, and the city’s busiest metro station, say both were named after Rajiv Goswami.

The colonial-era Connaught Place, designed to resemble two concentric circles with a manicured park in the centre, was renamed by a Congress-led government in 1995. The inner circle was named Rajiv Chowk after Rajiv Gandhi, the former Congress prime minister killed by a suicide bomber in 1991. The outer circle was called Indira Chowk to honour his mother Indira, who had been assassinated nearly a decade earlier.

Regardless of the errors on the two Wikipedia pages, Rajiv Gandhi is in no danger of losing his status as India’s most commemorated political figure – at least in terms of government schemes.

Although the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad looks set to be named after a former regional leader, the newly elected government under Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is apparently not interested in renaming government schemes that carry the Gandhi or Nehru names.

Mr Pranab Mukherjee, did we hear ‘austerity’?

India is going through a rough patch. The common man knows it, foreign investors know it and so does our government.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also one of the contenders for the post of president, has been trying his best to clear the air and restore the confidence to get the economy back on track.

In his recent Parliament speech, after he delayed the controversial GAAR norms, Mukherjee said new ‘austerity measures’ will be announced to aid the fiscal consolidation process.

What is Indira Gandhi’s legacy?

It is former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s 25th death anniversary on October 31. 

What was her legacy?

She was associated with events like the Emergency, which briefly made Gerald Ford head of the largest democracy in the world, and decades of militancy in Punjab.

Her policy of nationalising banks was mentioned as a reason why the Indian banking sector weathered the global financial crisis.

Should Nalini be released?

(UPDATE: Media reports say Nalini Sriharan may soon be freed)

Nalini Sriharan is currently serving a life sentence for her role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Part of Nalini’s plea is that she does not expect to live long due to her deteriorating health after spending nearly two decades in prison.

Nalini, her husband and two others were sentenced to death for conspiring to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Will the Gandhi magic work again?

The countdown has begun in India. As political pundits peer into their tea leaves before the results of another marathon election, the question on everybody’s lips is: will the Gandhi magic work again?

Exit polls show the coalition led by Sonia Gandhi will fall short of an outright majority, but her Congress party has a slight edge over its rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But then exit polls in India have been way off the mark in the past. Like the last election.

In the 2004 election, the Congress scored a shock victory over the BJP, which many said was a result of Sonia Gandhi’s tireless campaigning and, more importantly, the magic of the Gandhi name. Nobody, just about nobody, had expected the BJP to lose? Or the Congress to win. Not even the Congress itself.

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