Prime Minister of India (Silent Key)
QSL card with the courtesy of IT9AZS
OM.Rajiv Gandhi lived a short life. He entered the political arena after the death of his brother Sanjay Gandhi and the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi casted him into the Prime Minister's mould. With an eye for craftsmanship and a well-developed and pragmatic design sense his tastes were eclectic and universal. He won lot of admiration in India and abroad. In the year 1988 then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi alongwith his Pakistani counterpart, Ms. Benazir Bhutto, were counted amongst the 22 most elegant people in the world at the 13th annual "Best Of World" ceremony held in Paris.
It was only in 1984 when OM. Rajiv Gandhi, VU2RG (now this callsign has been assigned to club station of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation), who was a ham himself, became Prime Minister of India, import duty for wireless equipment was low for amateur radio operators. This gave a fillip to amateur radio and with that the ham population started rising. Today it has crossed the 10,000 mark. OM. Rajiv Gandhi was a keen enthusiast of HAM RADIO and was in touch with friends through Amateur Radio all over the world. He avidly pursued the interest since 1974, when he received his amateur Radio Licence. OM. Rajiv Gandhi, in his short span of five years in office as Prime Minister of India, galvanised India by awakening in its desire to move purposefully into the 21st century. He was instrumental in promoting Amateur Radio activities in India. And also He was a moderniser and reformer.
The former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was an active amateur radio operator even at the hieght of a busy political like and was committed to the promotion of HAM Radio activities, recalled YL. Sonia Gandhi, VU2SON, chairperson, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Till a few hours before his assassination, he was 'on air,' making his last call from Visakhapatnam on May 21, 1991 in the midst of a hectic election tour, she said. He used the HAM radio intensively while flying around as the Prime Minsiter.
YL. Sonia Gandhi was speaking at the valedictroy function of the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial SEANET 96, the 24th international convention of amateur radio operators. Organised by the Madras Amateur Radio Society (MARS) in Chennai on 1996. Recounting her late husband's involvement with HAM Radio, she said Rajiv Gandhi used to derive immense pleasure from operating radio. In the early years of their life, when he was still a pilot with the Indian Airlines, he used to assemble has own equipment. He even forced her to learn the operation of radio which their children also mastered later.
Though he was hard-pressed for time after joining politics and later becoming the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi did not leave the hobby. While he was the Prime Minister, he onced picked up a call to Red Cross from Bangladesh which was badly hit by a storm. he immediately requested the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) to offer their network for relief operations. Her husband was also devoted to the promotion of HAM, Mrs. Gandhi said. he had allocated resources for its spread and training in radio operation through selected institutions.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has been set up to propagate his vision and ideals. The Foundation acts as a catalyst and plays a significant role in areas of national development like promotion of Science and Technology, Literacy and various other projects aimed at aiding the under privileged. The Foundation is committed to his dream and vision for a strong and developed India.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, in collabration with the National Institute of Amateur Radio started the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Amateur Radio Club (VU2RG) on 12th April 1994 at New Delhi. The RGF Amateur Radio Club also took steps to promote HAM Radio, through NIAR it helped radio clubs in training, creating an awareness, organising demonstrations and conferences and instituting awards. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Amateur Radio Awards had been won by many HAM radio enthusiasts.
Chairperson of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation
YL.Sonia Gandhi (VU2SON) given away the Best Performance Amateur Radio Award to
OM. V.Palaniappan (VU2 PKV) at her residence on 20th August 1996 (Birthday of Late Rajiv Gandhi).