Famous Personalities : PV Narasimha Rao

PV Narasimha Rao

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao, popularly known as P.V. Narasimha Rao was the ninth Prime Minister of India during 1991-1996.

P.V. Narasimha Rao is a multifaceted personality being a scholar of repute, polyglot in Telugu, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Sanskrit, Persian and English, a politician of high caliber and journalist of courage and integrity.

P.V. Narasimha Rao was born at Warangal on 28 June 1921. His father Ranga Rao was a man of means and cultured tastes. Narasimha Rao had his early education at Warangal and Hyderabad. In 1938 he participated in the popular Vande Mataram agitation launched by the students of the Osmania University. Having drawn into the vortex of the freedom struggle and State politics of Hydera­bad, he never looked back. For participating in the Vande Mataram Move­ment he was expelled from the Osmania University. He therefore had to complete his studies at Nagpur and Poona and took B.Sc. LL.B., degrees.

After his studies Narasimha Rao was drawn into the popular resistance movement against the autocratic rule of the Nizam. The movement was spearheaded by the Communist-dominated Andhra Maha Sabha. Narasimha Rao being a Gandhian by temperament could not adjust himself in the Andhra Maha Sabha. So in 1946, when the ban against the State Congress was lifted, he joined that organization as the camp follower of Swami Ramananda Tirtha. When the State Congress launched ‘Join India’ Move­ment, Narasimha Rao gave up his law practice and involved himself fully in the last phase of the Freedom Struggle and organized the border camp set up at Chanda.

After the ‘Police Action’ on Hyderabad, Narasimha Rao held a number of positions in the Congress organization. During the years 1949-50 he was the President of the Karimnagar District Congress Committee. In 1952 he was elevated to the position of the General Secretary of the Hyderabad State Congress Committee. After the formation of Andhra Pradesh he became the Vice-President of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee. From that time onwards he became a well-known figure in the State politics.

From 1957 to 1977 Narasimha Rao was the member of the A.P. Legisla­tive Assembly. From 1962 to September 1971 he functioned as minister holding different portfolios like Law, Hindu Religious Endowments and Education. It is as a Minister for Education that Narasimha Rao left his impress on Andhra Pradesh. The switchover to Telugu from English as the medium of instruction at Degree level was effected during his tenure of office as Education Minister. He was instrumental in the establishment of a number of public school type residential schools for meritorious but economically poor students. On the same pattern the silver Jubilee College was established at Kurnool for the undergraduates.

Narasimha Rao became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 30 September 1971. He was the first person from the Telangana region to occupy this position. Soon after assuming office he had to face a Separatist agitation known as the “Jai Andhra’ Movement” which demanded the bifurcation of the state. The upshot of the agitation was the resignation of Narasimha Rao’s ministry in January 1972 and the imposition of President’s rule over Andhra Pradesh.

After his exit from State politics, Narasimha Rao made his entry into national politics when he functioned as the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee from December 1974 to January 1976. In the Sixth General Elections of March 1977, Narasimha Rao was elected to the Lok Sabha from Hanumankonda constituency. When Indira Gandhi was returned to power in 1980, Narasimha Rao became her automatic choice for the prestigious position of Minister for External Affairs. Very soon he reached the position of number two in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet.

After the great tragedy of October 1984, Narasimha Rao was able to maintain rapport with the new Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and maintain his position as number two in the Cabinet.

In spite of his active political life, Narasimha Rao found time for his literary pursuits. He translated the famous Telugu novel Veyi Padagalu into Hindi under the title Sahasra Phan and won award from the Government of India.

P.V. Narasimha Rao died on 23rd of December, 2004 at New Delhi.

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