PV Narasimha Rao: 10 things you did not know about ‘modern India’s Chanakya’

Narasimha Rao could speak 9 Indian languages and 8 foreign languages.

Written by Adrija Roychowdhury | New Delhi | Updated: October 4, 2016 11:55:14 am
Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao addressing the press conference. Express archive photo by Arun Jetlie Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao addressing the press conference. Express archive photo by Arun Jetlie

P V Narasimha Rao ascended into Prime Ministerial office at a time when India was stuck at its worst phase of economic turmoil. His keen foresight had initiated India to a path of liberalization, the ripples of which are felt by the country till date. Apart from being an astute politician, he was also a polyglot and a fond writer.

As we celebrate the 95th anniversary of the father of Indian economic reforms, here are a list of ten things you need to know about him:

1. Narasimha Rao was popularly called “modern day’s Chanakya” for being a visionary and steering in tough economic and political reforms at a time when India was going through one of the severest economic crises.

2. He could speak 9 Indian languages (Telugu, Hindi, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu) and 8 foreign languages ( English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian).

3. He was the first Prime Minister of India to have hailed from Andhra Pradesh (present day Telengana).

4. Under Rao’s governance, the Rupee was made convertible on trade account.

5. The idea of a nuclear test in India was first mooted by Narsimha Rao, though it was implemented by Atal Bihari Vyajpayee.

Rao was close to several BJP leaders, from Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi, to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Rao was close to several BJP leaders, from Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi, to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat

In Pictures: PV Narasimha Rao: The PM who opened India’s doors to liberalisation

6. Rao played a vital role in the freedom struggle against the Nizam who ruled Hyderabad during the 1940s.

7. He along with his cousin, edited a Telugu weekly magazine called Kakatiya Patrika from 1948 to 1955.

8. A number of ministers across parties, including BJP leader Subramanian Swamy supported Rao’s name for the Bharat Ratna.

9. He initiated the ‘look East’ policy. It was during his tenure that India first recognized and revived its links with South-East Asia.

10. Narasimha Rao was the first PM of India to lead a minority government for a full term.

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