PV Narashima Rao Biography
Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao was born on the 28th of June, 1921 in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) and was an Indian lawyer and a politician. P. V. Narasimha Rao in his political tenure as a member of the Indian National Congress ascended as the ninth Prime Minister
of India for a tenure of six years from 1991 to 1996. The stepping of P. V. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister was marked a milestone and was significant in its own right in the history of Indian politics as it was for the first time that a candidate from the non-Hindi speaking region form the Southern quadrant of the country was elected the Prime Minister. India under the leadership of P. V. Narasimha Rao saw tremendous changes mostly in the areas of economics and national security and is very often called as the ‘Father of Economic Reforms’ in the Indian context. P. V. Narasimha Rao along with Dr. Manmohan Singh was responsible in guiding India into the new age of globalization by liberalization of the Indian Economy. This enabled India to thrust its economic progress and was one of the pivotal decisions that shaped India into a global economic superpower that it is today. P. V. Narasimha Rao in his tenure as the Prime Minister exhibited the characteristics of a humble grounded leader that won him the respect and affection of the country. The eleventh President of India Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam depicted P. V. Narasimha Rao as a "patriotic statesman who believed that the nation is bigger than the political system".
Early life of PV Narasimha Rao:
P. V. Narasimha Rao was born in the village of Bheemadevaralli Mandal located in the district of Karimnagar in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh that currently happens to be a territory of the state of Telangana. Before becoming a prominent member of the Indian National Congress after the independence of India from the British Raj, P. V. Narasimha Rao actively took part in protests and demonstrations against the colonial administration. P. V. Narasimha was an active student leader where he spearheaded many satyagrahi movements in the different localities of the previous state of Andhra Pradesh as a mark of dissent against the draconian British administration of exploitation and impoverishment the people of the Indian subcontinent. P. V. Narasimha Rao was also an active participant of the Vande Mataram Movement that took place in the 1930s in the state of Hyderabad. As a result, there were many instances where he along with his companions was arrested by the British officials amidst their acts of protests. P.V. Narasimha had a tremendous caliber for languages. Though is mother tongue was Telegu, he had superior command over nine other Indian languages apart from six foreign languages. This arsenal enabled P. V. Narasimha Rao write for a Telegu weekly magazine along with his cousins Raja Narendra and Pamulaparthi Sadasiva Rao. The trio regularly participated in adding articles in the weekly journal under the pen-name of ‘Jaya-Vijaya’.
Family, personal life and outlook:
P. V. Narasimha Rao was born on the 28th of June, 1921 to Pamulaparthi Sitarama Rao, his father, and Pamulaparthi Rukmini, his mother. Both his parents were form agrarian families. He was from extremely humble social origins and went on to pursue his education where he subsequently got deeply intertwined with both his books and the quest of the independence in the fight for freedom for India. P. V. Narasimha Rao married Satyamma Rao who unfortunately passed away in the year 1970. Their marriage bore eight children. They were P. V. Ranga Rao, P.V. Rajeshwar Rao, P.V. Prabhakar Rao, Vani Dayakar Rao, Saraswathi Sarath, Jaya Nandan, Vijaya Prasad and Sharada Venkata Kishan Rao. His eldest son, Late P. V. Ranga Rao happened to be the Minister of Education in the Cabinet of Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy and was also a Member of Legislative Assembly from the Constituency of Hanamakonda. His second son, Late P.V. Rajeshwar Rao was also a Member of Parliament from the Lok Sabha Constituency of Secunderabad from the 15th of May 1996 to the 4th of December 1997 for the 11th Lok Sabha.
Overview of the education of P. V. Narashima Rao:
P. V. Narasimha accomplished is primary schooling from the village of Katkuru of the Bheemdevarapalli Mandal located in the Karimnagar District under the stewardship of his relative Gabbeta Radhakishan Rao. He soon went on to enroll himself in a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities at the Osmania University in the city of Hyderabad. After completing his graduation, P. V. Narsimha Rao further pursued higher studies where he completed his Master’s Degree in Law from Hislop College that is today affiliated to the Nagpur University. P. V. Narashima Rao is known to have phenomenal linguistic skills. His multilingual abilities were beyond match where he mastered ten Indian languages with and additional six foreign tongues. Apart from Telegu, which was his mother tongue, P. V. Narasimha Rao spoke Marathi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Oriya, Tamil and Kannada. To further add to his linguistic prowess, P. V. Narasimha Rao was also comfortable with Persian, Spanish, German, French, English and Arabic. P. V. Narasimha Rao was engaged in the freedom struggle for India’s independence long before he became a mainstream member of the Indian National Congress. Needless to say, his impeccable command over the languages made him a very effective orator where he could communicate effortlessly to the regional population making him an extremely successful frontrunner of the local masses.
Political Journey of P. V. Narasimha Rao:
P. V. Narasimha Rao’s political journey began at a relatively nascent stage before he had the membership of a major national party. From as early as the 1930s, P. V. Narasimha Rao along with other freedom fighters regularly protested against the colonial government and their administration. He was one of the prominent members of the Vande Mataram Movement that the state of Hyderabad Movement saw in the 1930s. His frequency in the miscellaneous political mobilizations related to the freedom movement frequently got him arrested. However, this did not deter him to continue his quest as a freedom fighter for India’s independence. His abilities as a polyglot helped him tremendously to stir the local masses as well. After India gained independence, P. V. Narasimha Rao officially became affiliated to the Indian National Congress. Soon after, he took the responsibilities of the Chief Minister of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh from 1971 to 1973. Andhra Pradesh under P. V. Narasimha Rao saw land reforms with the effective implementation of land ceiling acts especially in the region recognized as Telangana today. As a Minister of the Union Cabinet, he also held a multitude of port folios related to the Home Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry among the others. P. V. Narasimha Rao was a Minister of the Union Cabinet for both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi when they were Prime Ministers respectively. After the ghastly assassination of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the year 1991, it was P. V. Narasimha Rao who succeeded as the Prime Minister after the Congress having won the largest number of seats in the elections of 1991. He was the first non-Hindi speaking Prime Minister to hail from the southern region of the country in the history of India politics and served a full tenure from 1991 to 1996. P. V. Narasimha Rao then took part in the by-election in Nandyal in order to join the Parliament as he had previously not contested in the General Elections. With a record victory backed by a margin of well above five lakh votes, P. V. Narasimha Rao emerged victorious from Nandyal. One of the most important decisions of P. V. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister was the appointment of a non-political candidate as the Minister of Finance. Thus the renowned economist Dr. Manmohan Singh and P. V. Narasimha Rao profoundly shaped India’s New Economic Policy where they saved the country from slipping into the looming abyss of debt and economic crisis. It was P. V. Narasimha Rao who chaired the session of the Indian National Congress at Tirupati in the year 1992.
Role and contribution of P. V. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister:
The influences of P. V. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister are immense. However, he is most well recognized for the economic reforms under his tenure. He along with the appointed Minister of Finance, Dr. Manmohan Singh played an instrumental role in liberalizing the country’s economy. The changing global economic forces along with the earlier model of the country’s economy led to a tremendous strain to the Indian economy and a calamity-like scenario that was to come if no action was taken. The Singh-Rao duo was quick to foresee the impending catastrophe and in order to prevent such a predicament formulated the New Economic Policy of 1991 that involved encouraging Foreign Direct Investments, deregulating local businesses, reforming capital markets and transforming the then existing trade regime of the country. Apart from the privatization efforts of the public sector, the aim was also to bring down the fiscal deficit of the country. These economic policies saved the country from slipping into international debt and subsequently helped India to gradually transform into a global economic superpower. Some of the important economic strategies executed by P. V. Narasimha Rao’s government under the expertise of Dr. Manmohan Singh are as follows:
- Introducing the SEBI Act of 1992 and the Security Laws (Amendment) which gave SEBI the legal authority to register and regulate all security market intermediaries.
- Abolishing the Controller of Capital Issues in the year 1992 which decided the prices and number of shares that firms could issue.
- Opening up of India's equity markets to investment by foreign institutional investors in the year 1992 and permitting Indian firms to raise capital on international markets by issuing Global Depository Receipts (GDRs).
- Starting of the National Stock Exchange as a computer-based trading system in the year 1994 which served as an instrument to leverage reforms of India's other stock exchanges. The NSE emerged as India's largest exchange by 1996.
- Reducing tariffs from an average of 85 percent to 25 percent, and rolling back quantitative controls where the rupee was made convertible on trade account.
- Encouraging foreign direct investment by increasing the maximum limit on share of foreign capital in joint ventures from 40 to 51% with 100% foreign equity permitted in priority sectors.
- Streamlining procedures for FDI approvals, and in at least 35 industries, automatically approving projects within the limits for foreign participation.
Apart from the New Economic Policy, P. V. Narasimha Rao played an important part in synthesizing the diplomacy policy of the country in the volatile post-Cold War period. He also initiated India’s ‘Look East’ policy that brought India to a better vicinity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He also pushed for matters related to the National Nuclear Security and India’s ballistic missile programs and it was due to his efforts that gave way to the nuclear tests of Pokhran in the year 1998. P. V. Narasimha Rao is also applauded for the post-disaster management of the 1993 Mumbai Blasts where he personally visited the sites that were sabotaged and invited the intelligence agencies of the other countries like the UK and the US to carry out independent investigations amidst the Indian counter-terrorist personnel.
Challenges faced while in the Office of Prime Minister:
- The tenure of P. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister was not a frictionless one and was marked by numerous challenges around the country. One of them was the awaiting economic crisis that was promptly averted thanks to the New Economic Policy of 1991 under the advice of the then Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
- His tenure also witnessed the infamous incident of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on the 6th of December, 1992 that resulted in one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the history of India. This incident was primarily incited by the Vishva Hindu Parishad that called for the nation wide support to claim the mosque that stood over the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’ eventually leading to the destruction of the Mosque and causing mass riots across the country.
- The year of 1993 also witnessed the wrath of an intense earthquake in the Latur region of Maharashtra. The disaster took the life of over ten thousand individuals and caused the displacement of thousands. P. V. Narasimha Rao was quick in the correction of the damages that involved well organized relief operations with the aid of modern technology and schemes for infrastructure and economic re-establishment.
Corruption charges and acquittal:
In the year 1993, P. V. Narasimha Rao’s Government faced a no-confidence motion where the opposition accused the ruling government to lack sufficient numbers for a clear majority. P. V. Narasimha Rao was accused of bribing the members of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to vote for his favour in the trial of the no-confidence motion. The investigations began subsequently after P. V. Narasimha Rao completed his tenure as the Prime Minister in the year 1996. However, in the year 2002, the Delhi High Court cleared all the charges of Rao due to the lack of credibility of certain evidences that asserted the folly of P. V. Narasimha Rao. He was also accused in a case of forgery where that involved the manipulation of certain documents that spoke of Ajeya Singh opening a bank account in the First Trust Corporation Bank in St. Kitts where he $21 million, making his father V. P. Singh its beneficiary. The investigation was carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation and no sooner after a couple of months, P. V. Narasimha Rao was acquitted on grounds of lack of substantial evidence against him.
Achievements and awards of P. V. Narasimha Rao:
The achievements of P. V. Narasimha Rao are numerous. The best known is his foresightedness to see the mammoth economic doom that was waiting to happen. His quick mitigation measures with the advice of Dr. Manmohan Singh led to the implementation of the New Economic Policy of 1991 that not only saved the Indian economy but further gave it the trajectory to be one of the superpowers in the years to follow. Being a linguistic master of a plethora of languages, both Indian and foreign, P. V. Narasimha translated one of the most prominent literary works of Telegu, ‘Veyipadagalu’ of Kavi Samraat Viswanatha Satyanarayana into Hindi as ‘Sahasraphan’. His translations also include Narayan Apte's ‘Pan Lakshat Kon Gheto?’, a Marathi novel that he paraphrased in Telugu.
P. V. Narasimha Rao died after suffering from heart attack on the 9th of December,2004. He was admitted in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he passed away fourteen days after the heart attack at the age of eighty three. His funeral took place in the Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad where his last rites were observed by his family members and other dignitaries. The Telangana Government declared his birthday to be rejoiced as a State function in the year 2014. A memorial of P. V. Narasimha Rao has been erected at the Ekta Sthal in Delhi. The tablet on his memorial reads, “Known as the scholar Prime Minister of India, Shri P V Narasimha Rao was born on 28th June, 1921 in Laknepalli Village, Warangal District in Telangana state. He rose to prominence as freedom fighter who fought the misrule of the Nizam during the formulative years of his political career. A reformer, educationist, scholar, conversant in 15 languages and known for his intellectual contribution, he was called the ‘Brihaspati’ (wiseman) of Andhra Pradesh.”