In 1991, as an engineering student on vacation to my parent’s place in Delhi, I remember my stunned mother telling me about Rajiv Gandhi’s demise at the hands of an assassin. She was finding it hard to control her tears. He was regaining popularity that time, and one believed, he was all set to come back to power.
While driving back from Vellore few days back, we decided to stop at the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur. This is at the same spot where he lived his last. The memorial is built over a large area on the Chennai Bangalore highway.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi statue at the traffic island near the Rajiv Gandhi memorial. The inscription at the memorial reads that Rajiv Gandhi had just garlanded this statue and moved on the meeting venue when the incident happened.
Sriperumbudur has a positive claim to fame too, which is that it is the birth place of
the great mathematician, Srinivas Ramanujam Vaishnavite Guru Sri Ramanujacharya.
I stand at the entrance of the memorial. It is written as Rajiv Gandhi Ninaivakam. Whoever designed it had great aesthetic sense indeed.
We had reached some time before the sunset when the national flag was being lowered down for the day with the respect it deserves. That’s my daughter watching it with attention. The flag is indeed huge in size. I estimate it to be about 20 feet width. The staff holding it is also almost a feet in diameter at the base.
The inscription at the memorial, that I read several times. It is written in English, Hindi and Tamil. I read it in English and Hindi.
This is the path on which Rajiv Gandhi took his last walk. The white box in the center represents the place where his end came. The columns are high and strong, as if protecting someone in the center. No two columns are alike, yet, like the diversity of India, they stand united on common purpose. Very touching.
As we left the place, we were quite stirred. There was silence in the car for quite some time.
Salute to the fallen leader.