Rajiv1987hit

Staff Correspondent | Published on October 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Time magazine, in its cover story (Aug.10, 1987), provided only a skimpy three sentence description of what happened to Rajiv Gandhi on July 30, 1987. To quote Time magazine’s reportage, “As the Prime Minister strode past the white-uniformed men of a Sri Lankan naval honor guard, one of the sailors suddenly broke ranks and swung at Gandhi with the butt of his rifle. The Prime Minister ducked and received only a glancing blow on the back of his neck and left shoulder. But if he escaped serious injury in the incident, for which the Sri Lankan government quickly apologized, the Prime Minister must have realized how much strife and distrust had been aroused by the pact he had just initialed – and how uncertain were its chances of success.” [p.7] This description was supplemented with the frontal view photo of Rajiv Gandhi leaning  forward and ducking to deflect the full force of the ‘about-to land’ rifle butt.

At the present moment, for understandable reasons of political prudence, neither the Indians nor the Sinhalese wish to be reminded of why Vijithamuni Rohana de Silva (a Sinhalese naval rating) attacked Rajiv Gandhi. Obviously, Indians were humiliated and that assassination attempt was a rude reality-check for the gung-ho spirit of the self-gloating India’s bureaucrats who were salivating to harvest much political mileage for their diplomatic triumph in Sri Lanka. Colombo’s political bigwigs of the day were embarassed beyond belief because they had been exposed by a slick operator as 'having no clothes' like the emperor in the Hans Christian Anderson story. Nevertheless, it is no secret that not an insignificant number of Sinhalese protesters (including some of the Cabinet ministers who publicly opposed the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord) would have silently gloated over Rajiv Gandhi’s mishap.

Time magazine, in its cover story (Aug.10, 1987), provided only a skimpy three sentence description of what happened to Rajiv Gandhi on July 30, 1987. To quote Time magazine’s reportage, “As the Prime Minister strode past the white-uniformed men of a Sri Lankan naval honor guard, one of the sailors suddenly broke ranks and swung at Gandhi with the butt of his rifle. The Prime Minister ducked and received only a glancing blow on the back of his neck and left shoulder. But if he escaped serious injury in the incident, for which the Sri Lankan government quickly apologized, the Prime Minister must have realized how much strife and distrust had been aroused by the pact he had just initialed – and how uncertain were its chances of success.” [p.7] This description was supplemented with the frontal view photo of Rajiv Gandhi leaning forward and ducking to deflect the full force of the ‘about-to land’ rifle butt.

At the present moment, for understandable reasons of political prudence, neither the Indians nor the Sinhalese wish to be reminded of why Vijithamuni Rohana de Silva (a Sinhalese naval rating) attacked Rajiv Gandhi. Obviously, Indians were humiliated and that assassination attempt was a rude reality-check for the gung-ho spirit of the self-gloating India’s bureaucrats who were salivating to harvest much political mileage for their diplomatic triumph in Sri Lanka. Colombo’s political bigwigs of the day were embarassed beyond belief because they had been exposed by a slick operator as ‘having no clothes’ like the emperor in the Hans Christian Anderson story. Nevertheless, it is no secret that not an insignificant number of Sinhalese protesters (including some of the Cabinet ministers who publicly opposed the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord) would have silently gloated over Rajiv Gandhi’s mishap.


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Rajiv1987hit

Time magazine, in its cover story (Aug.10, 1987), provided only a skimpy three sentence description of what happened to Rajiv Gandhi on July 30, 1987. ...