Born On: February 10, 1945
Born In: Viadpura, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: June 11, 2000
Career: Political Leader
Little did a small guy named Rajesh Pilot realize that the house to which he sold milk on Akbar Road would one day be his own home! With strong views on democracy, honesty, and truth, Pilot never took credit for his success and instead, seized every opportunity to serve his country. Though he entered politics at a later stage, he managed to make a base and get popular amongst the masses instantly. His humble background, in particular, proved to be source of encouragement for the weaker section of the society. It was probably his charisma and passion for the downtrodden that helped him get identified with the aspirations of the people, particularly the poor and needy. Today, the nation remembers this politician as one of the most powerful, dignified, dynamic, and dedicated ministers of his time.
Rajesh Pilot was born as Rajeshwar Prasad Singh Vidhudi in the village of Viadpura in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh state. He was born to an army man, but was struck by tragedy at the tender age of 11 when his father died. With a mother, two sisters of marriageable age, and a younger brother to take care of, he moved to Delhi to live with his uncle. Rajesh spent his childhood days milking cows and distributing them in the Lutyen bungalows, only to get back home at evening and study under the light of the lamp-post. He even sold newspapers at traffic lights. No matter how hard and taxing life seemed to be, it did not deter the determination of this young gun to take care of his family. His honesty and courage helped him get both his sisters married and also, educate his younger brother, though the latter unfortunately died at the young age of 18. Rajesh joined Air Force and became a pilot, reaching the rank of Squadron Leader. It was at this time that he adopted the word “Pilot” as his last name.
Inspired and influenced by good friend Rajiv Gandhi, Pilot resigned from air Force and plunged into Indian politics. He first stood for Lok Sabha elections from Bharatpur, Rajasthan in 1980, successfully defeating the former queen of Bharatpur. He, subsequently, won the next Lok Sabha elections from Dausa, Rajasthan in 1984. Pilot served as the minister for Surface Transport from 1985 to 1989. Yet again in 1991, 1996, 1998, and 1999, Pilot contested for Lok Sabha elections from Dausa, Rajasthan and was successfully elected. During this period, he became the Minister of Telecommunications from 1991 to 1993 and Minister of Internal Security from 1993 to 1995 in the Government of India. Under his term as a Minister of Internal Security, Pilot got the famous controversial Indian tantrik Chandraswami arrested and imprisoned. He even visited Jammu & Kashmir and north-east very often as they were very close to him. Pilot considered Kashmir to be an integral part of India and hence, visited to ensure the local people that the government is taking interest in their issue. In June 1997, when elections were held for the post of Congress President, Pilot was defeated by Sitaram Kesri. However, he continued to serve in the party as a first line leader.
Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Trust
Rajesh Pilot established the Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Trust in 1987 with the aim of providing assistance to the poorest and most needy people in the society. Ever since the trust was launched, it has been continuously working for the improvement of the lives of the downtrodden, the backward and the economically weaker sections. It started giving financial assistance to orphaned children, poor students, war widows, handicaps, and aged people through monthly pensions. While the trust was working hard looking at all the aspects of supporting the needy, one segment that was yet to be looked after was health and medical facilities in villages. To overcome this aim, the trust set up a 45-bed hospital in Ghaziabad district of western Uttar Pradesh.
The hospital has been meeting the medical needs of numerous people, especially small farmers and laborers of the nearby villages. The trust also supports other small social organizations for the betterment of the society. Some of them include Kanya Vidhyala Khadri, Yamuna Nagar, Deodhar, Haryana; Mihir Bhoj Balika Degree College, Dadri, Uttar Pradesh; Vijay Singh Pathik Chhatrawas, Ballabh Nagar, Udaipur; Choudhary Salamudin Warsun Trust, Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir; Indian Red Cross Society Hospital, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh; SGAD Kh. Higher Secondary School, Taran Tara, Punjab; Muslim Orphange, Bangalore, Karnataka; and Rescue Children Foundation School, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Rajesh Pilot was enjoying his promising career serving in the Indian Government and taking care of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Trust. However, his career was cut short at the age of 55 when he was killed in a road accident near Bhandana Roadways in Davasa district of Rajasthan on June 11, 2000.
1945: Born in Viadpura, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
1956: Went to Delhi after father passed away
1980: Elected to Lok Sabha for the first time from Bharatpur
1984: Won Lok Sabha elections from Dausa, subsequently in 1991, 1996, 1998, and 1999 also
1985-89: Became Minister of Surface Transport
1987: Founded the Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Trust
1991-93: Served as the Minister of Telecommunications
1993-95: Served as the Minister of Internal Security
1997: Defeated by Sitaram Kesri in Congress President elections
2000: Died in a road accident on June 11 in Dausa, Rajasthan, aged 55