Born On: March 10, 1945
Born In: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died On: September 30, 2001
Madhavrao Scindia, one of the most prominent politicians from the Congress family of the Indian political scenario, was a very popular minister, holding a record of winning every election that he contested in the country, even the ones before he became a part of the Congress Party. Madhavrao Scindia was the son of the last Maharaja of Gwalior. He belonged to the royal Scindia family of Gwalior, the rulers of the state before India secured independence in the year 1947. Madhavrao succeeded his father as maharaja of the ancient princely state of Gwalior. However, after independence and the abolishment of the royalty, the region was absorbed by independent India in 1948 and incorporated into the modern state of Madhya Pradesh in 1956. This propelled him to enter politics which later formed his identity and became the sole purpose of his existence.
Madhavrao Scindia was born to Maharaja Jivaji Rao Scindia, the last ruler of Gwalior in British dominated India. Two years after he was born on March 10, 1945, India got its freedom from British rule and Maharaja Jivaji Rao Scindia agreed to the terms put forward by the British government to make the state of Gwalior part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Madhavrao Scindia received his primary school education at the Scindia School in Gwalior, an institution founded by the royal Scindia family. He completed his education at Winchester School and graduated from Oxford University before returning to India to take up politics as a profession. Madhavrao Scindia followed the footsteps of his mother Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia and became an integral part of Indian politics. Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia contested in the Lok Sabha elections and also won a seat in the lower house of the Indian Parliament, a tradition which would later be adopted by her son Madhavrao Scindia.
Madhavrao Scindia was 26 years of age when he contested and won the first Lok Sabha election of his life. In the year 1971, Madhavrao Scindia contested the elections from the Guna constituency and went on to win a seat in the lower house of the Parliament. In 1971, began his nine year term in India's Parliament, during the span of which Madhavrao Scindia did not lose a single election. His first election was as an independent candidate of the Jan Sangh, a party that had been patronized by the royal Scindia family for a very long time. It was in 1977 that Madhavrao Scindia became a part of the Congress Party, in spite of the resistance put forward by his family. But Madhavrao Scindia always took care to avoid clashes with his mother who was still with the Jan Sangh party and for this purpose he always contested elections from Guna rather than Gwalior.
Madhavrao Scindia was made Congress' candidate from Gwalior in the year 1984 to help Congress to win against Bharatiya Janata Party, which had Atal Behari Vajpayee as its candidate. The 1984 elections made it clear that Madhavrao Scindia was still loved and respected in Gwalior after he won by a huge margin, compelling him to contest further elections from Gwalior in subsequent years. His win in the 1984 elections gave Madhavrao Scindia the first taste of ministry. Madhavrao Scindia was elected the Railways Minister in the government of Rajiv Gandhi and he was instrumental in bringing about much needed changes in different segments of the Indian Railways. The modernization and computerization of the Indian Railways started during Madhavrao Scindia's term as the railway minister.
Madhavrao Scindia served as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from 1990 to 1993. In the year 1991, after P V Narasimha Rao was elected as the Prime Minister of India, Madhavrao Scindia was appointed the Minister of Civil Aviation. His stint in office was not a very pleasant one what with the opposition that Madhavrao Scindia received from different ranks of the staff of Indian Airlines. Madhavrao Scindia realized very early as the civil aviation minister that discipline was the key to ending the agitation that had largely hit the Indian Airlines. He went about doing this by leasing a large number of aircraft from Russia. The crash of a Russian aircraft in the year 1992 unleashed fresh criticism on Madhavrao Scindia forcing him to resign from his post of civil aviation minister.
Madhavrao Scindia returned to the ministerial cabinet in the year 1995 as the minister for Human Resource Development. During his term as the HRD minister, Madhavrao Scindia secured the establishment of the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM). In the year 1996, Madhavrao Scindia became a part of the United Front government along with other Congress candidates like Arjun Singh. Although his Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress was part of the U.F., Scindia himself opted to stay out of the Cabinet, his chief aim being to return to Congress and renew old political ties. Madhavrao Scindia did so after the end of P V Narasimha Rao's career as Congress president. Such was his influence and role as a political leader that Scindia was soon viewed as a potential prime ministerial candidate. However, this hope was soon flattened as he succumbed to a tragic death.
Madhavrao Scindia belonged to the royal family of Gwalior and retained his royal titles even after the annexation of Gwalior into Madhya Pradesh after India's independence. However, he had to relinquish the titles after 1980, with Indira Gandhi coming to power as India's Prime Minister and the rule of abolition of all royal titles in the country. Madhavrao Scindia was one of the most popular and respected leaders within the Congress party. Several within the political family and also outside it considered Madhavrao Scindia as a potential future Prime Minister of India. However, his untimely demise put an end to the hopes of several politicians and common men.
Madhavrao Scindia shared two children Jyotiraditya Scindia and Chitrangada Raje Singh with his wife Madhavi Raje. While Jyotiraditya Scindia went on to become a Member of Parliament and is presently the Minister of State, Commerce and Industry in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, Chitrangada Raje Singh is married to the crown prince of Kashmir. Madhavrao Scindia's flourishing education and learning was reflected in the activities he liked to undertake in spite of remaining busy with several ministerial activities. Madhavrao Scindia never forgot to promote literary activities in India. While political meetings were a part of his daily life, Madhavrao Scindia always made it a point to attend literary and cultural functions. The poet buried within Madhavrao Scindia came alive in these programs where he also entertained people by reciting Urdu poetry and shayari.
Madhavrao Scindia breathed his last in a tragic accident that took place in the year 2001. A plane crash took away his life on September 30, 2001 leaving the Congress party bereft of one of its most important leaders. After his death son Jyotiraditya Scindia became the head of the Scindia family through the completion of a Hindu ceremony when the Gwalior king's turban was handed over to Jyoritaditya Scindia.
1945: Madhavrao Scindia was born on March 10.
1971: Contested the first Lok Sabha elections from the Guna constituency.
1977: Joined the Congress party.
1980: Relinquished royal title during the term of Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister.
1984: Became Congress' candidate from Gwalior and won elections against Atal Behari Vajpayee.
1984: Elected the Railways Minister of India.
1990: Became President of Board of Control for Cricket in India.
1991: Elected the Minister of Civil Aviation.
1992: Faced high criticism when Russian aircraft brought to India by Madhavrao Scindia crashed.
1995: Elected Minister for Human Resource and Development.
1996: Became a part of the United Front.
2001: Died in a place crash on September 30.