Shri Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao or popularly referred to as Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004) was a renowned Indian lawyer and prominent politician who served as the 10th Prime Minister of India from 1991 to 1996. His ascendancy to the Prime Ministership was politically significant in that he was the first holder of this office from South India. A reformer, educationist, scholar, conversant in 15 languages and known for his intellectual contribution, he was known as the ‘Brihaspati’ (wiseman) of then Andhra Pradesh.
Shri Rao, who held the Industries portfolio, was responsible for the dismantling of the Licence Raj, as this came under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He is often referred to as the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms”. Future Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh continued the economic reform policies pioneered by his government. Under his guidance was launched India’s globalisation angle of the reforms that implemented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies to rescue the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse. He could also be credited to be the Father of India’s Nuclear programme.
Shri Narasimha Rao hailed from a small village near Karimnagar (now in Telangana). His father, Pamulaparthi Sitarama Rao, and mother, Pamulaparthi Rukmini, hailed from agrarian families. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in the Arts college at the Osmania University. He was part of Vande Matram movement in late 1930s in the Hyderabad state. He later went on to Hislop College, now under Nagpur University, where he completed a Master’s degree in law. He completed his law from Fergusson College in Pune of the University of Bombay (now Mumbai)
Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao was an active freedom fighter during the Indian Independence movement and joined full-time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. He served in the Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly from 1957 to 1977, supporting Indira Gandhi in her split from the Congress Party organization in 1969; under the name Congress (I) Party in 1978. He held various ministerial positions in the Andhra Pradesh government from 1962 to 1973, including that of Chief Minister from 1971. In the latter post he implemented a revolutionary land-reform policy and secured political participation for the lower castes. He was elected to represent Andhra Pradesh districts in the Lok Sabha in 1972 and, under Smt. Indira Gandhi and Sri. Rajiv Gandhi, served in various ministries, notably as Foreign Minister.
After Rajiv Gandhi’s tragic demise in May 1991, the Congress (I) Party chose Shri Narasimha Rao as its leader, and he became India’s 10th Prime Minister after the general elections. His term as Prime Minister was an eventful one in India’s history. Besides marking a paradigm shift from the industrializing, mixed economic model to a market driven one.
Besides his political career, he was known as a distinguished scholar-intellectual who once was chairman of the Telugu Academy in Andhra Pradesh (1968–74). He was fluent in 6 languages and knew 15 languages, translated Hindi verses and books, and wrote fiction in Hindi, Marathi, and Telegu. His special interest was in Indian philosophy and culture, writing fiction and political commentary, learning languages, writing poems in Telugu and Hindi and keeping abreast of literature in general. He translated many famous works from Marathi to Telugu and from Telugu to Hindi, and published many articles in different magazines mostly under a pen name. He lectured at Universities in the U.S.A. and West Germany on political matters and allied subjects.
The Government of Telangana has declared his birthday to be celebrated as a Telangana State function in 2014. 10 years after death, he gets a memorial in Delhi at Ekta Sthal, which is now integrated with Rashtriya Smriti a common place for erecting memorials for former Presidents,PMs and others. His birth centenary celebrations are being organised by people originating from Telengana, in 51 countries across the globe. In order to preserve the bequest of late Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, the State will soon construct a memorial tourism site, exhibiting his life and struggles, at his native village of Vangara in Warangal.