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Rajiv Gandhi and Sonya Maino: an oriental tale against the backdrop of world politics
Rajiv Gandhi and Sonya Maino: an oriental tale against the backdrop of world politics
Rajiv Gandhi and Sonya Maino

Perhaps every romantic girl dreamed of meeting a prince on a white horse. Maybe not on white, maybe not on horseback, but definitely a prince. Perhaps someone dreamed of a prince from an oriental tale. It is not known whether one Italian girl Sonia dreamed about this, but in her life such a fairy tale came true. And the eastern prince appeared, and romantic love, life in a fabulously beautiful country and much more. But first things first.

Rajiv Gandhi's childhood

Raji Gandhi with his parents and younger brother

The Gandhi family was one of the most famous and influential in India in the twentieth century. Rajiv was the eldest son of Indira and Feroz Gandhi, the grandson of the world famous Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru. Rajiv Gandhi was born on August 20, 1944 in Bombay (now Mumbai) in British India, then still a colony. India gained independence in 1947. After that, Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India. Little Rajiv for the most part was brought up in the house of his grandfather, who loved children very much. Life in the house of great politicians meant that in the future Rajiv himself would take a certain place in the political system of India.

Indira Gandhi with her sons

According to the recollections of people who know him, Rajiv did not like politics, but loved technology. And I wanted to do just that. Fortunately, he had such an opportunity: his younger brother Sanjay, who was more inclined to this kind of activity, was to become the political successor of his grandfather and mother. He began to prepare for the future leaders of the Indian National Congress party. And Rajiv was able to go to study in the UK as a mechanical engineer.

Sonia Gandhi's childhood

Sonya Maino

Sonya, nee Maino, was born in northern Italy on December 9, 1946. Sonya's family was not, of course, as famous as the Rajiv family. Her father fought on the side of the Italian fascists and was captured by the Soviet Union. Returning to his homeland, he was engaged in contracts and managed to get rich. In memory of the Soviet Union, he gave three of his daughters Russian names. True, for us they sound a little strange - Annushka, Sonya and Nadya. When Sonya was 18 years old, her parents decided to send her to study English and literature in Cambridge. Upon graduation, she had to return to her homeland to become an English teacher. But fate decreed otherwise.

Love at first sight

Sonya Mayono before the wedding

Rajiv and Sonya met quite by chance, in a Greek restaurant, where they often dined. Sonya noticed a handsome guy who stood out among the noisy student crowd with his restrained demeanor. He was also extremely charming, with a wonderful smile. This, by the way, he remained all his life. She noticed him to notice, but she herself did not make any attempts to get to know him. Sonin's friend introduced them one day at dinner. Rajiv and Sonya looked into each other's eyes and realized that this was true love. And, as it turned out, love for life.

Sonya and Rajv are young and in love

Soon they began to spend all their time together. But when it came to the wedding, the first difficulties arose. Sonia herself was not afraid of intercultural differences: for the sake of a loved one, she was ready to change her place of residence, language, customs, become an Indian, in the end. The parents were an obstacle, and on both sides: Rajiv, the son and grandson of famous Indian politicians, and Sonya, a provincial Italian, looked too different. It would seem, what do they have in common? But there was one thing in common - true love. She won.

Family life

Sonya and Rajv Gandhi are happy together

The parents of the bride and groom greeted the news of the future wedding with hostility. Sonja's father Antonio Maino did not come to terms with the choice of his daughter and did not come to the wedding. Indira Gandhi was also not happy about her son's desire to marry a foreign woman. This could damage the political reputation of the party: in conservative India, even inter-caste marriages, among the Indians themselves, were not encouraged, let alone marriages with foreigners.

Sonya Gandhi with her mother-in-law and children

But Indira Gandhi was a man of advanced views, besides, at one time she herself violated the age-old foundations - her husband Feroz was not like her from a Brahman family, he was a Parsi - a Zoroastrian. In the end, the wise Indira Gandhi accepted the choice of her son and even gave the bride her own sari for the wedding, in which she herself married.

Happy parents

The wedding was played in the Indian capital Delhi in 1968 according to all Hindu canons. The young family settled in the house of Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister. Sonya began to diligently study Indian traditions, learn Hindi, and began to dress in a sari. The subsequent period of life became the happiest and most peaceful in the Gandhi family. Rajiv went to work as a pilot for Indian Airways. In 1970, the happy couple had a son, Rahul. And in 1972, daughter Priyanka.

Rajiv Gandhi at the wheel

Sonya, like a good Indian wife, took care of the children and the household, helped her mother-in-law. And she also worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Delhi. They did not talk about politics in their family. Sonya and Rajiv led the life of an ordinary happy couple. Exactly until the first of the tragedies happened that drastically changed their fate.

Life and politics

Rajiv and Sonya Gandhi on an official visit

In the life of Rajiv Gandhi, the saying "If you are not involved in politics, politics will take care of you" is fully reflected. Still, Rajiv did not manage to avoid a political career. In 1980, the unexpected happened - Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash. There are still many rumors about this death. It is not known which of them is true and which is not. When a politician of this rank dies, "conspiracy theories" always appear, talk about evil fate, and so on. For Sonya's family, this event really turned out to be a manifestation of evil fate.

The Gandhi couple

Gandhi's political dynasty was under threat. And Indira Gandhi did everything for Rajiv to take up political activities. For Sonya, it was a blow, she was afraid that politics would destroy her family, destroy her love, destroy their freedom. She had reasons for this: political activity often takes away all free time from a person, deprives him of the opportunity to live at his own discretion, takes time from communicating with family.

Love carried through the years

The first quarrels and quarrels began in the family. Sonya seriously threatened her husband with divorce and departure to Europe. But it was beyond her power to fight the will of Indira Gandhi. As a true loving Indian wife, Sonia resigned herself. And she allowed her husband to engage in activities so hated by her. Despite the fact that he had no inclination for politics, Rajiv won great political success. Perhaps due to the fact that his beloved woman supported him in everything.

Rajiv and Sonya Gandhi are always together

And then another tragedy happened: on October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was shot by her bodyguards. She was dying in Sonya's arms: hearing the shots, she ran out of the house and found her mother-in-law in a pool of blood. Now Rajiv Gandhi had no choice, in the evening of the same day he was elected prime minister. But, even after becoming the head of a huge country, Rajiv Gandhi did not cease to be a loving husband and a wonderful family man. Unlike other political figures, he tried to spend all his free time with his wife and children, remaining the same sensitive and kind person.

The last tragedy

Fatal events

On May 21, 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during an election trip. The girl broke through the crowd with a garland of flowers in her hands and set off an explosive device … Sonya lost everything in her life and closed herself from the whole world for many years. But she did not return to Italy. According to Sonya herself, India is her homeland, the homeland of her children.For the sake of them, for the sake of the future of the country, Sonya stayed. And, subsequently, she found the strength to continue the work of her husband and mother-in-law. She entered politics in 1999 and is now the leader of the Indian National Congress Party.

Rajiv Gandhi's widow

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