Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a trip down the memory lane during his visit to a photo exhibition on his late father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Delhi on Thursday. In a video – “The Joy of Flight” – shared on YouTube, he can be seen talking about the common passion he shared with his father of aircraft and flying.
“That’s the most beautiful plane and it’s the first plane my father flew commercial on,” said Mr Gandhi pointing at a DC 3 aircraft picture. The exhibition featured several photos of Rajiv Gandhi in and around aircraft.
One of Rajiv Gandhi’s “big regrets” was that he left airlines and could not fly the bigger jets, Rahul Gandhi said, while looking at a photo of an Airbus A320.
Rajiv Gandhi was a commercial pilot before joining politics.
The 51-year-old politician also recalled being put into cockpit by his father whenever he was in a plane or helicopter with him. “He would ask me about all the instruments and other details,” he fondly reminisced.
He also drew a comparison between a pilot and a leader. “You know pilots have a very particular ability that comes from their training, and it is their idea, that you have to move, from a 30,000 feet vision to details in the cockpit. If you lose track of details in the cockpit, you run into trouble. And if you lose track of the 30,000 feet picture you run into trouble,” said Rahul Gandhi, who also is a trained pilot.
“So, a pilot, and I am one, we move from these two spaces very seamlessly and very quickly… His (Rajiv Gandhi’s) work was constantly moving between these two perspectives and always understanding that imagination can bridge anything so that to me was a very powerful thing that my father had,” he added.
He also spoke about his uncle Sanjay Gandhi, who died in a plane crash on June 23, 1980 while flying the aircraft. He recalled that his father had warned his uncle against flying that plane. “It was a Pitts. It’s a very aggressive plane. My father told me him, don’t do this. My uncle really didn’t have the experience. He had similar hours to what I have about 300-350 hours,” said Mr Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi also recalled how worried his mother (Sonia Gandhi) used to get whenever Rajiv Gandhi would go on a flight. “She would be worried, and she would be transferring that worry,” he said.