Madhavrao Scindia Indian politician (1945-2001)

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Madhavrao Scindia
Maharaja of Gwalior
Madhavrao Scindia 2005 stamp of India.jpg
Scindia on a 2005 stamp of India
Titular Maharaja of Gwalior
Tenure16 July 1961 – 1971
PredecessorJivajirao Scindia
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Minister of Civil Aviation
In office
Prime MinisterP. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded byHarmohan Dhawan
Succeeded byGhulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Tourism
In office
Prime MinisterP. V. Narasimha Rao
Succeeded byGhulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Human Resource Development
In office
Prime MinisterP. V. Narasimha Rao
Preceded byP. V. Narasimha Rao
Succeeded byP. V. Narasimha Rao
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Railways
In office
22 October 1986 – 1 December 1989
Prime MinisterRajiv Gandhi
Preceded byMohsina Kidwai
Succeeded byGeorge Fernandes
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byVijaya Raje Scindia
Succeeded byJyotiraditya Scindia
In office
Preceded byNarayan Shejwalkar
Succeeded byJaibhan Singh Pavaiya
In office
Preceded byAcharya Kripalani
Succeeded byMahendra Singh Kalukheda
Personal details
Born(1945-03-10)10 March 1945
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died30 September 2001(2001-09-30) (aged 56)
Mainpuri district, Uttar Pradesh, India
Political partyIndian National Congress (1980–2001)
Other political
Bharatiya Jana Sangh (1971–1977)
Spouse(s)Madhavi Raje Sahib Scindia
RelationsSee Scindia family
ChildrenJyotiraditya Scindia
Chitrangada Raje Scindia
ResidenceJai Vilas Mahal, Gwalior

Madhavrao Jivajirao Scindia (10 March 1945 – 30 September 2001) was an Indian politician and minister from the Indian National Congress. Earlier, in 1961, he had become the titular Maharaja of Gwalior being a descendant of the Scindia dynasty of the Marathas. However, after the 26th amendment[1] to the Constitution of India, the Government of India abolished all official symbols of princely India, including titles, privileges, and remuneration (privy purses).[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Early life

Scindia was born to the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia. He underwent his schooling in Scindia School, Gwalior and thereafter went for higher studies in Winchester College and at New College, Oxford.[10]

On his return from the UK, Scindia followed the political tradition set by his mother Vijaya Raje Scindia by joining politics. He was elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian parliament) in 1971 from Gwalior.[10]


Electoral victories

A nine-term member of the Lok Sabha, Madhavrao Scindia never lost an election since 1971, when he won for the first time from Guna constituency at the age of 26. He contested the election on the ticket of Jan Sangh, a party that his family had long patronised. In the 1977 election after the emergency was lifted, he contested from Guna constituency as an Independent candidate and still won the seat a second time in spite of the wave in favour of Janata Party (Bhartiya Lok Dal-BLD). In the 1980 election, he switched allegiance to Indian National Congress and won from Guna a third time. But in 1984, he was nominated as the Congress candidate from Gwalior in a last-minute manoeuvre to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party's Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and won by a massive margin. After that Scindia contested from either Gwalior or Guna and won on each occasion.

Ministerial appointments

The 1984 election brought Scindia his first experience as a Minister. He made his mark as an excellent administrator during his stint as Railways Minister (22 October 1986 – 1 December 1989)[11] in the Rajiv Gandhi Ministry.

Prime Ministers P. V. Narasimha Rao made him Minister for Civil Aviation. He faced a turbulent period of agitation by the staff of the domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, and as part of a strategy of disciplining the workforce he leased a number of aircraft from Russia. Early in 1992 one of these aircraft crashed, though without any loss of life, and Scindia promptly submitted his resignation. Although not known to be too finicky about such notions as ministerial accountability, the prime minister accepted his resignation. Scindia was later reinducted into the Cabinet in 1995 as Minister for Human Resource Development. Scindia is also credited with setting up the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM) at Gwalior as an institution of repute, which got renamed after Atal Bihari Vajpayee as ABV-IIITM.

Rebellion and return

In 1996, he along with Arjun Singh and other Congress dissidents had the opportunity to be part of the United Front (U.F.) government at the Centre. Although his Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress was part of the U.F., Scindia himself opted to stay out of the Cabinet. He was the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India from 1990 to 1993.


Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash on the outskirts of Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh on 30 September 2001. All eight people on board the private plane (Beechcraft King Air C90) died in the crash. This included his personal secretary Rupinder Singh, journalists Sanjeev Sinha (The Indian Express), Anju Sharma (The Hindustan Times), Gopal Bisht, Ranjan Jha (Aaj Tak), pilot Ray Gautam and co-pilot Ritu Malik. The autopsies were conducted and other legal formalities completed at AIIMS New Delhi by Professor T D Dogra.[12] His son Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia was symbolically appointed as the head of the family.[13]


  • 1945-1961- His Highness Yuvaraja Maharaj Shrimant Madhavrao Scindia Bahadur.
  • 1961-1971- His Highness Ali Jah, Umdat ul-Umara, Hisam us-Sultanat, Mukhtar ul-Mulk, Azim ul-Iqtidar, Rafi-us-Shan, Wala Shikoh, Muhtasham-i-Dauran, Maharajadhiraj Maharaja Shrimant Madhav Rao III Scindia Bahadur, Shrinath, Mansur-i-Zaman, Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior.



Madhavrao Scindia
Born: 10 March 1945 Died: 2 October 2001
Preceded by
Jivaji Rao Scindia
Maharaja of Gwalior
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1948, and title, privileges, and privy purses abolished in 1971


  1. ^ "The Constitution (26 Amendment) Act, 1971",, Government of India, 1971, retrieved 9 November 2011
  2. ^ Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian princes and their states. Cambridge University Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-521-26727-4. Through a constitutional amendment passed in 1971, Indira Gandhi stripped the princes of the titles, privy purses and regal privileges which her father's government had granted.
  3. ^ Naipaul, V. S. (2003). India: A Wounded Civilization. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-1-4000-3075-0. The princes of India – their number and variety reflecting to a large extent the chaos that had come to the country with the break up of the Mughal empire – had lost real power in the British time. Through generations of idle servitude they had grown to specialize only in style. A bogus, extinguishable glamour: in 1947, with Independence, they had lost their state, and Mrs. Gandhi in 1971 had, without much public outcry, abolished their privy purses and titles.
  4. ^ Schmidt, Karl J. (1995). An atlas and survey of South Asian history. M.E. Sharpe. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-56324-334-9. Although the Indian states were alternately requested or forced into union with either India or Pakistan, the real death of princely India came when the Twenty-sixth Amendment Act (1971) abolished the princes' titles, privileges, and privy purses.
  5. ^ Breckenridge, Carol Appadurai (1995). Consuming modernity: public culture in a South Asian world. U of Minnesota Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-8166-2306-8. The third stage in the political evolution of the princes from rulers to citizens occurred in 1971, when the constitution ceased to recognize them as princes and their privy purses, titles, and special privileges were abolished.
  6. ^ Guha, Ramachandra (2008). India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. HarperCollins. p. 441. ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9. Her success at the polls emboldened Mrs. Gandhi to act decisively against the princes. Through 1971, the two sides tried and failed to find a settlement. The princes were willing to forgo their privy purses, but hoped at least to save their titles. But with her overwhelming majority in Parliament, the prime minister had no need to compromise. On 2 December she introduced a bill to amend the constitution and abolish all princely privileges. It was passed in the Lok Sabha by 381 votes to six, and in the Rajya Sabha by 167 votes to seven. In her own speech, the prime minister invited 'the princes to join the elite of the modern age, the elite which earns respect by its talent, energy and contribution to human progress, all of which can only be done when we work together as equals without regarding anybody as of special status.'
  7. ^ Cheesman, David (1997). Landlord power and rural indebtedness in colonial Sind, 1865–1901. London: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7007-0470-5. The Indian princes survived the British Raj by only a few years. The Indian republic stripped them of their powers and then their titles.
  8. ^ Merriam-Webster, Inc (1997). Merriam-Webster's geographical dictionary. Merriam-Webster. p. 520. ISBN 978-0-87779-546-9. Indian States: "Various (formerly) semi-independent areas in India ruled by native princes .... Under British rule ... administered by residents assisted by political agents. Titles and remaining privileges of princes abolished by Indian government 1971.
  9. ^ Ward, Philip (1989). Northern India, Rajasthan, Agra, Delhi: a travel guide. Pelican Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-88289-753-0. A monarchy is only as good as the reigning monarch: thus it is with the princely states. Once they seemed immutable, invincible. In 1971 they were "derecognized," their privileges, privy purses and titles all abolished at a stroke"
  10. ^ a b "Madhavrao Scindia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  11. ^ Railway Ministers. Irfca. Retrieved on 14 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Madha vrao Sindia killed in plane crash". The Times of India. 1 October 2001. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  13. ^ "The Scindia Dynasty. Genealogy". Royal Ark.
  14. ^ JBR, PurushottamShamsher (1990). Shree Teen Haruko Tathya Britanta (in Nepali). Bhotahity, Kathmandu: Vidarthi Pustak Bhandar. ISBN 99933-39-91-1.


  • Sanghvi, Vir; Bhandare, Namita (2009). Madhavrao Scindia: A life. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-670-08254-4.
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