If there is one word that encapsulates the life and work of Smt. Vasundhara Raje from her childhood till the present, it is ‘service’ – service to the nation, service to the poor, service to her people. There are some who need to go out of the way to imbibe this spirit of service and dedication towards people but for Vasundhara Raje, it was something she was born with. On 8th March 1953, Smt. Vasundhara Raje was born in the city of Mumbai. Vasundhara Raje’s parents were extremely distinguished individuals, who were known for their contribution to Indian society. Her father, His Highness late Maharaja Jivaji Rao Scindia was the last reigning Maharaja of Gwalior, a princely state in the heart of India before Independence. Her mother, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia went on to become one of the most prominent political leaders in post-Independence India who was known for her simplicity, ideological commitment and dedication towards the poor. Spread through 40 years, she served as Member of Parliament for a record eight times representing Guna in Madhya Pradesh. It was in this atmosphere of service, patriotism and commitment towards building the Nationthat Vasundhara Raje was brought up.
She is the third child born to His Highness Jivaji Rao Scindia and Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia. Her eldest sister Smt. Usha Raje married into one of Nepal’s most distinguished families and is based there. Her elder brother the late Shri Madhavrao Scindia emerged as one of India’s most successful political leaders until his untimely demise in 2001. Her younger sister Smt. Yashodhara Raje serves as the Member of Parliament from Gwalior representing the BJP.
Political Career of Vasundhara Raje Scindia
Despite hailing from a privileged background, Vasundhara Raje’s life has been one of immense struggle and perseverance but in every chapter of her life, she has only emerged stronger. She lost her father at a tender age but the strong values and influence of her mother always remained a rock of support for Vasundhara and her siblings.Considering the atmosphere she was growing up in, politics and service came naturally to a young Vasundhara. During the 1960s and the 1970s she witnessed her mother rise in ranks in Indian politics resisting the tyrannical forces of the Congress Party. Rajmata Vijayaraje was arrested during the Emergency as the nation protested against the high handedness of those in power.
Vasundhara Raje’s first brush with politics came in 1984 when she was made a Member of the National Executive of the newly formed Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). A year later in 1985, she was appointed as the Vice President of the Yuva Morcha, Rajasthan BJP. The same year she was elected a member of the 8th Rajasthan Assembly from Dholpur. Yet again, dedication and the urge to serve won over all perceived hostilities.As a union minister minister Smt. Vasundhara Raje’s stint as Minister in the Union Council of Ministers: The nation elected the 12th Lok Sabha in March 1998 and the BJP got a thumping mandate of 182 seats. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the nation. Vasundhara was yet again chosen from Jhalawar but this victory was different from the previous ones. In March 1998 she was not only elected as a MP but was also sworn in as the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, a department that was held by the Prime Minister himself. Thus, Smt. Vasundhara Raje got the wonderful opportunity of serving as a Minister and working very closely with Shri Vajpayee.