Sanjay And Maneka Gandhi's Love Story: A Chance Meeting At A Wedding To Getting Separated By Fate

Sanjay Gandhi met Maneka Gandhi at a wedding and made the decision to marry her. Here's how their relationship developed and ended tragically.


By Tanya Shree Last Updated:


Sanjay And Maneka Gandhi's Love Story: A Chance Meeting At A Wedding To Getting Separated By Fate

The Gandhi-Nehru family is the centre of attention because they play a very important role in the Indian politics. However, the Gandhi family must be mentioned when discussing some of the greatest love tales from India. Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi's epic romantic journey with unexpected turns is one of the greatest love stories. Their love tale has more ups and downs than a Bollywood movie. In a world where forever is a thing of the past, their story is the quintessential representation of togetherness.

Sanjay Gandhi was an Indian politician and the youngest son of Indira Gandhi and Feroz Gandhi. While affiliated with the Indian National Congress, he served as a member of both the Parliament and the Lok Sabha. Maneka Gandhi, who is well-known in the Indian politics, was simply a stunning adolescent girl at the time she first met Sanjay Gandhi. She attended Lady Shri Ram College, participated in modelling, and had won the title of "Miss Lady Shri Ram." They were very different from one another in terms of their backgrounds. Maneka was from an army background, while Sanjay hailed from a prominent political family. However, they were able to fill in all the gaps and realised that they were each other's better half.

Also Read: Rajiv Gandhi And Sonia Gandhi's Unheard Love Story Will Reinstate Your Faith In True Love

When Sanjay and Maneka met for the first met

First meeting

Sanjay and Maneka initially connected in 1973 during Maneka's cousin's wedding, who also happened to be Sanjay's classmate. In an interview with Simi Garewal for her show, Rendezvous With Simi Garewal, Maneka revealed that the first time she met Sanjay was not even a proper meeting. Recalling the same, Maneka revealed that Sanjay had approached her at the wedding and asked her whether he could take anything off her plate because there was a long line of people waiting to be served. Maneka, who had no idea who he was, simply responded by asking whether his real objective for attending weddings was the food. 

The marriage brought Sanjay and Maneka together


The marriage of Maneka's cousin and Sanjay's friend served as cupid in their romance. Sanjay first saw her during the wedding, and by the end of the day, he had made up his mind that he wanted to wed her. The same topic was discussed with his friend. Sanjay eventually went to Maneka's house and asked her mother if he could take her out and introduce her to his family. Maneka had recalled the incident and had said:

"My mother said no, she's too young." 


Maneka was only permitted to see Sanjay twice a week, though, after much convincing. They frequently met at Sanjay Gandhi's home, she had captured his heart and soul. In an interview, Maneka had claimed that their love was exquisite. It was not at all like the kind of love that is depicted in movies with pounding hearts, and blooming flowers. In the same interview with Simi, going into further detail, she said:

"I don't know if it was love, I think it's something even stranger. It was as if I had come home. It was as if I had met my other half, the Ardhnareshwar, and he felt the same way".

Indira Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi's first meeting

Gandhi Family

After around four months, Sanjay Gandhi made the decision to have dinner with the former prime minister and his mother, Indira Gandhi, and introduce Maneka to her. She was very nervous to meet her partner's mother as any girl could be. But her situation was a little different, though, because she was meeting both the "Iron Lady of India" and the mother of her true love. While narrating to Simi about her first meeting with Indira Gandhi, Maneka said that since she was not ready to leave the room, she was pulled out of it. Maneka and Sanjay were both so terrified that they were unable to speak, and he even forgot to introduce her. She recalled that day and said: 

"After about 10 minutes, my mother-in-law said, "Well, Sanjay is not going to introduce us. Would you like to tell me your name?"

Also Read: Irfan Pathan And Safa Baig Love Story: Love At First Sight, Despite 10 Years Of Age Gap

Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka's Wedding


After a brief period of dating, both Sanjay and Maneka felt comfortable enough in their relationship to decide to move forward. Sanjay and Maneka got engaged in a private ceremony on July 29, 1974 at the Prime Minister's residence at 1 Safdarjung Road. They got married on September 23, 1974, in a civil ceremony at Mohammed Yunus' home. The Nehru-Gandhi family greeted Maneka Gandhi in the same manner that any other bride would be welcomed into her future husband's home.

Sanjay Gandhi

In comparison to the rest of the family, Sanjay and Maneka were both very simple. As per Maneka, Sanjay was more "Indian" and  Maneka was also altered by Sanjay Gandhi's traits. According to Maneka, Sanjay Gandhi was the brightest human being she had met. The bond between Sanjay and Maneka went beyond worldly possessions. She described an event that occurred a week before Sanjay Gandhi passed away. She said:

"After concluding all the meetings and all, I discovered I didn't have any clothes for the next day. So, I took off my clothes and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, he had washed my clothes and there was a fire on, he was drying them and he got up at 4:30 in the morning to do it”.

Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi’s Kid


Sanjay and Maneka welcomed Feroze Varun Gandhi on March 13, 1980, marking the beginning of their family after six years of marital bliss. The bond between Varun Gandhi and his mother is quite strong. Sanjay Gandhi passed away after Varun's birth. Therefore, Varun never had the chance to spend time with him. The most endearing part of their pregnancy was the fact that Sanjay Gandhi delivered their son Varun since Maneka refused to have her child delivered by a doctor. She described Varun's adorable childhood memory while speaking about his relationship with Indira Gandhi at Simi Garewal's show, Rendezvous With Simi Garewal. Maneka stated:

"He was going to eat with the grown-ups for the first time. She began to feed him by herself, and after giving him the first spoon, he said ‘Dadi humko thaka gayi’ and she kept saying it to all of the visitors”.

Also Read: Kishore Kumar's Tragic Love Life: Married 4 Popular Actresses But Was An Unhappy Man And Died At 58

Sanjay and Maneka's love story's tragic end


Sanjay may not have given her any material gifts, he undoubtedly showered her all the warmth and affection. Their union was marked by love and comfort. It didn't last long, though. With one flight that Sanjay Gandhi took on June 23, 1980, brought a tragic end to their love story. Maneka, who was only 23 years old, was left to face the wrath of the world after Sanjay died in a plane crash in Delhi.  As a young widow, Maneka was treated differently in the family. She was not permitted to eat with the family at the same table. After Sanjay's passing, Indira Gandhi developed a hatred for Maneka. An excerpt from Khushwant Singh's book, 'Love, Truth and a Little Malice' stated:

"She had no great affection for Maneka. It did not take much for this feeling to turn into unconcealed hostility after Sanjay's death. Mrs. Gandhi became more and more irritated by Maneka's presence and found fault with everything she did. Maneka once told her friends that every time she met Mrs. Gandhi, she was told that she killed her father and that everyone hates her"


The day before he passed away, Maneka asked her mother-in-law to prevent him from flying that plane. It was her last interaction with him because she was unable to stop him at that point. Maneka was so deeply devastated by Sanjay's death that she entirely walled herself off for about two years from the outside world. Maneka Gandhi and Varun finally left Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's home after their relationship soured.

Plane Crash

The love story of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi is both beautiful and heart-breaking. They met, fell in love, and finally drifted apart due to fate. While Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi are not physically together, they are still other's better halves spiritually and emotionally.

NEXT READ: Single At 52: Tabu's Love Affairs, After 3 Failed Relationships Blamed Ajay Devgn For Her Singlehood

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