Whenever I have a little time on my hand (which is actually very little these days), I like to browse through archives (both physical and digital) in search for hidden gems and today stumbled upon this: Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Maino’s wedding video from February 25, 1968.
(Note that the video doesn’t have any sound)
In the video you can see a young Sonia Gandhi (she was 21) and Rajiv Gandhi (23) along with Indira Gandhi, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Rajiv’s grand-aunt) and the then President of India Zakir Hussain.
Description of the Rajiv-Sonia wedding in Rasheed Kidwai’s 2011 biography of Sonia Gandhi:
The marriage took place on 25 February 1968 on the back lawns of 1 Safdarjung Road after a brief mehendi ceremony at the Bachchans’. The civil marriage was a simple affair. Rajiv wore a cream silk Patiala achkan and chooridars with a pink Bharatpuri turban while Sonia wore a pale pink khadi sari without much jewellery. In keeping with Kashmiri traditions, Sonia wore floral jewellery—jasmine garlands tied on her ankles, wrists and neck. Sanjay, like Rajiv’s cousins, wore a pink turban and cream-coloured achkan. There was only light refreshment at the wedding. In the evening, however, there was a lavish dinner at Hyderabad House, off India Gate, where official banquets are held, to which about two hundred and fiery guests were invited. The guests were seated on the floor and served a sumptuous Kashmiri banquet. A day later, Indira hosted a reception at the Ashok Hotel at which choice Parsi, Kashmiri and Italian cuisines were served to the one thousand invitees.
And how the papers carried the news on the front page the next morning:
Rajiv weds Sonia Maino
New Delhi, Feb. 25 (PTI) Mr Rajiv Gandhi, son of Mrs Indira Gandhi, married Sonia Mario, 21-year-old Italian girl, whom he met at Cambridge two years ago at a glittering ceremony here this evening.
The ceremony held at the tastefully decorated lush green lawns of the Prime Minister’s residence lasted a little over 30 minutes.
Admidst chanting of Vedic hymns and plaintive notes of “shenai” the couple garlanded each other with jasmine and roses, signed the registrar’s book in the presence of the Deputu Commissioner, Mr BN Tandon and exchanged rings, before being declared man and wife.
Only members of the Nehru family, relatives of the late Feroze Gandhi and the bride’s family which arrived here last week, and a few close friends were present.
The bride draped in a salmon pink “zarigota” saree and decked in flowers instead of jewellellery in the Kashmiri tradition, arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence shortly after six. She was chaperoned by her uncle, Mr Angello Predebon.
As cine and TV cameras whirred, Mrs Gandhi gently let Rajiv in a cream sherwani, churidars and a flowing turban to the place where Sonia Maino stood. They were helped to garland each other from a golden tray.
(The Indian Express, Madras. February 26, 1968)