P. V. Narasimha RAO once told me, ‘I can take it, but I don’t want to do it.’

THE HOME OF THE PRIME MINISTER

NEW DELHI

9 Jun 1980

Dear Natwar,

Your letter of the 4th

Just when you talk about the working of the democratic process in an accessible form, Badshah Khan is busy providing discharge from the hospital Srinagar that there is no democracy in India and compares us in a vague sort of way to Pakistan! Can you believe it? All this protects from getting a swollen head.

We won the election, but the going was pretty tough and a lot of places won or lost, was neck to neck.

The real difficulty starts now. People’s expectations are very high, but the situation both political and economic, is extremely complex. I can’t help being an optimist, I have no doubt that if only our legislators and the people as a whole have the patience and endurance to climb the steep and stony path for the next few months, we can overcome obstacles and arrive at the location from which progress is possible again.

However, politics is in decline. All those who shouted so much about democracy have no remorse now is how Charan Singh2 is that Parliament is irrelevant’, or Yang sang encouraging anti-national elements in the North-East. The opposition parties are making desperate efforts, spurred on by Bahuguna to combine. Why? Only unrest and violence or the encouragement of desertion.

I’m glad you like the Islamabad.

Sincerely,

(Indira Gandhi)

Sri Natwar Singh

The high Commissioner of India,

Islamabad.

***

THE HOME OF THE PRIME MINISTER

NEW DELHI

3 August 1981

Dear Natwar,

I’ve read some interviews in the book that you left and I’m depressed. I feel isolated, not because of the policies, the correctness of which will be considered at a time as it was before. But while the Earth spins on the beauty and technique, the world of men is hollow, where words have no meaning and sentiments, no feeling, the young have lost wonder, Elan and even hope. Which can dim the eyes of civilization to do? May the flame of idealism or vision better people will be protected from all this cynicism, hypocrisy and hatred?

8 August 1981

I didn’t send it as I thought you were coming to Delhi. I’m sorry to hear that you are unwell and in hospital. Get well soon.

Thanks for the book Galbraith, although I have it already. We could swap-you can take mine, as it without a name.

Sincerely,

(Indira Gandhi)

Sri Natwar Singh

The high Commissioner of India,

Islamabad.

***

The chief Minister of Andhra, Y. S., Jagan Reddy announced summer programs to observe the centenary of the birth of the late P. V. Narasimha RAO. He was the ninth Prime Minister of India. He will go down in history as one of the greatest. He saved the country from financial bankruptcy. It is made in India world class economic power.

He was, as I wrote in the past, the most cerebral and scientific evenings. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in English and was at the forefront of intellectual. He lacked the refinement of P. V. intelligence and linguistic universality. P. V. was able to read, write and speak half a dozen languages besides Telagu and English.

I knew him intimately. We had at the time serious social distinctions. Fortunately, it didn’t last long.

Sonia Gandhi was allergic to P. V. It is bad talking about her judgment. V. p. once told me: “I can take her, but I don’t want to do it.”

P. V. Narasimha RAO was born on 28 Jun 1921 and died in new Delhi on 21 December 2004.

***

It was December 1948. I was in my first year at St. Stephen’s College. The first ever West Indies cricket team came to India. The test match was played at Ferozshah Kotla ground.

About fifty Stephenians crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground, two hours before the match. We sat on wooden benches. West Indies won the toss. They scored over 600 runs. Everton Vikis, 5 feet 6 inches tall, scored a century. Clyde Walcott also jammed our bowlers. I vaguely remember the handsome Frank Worrell. Amarnath was captain of India. On our side, Hemu Adhikari scored a century.

Everton Vikis died earlier this week at the age of 95 years in Bridgetown, Worrell died in 1967 at the age of 43 years. Walcott 80 in 2006. It was an unforgettable experience to watch such great players in cricket play.



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