PN Dhar, former Principal Secy to Indira Gandhi, dies

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New Delhi, Jul 19: Professor Prithvi Nath Dhar, who served as a principal secretary to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s, passed away on Thursday. Dhar was an Economics professor at the Delhi University and also the Director and Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi. He was also one of the founders of the Delhi School of Economics. Dhar, who was 94 at the time of his demise, had also served as the UN Assistant Secretary General, Research and Policy Analysis in New York from 1978 to 1986.

Dhar was the only person in the Prime Minister's Office in those days who was not from the IAS or IFS ranks. He had joined the PMO in 1970. He had accompanied Indira Gandhi during her signing of the Shimla Accord with late Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. Dhar was the recipient of India's highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 2008.

His memoir 'Indira Gandhi, the Emergency, and Indian Democracy' is considered to be a powerful documentation of events that unfolded in those crucial years. PN Dhar's wife Sheila Dhar was a well-known Hindustani classical music singer, who died in 2001.

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