A man full of action, Punjab CM on Haksar
Chandigarh, July 7: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh released Congress leader Jairam Ramesh's book on the close relationship between former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her trusted adviser-- bureaucrat and diplomat P N Haksar.
Titled 'Intertwined Minds: PN Haksar and Indira Gandhi', Singh described the book as a source of great inspiration for the younger generation and admired Ramesh for lucidly bringing out the multi-faceted personality of Haksar.
The chief minister said that he shared personal ties with Haksar owing to his days in the Indian Army under late Commander General Harbaksh Singh and that the book, took him down memory lane to his first meeting with the bureaucrat in London, when Natwar Singh was the High Commissioner there.
It was fascinating to hear him talk as the Bangladesh war, of which Haksar was a key architect, had ended, said the chief minister, adding that their conversation reminded him of his own Army days.
Recalling his warm ties with Haksar, Singh said he was a man of few words but full of action, with whom he had enjoyed his interactions and intellectual exchanges during his younger days.
An admirer of Haksar's interactions with those who mattered then, the chief minister said it was an honour to know him.
The book, he said, brought out the contribution of the great adviser to Indira Gandhi, and his unmatched caliber.
Addressing a gathering at the book release function at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Singh appreciated the exhaustive research that had gone into it.
He lauded Ramesh for bringing alive the close relationship between Indira and Haksar with his astute understanding and writing skills.
Ramesh later said the book was based on primary sources, which included handwritten notes and letters, besides nearly 1500 files running into 40,000 to 50,000 pages.
To write a biography is always a dangerous task but if this is done after proper research, especially by consulting original sources, it adds to the credibility, objectivity and genuineness of the contents, he said.
However, biographies written merely on the basis of secondary sources, memory and oral observations often have an element of subjectivity, which should be discouraged, he added.
The relationship between Indira and Haksar, which was both professional and personal, went back to the 1930s, when the two, along with Feroze Gandhi, stayed together in London, where Haksar would cook for all three, said Ramesh.
He described Haksar as a top bureaucrat and political visionary, who had the courage and conviction to speak the truth to the powers that be, and to be a source of inspiration for the younger generations.
Ramesh hoped the book would help in revisiting Haksar's glorious legacy and contribution to some path breaking reforms like nationalisation of banks, besides guiding the then prime minister on critical military operations, such as the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and the creation of Bangladesh.
Haksar, with his conviction and courage to speak the truth, enjoyed the total confidence of Indira Gandhi, who gave him full powers, said Ramesh.
Without Indira Gandhi, Haksar would not have been born, he existed because of Indira, said Ramesh, describing the bureaucrat as the former PM's 'ideological compass'.