04 December, 2020

Go Softly In A House Of Spies

A comprehensive and crisply-written biography of R.N. Kao mirrors the warm individual, his formative assignments and the fine webs he’d later weave

Former PM Indira Gandhi with R.N. Kao (behind her) and other RAW members
Go Softly In A House Of Spies

I started knowing well the late Rameshwar Nath Kao after 1977, when his erstwhile bur­ea­ucratic entourage deserted him to loneliness. I also witne­s­sed the same circles flocking around him in 1981 on his app­ointment as ‘senior adviser’, only to abandon him in 1984 after Ind­ira Gandhi’s assassination.  

A secret of his success was his disinterest in projecting pers­onal power and achievements despite the extraordinary aura related to his position in those days. He thought big for the country, chose suitable means and persons for reaching the highest foreign echelons, and delegated without obs­essive supervision. He was ele­gant without being ostentatious, affectionate without being haughty. He did not splurge on secret funds nor did he create a huge supervisory security structure in his second assignment, which he could have. Above all, he was always a warm and kind man.  

Like John Le Carre’s George Smiley, he was willing to discreetly assist the organisation he had created, whenever his...



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