24 June, 2021

Gopal Gandhi

A rare example of humility, ethical conduct and scholarship in public life

Gopal Gandhi
Few know that the Mahatma’s grandson is also one of the most unusual and multi-faceted people in public life. And he certainly does not advertise the fact.

A discreet, highly competent IAS official for much of his career, Gandhi is also the gifted and formidably multi-lingual scholar who translated Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy into Hindi, wrote a novel, Refuge, on Tamil plantation workers in Sri Lanka, and a life of lost Mughal scion Dara Shikoh in verse. Gandhi was an extremely popular High Commissioner to South Africa, even more because of his endearing personal style than his lineage. Typically, he went off quietly to do earthquake relief work in rural Gujarat before taking on that assignment. As a Governor of West Bengal who often travels incognito into the countryside, Gandhi has earned great respect for deploring state violence in Nandigram. Of course, he has also earned great flak, from critics ranging from liberal apologists for the CPI(M), to the right-wing pro-SEZ camp. Friends say he was fully aware of the...

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