24 September, 2020

Colossus In Our Midst

Barring a few years, Pranabji strode the heights of polity with imperious authority for decades

Colossus In Our Midst
outlookindia.com
2020-09-04T15:56:02+05:30

Broadly speaking, Indian politicians avoid intimacy. The late Pranab Mukherjee was no exception. I knew him well for over forty years. I claim no intimacy.

When I met him at 10 Rajaji Marg about six months back, he said something totally unexpected: “Natwar Singhji (I was six years older than him) I made the worst mistake of my life by becoming Rashtrapati. I don’t like pomp and show. I did my duty diligently, but I never felt at home at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The strict protocol did not suit my temperament. I may not be a mass leader but I have been a public figure for most of my adult life….” I said, “You were among the three outstanding Presidents”. “Who were the other two,” he asked?” “Babu Rajendra Prasad and Dr. Radha­­krishnan.”

He was the only politician to become finance minister, defence minister and external affairs minister. He was efficient, exceptionally competent and a forceful minister. He was the best parliamentarian of his time. Although he had a short fuse, he learnt to suffer...

unsub

THIS ARTICLE IS PRICELESS...

To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.


More from K. Natwar Singh


Latest Magazine

September 28, 2020
content

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section