08 March, 2021

Lessons He Won't Be Giving Anymore

H.Y. Sharada Prasad, Indira Gandhi's information advisor & speech-writer who died last fortnight, retired to quietude

Jitender Gupta
Lessons He Won't Be Giving Anymore

"Sharada Prasadji, do you need a ride?" The offer came through the window of a white Ambassador car. Place: the road leading from Rashtrapati Bhavan to Vijay Chowk in New Delhi. He was walking home. The occupant of the car: a lady who had just been sworn in prime minister of India. "Get in. I'll get dropped at home and then have you dropped at yours."

There was a driver and a security guard in the front. Indira Gandhi and her information advisor sat in the back. No cavalcade, no fuss. They reached the prime minister's home on Safdarjang Road. The security guard got down to open the gate. The car drove into the portico. But as it turned out, there was no one home to receive a newly sworn in prime minister. Sharada Prasad went around the house to call a servant. Mrs Gandhi stood in front of the door and kept clapping, "Arrey, koi hai?"

And so began Sharada Prasad's memorable tenure at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), as Indira Gandhi's spokesperson and speech-writer. This was one of the innumerable such anecdotes Sharada...

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