Former diplomat P N Haksar’s activist daughter Nandita has said that though the family had a special place for Jawaharlal Nehru in their home,her father allowed her to question the first Prime Minister’s policies,ideas and even values and,not treat him as a “god”.
“We always had a photograph of Nehru in a prominent place in our sitting room so that he was always there listening to our conversations. But Nehru was not god and my father allowed me to question his policies,ideas and even values,” Nandita told PTI in an interaction here recently.
Haksar who served as the Deputy High Commissioner in London in the 1960s was later also the Principal Secretary to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Born in 1913 in Gujranwala in the then British India,his birth centenary was celebrated recently by family members and eminent people here,at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,to which Haksar had donated all his photography collections.
Describing her father as a “nationalist with a song of socialism in his heart”,she took a trip down memory lane to share with people the ideals and ideas that made Haksar’s idea of “one secular India”.
“All his life he tried to grapple with problems of nationalism. Even a year before he died he wrote in an article that ‘I am obsessed by words like Bharat,Hindustan,Al-Hind and India.’ No religion was practiced in our home but only India was sacred,” she recalled.
The legacy of P N Haksar a personality who wore many colourful hats than just of a diplomat was also celeberated.
“Apart from being a fine diplomat he was also a very good photographer,an excellent cook,a devoted gardener and also a father figure to many,” former Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Salman Haider said.
“Some of the portraits of our children taken by him,are still treasured by us. As per cooking,he used to delight guests with his culinary skills,” Haider added.
Former Bureau Chief of BBC at New Delhi Mark Tully told PTI that he wished there were “more Haksars today in India”.
“I met him while he was in office and also post-retirement. And,there was something about him that was so different. I wished there were more Haksars today in India,” Tully said.