Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday lauded former diplomat P N Haksar for his courage in pointing out to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi her wrongs and transforming her into an ‘Iron lady.’
Seeking to draw a parallel between Haskar and the present Principal Secretary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ramesh said he could not imagine Nripendra Misra raising ‘unfavourable queries’ to Modi. “I am sorry to make a comment on the present dispensation at the Centre. But I would like to do it.. I cannot imagine Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, asking him any query on Jashodaben (Modi’s wife). Modi can never have a P N Haksar,” he said replying to a query during a conversation on his latest book “Intertwined Lives: PN Haksar and Indira Gandhi” here.
Haksar was a celebrated Indian diplomat and best known for his six-year stint as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Principal Secretary. Ramesh recalled that Haksar was the most influential and powerful civil servant “who had the courage to bring to notice Indira Gandhi’s wrongs.” The former union minister also credited Haksar for his role in transforming Indira Gandhi into an “Iron Lady of India.” “It is quite evident from her bold decisions with regard to the nationalisation of banks, the abolition of privy purses and princely privileges, the Indo-Soviet Treaty, the creation of Bangladesh and Shimla and New Delhi agreements with Pakistan.
Haksar played a pivotal role in these decisions,” he said. On Haksar’s soured relationship with Sanjay Gandhi, Ramesh said both drifted apart in 70s because the former disagreed over Sanjay’s Maruti project.
“Haksar believed India did not need a passenger car, but stronger public transport and two-wheelers,” he said.