Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gandhi was born on April 22, 1945 to Devdas Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari’s daughter Lakshmi. Having completed his Masters in English literature from St. Stephens college, Gandhi served as an IAS officer from 1968 till 1992 when he voluntarily retired from service. During his time as an IAS officer, Gopalkrishna served in different capacities in Tamil Nadu. He has also been the Secretary to the Vice President from 1985 to 1987, Joint Secretary to President from 1987 to 1992 and Secretary to President in 1997.
He also served as the Minister (Culture) in the High Commission of India, UK, and as the Director of The Nehru Centre in London. The Outlook reported he was also an extremely popular High Commissioner to South Africa where he was appointed in 1996. Gopalkrishna Gandhi also served as High Commissioner for India in Lesotho. He was later appointed as the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka in 2000 and as Ambassador of India in Norway in 2002. He was also appointed Ambassador of India in Iceland.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi also served as the Governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009. A 2007 report in Outlook magazine said that he used to “travel incognito” to rural areas in Bengal and he had also garnered respect for condemning Nandigram violence.
Apart from translating Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy into Hindi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi has also written a novel on Sri Lanka’s Tamil plantation workers and a play in verse on Dara Shikoh.
In an open letter to PM Narendra Modi following BJP’s victory in 2014 general elections, Gopalkrishna had written: “India’s minorities are not a segment of India, they are an infusion in the main. Anyone can burn rope to cinder, no one can take the twist out of it. Bharat mata ki jai, sure, Mr. Modi, but not superseding the compelling urgency of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s clarion — Jai Hind!”