RECOLLECTIONS OF A COMMUNICATOR,Remembering Jawaharlal Nehru (Part III)

November 14th, 2008 - 9:49 pm ICT by ANI  

The next time I saw Panditji was soon after the Chinese Aggression. The venue was the National Stadium, and the occasion was the concert by Lata Mangeshkar in memory of the jawans who lost their lives in the battles. We still hum the song: ” Aye Mere Vatan Ki Logo, Zara Aank me Bhar do Pani. Jo Shaheed Hua Hai Unko Zara Yaad Karo Qurbani”. The music director was C. Ramchandra. There was not one eye which was not moist. I saw Panditji wipe his eyes repeatedly during the concert. Panditji walked slowly, unlike his former self. Someone, who always looked young, suddenly had aged.

The last I saw Panditjirather his body — was when he had just passed away. I had come from Srinagar, where I was then posted. I was put on duty to conduct the photographers covering the last journey of the Prime Minister from Teen Murti House to the banks of the Yamuna on May 27, 1964.

The photographers were taken in improvised three-ton trucks. The road from Teen Murti House to Shantivan, was packed almost fifty deep on either side, with people wanting to have a last glimpse of their beloved Prime Minister. It was a hot summer. A colleague of mine had cautioned me to take plenty of water in the trucks. The journey from Teen Murti to the banks of the Yamuna took more than four hours.

As a communicator, I had the opportunity of witnessing the last journeys of Jawaharlal, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, in different capacities. There would never be another Prime Minister as endearing as Jawaharlal, and no one who spoke, wrote and interacted in as transparent a manner as Panditji.

I wonder how many who participate in Childrens Day function this year will have an idea of the personality of Indias first Prime Minister, Chacha Nehru.

I.Ramamohan Rao (Former Principal Information Officer, Government of India)


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