Krishna Menon’s kin traced for South African award(Superseding earlier story)

October 25th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) The Indian and South African governments took around six months to find the immediate kin of former Indian defence minister V.K. Krishna Menon to confer an international honour on him posthumously.Menon’s grand nephew Hariram Shastri will receive the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in silver - for excellent contribution to the fight against colonialism and the apartheid system in South Africa - at a function in Pretoria Oct 28.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe will confer the honour, a leading Malayalam daily reported here.

“I am very happy to accept the award in the name of my grand uncle. When we saw the news reports that the South African award to Krishna Menon would be delayed, we contacted the South African government,” Shastri, a Delhi-based businessman, told the Malayala Manorama newspaper.

The honour was supposed to be conferred by the then president Thabo Mbeki in April 2008. But the South African government postponed the award function because they could not trace the immediate kin of Menon, who did not marry.

The Indian high commission in South Africa politely declined to accept the award on behalf of the family.

Menon, who was born into an influential family in Panniyankara in Kozhikode in Kerala, had only one sister - V.K. Janaki. Shastri is the son of Janaki’s elder daughter V.A. Madhavi Shastri.

Like his grand uncle, Shastri is also unmarried. Shastri’s sister Janaki Ram, who is settled in the US, will attend the award function in Pretoria.

Announcing the award in April, Essop Pahad, then minister in the South African presidency, said Menon, who founded the India League in the 1930s, was a strong backer of South Africa’s liberation.

Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Ramesh Chandra, a former UN diplomat, are the other Indians who have won the O.R. Tambo award earlier.

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