On 14 September 1973 my father presented his credentials as “Ambassadeur extraordinaire et plenepotentiaire de l’Inde” to the President of the Republic of Finland, His Excellency Urho Kekkonen (1900-1986).
My father’s career included a half dozen or so years spent with Indian Oxygen and the Tatas in Jamshedpur (where he met my mother’s family), followed by a dozen years starting in 1942 with the Government of India (as a “Class I Grade 1 officer”) in the war-time Ministry of Supply and later the Ministry of Commerce, followed by little more than two decades in the new Indian Foreign Service.
He has been a man of aesthetic taste and good manners; looking back upon his foreign service career through postings in Tehran, Ottawa, Colombo, Dhaka, Stockholm, Odessa, Paris and Helsinki, I think his aristocratic sensibility made him a “natural diplomat”.
(It is not a sensibility I have felt myself sharing much; he had wished me to follow in his footsteps but I rarely have wished to be diplomatic in my pronouncements!)
There will be more of my father’s experiences here in due course,
especially during the early years of independent India, e.g. with Zafrullah Khan at Karachi airport in 1947, in the evacuation of Hindu refugees from Karachi during Partition, handling of the Indian diplomatic mission in Dhaka during the 1965 war
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