Kamla Advani, the pillar of strength for BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani passed away in New Delhi on April 6. A tribute by Prabhat Kumar
Kamla Taiji, the replica of love, affection and affinity, is no more. Her candid smile and depth of relations was the prime cord that kept us close to the entire Advani family for the last two decades since we came closer to respected Tauji—Shri Lal Krishna Advani. The magnetic personality made everyone her admirer whoever met her. The pride of being the wife of a political heavyweight could never touch her. Her affection was equal for all whether any big political personality, ordinary party worker or the employee working at home. Of course, she was very particular about discipline and cleanliness, and candid in expression of feeling. Since she had dedicated herself to the home and family, she was the pivot of the family.
Despite having so many servants and helpers she herself prepared and served the breakfast for Tauji every day. She equally cared for Pratibha Didi and Jayant Bhai also. She was a proficient housewife, who, like Annapoorna, insisted every visitor on having meals even after visiting at odd hours.
Taiji was also an excellent and capable manager, who apart from the home and family members also looked after the office situated at home, matters requiring the bank as well as income tax. She was against extravagance and always insisted on saving and investment. When admirers came with costly bouquets on birthdays, wedding anniversary or any other occasion in the family she felt uneasy. One day she affectionately scolded me too advising me that at least I should come with a symbolic flower. Since then whenever I went to pay my respect to any member of the family at any occasion, I carried only a single flower.
Kamlataiji was an ideal wife. I cannot explain in words her devotion to Tauji. We can safely call this couple as an ideal couple—to be followed and respected by all. Their mutuality, love, devotion and respect and goodwill towards each other are worth emulating for the young generation. I can say that whatever Advaniji achieved in his public life is because of the tapasya, sacrifice and renunciation of her own wishes. It was because of her that Advaniji was carefee from the household responsibilities and he totally devoted himself to the party, organisation and the ideology. She also prepared Pratibha Didi and Jayant Bhai for befitting life by imparting them good samskars. Today, normally the family members of a politician are seen having high political ambitions. But Advaniji’s family is an exception to it. No family member ever expressed any desire to join politics or draw any undue benefit from it. It is rare. The main spirit behind this was the mentality of Advanis to be satisfied with least physical desires. The firm commitment of not drawing any undue benefit out of any post basically generated this feeling.
During the 51 years journey of married life, Taiji remained with Tauji like a shade. She was a strength for Advaniji even during the adverse circumstances. She often remembered the days of Emergency when both the children were small and Tauji was in jail under MISA. She looked after the family in those days with great spirit and boldness. Tauji also made it a habit to have his lunch at home with the family even when he was the Home Minister or Deputy Prime Minister, because Taiji used to wait for him. So, she too avoided going away from home with her friends.
I can recall hundreds of incidents at this moment with heavy heart after her departure. She was a banyan tree, which provided affectionate shade to everyone who came under it. Her memories and simplicity as well as hospitability will always guide us.
She had been unwell for two and a half years. The entire family, especially Pratibha Didi, served her with full devotion and commitment. Didi even ignored her business responsibilities. Taiji always accompanied Tauji in all his Rath Yatras that he conducted for awakening the nation even during high heat and humidity to look after even his minor needs. Therefore, Tauji had also made it a rule to return home at night wherever he went to spend maximum time with Taiji. My humble tribute to revered Taiji!
(The writer is Director of Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi, and has been closely associated with the Advani family for more than two decades)