Such happy news of the posthumous conferment of the prestigious Bharat Ratna upon former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao Garu. His indelible mark on India’s history and his visionary leadership continue to inspire us all.
PV Narasimha Rao Garu was not just a scholar but also a towering figure in Indian politics, a gem of India, and the father of new economic thought in India. His vast experience as an administrator at both state and central government levels reflected his deep commitment to public service. Personally, I was privileged to have an excellent personal relationship with him. From the moment I entered the Lok Sabha as an MP in 1996, his encouragement and compliments after my speeches in parliament were truly motivating.
As I became a minister in the Atalji cabinet, PV Narasimha Rao Garu’s counsel and invaluable advice guided me through the complexities of multiple ministries I held. His insights into economic reforms and his anecdotes from his own prime ministership were invaluable lessons that shaped my understanding of governance. He was so happy that I had initiated power sector reforms, which he told me he wanted to do to unshackle the moribund utilities.He was so happy that along with the Electricity Act I introduced to restructure the sick power sector, to augment generation capacity, and to create institutions like regulatory commissions, for the first time ever we started working on distribution reforms ,to address challenge of financial viability and Transmission and distribution losses.
One particular memory stands out vividly – our visit to the then undivided Andhra Pradesh when I was leading a task force on the interlinking of rivers.
He had organised a programme on water issues there, another subject he said needed urgent intervention of public policy.
His passion for various issues was palpable, and our hours-long discussions at his residence, despite it being otherwise deserted, left a lasting impression on me.
What struck me most was his affinity for his roots,he always wanted to link his thoughts with what we do in centre, which should not affect the common people in villages.Thus, when I started, all movement of files would be on internet ,as Environment and Forest Minister, ,he expressed his happiness about such transparency in govt ,which according to him was not there at that time ,in western governments.
Shri PV Narasimha Rao Garu was fluent in many languages Indian and foreign. He would converse with me in chaste Marathi, a language he held dear to his heart. He once narrated to me an inspiring story of his speech at a Marathi literary meet, where he surprised the audience with his erudite knowledge of Marathi literature.There’s a famous instance when he started an interview with a foreign TV in their own language .
Our meetings were not just about discussions; they were learning sessions for me, where I gleaned insights from his vast reservoir of wisdom. His passing away was a profound loss. I rushed back to Delhi, from my official visit, where his body was left in state, where a few of us who would meet him regularly were mourning with the sombre realisation that we were bidding adieu to one of the greatest sons of India, which filled our hearts with sorrow. It was also a sad commentary on how the leader who had changed the course of India’s economic future ,by his epoch policies, and created a new culture of thinking ,was left there with very few of us watching the sorry spectacle.
Today, as I reflect on his life and legacy, I am filled with gratitude to see him rightfully honoured with the Bharat Ratna.,the honour he do well deserved.His visionary leadership and pioneering economic reforms laid the foundation for India’s integration with the global economy. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji for acknowledging his invaluable contributions to our nation’s growth and development. It’s a gesture by the PM that shows how we must rise above petty politics to recognise the contributions of even those who belonged to parties other than our own.
Our long civilisational history teaches us an important lesson,we have risen because we are considerate and a society full of gratitude. Our future lies in developing a political culture to embrace such ideas.
PV Narasimha Rao Garu’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to come, reminding us of the transformative power of leadership fueled by integrity, intellect, and dedication to the welfare of our nation. Let us cherish his memory and strive to uphold the ideals he stood for, ensuring a brighter future for India.