Thursday, November 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Mr B.K. Nehru, a distinguished civil servant, an outstanding diplomat and a former President of The Tribune Trust, died at the Kasauli Military Hospital this evening. He was 92.

He leaves behind Shobha Nehru, Ashok Nehru and Malti Nehru, Aditya Nehru and Lolita Nehru, Anil Nehru and Chand Nehru, Shivashish Gupta and Malavika Gupta, Swarup Nehru, Ambika Nehru, Akhil Nehru and Aditi Nehru.

The body is being taken to Gurgaon (House No. 854, Sector 17), family sources said. He will be cremated tomorrow at Nigambodh Ghat cremation ground at 4.30 p.m.

A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, Mr Braj Kumar Nehru, who was born into the illustrious Nehru family, had a lot to live up to.

Educated at Allahabad University, London School of Economics — where he was a favourite student of Prof Harold Laski — and at Oxford, he became a Barrister-at-Law from Inner Temple, London, before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1934.

He represented India at the post-World War II Reparations Conference and the Sterling Balances negotiations with Britain. He served as India’s Ambassador in the USA and as High Commissioner in the UK. He refused the post of UN Secretary-General, one of the few decisions he regretted later.

Back home, he was the Governor of Assam — which in the late 60s included the whole of the North-East — Kashmir and Gujarat. He was the chairman of the Investment Committee of the United Nations for 14 years. He remained associated with the committee for more than two decades.

When he retired in 1991, the then Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Javier Perez de Cueller, remarked: “For Mr Nehru’s guidance in the field of investment and his deep concern for those with whom he has worked, I express my sincere appreciation”. During his tenure the assets of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund rose from $ 147 million to $ 10 billion.

In 1984, Panjab University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) for his distinguished services in different fields.

His association with the Tribune group of newspapers started in 1988 as a Trustee. In 1996, he became the President of the Trust. In April last year, he stepped down for health reasons but decided to continue as a Trustee.

Besides these distinguished positions, Mr Nehru was the chairperson of various trusts and boards, including the Hindustan Oil Exploration Co. Ltd., the Indian Advisory Board of ANZ Grindlays Bank, the Dyal Singh College Trust and the Dyal Singh Library Trust. He was the Vice-Chairman of the Vienna Institute for Development and a member of the International Advisory Council of the Vienna Institute for Development and Cooperation.

Spanning almost the whole of the 20th century, “Nice Guys Finish Second”, is a book written by Mr Nehru, which is the record of a truly remarkable life marked by the kind of integrity and wisdom one seldom finds today.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has expressed his profound sorrow over the demise of Mr Nehru.

Describing Mr Nehru as a distinguished statesman, a successful diplomat and an able administrator, Mr Badal said his outstanding contribution to the country in different areas would always be remembered. The Chief Minister conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.

The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob expressed shock over the demise of Mr Nehru. He described Mr Nehru as the most distinguished Governor and civil servant.

“I had the privilege of working under his guidance when he was the Governor of North Eastern states,” General Jacob recalled. The Governor said that in Mr Nehru’s death, the country had lost a statesman and he personally had lost a friend. The Governor expressed heart-felt sympathy with the bereaved family and prayed to God to give peace to the departed soul and courage to the family to bear this loss.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, paid rich tributes to Mr Nehru and described him as one of “the tallest statesmen, diplomats and administrators” the country has produced.

SHIMLA: Mourning the death of Mr B.K. Nehru, the Governor, Dr Suraj Bhan, and Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal said the country had lost a fine person who served in various capacities while in government service and as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and various other states.

The CLP leader, Mr Virbhadra Singh, recalled the contributions of Mr Nehru to the country and particularly during his assignments abroad.

Mr J.B.L. Khachi, who had a long association with Mr Nehru said that India had lost a great diplomat and an excellent civil servant. He had immense love for the hill people.


Funeral in Delhi today

Chandigarh, October 31
The funeral of Mr B.K. Nehru will take place at the electric crematorium, Nigambodh Ghat, New Delhi, at 4.30 pm tomorrow.

The Congress has mourned the death of Mr Nehru saying, “his contribution as an eminent administrator during trying times will never be forgotten”.

AICC Media Department Secretary Tom Vadakkan said the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi would attend the funeral.


President, PM mourn death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 31
President K.R. Narayanan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and leaders of various political parties today expressed profound grief over the demise of eminent diplomat and administrator B.K. Nehru.

In his condolence message to the bereaved family, the President said that Mr Nehru was a distinguished civil servant who served the nation in various important assignments after Independence. “In the post-Independence era, he played a significant role in economic policy making and administration as well as in high-level diplomacy. With his brilliant mind and sterling qualities of independence and integrity, Mr Nehru nurtured a tradition of good governance in India. He was at once a fine representative of Indian culture and modern person with liberal ideas,” Mr Narayanan said.

Mr Vajpayee said that the nonagenarian administrator was a person gifted with myriad talents.” He was a diplomat par excellence and an eminent writer. The services of Mr Nehru, particularly in the field of diplomacy and administration, will always be remembered,” the Prime Minister said.

Describing him as the seniormost member of the Nehru-Gandhi family and the most successful Indian Ambassador to the USA, senior Congress leader Natwar Singh said his loss would be felt not only by the two families but by his admirers in India and abroad.

He said that with Mr Nehru’s passing away, another link with the past had been broken. “He led a full and fruitful life giving joy and pleasure to his friends and family. As a diplomat, Mr Nehru reached the highest position, and as a diplomat he was undoubtedly the most successful Indian Ambassador to the USA. As a Governor of three states, he earned the respect of one and all,” Mr Natwar Singh said.

“I had the pleasure and distinction of serving with Mr Nehru in London in the mid-seventies and got to respect and like him,’’ Mr Singh recalled.

The Congress leader said that Mr Nehru was an outstanding administrator and his autobiography ‘Nice Guys Finish Second’ provides great enjoyment.

CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet said Mr Nehru’s death was a big loss as he had wide experience and was one of the outstanding personalities who had seen the freedom struggle from close quarters. A seasoned civil servant, Mr Nehru served the country and society in difficult circumstances, Mr Surjeet said.

Describing him as a good and unassuming individual, senior BJP leader Jagdish Prasad Mathur said that Mr Nehru served the country in various capacities.

CPI National Secretary D. Raja said that Mr Nehru, who served the nation in different areas, was an outstanding civil servant.


Great guide and philosopher

THE President of The Tribune Trust, Mrs Serla Grewal, expressing shock at the sad news, said B.K. Nehru’s passing away was a great loss to the nation. “We at The Tribune Trust will miss this great guide and philosopher more than anybody else. He was an institution by himself. He towered over his contemporaries in matters of intellect, integrity and personality. He was very considerate—a true gentleman. I have had the privilege of interacting closely and working with him for many years. A warm-hearted person, he was indeed a true friend.

“As an ICS officer, he was among those who helped the nation to successfully face the difficult years immediately after Independence. He ably handled his diplomatic assignments in London and Washington, and gubernatorial responsibilities within the country.”

“As President of The Tribune Trust since July, 1996, till April, 2000, he took the institution to greater heights. He relinquished his onerous responsibilities as the Trust chief because of health reasons, but continued his association as a Trustee, playing an active role till the very end. With B.K. Nehru’s demise, the nation has been deprived of one of the most polished and urbane intellectuals.”

Mr R.S. Talwar, Trustee of The Tribune Trust, was shocked to hear the news of B.K. Nehru’s demise. He described the former Trust President as a multi-dimensional personality, who made a mark in whichever position he held. “We shall miss him for his able guidance. The void caused by his death will be difficult to fill,” he said.

Mr Justice R.S. Pathak, Trustee, The Tribune Trust, said: “The passing away of B.K. Nehru is a great loss to the nation and, in particular, to The Tribune Trust. During a long career spanning several decades, his contribution to the areas of economics and finance, diplomacy and foreign policy, administration and public affairs at the highest level demonstrated his intense patriotism, statesmanship, independence and integrity of character. He was trusted by the country to serve it in one high office after another, and he distinguished himself wherever he went. His record of public service has few parallels.

“India has lost a brilliant son, and his large host of admirers a dearly loved friend. Our families had been intimately known to each other for several years, and I was forever the recipient of his kindness, his affection and his guidance. I send my heartfelt condolences to Mrs Nehru, their sons and the family.”

Dr R.P. Bambah, Trustee, The Tribune Trust, said: “B.K. Nehru belonged to that rare breed of human beings who leave society richer by contributing to its welfare immensely. I regard this as a personal loss since I was fortunate to have known him and worked with him for a long time.”

Mr S.D. Bhambri, a former General Manager of The Tribune Trust, said: “ It was for me a rare privilege to have known B.K. Nehru intimately and to have worked with him at The Tribune for a decade. He was a scholar, a visionary and a humanist who possessed a warm and generous heart.”

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