Event ReportsPublished on Jun 29, 2010
The Vice President of India, Shri. M. Hamid Ansari and the Union Finance Minister, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee, remembered the contributions of late Shri R.K. Mishra, ORF Founder Chairman, while releasing 'A Brahmin Without Caste: Remembering Rishi Kumar Mishra' -- a volume contributed by 56 personalities from different walks of life.
Vice President releases book on Late R. K. Mishra

A Brahmin Without Caste: Remembering Rishi Kumar Mishra, a book in memory of the Founder Chairman of Observer Research Foundation, late Shri R.K. Mishra, was released on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 by the Vice President of India, Shri. M. Hamid Ansari, at a sombre function held at the residence of the Vice President.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice President called Mishraji a “unique person” saying that his contributions have been aptly brought out in the book. People like Mishraji, who rigorously worked behind the scenes, are essential for the success of a functional democracy, Shri. Ansari stressed. He was a man of diverse talents, the Vice President pointed out.

Shri. Ansari said when he heard the news about Mishraji’s unfortunate death, a couplet, meaning lots of work are yet to be done and many more lamps are yet to be lighted, came to his mind.

“Tributes have been paid to him by political personalities, academic figures, friends abroad, people in the filed of journalism and other personalities of life. Much more can be said and should be said about the quite role he played. The Finance Minster has mentioned a few. But I think there is a much larger one. That is the way he wanted it to be – behind the scenes,” he said.

Shri. Ansari said besides matters of political and international issues, economy was something which was close to Mishraji’s heart. “He was fond of saying, not very frequently, that the whole process of economic reforms started with a gathering at his residence.”

“I think the volume is absolutely priceless,” Shri. Ansari said.

The Union Finance Minister, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee, was the Guest of Honour at the function.

In his address, Shri. Mukherjee remembered Mishraji as a real friend and a “multi-faceted personality”, whose contribution to the Indian politics is as precious as in other fields. He said many times he had “suggested to Mishraji that he should come back to active politics, but with his discerning smile, he would say ‘no, I can deliver goods much better and I can serve the country much better than being a Member of Parliament.”

Shri. Mukherjee said Mishraji wanted “Observer Research Foundation, which he set up, to be a first class think tank of world standard and it actually happened. I had the privilege of getting various issues studied by the scholars of this institution, particularly when I was the Defence Minister. Many of the studies and recommendations were of immense value,” he said.

He said “the tributes which the contributors of the volume have paid to this man is not only apt, but, I think, many more work will have to be done, as Rasgotraji has pointed out, on this multifaceted personality.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, President of the ORF Centre for International Relations, Shri. M. Rasgotra, said the presence of the Vice President and the Union Finance Minister at this function to release the book spoke much about him. He said the book is a collection of tributes by 56 persons – Indian as well as foreigners. “No single tribute repeats another’s offering. Each writer reveals a different dimension of a most engaging and versatile human being.”

“I am sure there are still more facets to RK’s life, which will remain uncelebrated in public. Not because there is anything to hide, but because there are cores in a sentient being which must remain undetected and un-articulated. Without that, human existence would be without its mystery,” he said.

Mr. Rasgotra said “RK was a man of great mental vigour, impressive intellectual probity and unfathomed spiritual depths. Unforgiving perfectionist in himself, he had a rare gift of drawing amusement from pretence and folly in others”.

“Gentle and generous of heart, he valued friendship: He gave loyalty and affection in abundance and received the same in equal measure. RK’s kaleidoscopic persona was suffused with the rainbow colours of a life, rich both in pursuits and accomplishments,” he said.

“It is not surprising that a person so endowed with human qualities should have overcome the sense of caste. A truly wise man regards all existence as one and all beings as equal,” Mr. Rasgotra said.

ORF Distinguished Fellow and veteran journalist Shri. Saeed Naqvi remembered Mishraji as a man of letters who have left deep imprint in the social, political and economic life of India. He recalled his long association with Mishraji since he met him in Jaipur in 1965 where he had gone as a Special Correspondent of The Statesman.

Members of Parliament, academics, eminent journalists, bureaucrats and other dignitaries from various fields, friends and well-wishers graced the book release ceremony besides Trustees of ORF and Mrs. Renuka Mishra.

The book is a compilation of experiences and remembrances of 56 persons from different walks of life, who knew Mishraji and interacted with Mishraji closely. The book is published by Rupa & Co. in association with Brahma Vida Kendra.

The report was prepared by Ms. Angira Sen Sarma, Associate Fellow, ORF.

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