Wednesday, March 2, 2016



PROF. P N DHAR ( 1ST March 1919-2012 )

He was a professor of Economics at Delhi University. He was  one among  the  group of dedicated     intellectuals who were seriously connected with the development   of DELHI SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS.  He was Director and Professor emeritus at The Institute for Economic Growth . He was in PMO when India conducted its first nuclear test and took over Sikkim He was in the team that drafted and negotiated the Shimla Agreement post Indo Pak war of 1971.He was privy and participant to some major decisions taken by the then PM Smt. Indira Gandhi. He rose to become Principal secretary and the closest Advisor to the then PM Smt. Indira Gandhi . Insiders say that he was a master Planner of National Priorities .

From 1978 to 1986, he served at UN HQs New York as Assistant Secretary General Research and Policy Analysis.

As Economist and Planner , he belonged to the liberal group of intelletuals who shaped post Nehruvian policy of the country . He had the courage to disagree and present what suited National Interests in the long run.

Even his  critics shall vouch for his unflinching belief in Democracy and Rule of Law. Never did he support anything beyond that whatever the consequences. Those who knew him well ,remember his Contribution in strengthening this belief in all areas that came under his direct and independent scrutiny.

Most of us do not know that he had opposed Sanjay Gandhi’s direct intervention in country’s affairs . He also did not like JP’s anarchic call of TOTAL REVOLUTION . He had opposed the press censorship in particular . Indira ji Heard him but acted on the advice given by a newer group of advisors whom she considered convenient at that point of time. This New Group of advisors was led by S S Ray , Sanjay Gandhi ( With his team that included Bansi lal, V C Shukla , Om Mehta and R K Dhawan ) and many more .S S Ray is believed to have proposed the idea of Internal Emergency to her . He even drafted the letter to Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed the then President of India recommending for imposition of Emergency in the country .He felt helpless and tried to resign but was advised to carry on. And Indira Ji would not let him go. Many political analysts believe that his presence added respectability to the PMO . For him, Emergency was a systemic failure.

“To arrive at real causes one must go beyond the Allahabad High Court judgement and the events that followed and explore the widening gap between the form and substance of democracy as it operated in India. I argue that if by ‘Emergency’ is meant an abridgement of the rule of law … then in India the democratic substance started deviating from the form long before 26(actually 25) June, 1976” .

 Not Many but so many a people  in kashmir still remember him.  Agha Ashraf Ali had all praise for him when I met him last. To a post on  Prof P N Dhar  that appeared on  my Face Book page,  I received many comments . I quote a few ;

Prof. A N sadhu:

“Prof Dhar was a great man.simple and sweet. God bless his soul with eternal peace.”

Shri Brij Krishen Dass :

"Prof. J N Dhar, the contemporary of Prof. P N Dhar told me that Prof. Dhar started his career as a lecturer from Government Degree College Srinagar. One day Maulana Abul kalam Azad, the then Education Minister of India on his visit to the College spotted him in the staff room of the college all alone unconcerned about the visit of the dignitary. Both chatted for some time and finally Maulana suggested to him if he would like to come to Delhi to work at a bigger platform.”

Prof Jaya  Parimu :

“The only thing I know about Prof.P.N.Dhar is that he  being a great fan of my father . He would   make it a point to visit our house at least once in a year when he got busy at Delhi. Dhar Sahib wrote an obituary when my father left for heavenly abode in 1978.He has mentioned about his quick wit, political vision , Kashmir ,social reform and women emancipation.Peace be to their souls.”

A Family man and a friend to many , Dhar Sahib ( As he was fondly known ) spent his last years with family and some close friends. Men whom he helped to grow , ignored him in the changed set of circumstances . *Shiela Dhar’s ( His wife ) death brought some gloom and loneliness in his personal life. His devoted children and some close family friends always tried to keep him cheerful and happy.

He was awarded Padam Vibhushan in 2008 for his services to the Nation.

( Autar Mota )


*Shiela Dhar( 1929-2001) belonged to a well off Mathur Kayasth family . She did her MA English from Boston , taught English literature at Delhi University and earned her name as an accomplished classical singer of Kirana Gharana . She also worked at Publications Division New Delhi. She served on the board of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and was advisor for music to the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.

There is no doubt that Shiela ji and PN Dhar were an unlike pair .He was silent while she was expressive . He thought about life while she lived it . But then both shared much in common too. They were sternly attached to their truthfulness. Both loved good food and friends . A good number of their close friends happened to be from kashmir valley for whom they remained the most affable and adorable couple . And about her husband she adds:

“ From My husband ,I expected encouragement as a matter of right but the extent of it surprised me. I owe much to my Extraordinary family in this venture .”

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