We are sorry to let it be known that Dr Abid Hussain,Patron
of IAFA Passed away in London on June 21,2012.He was a great source
of inspiration, moral support, wise counsel & guidance. We pay
him our homage and wish his soul rests in peace.
A Memorial meeting for late Dr Abid Hussain was organized by IAFA
at Seminar halls 1-3 ,IIC, Max Mueller Marg New Delhi. Prof MGK
Menon, Soli Sorabjee, TN Chaturvedi, Dr Nitin Desai, Amb.Chinmaya
Gharekhan, Amb.Lalit Mansingh, Ajay Shankar, Rajeev Talwar, Prof
Deepak Pental, Dr Suresh Goel, Prof Zoya Hasan, Ms Vishaka Hussain
Pathak & Amb. Surendra Kumar shared their reminiscences and
paid their homage to Dr Abid Hussain.
A Personal Tribute
With deep sadness, I have read in news papers this
morning about the passing away of Dr Abid Hussain in London last
night. He needs no introduction. One of the ablest and most respected
civil Servants of all times, a consummate, effortlessly natural
diplomat par excellence who is still remembered in USA as one of
the most popular Ambassadors of India , he had an uncanny understanding
of economic issues and had an enviable record of having chaired
countless committees, Studies & Reports. There was hardly any
senior position which he hadn't held in his long & chequered
career. Besides serving as the Secretary of Heavy Industry &
Commerce he was the Chairman of the IIFT. For nine years, he was,
Special Rapporteur to the UN on Freedom of opinion & Expression.
He had served on the Council on Foreign Relation, New York and Member
of International Panel on Democracy & Development of UNESCO.
No wonder, he was honoured with numerous awards & titles including
the Padma Bhushan in 1988.
He was the President of Delhi Gymkhana Club more than 15 years back;
Vice chairman of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation ,Chancellor of Central
university of Hyderabad ,Member of Prasar Bharti Board, Chairman
of Ghalib Academy & Vice President of Rumi foundation. He was
truly a man of all seasons. Even in the twilight of his life when
most people sit at home and watch TV ,he used to hop from place
to place chairing committees and participating in seminars &
discussion on hugely diverse subjects.
Very erudite & well-informed, he was a mesmerising orator,
compelling writer and a broad versioned liberal thinker. As recently
as May 28th, he had chaired IAFA's discussion on: Is India a tolerant
Society? at the IIC ; the audience remained spellbound when he recited
long passages of poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz .He was ,like Firaq Gorakhpuri,
one of the rare individuals who could quote from Shakespeare, Kalidas,
Tulsidas, Rabindranath Tagore ,Ghalib & Faiz in a single speech
He had a terrific sense of humour but it was always sophisticated
and subtle. He often said: most of us, when we want to impress about
our scientific & economic knowledge tend to speak in English;
when we want to underline the political fault lines we prefer Hindi
but when we want to express our love, we resort to Urdu!
He possessed tremendous joie de vivre. He had the rare quality of
making even a stranger feel as if he had known him/her for ages.
His robust laughter and disarming informality melted the age and
generational gap in minutes. I can never forget his laughter and
touching line on phone,:" Are yaar tu kanha chala gaya tha
,pichhale hafte , bombay mein ,ek meeting mein kisi baat per teri
bahut yaad a rahi thi!" Here was someone who was already a
full fledged Secretary to the Govt of India when I joined the IFS!!
Unlike many in the Civil Service fraternity, I never heard him bitching
about anyone senior or junior. He was forgiving by nature and caring
and helpful by temperament.
There are so many facets of his personality; one can write a whole
book about them. So many memories roll on my mental screen of our
interaction including our trip to Neemrana fort in 2007 where he
chaired Abid Hussain Committee meeting which was also attended by
Amb Lalit Mansingh & Amb KS Rana .
Above all, he was a great human being. His passing away is a great
loss to Indian Civil Service, diplomacy, Economic & political
discourse, think tanks community & Connoisseurs of Art, Music
& poetry. He will be missed by his relatives, friends, fans,
admirers and all those who stand for a clean, effective, liberal,
secular and inspirational public life.
June 22, 2012
Founding President IAFA