The Takshashila Institution, organised a lounge of the book ‘A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon’ by the former Parliamentarian Jairam Rameshon Thursday, November 19. The author was in conversation with Nitin Pai, co-founder and director of Takshashila.
Mr. Ramesh opened his remarks about V.K. Krishna Menon, most prominently known for his tenure as Defence Minister between 1957 and 1962, by calling him a man of consequence, contradiction and controversy. Mr. Ramesh noted that Menon was popularly known as “Formula Menon” as he had the solutions to many challenging problems. Though many did not like Krishna Menon, they approached him for his creative formulae.
Asked about why Ramesh wrote a biography of Krishna Menon, Mr. Ramesh responded, “I wrote the book because of the time available, the personality of Krishna Menon, and most importantly, the availability of primary resources.”
Mr. Ramesh said that Krishna Menon had three mentors. First, Annie Besant from The Theosophical Society. Second was Harold Laski who Krishna Menon met at the London School of Economics (LSE) and from whom he learnt to be a democratic socialist. The third mentor was Jawaharlal Nehru who shared the innermost fears and thoughts with Menon.
To progress the discussion further, Nitin Pai outlined a popular caricature of Krishna Menon stating, “Here’s a guy who is a communist by nature, he had a distrust towards markets and a man of poor people skills who managed to ruin relations with people like President Kennedy, and was the cause of many of the failures of the 1960s.”
Condensing this popular caricature, Mr. Ramesh said that this view is highly misleading based on narrow judgements, and o blame Menon for introducing socialism to India is a narrow view as the socialist culture was already rooted in Indian culture. India had socialism with Indian characteristics. He further said, “Please do not public figures without the historical context. Public figures like Krishna Menon are people who grew out of a consequence of their times.”
After further discussions about the book, Pai invited questions from the audience.
Grab a copy of ‘A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon’ at your nearest bookstore or order one from Amazon for a fascinating look into the life of V.K. Krishna Menon, a man of many colours and characters.
The Takshashila Institution is an independent and non-partisan think tank and school of public policy. Takshashila offers 12 week certificate courses in Public Policy, Technology and Policy, and Defence and Foreign Affairs and a 48 week post graduate program in Public Policy.