24 November 1966
My dear Natwar,
I was so glad to read your letter of 22 November.
I shall indeed be very glad if you can get me the N.Y.T review of your anthology. I have not yet received the copy of the book from the publishers. Sea mail takes more time.
I am not surprised you so much like the service under Smt. Indira Gandhi. She is splendidly endowed with all the graces of a good civilized lady. She grew up under the example of her gracious father.
I can never forget the moving gesture of her affection when she came and received my daughter at the Delhi railway station (Mrs. Devadas Gandhi), when I took her to Delhi from Bombay after she unexpectedly and cruelly lost her husband. Indira Gandhi whom I did not expect was at the station and led my daughter to the car like a sister. The touch was a consolation both to her and to me. This was August 1957, when I had already begun openly and severely to criticise Jawaharlalji.
14th February 1978
My dear Natwar,
Thank you so much for your letter of the 3rd February.
How nice of you to have talked to President Kaunda about the United World College. In your letter you say, “Sir Ian’s material arrived just in time. K.K was interested in the project. As I did not wish to add to his paperwork I took the liberty of telling him that you would be writing to him. He was delighted.”
This is slightly ambiguous to me because I am not sure whether you left behind the material which Ian Gourlay had given you, with the President, or whether you want me to send a new lot of material to the President. In any case, I imagine it is best not to worry him about this until shortly before his visit in the summer, as then I can ask for an interview to discuss it all with him.
I can also discuss all this with the Prince of Wales who really is now in charge.
With best wishes to you and Hem.
[Mountbatten of Burma]
Since dictating the above I have had your second letter and have seen John Baratt and he tells me that he has already spoken to you on telephone and is arranging for us to meet at my little house in London, 2 Kinnerton Street, SW1, on my return from Germany, either on the evening of 6th or the morning of 7th September.
I look forward very much to seeing you then
13, Akbar Road,
24 January 1966
My dear Natwar,
So the world’s largest democracy has chosen a woman to lead! Indu’s election has made history—I hope and pray she may be given the wisdom. At present the nation is jubilant but when the first excitement wears off the usual criticism and fault finding will begin. It is than that she must be tolerant and have safe counsel.
The air is thick with rumour about the new cabinet and the names will be known to you long before you receive this letter. I do not know who Indu’s confidants are, except of course, Uma Shankar Dikshit who has been Eminence Grise for many years. But whoever advises I hope for the sake of the country the advice is just and sound.
We are facing a crisis of great magnitude, not only matters like food, Tashkent etc., but the physiological crisis which has us in its grip and needs the full hand and far seeing vision of a read leader…
26th. I was interrupted and now the new Government is in power. A definitely right-wing government and one over which the establishment will have some control. I hope Indu gets cooperation and support.
The manner in which the world has hailed the election has been most heart-warming.
This is the stranger letter—do forgive me. I am now in Bombay helping Tara to move into her flat. I shall return in time for parliament.
Write when opportunity offers.
Love and good wishes
(Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit)
10 April 1972
My dear Natwar,
What a joy it was being with you in Delhi. I miss you badly, I tell you. Have you no business which can bring you to Mysore?
I used to be hopeless letter writer before, but now I promise improvement. I am going to write to you as often as I hear from you, and if I don’t hear from you, I will always leave one at credit.
I want some more copies of the photo with the P.M., preferably some that include Indira, and the negative of my picture. Could you manage all this? I would hesitate to bother anyone about photographs, but the occasion is special and I feel I can take this liberty with you. Thank you.
Did you manage that piece for The Hindustan Times? How did it go?
I am in torment about the choice of a theme for my next novel. I am thinking of a new subject each day and rejecting it after a few hours of enthusiastic speculation. The most acceptable seems to be Woman-eater of Malgudi!
Please give my remembrance to Deep. (An intimate friend of mine. She was one of the most beautiful women of her generation)