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   Mr. Rajiv Gandhi appears to like to have his holidays in the forest... (September 1, 1986)

Mr. Rajiv Gandhi appears to like to have his holidays in the forest, in the solitude of game sanctuaries. Jawaharlal Nehru preferred the mountains, the foothills of the Himalayas, photographs from where show him at this most relaxed.

His daughter also preferred the mountains. After cremations, her ashes were scattered over the Himalayas. Nehru's were dropped in the Ganga so that they be carried to the sea that washes India's shores").

Nehru's last will and testament is the most beautiful speech of literature written by an Indian in English. It was written a couple of years before his death, the date was mentioned under his signature. When I was with the Times, I had gone to the library and carefully gone through old papers around that date to find out if there was any particular event or incident that had made Nehru sit down and write his will. I found nothing.

Mr. Charan Singh seems to like spending his holidays at those guest-houses of the Haryana tourism corporation. I have seen one of these and have been very impressed and I understand it is nowhere near the corporation's best.

Mr. Morarji Desai, I do not think he believes in holidays and going away. His philosophy is: The mind is its own place and can it self make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. So he spends his time in a small (well, not too small) room in building on Marine Drive, not bothering to so much as look out of the window. I do not think he has ever seen television, not even when he was appearing on it. More than obstinate, he is stubborn. Or is it other way around?

Mr. S. K. Patil also used to like to spend his holidays in Bombay, but then he genuinely loved Bombay. When he was a union minister, he used to come to Bombay every weekend.

Mr. Vasantrao Patil likes Sangli and nothing else, not even the pleasures of the Raj Bhavan in jaipur. Mr. Antulay used to go to Dubai, London, to fetch Shivaji's word, etc. His holiday ended rather abruptly. Mr. Khushwant Singh, I suspect, likes Bangkok best. Though he will happily go anywhere he is invited to. I like such people they get the best out of life, unlike Mr. Desai, who gets the worst.

For that matter, I doubt if Mr. Bal Thackeray ever goes anywhere beyond Kala Nagar, east Bandra. He is a leader who cannot move out of his environment. And what applies to Mr. Thakeray, applies to his party.

One more point. Forests, I think, are Mr. Rajiv Gandhi's second choice. His first choice is going abroad.

 
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