Poor Mr. Brahmananda Reddy, he has been the least controversial of governors that Maharastra has had, absolutely self-effacing, hardly ever inaugurates anything, speaks very little, non-interfering, is probably not aware that he is also the chancellor of the universities in the state and hence can interfere in their affairs, has not got his daughters-in-law promoted and admitted to medical colleges. And yet, first the BJP and now the Janata Dal are gunning for him and want to be out.
Some governors have been more visible that others. Mr. Sri Prakasa, senior citizens will remember him, was more visible that most. If you were having a celebration or opening somethig, the easiest person to get to preside and address was Mr. Sri Parakasa. His average was 60 meetings a month and at each meeting he would speak an average of 90 minutes.
He was not a bad speaker, though he had a tendency to repeat some old Uttar Pradesh jokes. My problem was that as very junior reporter my job was to cover most of his meetings. And it ruined my evenings. The happiest man in Bombay, when he returned to Benares, was myself.
Mr. Harekrushna Mahtab, I think, preceded him. At least he was the first Indian governor of Bombay State that I knew. Before him, there were governors with names like Lord Linlithgo (pronounce it in stages, Lin-lith-go). Mr. Mahtab went back to Orissa to become its chief minister.
The only other governor I know who went back to become something was Mr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. He went back to become the vice-president, and if the present government lasts out, he will become the President. Other governors, if they go back to becomes anything, becomes ambassadors. Air Chief Marshal Idris Latif became the ambassador in Paris. He was a very active governor.
I have noticed one thing: those governors who have bright and somewhat pushy wives, become active governors - Begum Latif, Begum Ali Yavar Jung, Mrs. Tara Cherian. Lest I am misunderstood, I would like to clarify that I am saying this in a complimentary sense.
Mrs. Vijaylakshmi Pandit did not require a bright and pushy mate. She was active on her own. When she became governor of Maharastra, all the newspapers, Russy Karanjia's Blitz leading, said that Maharastra was honoured. Her appointment was a little like when. Benazir Bhutto became the prime minister of Pakistan, or what it will be when Maneka Gandhi becomes the prime minister of India.
There have been several other governors, but I forget most of them - probably because they are forgettable. However, I remember all the governors who were there when I was with Mid-Day. It was Mr. Khalid Ansari's practice to have an annual party with whoever was the governor that year as the chief guest. The parties were either at the Taj or oberoi, and to receive the governor we had to stand at the entrance to the hotel. Mr. Ansari, then members of his family, then myself, dressed in a tie and jacket. They were the most embarrassing moments of my life.