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Two Menons

Discussion in 'Interesting Shares' started by jayasala42, May 21, 2021.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    As there are many Menons worth describing, I hasten to clarify that I have in mind one Menon who was unique as a diplomat and another an anti- diplomat (in the restricted sense of dealing with people) and yet great, perhaps greater. Both of them the readers know very well. The former is K.P.S.Menon, Sr. and the latter V.K.Krishna Menon who could not claim that kind of seniority as he chose to remain single.
    Born to a successful lawyer in Kottayam, Kerala ,KPS had an excellent educational record and career, brightened throughout by the smile of Dame Luck. A first at Oxford, first in the ICS examination, the first Indian to be taken into the Foreign and Political Department of the Govt of India, the first Ambassador of India to China, the first Foreign Secretary of Independent India, the first long-serving envoy to Soviet Russia (he served for nine years)! These were the feathers
    in his cap. As for the part played by luck, he himself cited many examples of which one related to his school days. Menon was very weak in mathematics . There used to be a separate minimum for mathematics to pass the matriculation examination. From the year in which he appeared for the examination, this minimum requirement was abandoned. He passed the exam with flying colours and the marks he scored for Maths were a mere19%!
    Menon, as a diplomat and bureaucrat, was admired by all. He was incapable of creating enemies. As a writer in English, he was excellent. As a speaker, he seldom raised his voice.The humour that emanated from his speeches was of a delightful kind. He had the rare gift of sending his listeners to peals of laughter without himself showing on his face even a flicker of a smile.
    The other Menon, that is, V K Krishna Menon, of the same age group ( he was only two years senior in age) was equally brilliant and more dynamic. Being the best student of Harold Laski of the famous London School of Economics, Menon's dynamism was of a different kind and this he fully utilized for a particular type of work which had great relevance in our freedom struggle. It will not be correct to assume that we got freedom entirely because of our valiant fight in India. We must feel obliged to Menon and his India League for their excellent work done in England to bring about an attitudinal change of British minds in favour of giving freedom to India. It was Menon's untiring devotion to this noble cause that enlisted the cooperation of such worthies as Bertrand Russell, Harold Laski ,Anuerin Bevan, Fenner Brokway, Kingsley Martin, Michael Foot, et al. Russell was the first president of the India League.
    Menon was intensely disliked in the West on account of his abrasiveness. He was a very powerful speaker. His speeches in chaste queen's English were like tornadoes for the opponents. He was, no doubt, temperamental, but his abrasiveness was mostly assumed as a strategy to counter the hauteur of the British and the Americans. They hated him, yet listened to him. During the pretty long period of his presence in the UN as head of the Indian team, he made several valuable suggestions which, though grudgingly accepted by many,proved to boost the relevance of the organisation.
    Menon was behind the well -known non-alignment policy of Prime Minister Nehru.He was Nehru's confidant.Those who disliked Nehru disliked him more and he met his Waterloo in the Chinese debacle in1962 when he was the defence minister.It is,however,to be admitted that he had brought about salutary reforms in the set-up of the armed forces.
    The two Menons were like copper wires connected to the two ends of a battery.When their loose ends are brought close,they spit fire.It happened once when both of them were members in the delegation to the UN led by Mrs.Vijayalakshmi Pandit.K.P.S found V.K.K insufferable and a quarrel erupted between them.Nehru pacified the former and, since then ,both maintained a distance sufficient to keep the mutual respect intact.Suffice to say that both these wonderful persons rendered invaluable service to the nation in their own way.
    When Krishna Menon died,Prime Minister Indira Gandhi aptly compared him to an extinct volcano
    (Details culled out from a book written by one ofour senior officers, a native of Kerala.)

    Jayasala 42
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    I enjoyed reading for its contents, phrases and the prose. Thanks to op.

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