By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DELHI, 26 Feb: “Morarji Desai: A Profile in Courage”, a biography of the fourth Prime Minister of India, was launched at the India International Centre, here. Arvindar Singh, the author of the book is a columnist and entrepreneur, who has studied Desai`s life in minute detail, apart from knowing the leader well personally. Participating in the event, eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee, former BBC Head in India Sir Mark Tully, former Indian Express editor Rahul Singh and Social Activist Apoorvanand recalled the former Prime Minister`s strict adherence to moral principles and high values in public life. Mark Tully said he was an accessible person with the media and gave them a free hand to ask questions and was not flustered at questions about his personal habits. Tully had made a film on him for the BBC. Soli Sorabjee described him as a democrat to the core who was able to hear the other point of view and consulted the opposition frequently on major policy issues. He remembered his advice to him on legal matters concerning the Shah Commission of Inquiry. Rahul Singh recalled his meeting with Morarji Desai when American journalist Seymour Hersh had accused him of being a CIA mole and even though Hersh was acquitted in the case, nobody in India believed it. He mentioned that Morarji had inducted technocrats into the government at the secretary level which, regretfully, was later given up. Apoorvanand recalled the contribution of Morarji Desai with respect to the promotion of Hindi, and his role in the Gandhi murder trial as Home Minister of Bombay State. Author Arvindar Singh recalled his frequent meetings with Morarji Desai, which inspired him to write the book on the eminent Gandhian leader, who made sincere efforts to have peaceful relations with Pakistan. He was awarded the “Nishan-e- Pakistan”, Pakistan`s highest award. He also held the first free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 1977. A lively interactive question answer session followed the launch.