A Chequered Brilliance

Jairam Ramesh in conversation with Prof. Rajendra Abhyankar
Book Launch
Monday, 20th January 2020 TO Thursday, 1st January 1970

By all accounts, V K Krishna Menon was a brilliant man, and a close confidant and trusted aide of Jawaharlal Nehru. He was also a controversial figure, much reviled by Western powers who reacted strongly to his seeming arrogance and his forceful representation of India’s case in the United Nations. Jairam Ramesh, the erudite politician and former minister in the UPA government, has written a balanced and perceptive biography aptly titled A Chequered Brilliance, The Many Lives of V K Krishna Menon. The book will be launched at the next Literature Live! Evening, on Monday, January 20 at 6.30 PM at the Hall of Harmony, Nehru Centre when Jairam Ramesh will be in conversation with Prof Rajendra Abhyankar, Author and former Ambassador to the European Union. Asia Society is collaborating with Literature Live! for this event, so please register by email at asiasocietyindiacentre@asiasociety.org. See you there.


Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh (born 9 April 1954) is an Indian economist and politician belonging to Indian National Congress. He is a Member of Parliament representing Karnataka state in the Rajya Sabha. In July 2011, Jairam Ramesh was elevated to the Union Council of Ministers of India and appointed Minister of Rural Development and Minister (additional charge) of the new Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. However, in the cabinet reshuffle in October 2012, he has been divested of the portfolio of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. He was previously the Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) at the Ministry of Environment and Forests from May 2009 to July 2011

Prof. Rajendra Abhyankar

At the time of his 2005 retirement, Ambassador Rajendra Abhyankar was India’s Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, and Luxembourg. His professional career includes 37 years of Indian diplomacy, serving as Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Syria, and Turkey, High Commissioner to Cyprus, and Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. He has also been India’s Consul General in San Francisco.

Since then, Ambassador Abhyankar has been working in the areas of academics, corporate philanthropy, consulting, and international Track II dialogues. He was director of the Centre for West Asian (Middle East) Studies and professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi; director and adviser for The Asia Foundation’s program in India; and president of the Hinduja Foundation in Mumbai.

Ambassador Abhyankar’s affiliation with Indiana University began in 2011 as a diplomat-in-residence at the Center for American and Global Security. His research interests include international relations and diplomacy, its practice and multiple dimensions. He is the author of two books and three monographs including Stuff Happens: An Anecdotal Insight into Indian Diplomacy. He has also co-authored three books on Indian foreign policy of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the Congo. He is currently researching two books on Indian diplomacy and on Syria.

Ambassador Abhyankar holds positions on a number of philanthropic and charitable foundations. He is chair of the Kunzru Centre for Defense Studies and Research, Pune, India. While at O’Neill he has initiated collaboration between educational institutions in India and with other countries.

Ambassador Abhyankar is a frequent speaker on international affairs at universities and think-tanks around the world and contributes regularly to newspapers and journals in international issues. He speaks French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, and Arabic in addition to four Indian languages.

RSVP & Venue

Hall of Harmony, Nehru Center

Nehru Centre, Doctor Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400018