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The Rediff Special
May 28, 2004
I was the currency officer at the Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi, in 1982 when Dr Manmohan Singh was appointed governor.
Before leaving for Mumbai, he wanted to visit the Delhi office's currency section, including the basement vaults. I was asked to accompany him.
Dr Singh turned out to be an extremely simple and extraordinarily humble person.
He was rather taken aback when he saw an old weighing scale (the likes of which are found in firewood shops!) that was used for weighing bags of coins, etc. Even then, he made no harsh or critical observations.
Every department head was shown a copy of the letter he had sent the regional head, which said that if his friends/relatives approached any of us and asked for favours, professing close proximity to him, we should only extend only those courtesies and help that were permissible under the rules.
Later, as governor, he refused to stay in a suite in a five-star hotel in Bangalore; the reservation had to be changed to an ordinary room.
Subsequently, I had the opportunity to be a part of his delegation when he visited Tokyo, Japan, as finance minister. He refused to travel first class; as result, the governor and other senior officials of the finance ministry who were accompanying him had to follow suit!
He is too good for today's corrupt world.
The only problem -- as I have realised through my association with him -- is that he is too soft and could not think of meting out punishment to any RBI official even when the official concerned was guilty of serious dereliction of duty.
As prime minister, he has to learn to be a Rajarishi. A Rajarishi will, as a part of his duty, mete out punishment even to his son when it is deserved, even if it causes him personal pain.
Executive director (retired)
Reserve Bank of India
India deserves Manmohan Singh
I have never met Dr Manmohan Singh personally. I did, however, get the opportunity to observe him from close quarters when he contested the 1999 Lok Sabha election from South Delhi.
He had come to our colony to deliver a speech.
I generally don't go for election rallies, but the presence of Dr Singh and the fact that the venue was a 10 second walk from my house was too strong a temptation to resist.
What I saw there amazed me.
After his supporters finished with their typical election-type speeches, Dr Singh stood up and said, "Whoever you vote for, make sure you do exercise your vote."
Hearing this, my respect for the man grew by leaps and bounds.
India deserves Manmohan Singh.
I hope he is given the space and the opportunity to deliver for the country.
Senior IT specialist, IBM
India will shine
It was the summer of 2000. Dr Manmohan Singh had been invited as the chief guest to the convocation at my alma mater, the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad.
After the event, our director invited a handful of final year students to his premises where we were introduced to Dr Singh.
The next hour, till he left for Dhanbad station on his way back to Delhi, were the most memorable 60 minutes of my life as a vibrant and thought-provoking discussion took place between a group of eager, industrious students at the beginning their professional lives and a sincere, down-to-earth, almost a saintly soul.
His command over his field of expertise, clarity of vision and conviction in implementing his beliefs left an everlasting impression on us.
Today, I take much pride in the fact that our paths crossed for that short moment, giving me the opportunity to meet such a great yet humble soul.
I would like to wish him all the very best always. If he given a free hand, India will 'shine' sooner than later!
DP engineer, WesternGeco
I had an honour to meet with and listen to Dr Manmohan Singh's valuable words in Ulsoor, Bangalore, in 1995.
You would normally expect a politician to laud his party's achievements and ask for votes. But Dr Singh exhorted his listeners to educate their children as much as possible because India's future lay in the hands of these children. He said it was important for them to learn to think independently instead of blindly following what other people said.
I believe him. It is a shame that, while so many Indians are educated, so few are literate.
I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to the man who will definitely take India to the 21st century. I hope the United Progressive Alliance partners continue to support a truly deserving prime minister.
Amrik S Aidan
Credit Suisse First Boston
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Have you met Dr Manmohan Singh? Share your experience with us.
Photograph: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images.
Image: Uttam Ghosh/Imran Shaikh