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Indira Gandhi's speech writer Sharada Prasad dead

Last updated on: September 02, 2008 20:01 IST

H Y Sharada Prasad, the versatile media advisor to Indira Gandhi and two other prime ministers and an erudite scholar, died today after a prolonged illness.

Holenarsipur Yoganarasimha Sharada Prasad (84), who was suffering from Parkinson's disease for a very long time and bed-ridden since the last eight months after a fall, breathed his last at his residence here at around 1.30 pm, family sources said.

He was also suffering from a terminal lung ailment, the sources said.

Known for his incisive writings in his columns, the legendary Mysorean with an intellectual bent of mind is survived by his wife Kamalamma and two sons.

Sharada Prasad also served under Morarji Desai and Rajiv Gandhi. He was in the PMO for 20 years writing speeches for them and Mrs Gandhi and was one of the closest aides of the country's first woman premier.

He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2000 and is also a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 2001.

Shourie, as Sharada Prasad was known to relatives and close friends, was born in Bangalore, educated at the University of Mysore and jailed during the Quit India movement. He joined the Indian Express group in Bombay in 1945, and was a Neiman fellow in journalism at Harvard University in 1955-56.

He edited Yojana, the journal of the Planning Commission, after which followed his stints at the prime ministers office between 1966-78 and 1980-88, under Indira Gandhi and later Rajiv Gandhi.

During the Janata government, he worked with Morarji Desai for a few months before being posted as director of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi.

Sharada Prasad wrote books on Karnataka (Exploring Karnataka with Satyan), on the Rashtrapati Bhavan (The Story of the President's House), and on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (Selected Works).

For someone who shied away from the limelight, Sharada Prasad's last book was aptly titled The Book I Wont Be Writing, a collection of columns he wrote for The Asian Age.

Former Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachallaiah said Sharada Prasad was an 'extraordinary life in our times'.

'He represented a kind of civilisational culture. A culture of sobriety, dignity, humility and enormous amounts of learning,' he said.

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