Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
PERSONALITY PROFILES SENT BY FOREIGN OFFICE TO LONDON
She is very sensitive to criticism and unforgiving towards those who she thinks have let her down or slighted her personally. She can be uncommunicative and uses silence as a weapon but when she chooses she can be charming, modest, a good hostess and an amusing raconteur.
He was probably the only Union Cabinet Minister independent minded enough to make a mark of his own and while in the Ministry of Finance he wielded a major influence on economic policy. He successfully resisted Sanjay Gandhi’s encroachments… Strict vegetarian (no eggs).
Educated at Doon School, a tutorial college in London and Trinity College Cambridge (1962-65) where he read Engineering although failed to get a degree (his friends say this was lack of work rather than lack of ability but he is very sensitive about it)… He is not an intellectual, nor impulsive. Rajiv married Sonia, an Italian girl (who took Indian citizenship only in 1983), he met at Cambridge, in 1968. She is good-looking, quiet, and while not interested in politics, clearly gives him a feeling of security at home. She got on well with Mrs Gandhi.
(She) is more of a personal embarrassment to Mrs Gandhi, and more particularly to Rajiv, than a political force… (She) is politically astute and ambitious, a very effective speaker in public, is well-known and can afford to play her politics long.
PV NARASIMHA RAO
An experienced, well-respected politician. He depends for his political weight entirely on Mrs Gandhi. Although he is very typical of loyal, reliable and pliable Ministers she likes to have around her, he is well thought of by his officials… (He) has a pleasant and informal manner, a good capacity to listen and a quiet, unshowy self-confidence.
A diminutive, serious, hardworking man. Has a friendly, easy manner and goes down well in the business world. Nobody has any illusions, however, about his independence of spirit; he is very much Mrs Gandhi’s man.
(He) has major interests and powerful contacts in India. He enjoys excellent access to Mrs Gandhi and her son Rajiv, to the point where he has been dubbed at times as an “alternative Indian High Commissioner in London”. He is a generally reliable source of information on thinking in Delhi.
He did not impress during his tenure as home minister, a key position he owed to his unquestioning loyalty to Mrs Gandhi (and earlier to Sanjay) rather than to ability… His own command of English is poor.
MOHAMMAD HAMID ANSARI
(Chief of Protocol since 1980): Ansari’s present position represents an unusual break in a career overwhelmingly concerned with the Arab world. Played a major role in organising the visit of the Prince of Wales (1980), the Prime Minister (1981) and the Queen (1983).