Yeshwantraoji is a man without any pride, accessible to everyone, kind and hospitable by nature, yet firm and unbending, when true justice has to be meted out and wrong-doing has to be put down. For his age, he is remarkably cool and collected, and I, at least, have never found him impatient or flurried with anyone or anything. He stands for all that is truly good and noble. I have never found him speaking ill of anybody either. Where an attack is necessary, he does not spare his opponents, for he can and does hit hard when occasion so demands; but there is no malice in his nature; and he and his adversary continue to keep happy personal relations despite the utmost opposition in the public forum. I have had opportunities of meeting hundreds of persons during these years of my office here, but I have found no one having a word to say against the Chief Minister. In fact, all have been—supporters and opponents alike—full of praise of him both for his personal qualities and his public work. He is at home everywhere and in all circles, whether he is in the midst of children or adults; in the circle of the learned or facing angry politicians; in fashionable society or with unsophisticated village folk. He conducts himself with grace and dignity everywhere and at all times, and appears to be no stranger with any folks or in any situations. It is therefore not surprising that he radiates an atmosphere of friendliness wherever he goes. With his wide experience of varied facets of life, he has imbibed a very strong commonsense that stands him in good stead in all situations, when learned tomes and wise precedents would be of little value.
Not many public men are blessed with happy homes. Their work keeps them so much away from their near ones that a wall is soon created, and life begins to flow in different channels for different members of the self-safe family which seldom meet. Yeshwantraoji is not unmindful of his duties as a family man. In his dearly loved and loving wife Venutai, he has a true helpmate, a comrade who stands by him inside and outside
the home, in sickness and health, in the fulfilment of domestic and social duties, and the performance of the most difficult and dangerous tasks of political life. Our Chief Minister is only 47 years of age today. It is difficult to believe that five years back when he became the Chief Minister of the composite State of Bombay, he was only a little over 42. Maharashtra indeed owes much to him. Many friends who knew Yeshwantraoji better and longer than I can claim to do, have written about his many-sided personality and his work in diverse department of life, in this Abhinandan Granth. That should doubtless help our people in Maharashtra to know their Chief Minister better and more intimately than they might have done so far. They will thus be enabled truly to appreciate him and co-operate with him in the great tasks of nation-building in which he is engaged.
Alike by his work and his attainments, Yeshwantraoji should certainly go far; and on this occasion when he celebrates his 48th birthday, I join all friends and colleagues offering him in all sincerity and in all earnestness, my heartiest felicitations; and pray that he may long be spared to us in the enjoyment of full physical health and mental peace, to carry on his great and good work in diverse spheres of public activity in the service of our country and our people.
Raj Bhavan, Bombay
February 22, 1961.