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Speeches in the State Legislatures : 1946-62-4

Then came the call of the Himalayas. Nehru had chosen the right man to head the Defence Ministry. A level-headed man with foresight, he did his best to undo the ignominy we had suffered at the hands of the enemy. He laid the foundations of our north-eastern border’s sound defence structure. Another outstanding feature of Shri Chavan’s personality was his polite demeanour even with his political foes. Some may call this trait, “opportunism” or “sitting-on-the-fence” policy. But Mahabharat describes this trait of nurturing friendship by going beyond differences of opinion as a virtue of a true kshatriya. The charge is often made that Shri Y. B. Chavan was an opportunist, that he always sat on the fence and jumped on the winning side’s bandwagon. But our Chanakya and the West’s Machiavelli, though sometimes are quoted pejoratively, politics being full of pitfalls, politicians need tread warily.

Shri Chavan though not a votary of the philosophy of Chanakya and Machiavelli it must not be forgotten that both of them kept the interests of their countries paramount in their minds. So did Shri Chavan. Methods may vary. The two famous men who enunciated the basic principles of diplomacy and administration laid stress on ruthlessness to achieve their ends. But Shri Chavan was essentially a man of compromise. He was reluctant to hurt anyone. Persuasion was the keynote of his strategy. To-day by publishing this collection of his speeches we are honouring ourselves. When the famous French writer Voltaire was made the member of the French Academy, its President had said that by enrolling Voltaire as a member, the French Academy was honouring itself, because nothing lacked in his glory. It is they who lacked it. The same can be said about Shri Y. B. Chavan. In eulogizing him by publishing his speeches we are honouring ourselves.

State Planning Commission
and Vice-President
YASHWANTRAO Chavan Pratishthan,                 
January 22, 1990