Industrialist Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises, shared a letter written by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to owner of Tata Group of Companies, JRD Tata, and Twitter has been having a discussion over it.
“A very personal letter exchange between a powerful Prime Minister and a giant industrialist. Sheer class!" Goenka wrote, along with a picture of the letter. The typewritten letter, dated July 5, 1973, has “Prime Minister’s House, New Delhi" written in red letters, and Gandhi’s signature. Gandhi addresses Tata as “dear Jeh".
The letter is in response to Tata gifting Gandhi with some perfumes, to which she humourously replied that even though she did not usually use perfumes, she would like to experiment with the presents. She went on to say that she was “so cut off from the ‘chic’ world" that she did not know the perfumes in question. More importantly, Gandhi asks Tata to come visit her “to convey any views- favourable or critical". She signed off with good wishes to Tata and his wife Thelly.
Twitter users were enthused by the exchange. One user congratulated Goenka for bringing out a “gem" and was thanked by the industrialist in return.
Oh Goenkaji you are bringing one gem after another. Lovely share. What tall people they were.— Mitul Pradeep (@mitulpradeep) July 20, 2021
Another user shared an old black-and-white photograph, with a personal anecdote about Gandhi. “As a very young woman I travelled with her in Lucknow," she wrote, “in an open jeep, simple Tussar silk Saree, naturally rosy cheeks and so warm, held me lightly so I wouldn’t fall".
As was her press conferences. Sitting on a stool with a cushion on it. As a very young woman I travelled with her in Lucknow, in an open jeep, simple Tussar silk Saree, naturally rosy cheeks and so warm, held me lightly so I wouldn't fall. pic.twitter.com/Y6jiDJ7RVi— Dr Nilima Srivastava (@gypsy_nilima) July 20, 2021
One user said JRD Tata used to be a “prolific writer of letters" himself.
JRD Tata was a prolific writer of letters, often in his own hand. He corresponded regularly with his family, colleagues, associates and to contemporary leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, among others. pic.twitter.com/JZKmbQnbFt— Manoj K Jha aka Manu 😷 (@manojgjha) July 20, 2021
A user reminisced the “era of typewritten letters" and shared one written by Aditya V Birla. Another was nostalgic over the concept of letters in general.
Letter writing was not just a source of communication, it was a personal touch which left behind memories for ever….lets write a letter atleast once in a month to our loved ones— Padma (@PadmraniK) July 21, 2021
The discussion on the social media platform naturally got political and parallels were drawn to contemporary times.
Some broached an interesting question regarding politicians accepting presents from businessmen and industrialists, and vice versa. In response, some argued that gifts within a “small price range" were not much more than courtesy.
But this raises a larger question. Should politicians holding such offices accept gifts from industrialists and businessmen?— Dr M Muneer, Medici Institute (@Muneermuh) July 20, 2021
A gift within a small price range is more of a courtesy. Ideally, such gifts are accepted. Accepting expensive gifts would be another issue. (And I think those holding public office are supposed to submit such gifts and not take it for personal use).
— Young Shelly (@yuva_shelly) July 21, 2021
The overall sentiment was that of nostalgia.
😍 As beautiful as the PM! A sincere letter of thanks with gratitude! Always a fan of the Nehru's family!!— Wretchard (@RichardVe1) July 20, 2021
Kahan gaye woh din, sirji. We should vow to get them back 👍— Nandakumar Nair (@nknair63) July 20, 2021
Goenka’s original post has now over 7,000 likes on Twitter.