Wednesday, April 28, 2021

My Friend Ambassador Dr. Ashok Amrohi – An Obituary

 

My Friend Ambassador Dr. Ashok Amrohi – An Obituary

Covid played havoc and snatched my friend and colleague Ambassador Ashok Amrohi, IFS of 1981 batch on April 26-27 at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram. President of Association of Indian Diplomats (AID), Ambasador  Bhaswati Mukerjee in a fulsome tribute to the departed soul in a condolence message rightly said, “Of the 1981 batch of the IFS, Ambassador Amrohi will be fondly remembered as a most helpful colleague and a very fine human being, a qualified medical doctor, he was affluent both in Arabic and French and known as a thorough professional diplomat. Warm and affectionate, he had an excellent sense of humour and a very positive approach” and yet another senior college Ambassador Banashri


Harrison Bose thoughtfully wrote that with the demise of Ambassador Amrohi we have lost “the heart and soul of 1981 batch” and   further said, “He was a thorough professional and discharged any job that the Ministry entrusted him with devotion and dedication, achieving results. As a friend, he was a true treasure, someone with whom you could share laughter as well as tears. He doubled your joys and halved your troubles.”

  The shocking news was shared with me on the morning of April 27 by Ambasador Bal Anand whose wife happened to be a distant relation of the wife of Ashok as such had first hand information. Ashok’s passing away is a personal loss to me which would be difficult to make up in the days to come. I met him and greeted each other several times in 1990-91 in South Block where I was sharing a room with his colleagues and batch mates. Later, I met him after a long time in 2009 & 2010 in Delhi during the Conferences of Heads of Mission (HOM) and came to know him rather closely particularly


during our relaxed chats and ‘Gap-Shap” over the dinners hosted by the CII and FICCI etc. Our more intimate and personal rapport got stronger on our retirement. I vividly remember Ashok was a sharing host over two sumptuous lunches, along with my worthy colleagues in the IFS fraternity, at the Central Government facilities in Chankyapuri and India International Centre. They did not allow me to pay my share since I was there on visit from Jalandhar where I settled myself after retirement. I found Ashok a lively person with extremely pleasant demeanor.

Ashok did not know that I knew his father in Amritsar, Chaudhary Prabhati Ram, from my days of student activism in Jalandhar in late 1960s. When I told him this, he was happy with a sense of belonging. Chaudhary Prabhati Ram was a staunch Ambedkarite affiliated with the Republican Party of India, a brain child of Babasaheb Ambedkar and as such I listened to him several times at the Ambedkar Bhawan in Jalandhar. I recall, if my memory supports me, that he was against the politics of Sant Fateh Singh, Akali leader in those days on the issue of Punjabi Suba.  Yesterday I spoke to Lahori Ram Balley an octogenarian leader and associate of Chaudhary Prabhati Ram to know something more about the family of Ambassador Ashok Amrohi. Balley Sahib was saddened to learn about the demise of Ashok. He informed that though he did not have much formal education, Prabhati Ram was a businessman of standing dealing with some materials (sak – shell of babul tree) required for leather tanning. Balley Sahib said that he was a staunch Ambedkarite and a ‘dabang’ politician. Prabhati Ram played an important role in having the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar in front of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation as a Councilor.  He provided good education to his children. One of the elder brothers of Askok, Lakshman Dass was an IPS officer of Haryana cadre. Ashok himself was a qualified doctor as an MBBS but choose to join IFS with a wider vision. While referring to his father’s association with Balley Sahib, Ashok told me that he had his district attachment in 1982-83 as a trainee IFS and visited Ambedkar Bhawan to pay respects to Babasaheb Ambedkar. Ambassador Ashok Amrohi adorned coveted positions of Ambassador/High Commissioner in Algiers, Mozambique and Brunei besides Head of the CPV Division of the MEA during his long diplomatic career in the IFS. Ashok will be missed greatly.

हाथ थाम सके; पकड़ सके दामन,

बहुत करीब से उठ कर चला गया कोई। 

4 comments:

  1. Very sad know the sudden & untimely deeth of Ambassdor Ashok Amrohi IFS, who happen to be batch mate of 1981 Batch. I had even prior family association with him as he was the younger brother of my co-brother Lachchman Dass IPS. Ashok was a very jolly personality, down to earth and had the capacity to enliven any gathering where he was IPS & Retd DGP Haryana. RIP. May Guruji provide place to Ashok's soul in His Begumpura.

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  2. I saw him last time in Amritsar when I was very small. He had come to our house for lunch after he got married. I was small but remember his witty nature, very affectionate person, a very down to earth person. RIP Chacha ji

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  3. It is a very sad news of the untimely demise of Former Indian ambassador to Brunei, Mozambique and Algeria, Ashok Amrohi, who breathed his last after midnight on April 27 while waiting for a bed in the parking lot of Gurgaon’s Medanta hospital for nearly five hours.

    I remember, during 1980, he was my colleague as PCMS Medical Officer (MO), under Primary Health Center Chabhal Distt Amritsar; I was at MO at Panjwar & he was at Padhri or Bagariyaan.

    We frequently used to meet at SMO's meeting at Chabhal. Dr. Bedi was Senior Medical Officer (SMO) who frequently rebuked Ashok, as he was busy preparing for civil services and Dr. Bedi never knew about this.
    I still remember that Amrohi's uncle had a Gas agency (Amrohi Gas Agency) in Amritsar on GT road (may be it is still there) near rly station. His Father Sh. Parbhati Ram used to sit in timber taal (Lakkraan da taal) along the gas agency. We had a gas connection with this agency. During days of scarcity of rasoi gas, I used to get priority as we used to carry cylinder ourselves, for refills.

    Their family belongs to Amroha, now a district in UP, (Kamaal Amrohi fame), and had shifted to Amritsar for business.
    Knowing about Amrohi's demice & seeing his photo, I was hurt, sad and pained because he was killed by the failure of the system.

    ਡਾ. ਮਨਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਬੱਲ; Dr. Manjit S. Bal
    MBBS, MD, FICP. Former Head of Pathology Deptt.
    Rajindra Hospital, Govt. Medical College Patiala.

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