Shri Hans Raj Bhardwaj ( Former Union Minister of Law, Justice & Company Affairs and former Governor of Karnataka and Kerala) – Mr. Bhardwaj joined Delhi Bar in early sixties practicing in Tis Hazari District Courts. He was among those customers who were frequent to my Bookshop. Later on, our relation developed into personal friendship. Once in the course of our friendly talks, Mr. Bhardwaj told me that his father was a Police Officer posted at the Prime Minister’s House and was officially allotted family accommodation in the same premises. Since then he, at a young age, came into contact with the Gandhi family. During that period he was politically associated with the youth wing of the Congress party.
In 1982, he was elected member of the Rajya Sabha. I worte him a letter of congratulation which he promptly acknowledged and invited me for tea at his residence at Harish Chandra Lane in Connaught Place area.
I recall the eve of New Year’s Day of 1985 when our Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi appointed Mr. Bhardwaj as the Minister of State for Law & Justice. He also served as the Union Minister of Law, Justice & Company Affairs during 2004-09.
We used to meet on various occasions and events. I was a frequent visitor to his official residence at14 Tughlak Road, New Delhi for a number of years. Our political ideology, differences never came in the way of our friendship.
In 2009, Mr. Bhardwaj was elevated as the Governor of Karnataka till June 2014. He was also given the additional charge of the Governor of Kerala during 2012-13.
To me, Mr. Bhardwaj was a “friend in need is a friend indeed”. I would like to narrate an unforgettable instance of his kind gesture. I recall the year 1993 when my son Manish was recommended by Delhi University for higher legal studies at Harvard University (USA). The expenses involved were beyond my capacity to bear. The airfare was one of the major expenses. In order to get some relief on air travel, I addressed an application to the Minister of Civil Aviation requesting him to consider student’s concession on air travel. The same day I approached Shri H.R. Bhardwaj seeking his favour to get positive response for my application. He forwarded the copy of my application with his personal recommendation to Hon’ble Minister Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad who regretted to consider due to certain technical reasons . I was disappointed and Mr. Bhardwaj was equally unhappy but he assured me that financial problem would not come in the way and said, “You must prepare your son to proceed for higher studies at Harvard University’’. He just asked me to contact him after 2/3 days. When I visited him as advised he handed over to me a long list of Books to supply which he required to gift to a Bar Association Library of his home District Court. He paid me the amount on submitting the Bill. I will never forget Mr. Bhardwaj’s graciousness at the time of need.
An Urdu poet has rightly said-
‘‘Kaam rukta nahin ae dilenadan koi
Khudbakhud ghaib se saman uttar aate hein.’’