Memorial service held for former PIO Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao

| Updated: May 26, 2017 01:50 IST

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): People from all walks of life, including politicians, former bureaucrats, members of the media, friends and family, gathered in the auditorium of the Sri Sathya Sai International Centre here this evening for solemn condolence-cum-memorial service for former Principal Information Officer to the Government of India Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao, who passed away on May 13. For most of those who attended, it was a time of shared memories, nostalgia, remembrance going back years and decades, poignant in emotion, but controlled, befitting the solemn occasion. Among those who attended were former union minister and senior Congress party leader Mr. M. Veerappa Moily, Principal Information Officer to the Government of India Mr. Frank Noronha, former Media Adviser to former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. Sanjaya Baru, eminent members of the academia, ex-government colleagues, associates and others. The condolence programme commenced with religious hymns and songs, reminding one and all in the gathering that life is a journey to be undertaken with its myriad emotions, feelings, balancing good with bad etc. Thereafter, introductory remarks were made by Mr. Ishaan Prakash, grandson of Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao, wherein, he highlighted the fact that Mr. Rao was a colossus in the field of communications in India who made an impact on two generations of communicators i.e., those who worked in the decades after India secured independence from Britain, and those involved with the more modern and fast paced communication scenario of the early part of the 21st century. Mr. Prem Prakash, Chairman of ANI, starting with the Gayatri mantra - Aum Bhoor Bhuvah Swaha, Tat Savitur Varenyam, described Mr. Rao as follows: "Ramamohan was a dear friend and a colleague of many years and decades. It was a friendship that later translated into a family relationship . What we all must remember is that Ramamohan had the rare privilege and achievement of working as an advisor to four Prime Ministers of India. He lived a full life. Apart from being a family member, he was a very good friend and a very good team builder. It was, however, sad that the last year of his life was one of tragedy when he lost his son Rohit, and he was ill. We will all miss him." Principal Director General (M&C) of the Press Information Bureau Frank Noronha said, "Mr. Ramamohan Rao Sir was a man of many brilliant qualities, a man who always smiled and made juniors like me comfortable and efficient in our jobs and in the performance of our duties as government servants. There are so many anecdotes that I would like to share with this gathering about him, but there is a shortage of time. My family and I used to go to his house often, especially during the time of Christmas. There was never an occasion when we went to his house and did not come away without having a meal. There have been times when I was under a lot of pressure at work, and he would walk in with his trade mark smile, or call over the phone, and put me at ease. He was like my father. I lost my father in 1982. He worked with four prime ministers; he was the PIO for seven years and also the advisor to the governor of Jammu and Kashmir for six years. He was brilliant human being." Sanjay Rao, Mr. Ramamohan Rao's nephew, who spoke on behalf of the family, said, "Apart from being family member, what stood out about him was that he was a man of character. He was an honest, brilliant and a wonderful human being, a person one could share problems with. That generation of uncles, many of whom are not with us now, including Mr. Ramamohan Rao, had the unique ability of putting us sons, daughters, cousins, relatives at ease with their laughter, maturity and wisdom." Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao, was widely respected personality, and the harbinger of the vision that has sustained the information spectrum of the country since independence. He passed away on May 13 after a brief illness. All through his long and illustrious career with the Government of India (1956-2017), Mr. Rao had the distinction of being selected to contribute to setting up of many new organisations in the nascent Nation and handling others during sensitive periods. This was because of the faith that his superiors reposed upon him, a faith that he stood up to at all times. He was also closely associated with the efforts of the government to build the defence structure of the country. The Government of India recognised his extraordinary skills and he was elevated in the hierarchy to the newly created Indian Information Service which he went on to head for seven years before his superannuation. A literal encyclopedia of knowledge of post- independence history of India that he had personally experienced, he was a great raconteur of anecdotes from Nehru to Manmohan Singh. A vibrant communicator, a visionary always ahead of his times, a person who kept pace with the changing times and generation and above all a wonderful human being, Mr. Rao has left behind a void that would be difficult to fill. (ANI)