Blog: My daughter's return by Uttam Khobragade

Published: January 13, 2014 10:23 IST
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Former IAS officer Uttam Khobragde on his daughter Devyani, who is at the centre of a bitter row between India and the United States.

My daughter is back in the country with full diplomatic immunity. She was duly escorted by a US Department of State official from her residence to the airport. This was possible because of the support of the people of India, the Indian government, the media and the relentless effort of officials in the Ministry of External Affairs.

I have no word to express my gratitude to this country. As a proud Indian, Devyani rejected the offer of prosecution in plea bargain and upheld the sovereignty of the country and the dignity of the Indian judiciary even at cost of personal discomfort. How proud I am to be her father.

She was always a champion of the cause of the poor and of the dignity of women. It is unfortunate that she was accused of underpaying a lady who approached her for a job, although she provided comfort and financial compensation of the highest degree to her.

I worked as a labourer when I was a young student to finance my education and we, as a family, respect dignity of labour and respect and reward our staff. The tremendous love and respect we receive from poor people in Maharashtra is testimony to this.

My daughter imbibed these ideas right from childhood. When she was a student in Class 12, I saw tears in her eyes because a classmate who lived in an orphanage was not getting enough food. She was only consoled when I asked her to carry food for that girl.

Although in foreign service, Devyani has kept in touch with her roots in our remote village on the border of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. She makes it a point to visit the village and interact with villagers. Our strength is the goodwill of the poor, the love and affection of the common man and  our commitment to the dignity of the country and its judicial system.

My career was a relentless struggle to give justice to the poor; a book of a collection of my judgments is titled "Justice for Poor."

My daughter studied medicine, practiced as a doctor and then joined the foreign service to serve the nation. Her tenure in Pakistan is still remembered by the political class of that country and duly recognised by our own country. Diplomats from Pakistan expressed support for her when she was subjected to humiliation in the US.

I am confident that with support from the people of India, our family will overcome this trauma.

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