All of sudden on the evening of November 29 (the 75th birthday of the artist) Mrs Indira Gandhi accompanied by her younger son, Mr Sanjay Gandhi arrived at the Exhibition venue. Those were the days of infamous Emergency, but she was not accompanied by any Commando or policemen in uniform, of course some security personnel in plainclothes had arrived there a few minutes before her arrival.
. Though the artist was himself present there, he directed me to attend to Mrs Gandhi and show her all exhibits with explaination of the theme of all the 39 paintings on the display. Mrs Gandhi took keen interest in al the paintings, but skipped when came across her own portrait, which was also on the display.
A controversy about Kohinoor diamond was on in the media in those days. While several Sikh orgainsations including SGPC had been prx impressing upon the Government of India to take back this diamond to display in the Toshakhana or Central Sikh Museum at Golden Temple . Amritsar on the plea that it belonged to the Sikhs since it was in the “Toshakhana” of Mahraja Ranjit Singh. On the other hand, the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto also laid claim of his country on the diamond on the plea that a vast tract of the Maharaja’a kingdom including his capital at Lahore and birth place at Gujjranwala, fall in that country. A life size painting of Maharaja Daleep Singh, the youngest son of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh and last Sikh ruler of Punjab, was also on display. When I told Mrs Gandhi that Kohinorr Diamond passed on to Queen Victoria through Maharaja Daleep Singh, she quipped, "Bhutto Sahib hira maang rahe hain, zeh to Bharat ka hai " (Mr Bhutto has been laying claim on this diamond, it belonged to India).
After seeing the exhibition for about an hour, Mrs. Gandhi made her complimentary remarks to the legendary artist, said “Namaskar” with folded hands, and left the Hall all of sudden. She came and left the venue of exhibition like a volcano. That was her style of functioning.