Daughter Of A Diplomat
Shanthy Pragalsingh gives us a glimpse of her amazing life as the daughter of an Indian Diplomat. Join her incredible journey which begins after India gained Independence and the Indian Foreign Service was being formed. She traveled widely, living in different countries at historical times, for example, when Nepal was at the pinnacle of change. She pursued her education in different countries. More
DAUGHTER OF A DIPLOMAT
By SHANTHY PRAGALSINGH
“Daughter of a Diplomat”, written by Shanthy Pragalsingh is a documentation of a young girl’s incredible journey as a daughter of a Diplomat.
The story begins when at the age of 5 her father, Wilfred Santosham was posted to Delhi in 1947.Being the year of Independence; she witnessed India becoming independent, at the same time terrible riots and the assassination of father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.
Her father was transferred to Nepal when the country was going through historic times. The Nepal King Tirubhuvan took refuge in the Indian Embassy to escape the wrath of Rana’s. Her father was involved in protecting the king and his entourage from the Rana’s. At the age of seven, she and her older brother Viji, nine were sent by her parents with a loyal Gurkha and were carried in a Dandy, by four men through dangerous mountainous Himalayan ranges. It took 5 days for them to reach Madras (Chennai), through various modes of transport. She went to Vellore to her maternal grandmother’s and brother to Madurai to her paternal grandmother.
Her father took change as Vice-consul in Pondicherry; in 1954 it was considered as a foreign posting, as it was under the French rule. Mr.kewalsingh and her father were responsible for the merger of Pondicherry with the independent Indian union. The French representative Mr. Pierre Landy was present to hand over the Merger Document. The French flag was brought down and Indian flag was hoisted up.
Their move to Bonn, Germany was at a time, when country was reeling under remnants of world war II .she had to study all subjects like Physics, chemistry, Mathematics, History, Geography even French in German. It was one of the most challenging times of her life.
Posting to Ceylon (Srilanka) was at a time, when Tamil tiger problems had emerged and Prime Minister Bandaranaike was shot. She continued her schooling in ladies college, Colombo, Ceylon, where she had to study Tamil as a second language.
When her father had to take charge in central Africa, which comprised of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland(Malawi).Shanthy was the only non-white to ever enter a white school ,at the time, when she entered Queen Elizabeth High school , Salisbury (Harare) after intervention of Government of India.
She did her B.sc (London) Degree, from university of Rhodesia & Nyasaland (now university of Zimbabwe).Queen Mother was Vice-chancellor of the university.
There was a time when she was involved in an apartheid incident. Government of India took strong stand, with local Government, headed by Prime Minister Ian Smith. In the Court, she won the case.
The three sea-voyages in different liners British, Italian and Indian are very interesting.
In the course of her journey as a Daughter of a Diplomat, she has interacted with many dignitaries – our own former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Lord Dalhousie, President Kaunda, Prime Minister Ian Smith, Chancellor Erhardt of Germany, Liquor Baron Herr Ausbach, Dr.Banda, Prime Minister Bandaranaike, Sir. Garfield Todd, Governor-general Gunetileke ,Tony Brendt (Singer),Film Actresses Padmini, Ragini ,Mathematics Wizard Shankuntala Devi and many more. Learn about her struggles and how she overcomes challenges, studying in different countries with varied cultural differences, educational system, and political backgrounds. Having to follow protocol and diplomatic in all situations.