Legends, stories and then some
One man, ninety years and innumerable stories. That is perhaps the best way to sum up Dharam Vir Taneja who celebrated his 90th birthday on 4 July. Bigger celebrations followed the cake when Taneja launched his book A Chronology of Men, Matters and Events.
Published by Har-Anand Pulblications, A Chronology of Men, Matters and Events is seven decades of history, banking and economics in India and overseas - all packed in one incredible book. ‘The author has endeavoured to narrate interesting events, peppered with anecdotes and memories from his time in national and international banking,’ explained Narendra Kumar, famous publisher and the man behind Har-Anand Publications. ‘Taneja has written poetry in the past but this book seems to be closest to him because it is far more personal,’ he added.
Born in 1924, Taneja started his education in Lahore and acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Pakistan. He rose from the level of a junior clerk in Punjab National Bank, Lahore to the highest position of Chairman and MD of Central Bank of India in Mumbai. He also has extensive working experience in national and international banking having worked as a banker in the London branch of Central Bank of India from 1970 to 1973 and as a consulting advisor to TCS from 1976 to 1982.
He also was the Chief General Manager and Vice-Chairman Executive Committee of middle East Bank Ltd. in Dubai from 1984 to 1989.
A Chronology of Men, Matters and Events has history woven in through personal recollections charting Taneja’s entire journey till his retirement. He has presented a veritable account of courage and hope having experienced and witnessed the painful and tragic partition of India, the independence of the country in 1947 and the formation of Pakistan.
The author’s association with Central Bank of India, Indira Gandhi and the imposition of the infamous Emergency in 1975, forms a vital part of the book. Edited by his daughters, A Chronology of Men, Matters and Events, has their voices intertwining with their father’s as they have meticulously edited and re-edited the manuscript to prepare it as we see it today - the final book. They introduced the book at the launch recalling dark days after the Emergency when every night was spent lying awake in fear of summons from the government and impending arrests. The story of a man, his family and the history of this country seem to be intrinsically connected.
The book begins with Taneja’s words, ‘On the scale of today I contemplate that I was born nine decades past, in the march of time on the stage, when others saw me perform the roles I played, that have shaped me to be what I am today...have I passed or failed, I cannot say, I stand alone on the side of the roaring sea to slip along to the final resting place of eternity.’
We all recall the boring history books that we toiled through in school. Compared to those old tomes Taneja’s book is a refreshing chronology of men, matter and events that we can’t wait to read.