THE government on Monday assigned an additional destination to current Director General of ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and 1981 batch IFS officer Amarendra Khatua. He will also be secretary (special assignment) in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) till the date of his retirement, i.e. May 31, 2017. A career diplomat who had earlier served as Ambassador of India to Argentina, Khatua also held trade and economic positions in Indian Missions of Madrid, Mexico City, Karachi, Moscow and New York. But not to forget, Khatua is a poet in heart. Let’s first recite a few lines of one of his many poems:One’s own silence pesters wayward motives
to branch out and emote in a
stabilised world of unfamiliar shadows.
Say it again, the familiar human touch
can be so monotonous that one will
prefer to stay back, at least knowing that
shadows are after all shadows, if
once can get hurt by absent images,
then knowledge have not reached yet
regarding what harms these harmless
shadows can bring upon.
Titled as “Reaching Out Into Nothingness” this is one of many poems penned by Khatua. He has written a number of poems in Odiya language as well. His poetry has been translated into many Indian languages, in addition to Spanish and Russian. A product of Delhi University, Khatua became a diplomat, but the poet in him remained prominent as he moved up in the career of diplomacy. His Ek Kavi Ka Khamosh Ho Jana, published by Prabhat Prakashan, was appreciated in the poetry
As a diplomat, one of his high points was his appointment as special envoy to South Sudan and Sudan to broker peace between the two nations. Prior to this appointment in ICCR, he was dean in the Foreign Service Institute, the Delhi-based academic institute that imparts the young officer-trainees the first lessons on diplomacy.