Letters would perhaps be piece of archives: Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday expressed dissatisfaction over loss of “letter writing habits” due to modern instant communication systems, saying the practice would “perhaps be a piece of archives for the next couple of decades”.

Launching former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh’s latest book “Treasured Epistles” — a compilation of letters written to him by several personalities like Indira Gandhi, E.M. Forster, C. Rajagopalachari, Lord Mountbatten and Vijay Lakshmi Pandit — Mukherjee showed his gratitude to bring together the letters of such eminent personalities.

“Natwarji brought out together the letters which he received on different occasions from very distinguished personalities from different walks of life over a long period of time… Now a days, with the instant communication, the habit of writing letters taking the trouble of putting thoughts in details on a piece of paper. It would perhaps be piece of archives for the next couple of decades,” Mukherjee said.

Remembering his student days, the former President said: “Letter writing was regular part of the curriculum ‘how to write a letter’. And therefore we developed the practice of writing letters… I have no doubts that future readers would be deprived of a great taste which are being received from the collection of letters,” he said.

He mentioned the letters written by first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to her daughter and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from Naini jail in Allahabad in the 1930s.

“Indiraji was quite young and perhaps could not understand many of Panditji’s observations written by him in his letters to her. Those letters which later become the substance of Panditji’s famous book “Glimpses of World’s History” in which he spoke about the history of civilization, conflict of culture and the synthesis which has evolved over the years.”

He also describe about Mahatma Gandhi, Tolstoy and Rabindranath Tagore who used to write letters, saying “letters reflect the thinking on the contemporary issues…”