Gopalkrishna Gandhi
18th Governor of West Bengal
In office
14 December 2004 – 14 December 2009
Preceded byViren J. Shah
Succeeded byDevanand Konwar (additional charge)
Governor of Bihar
(additional charge)
In office
31 January 2006 – 21 June 2006
Preceded byButa Singh
Succeeded byR. S. Gavai
Personal details
Gopalkrishna Devadas Gandhi

(1945-04-22) 22 April 1945 (age 79)
Delhi, British India
Political partyIndependent
Other political
SpouseTara Gandhi
Parent(s)Devdas Gandhi
Lakshmi Gandhi
RelativesRamchandra Gandhi
Rajmohan Gandhi (brothers)
Alma materUniversity of Delhi
OccupationProfessor of History and Politics at Ashoka University

Gopalkrishna Devadas Gandhi (born 22 April 1945) is a former administrator and diplomat who served as the 22nd Governor of West Bengal serving from 2004 to 2009.[1] He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji).[2] As a former IAS officer he served as Secretary to the President of India and as High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka, among other administrative and diplomatic posts.[2] He was the United Progressive Alliance nominee for Vice President of India 2017 elections[3] and lost with 244 votes against NDA candidate Venkaiah Naidu, who got 516 votes.

Early life and background

Gopalkrishna Devadas Gandhi was born on 22 April 1945 in Delhi, to Devdas and Lakshmi Gandhi. His father was a journalist. Gandhi graduated with a master's degree in English literature from St. Stephen's College of Delhi University.[4]


He joined IAS as an officer in 1968 and served in Tamil Nadu state till 1985. Thereafter, he remained secretary to the vice-president of India (1985–1987), joint secretary to the president of India (1987–1992).

In 1992, after retiring voluntarily from the IAS, he became minister (culture) in high commission of India, UK and director of The Nehru Centre, London, UK. This was followed by various diplomatic and administrative positions for the rest of his career, including high commissioner of India to South Africa and Lesotho (1996), secretary to the president of India (1997–2000), high commissioner of India in Sri Lanka (2000), and ambassador of India to Norway, and Iceland (2002).[5]

On 14 December 2004, he was appointed governor of West Bengal following the expiry of the term of office of incumbent Viren J. Shah. He was succeeded by Devanand Konwar (the serving governor of Tripura), who was given additional charge of West Bengal. For a few months in 2006 he also took on additional duties as the governor of Bihar.[6]

He was the chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai from December 2011 to May 2014.[7] In 2015, he translated the Tamil classic, the Tirukkural, into English.[8] He was the chairman of governing body of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and president of its society on 5 March 2012 and served until May 2014.[5][9]

Gandhi teaches at Ashoka University, where he is a professor of history and politics.[10]


While delivering the 15th D P Kohli Memorial Lecture for CBI on "Eclipse at Noon: Shadows Over India's Conscience" with nearly 3000 officers of the agency in the audience, Gandhi noted that "The CBI is seen as the government's hatchet, rather than honesty's ally. It is often called DDT — meaning not the dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane, the colourless, tasteless, odourless insecticide it should be, but the department of dirty tricks."[11]

In 2015, he wrote a letter to the then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, to reconsider the rejection of the mercy plea of the 1993 Mumbai serial blast convict, Yakub Memon.[12][13]

Personal life

His paternal grandfather was Mahatma Gandhi and maternal grandfather was C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji).[2] He is the son of Devadas Gandhi and Lakshmi Gandhi. Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the younger brother of Rajmohan Gandhi, Ramchandra Gandhi, and Smt. Tara Bhattacharjee (Gandhi). Gopalkrishna Gandhi and his wife Tara have two daughters.[citation needed]




See also


  1. ^ "At farewell, Gopalkrishna Gandhi calls for change in mindsets". The Hindu. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Gopal Gandhi 23 Apr 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2014
  3. ^ "Gopalkrishna Gandhi is opposition's nominee for vice president: He lost the Vice Presidential elections miserably Report - Times of India". The Times of India. 11 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Hon'ble Governor of Bihar - Gopalkrishna Gandhi Profile". Governor of Bihar website. Retrieved 30 November 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Chairman's Profile: Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi". Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Veteran politician R S Gavai new Bihar Governor". One India. Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 22 June 2006. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Gopalkrishna steps down as chairman of Kalakshetra, IIAS". The Hindu. 21 May 2014.
  8. ^ Parthasarathy, Indira (12 December 2015). "Couplets for modern times". The Hindu. Kasturi & Sons. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Gopal Gandhi is IAAS chairman". The Hindu. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  10. ^ University, Ashoka. "Faculty/Staff - Ashoka University". Ashoka University.
  11. ^ Chauhan, Neeraj (16 April 2014). "Gopalkrishna Gandhi: Former Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi calls CBI 'department of dirty tricks', RIL a parallel state | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Pardoning Yakub Memon will be a tribute to Dr. Kalam: Gopalkrishna Gandhi". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Gopalkrishna Gandhi tried to save Yakub Memon, claims Sena: Here's what Congress Vice-Presidential candidate said in 2015". The Financial Express. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
Political offices Preceded byViren J. Shah Governor of West Bengal 2004–2009 Succeeded byDevanand Konwar Preceded byButa Singh Governor of Bihar 2006 Succeeded byR. S. Gavai