The Ladder of his Life is about Air Chief Marshal Idris Latif and his varied experiences as a fighter pilot, as Chief of the Indian Air Force, Governor of Maharashtra and Ambassador to France He is a scion of a family from which several members left eminent positions to devote their lives to follow Mahatma Gandhi.
Always a topper during his education and as a flyer, as recorded in his log book, he was just 18 years old when he joined the Air Force on 1st September 1941. After his training, he was sent to the UK during World War 11 for a year where he updated his skills on the latest fighters. In 1978, he became Chief of his beloved Indian Air Force. The book gives insights into these years, particularly his assessment of challenges faced, their priorities, and his approach and actions in their resolution.
The book includes accounts of interesting interactions with leading personalities such as Prime Ministers Smt Indira Gandhi, Shri Morarji Desai, Shri Rajiv Gandhi; some Ministers and respected national personalities such as Mr B.K. Nehru, and some of our own Air Chiefs. There are highlights when later as Governor of Maharashtra, he was in a totally different environment and the problems that confronted him were also very different. However, the success that he achieved, particularly as Chancellor of the University of (then) Bombay, were no less meaningful. As Chairman of the Committee for the Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the State, his proposal to focus on the top priority requirement of every district was appreciated both by the state government and citizens.
As Ambassador to France, the book stresses the heart-warming and stimulating environment, and the opportunities and achievements in the fields of culture, defence and commerce for enhancing India’s image and promoting collaboration for mutual benefit. Shortly before leaving France, a suggestion by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi took him entirely by surprise!
The book concludes with an account of a few special post retirement involvements in matters of national significance.
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