Katyayani Shankar Bajpai died of COVID-19 at the age of 92 on Sunday. He was a career diplomat and what made him unique was that he was the only person who served in the US, China and Pakistan as India's envoy. Bajpai is survived by his wife Meera Bajpai and two sons Dharma and Jayanti Bajpai.
Coming from a family of diplomats, diplomacy was something that Bajpai's family had a long association with. It started with his father Girija Shankar Bajpai, who went as the first secretary-general of the external affairs ministry and his brothers Uma Shankar and Durga Shankar too were diplomats.
It was in 1952 when he joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1952 following a degree from Washington, Oxford and Geneva. He served at several key positions within the country and trotted around the world. The world of academics and writing always attracted him and he went on to become a strategist and columnist.
When Bajpai was a young diplomat, he had served as a political officer in Pakistan in 1965. In 1966, he accompanied Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to Tashkent for the summit.
He had had postings in Bonn, Ankara, Bern, San Francisco and the Netherlands. Bajpai was also a close confidant of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted shortly after Bajpai's death on Sunday, "Deeply grieved at the passing away of Amb. Shankar Bajpai, mentor and friend. Will be missed by so many of us."
Important positions held
Bajpai was a part of prime minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri's delegation to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
He went for talks with Pakistan brokered by the Soviet Union that ended the 1965 war.
He acted as India's representative to Sikkim during 1970-74.
He went on to serve as the envoy to the US during a groundbreaking visit by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
His family called him a man of many seasons. He was a movie buff, deep into poetry, loved to stir up a dish or two with his impeccable culinary skills and was a warm host. He was a rather accomplished personality and had many feathers in his hat.