Virendra Dayal

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Virendra Dayal
Born (1935-01-29) 29 January 1935 (age 83)
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Spouse(s)Indira Gupta
AwardsPadma Bhushan
Rhodes Scholar

Virendra Dayal (born 29 January 1935) is an Indian civil servant, diplomat and a former Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary General of The United Nations.[1] He has served as the Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs of the United Nations and as the Special Envoy who probed the allegations leveled against a number of India politicians including K. Natwar Singh, a former Minister of External affairs, in the Paul Volcker Committee report of 2005.[2] A former Indian Administrative Service officer,[citation needed] and a Rhodes Scholar of 1956[3] Dayal sat in the National Human Rights Commission of India as a member for two terms from 1998 to 2006.[4] The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 1992, for his contributions to society.[5]


Born on 29 January 1935 in Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,[4] Virendra Dayal did his early schooling at Sherwood College, Nainital.[6] Subsequently, he graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1954 and continued there to secure his master's degree (MA) in History in 1956. He was selected for the Rhodes scholarship for the year[3] and this assisted him in pursuing his higher studies at University College, Oxford University, which he completed in 1958.[citation needed]

Virendra Dayal is married to Indira Gupta and the couple has two daughters, Divya and Jaya.[6]

Early career[edit]

Returning to India, Dayal entered the Indian Administrative Service and started his career as a District Officer at the Himalayan resort town of Nainital the same year. He is known to have worked for the rehabilitation of the refugees during his stint at Nainital and after two more District Officer postings at Rampur and Moradabad, he was inducted into the central government cadre in 1963.[4] At the centre, he was posted as the Director of Community Development and Cooperation, a post he held till 1965 when he moved to the United Nations.[citation needed]

United Nations days[edit]

Dayal's career at UN started at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a year later, he was appointed as the Chief of Asia Desk at Geneva. In 1968, he was promoted as the Deputy Regional Representative and in 1971, he became the Regional Representative when he was a member of the UNHCR Focal Point Team, working for the rehabilitation of refugees who fled to India during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.[4] In 1972, he continued his work in the region as a part of the United Nations Relief Operations in Bangladesh for one more year, serving as the special assistant to the Chief of Office[1] but returned to UNHCR in 1973, after being posted at the New York office as the Regional Representative.[citation needed] It was during his tenure there, he was involved in the airlifting of refugees in South Asia and in the boat people crisis of Vietnam in the capacity of the Executive Assistant of the High Commissioner.[4] In 1979, he was appointed as the Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs[7] and three years later, he became the Chef de Cabinet to Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the fifth Secretary General of the United Nations, holding the rank of an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.[6]

As the Chef de Cabinet, he attended several diplomatic conferences including the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Harare in 1988. He continued at the post during the tenure of the next Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali until his retirement from UN service in 1993.[1] In 1990, his name was proposed as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but allegedly due to opposition from Ronald Reagan, the then President of the United States,[8] Sadako Ogata was appointed to the post.[9] It was during Boutros Boutros-Ghali's incumbency, Dayal assisted the Secretary-General in preparing An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping which was presented at the Summit Meeting of the Security Council on 31 January 1992.[7] He was also involved in two diplomatic missions to South Africa, accompanying Cyrus Vance, former United States Secretary of State in July 1992 and then visiting the country as a Special Envoy of the Secretary-General in September 1992.[4] On these diplomatic missions, he met F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela a number of times as a part of the Negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa which were reported to have helped in arranging a meeting of the two leaders and in the eventual transition of power through the South African general elections of 1994.[6] During this period, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian honor in 1992.[5]

Post-United Nations career[edit]

Dayal returned to India in 1993 and soon was included in the Indian delegation to the Vienna Conference on Human Rights of June 1993 which precipitated the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.[1] Later that year, he was appointed by the Government of India as a member of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) for a five-year term and his term was extended for a further 5 years in 1998. The service with NHRC gave him opportunities to be a part of committees such as United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions and the Asia Pacific Forum and to attend several international conferences on Human Rights, which included the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) of 2001, held in Durban.[1] He also served as a member of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, a UN appointed commission which submitted its final report in 1998.[10]

In 2004, the Paul Volcker Committee set up by Kofi Annan, the then Secretary-General of the UN, reported that some Indian politicians were beneficiaries in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme, the Government of India set up a machinery with Viredra Dayal, as a Special Envoy,[11] to liaise with the United Nations agencies[12] and probe the alleged involvement of Indian politicians including K. Natwar Singh,[13] the Minister of External Affairs during the time.[14] He reportedly submitted four notes of his findings in 2005 and 2006, based on 1,200 pages of documents received from UN,[15] but the reports were never published as the Supreme Court of India, after protracted litigation,[16][17] accepted the contention of the Prime Minister's Office that the contents could only be used for investigation of possible violations of law.[14]

Dayal is currently serving as the chairman of the scholarship selection committee of Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, and is the chair of the Board of Trustees of Rajeshwar Susheela Dayal Charitable Trust.[18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Interview with: Virendra Dayal". United Nations Oral History. 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Panel to probe Volcker charges". Business Standard. 7 November 2005. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Rhodes Scholars from India". The Rhodes Trust. 2016. Archived from the original on May 1, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Shri Virendra Dayal - IHF profile". Indian Harmony Foundation. 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Eminent Sherwoodians". Sherwood College Alumni Association. 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b David A. Hamburg (1 August 1997). Preventing Deadly Conflict. DIANE Publishing. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-0-7881-7090-4.
  8. ^ Samantha Power (30 March 2010). Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-101-19579-6.
  9. ^ "Power games". India Today. 15 December 1990. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Preventing Deadly Conflict" (PDF). Final Report. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. 1998. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  11. ^ Indian Affairs Annual 2006. Gyan Publishing House. 2006. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-81-7835-533-7.
  12. ^ "Virendra Dayal appointed Special Envoy". Prime Minister's Office, India. 6 November 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  13. ^ "No proof against Natwar: PM". Business Standard. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Oil-for-food scam: PMO admits to having special envoy Virendra Dayal's reports on Volcker probe". Economic Times. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Govt set to contest Opposition on Volcker". Business Standard. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Virendra Dayal report on "Oil for Food" scam". India Resists. August 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Case report" (PDF). Central Information Commission. 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Board of Trustees". Dayal Trust. 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  19. ^ "The Man Who Would Be UN Secretary-General". India Currents. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Vetoed out". India Today. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  21. ^ Patrick French (9 August 2012). The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul. Pan Macmillan. pp. 229–. ISBN 978-0-330-46493-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali (17 June 1992). "An Agenda for Peace (full text)". Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. United Nations. Retrieved 22 May 2016.

External links[edit]