Early Life

Shri Vatsa Purushottam was born on 15th July 1935 in Mohalla Nabiganj of Chapra town in the District of Saran (Bihar). His father, Shri Bhuvaneshwar Prasad was the Vice-Principal of Rajendra College, Chapra. He had 10 brothers and sisters. His early education was arranged at home. Later on, he became a student of Rajendra Collegiate School, Chapra. He passed the Matriculation examination in the First Division from Patna University in the year 1949. He joined Science College, Patna the same year from where he did his M.Sc. in Physics in First Division in 1955. Here, he was both inspired and financed by his uncle, Shri Baleshwar Prasad, I.A.S. (Former Lt. Govt of Delhi). He split the scholarship money with his college friend who couldn’t afford a meal and ate only one meal throughout his studies. He met his fellow student my Mom Susheela Sinha at the college and they had a “love-marriage”. He was greatly inspired by her Father, Shri Siddheswari Prasad Sinha, a truly idealistic Freedom Fighter who had sacrificed land, property and several years of his life in jail in the pursuit of freedom.

After passing his M.Sc., Shri Purushottam worked as a Lecturer in Physics in Science College, Patna for about three years. He competed in the Indian Foreign Service Examination in 1959. Mom gave up her job to follow him as I was already born by then.

As a Foreign Service officer, his first appointment was in the Soviet Union. He became so proficient in the Russian Language that besides his own work, he worked as an Interpreter to the then Indian Ambassador in Moscow, Dr Surimal Dutt, followed by K.P.S. Menon and perhaps even T.N. Kaul. In this capacity he was exposed to important meetings with the top Soviet leaders and acquired invaluable experience in Soviet affairs. He was soon recognized as India’s Sovietologist.

I went to Detskii sad, or nursery school, and spent time in summer camps as a kid. My brother Andrey was born in Moscow.