Those Reagan years
Sambhu Banik recalls how he came to serve on President Ronald Reagan’s advisory council on drug abuse.
Imet President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan during his first Presidential inaugural ball in 1981 where ‘Old Blue Eyes’ Frank Sinatra was the hottest Hollywood star at the inaugural extravagan- za.
In 1981 there were no such stringent security to meet and
greet the President at the Inaugural Ball.
My wife Promila and me were close enough to shake his
hand and congratulate him. It was
perhaps one of the most memorable highlights of my political
involvement in my new adopted
I remember part of his inaugural
speech when he eloquently stressed
‘surround yourself with the best
people you can find, delegate as
much authority as possible and do
This was one of my learning
experiences as a manager.
I met President Reagan and the
First Lady again in January 1985
when Dr and Mrs Joy Cherian, Dr
and Mrs Shailendra Kumar, Dr and
Mrs Chandersekharan, and Dr and
Mrs Oliver Wilson and my wife
Promila all attended the
Presidential inaugural ball at the
Washington Convention Center.
Shortly after the inauguration I
met Rudy Beserra, special assistant
to the President on public affairs
when he spoke of the President’s
role in combating drug abuses in
an event in Dallas, Texas.
A number of attendees attacked
the President and his administration for not doing enough to curb
the menace of drug abuse.
I stood up and articulated that no
President and no administration
alone with billions of dollars can
solve the drug abuse problem
unless each and every citizen takes
some responsibility to unite and
fight as drug abuse is an individual
Beserra was impressed with my
remarks and at the end of the pro-
gram he wanted to know whether I would be interested to
attend a White House signing-n ceremony by President
Reagan on a bill, Say No To Drugs.
Sambhu Banik with then President Ronald Reagan.
COUR TES Y: SAMBHU BANIK
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