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Barber Conable's Trip to India in November 1987

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The cartoonist Ranga drew this line sketch of Barber Conable during Conable's 1987 trip to India  

On April 3rd, 1986, Barber Conable was selected as the 7th president of the World Bank Group, a position which he formally took over on July 1st of that year. In honor of the 25th anniversary of that event, the Archives has selected a sketch of Conable, drawn by the Indian cartoonist Ranga during Conable's trip to India in November 1987.

At the time of his selection, Conable was largely unknown by members of the World Bank group. He was a veteran of WWII and the Korean war and had spent his life as a career politician. During his time in the US House of Representatives, Conable had a keen interest in budgetary, tax and trade issues. He understood the complicated systems that controlled these issues, and the importance of these financial matters to the world at large. As a result, he was fully committed to the World Bank's central mission of reducing poverty, and made it his priority throughout his term as President.

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Barber Conable and U.P. Minister Ammar Rizvi in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India

The sketch was drawn on November 7th of 1986, likely during a press conference, by freelance cartoonist N. K. Ranganathan, known as Ranga. Known for his recognizable line drawings, Ranga's work was featured in numerous publications throughout India, including The Statesman, Midday and Amrita Bazar Patrika, as well as the New York newspaper India Abroad. Ranga was well-known for drawing caricatures of celebrities and other notable persons, until his death in 2002.

Conable's mission to India occurred from November 4th, 1987 to November 9th, and throughout the five days he had meetings with a variety of figures such as: Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi; S. S. Nadkarni; the Chairman and Managing Director of the Industrial Development Bank of India; various ministers and governors; and Mother Theresa. Discussions ranged over a variety of topics related to development of India including growth and poverty alleviation, industry, environmental improvement, trade and tax policy, and education.

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Barber Conable and U.P. Minister Ammar Rizvi at the Mughal Sheraton Hotel 

Despite meetings, press conferences, and business lunches and dinners, President Conable and his wife Charlotte enjoyed the culture, food, dancing, and sights of India, including the Taj Mahal. In thanking Ammar Rizvi, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Revenue to the state of Uttar Pradesh, for his hospitality, Conable wrote that "the beauty of the Taj by full moon is a sight that [my wife and I] shall never forget" (Letter from Barber Conable to Ammar Rizvi, 11/23/2011, Archives folder 1122945).



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Though a simple drawing, Ranga's caricature of Conable is almost eerily accurateBarber Conable (sporting several leis and a tilak) and his wife Charlotte in the lobby of the Mughal Sheraton, which was decorated for their arrivalA man with a sense of humor, Conable refuses to let his suit deprive him of quality time in the World Bank exercise facility











The Archives has nearly 65 linear feet of materials and 900 photographs related to Barber Conable and his term as President of the World Bank group. For more information concerning the above documents and images, please look at the Finding Aid for Barber Conable or contact or visit us

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This feature is produced by the World Bank Group Archives to highlight the World Bank's contributions to development.

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