India, Nov. 25 -- One of the first things that struck anyone who met Tarun Gogoi, whether in or out of power, was his smile. But behind that beaming exterior was an astute political mind and a strong will. Gogoi, who came up the ranks of the Congress, had a finger on the public pulse.

He was all that we know - a three-term chief minister (successive terms and the longest-serving), a six-term Member of Parliament, a minister in Delhi, who held the posts of Congress joint secretary at the national level and was the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief before leading the party to victory in the 2001 assembly elections.

But there was much more to Gogoi - a family man who treasured his private moments and valued friendships, but who also bel...