Ever since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced his retirement (not that people expected him to return for a third term) there has been a deluge of tell-tall books that vow to bare it all – expose the crimes of Congress, lay bare the spinelessness of Dr Singh and put on pedestal the respective authors who were wronged by the corrupt and inept governance of the grand old party of India. Natwar Singh’s book treads the same path, only faring worse than the other authors in being soporific, dull and absolutely trashy.
Natwar Singh, born in an aristocrat family, a seasoned bureaucrat and a former Union Minister, led a colourful life (or so he wants us to belief). The dull prose and dead language the fill the pages of 400-odd page memoir hardly offer any credence to his claim. From the sloppy chapters on his childhood (why would I care to know if he ran away from his school and spent 30 days at his friends’ house in Delhi?) o the unimaginative years he spent as India’s representatives in countries like Zambia (diplomatic coup, I say!), Natwar Singh’s narration would put a kindergarten kid to shame.
He claims to have shared close connections with the Gandhi family, but for a major part of the memoir, his references to the family or any major event related to them, have been wrapped up in no less than a paragraph, with hardly any insight! Most of the experiences he shared obviously portray him as the man Friday of the family! At times you start feeling Natwar Singh was the best Prime Minister India never had, such is the adulatory tone of the man, clearly in love with himself, more than anything else in the world!
Towards the end of the book, he is critical of Sonia Gandhi (for obvious reasons) and exonerates himself in the Volcker scam (is it a coincidence that his son is in the BJP, now?). One life may not be enough for Mr Singh, but one book sure is for the readers.
My Rating: 2/5 stars
P.S. This review is part of Flipkart’s Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme
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The title of this post might surprise some, while come across as unsurprising to many, but standing at the crossroads of another year end, there is no denying the fact that India needs more than just a figurative head. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has failed to inspire citizens with leadership and has reduced the post of executive head of the nation to ceremonial face which appears on hoardings and government advertisements.
Question naturally arises who should lead the government then? Which politician in current Indian political situation possesses the caliber to lead India towards prosperity? Is it India’s “crown Prince” Rahul Gandhi? Or Madam Sonia Gandhi? Or someone else?
Rahul Gandhi is too immature to take up the mantle as grave as the Prime Ministerial berth. He could, rather, make his way up starting with running a state (eg U.P.). That could well be an apprenticeship which can mold him for future responsibilities.
His mother and chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance is also better kept away from the PM’s office. Although it is an open secret that calls the shots in matters of national policy, but her ascent to the “chair” will spell trouble for the nation. The Party and The Government better be kept separate institutions and she can look after the party affairs.
India’s hunt for a Prime Minister ends with a very senior parliamentarian and also a senior minister of the present government. Pranab Mukherjee, in all fairness is the acting Prime Minister of UPA 2.
According to this article published in The Times Of India, Pranab Mukherjee is part of 34 Group of Ministers (GoM) heading 15 of them. He was most recently made head of the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill. Pranab Mukherjee is the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. On more than one occasions, this senior parliamentarian has emerged as the crisis manager for the UPA. His equations with various political outfits (across the colour spectrum) is known to be relatively better than his party colleagues. He has the distinction of holding ministries ranging from Defence to Finance, External Affairs, Revenue, Shipping, Transport, Communication, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry.
Rumours say, Pranab Mukherjee was a strong contender for the Prime Ministerial berth in the early 1980s. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated, a section of the Congress projected him as the Prime Minister in waiting. But given its sycophantic nature, the Congress fell back to the first family of Indian politics. The altercations were such that Pranab Mukherjee was forced to quit the party he had served for decades. Although he returned back to the fold of Congress soon, the “mistrust” seems yet to be healed.
Coronating Manmohan Singh to the high chair in 2004 was a political masterstroke by Sonia Gandhi in the wake of massive protests by BJP. But repeating the same in 2009 looks like an unpardonable mistake. Although Mr Singh is learning his lessons in politics, can India afford to bear the brunt of his tuition? Is it not more judicious to hand over the reigns to someone who is already in charge? After all that can boost the party’s electoral fortunes in 2014!
Unless history seeks to repeat itself, opportunity knocks at Congress’s door to undo the sin it committed in 1984. Pranab Mukherjee, with his political experience and leadership skills, can take India to echelons of glory.