Fast forward to the day the memoir of foreign affairs minister Natwar Singh, titled ‘One Life Is Not Enough’, made it to the stands. Focusing on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty politics, the book had ruffled quite a few feathers, especially those of Congress president Sonia Gandhi who claimed that she would release her own book to refute Singh’s claims. Like Singh’s book, quite a few memoirs by other Indian politicians have managed to stir the hornet’s nest when published. Here are five of them to begin with.
‘Manmohan Singh: The Accidental Prime Minister’
Sanjaya Baru who happened to be former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Media Advisor, revealed in her book “Manmohan Singh: The Accidental Prime Minister,” how the latter had to rely on Sonia Gandhi for the final say on anything. BJP candidate and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the book to target Singh and his ways of running the government like “Bheeshma” and not “Dhritarashtra” in the “Mahabharata.”
‘My Country, My Life’
Penned by BJP leader L K Advani, this memoir was as an attempt to project himself as India’s Iron Man. In this book, Advani talked about his ideologies and revealed his desire to become the modern day crusader of Indian politics, right from not celebrating the demolition of the Babri Masjid to revealing Pakistan President Pervez Musharaf’s lies about Dawood Ibrahim.
‘Reminiscences of the Nehru Age’
Written by Jawaharlal Nehru’s former aide Mo Mathai, this memoir shed light on the personal lives of the Nehru family. Mathai became Nehru’s assistant in 1964, an opportunity that gave him the chance to observe the family up close.
‘Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and other Truths’
PC Parakh upon retiring as the Coal Secretary in 2005, decided to write down this memoir in order to shed light on how little authority former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on matters, including the Coalgate scam. The memoir describes how Singh did nothing to stop ministers Rao and Shibu Soren from preventing transparency in the allocation of coal blocks.
‘Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence’
BJP senior leader Jaswant Singh was thrown out of the party for supposedly praising Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in his memoir. The book contained what many believed as ideological transgressions describing Jinnah as a great man who was demonized in India while home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had wanted the partition.
Memoirs by Indian politicians always tend to rub quite a few people the wrong way. The five memoirs mentioned above have seen their share of controversies and issues. They remain to be the most explosive memoirs written about Indian politics to date.