by C. P. Srivastava
About the book: The life of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-66), India's second prime minister and successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, is the absorbing saga of a little man who, while suffering the rigours of poverty in early life, rose to political eminence on the strength of moral principle. When Shastri died, he left no house, no land, no money. But he did leave behind an example which is morally inspiring. In an age riddled with political corruption, his career of exemplary integrity possesses a very special relevance for readers in contemporary India as well as abroad. Although Shastri's tenure as prime minister lasted only nineteen months, it was a period of high excitement and drama. Under Shastri's leadership India successfully fought a major war against Pakistan. This came as a tremendous boost to India after the China debacle three years earlier. This Indo-Pak war was followed by successful peace negotiations between the two countries at the famous Tashkent Conference, where, with the ink scarcely dry after all the momentous signatures, Shastri dramatically died of a heart attack. Several social and political issues of national importance and international interest emerged or found successful resolution during the time that Shastri held political power in Nehru's cabinet, as well as when he took over the premiership of India. There was the Kamaraj Plan; the question of Nehru's successor; the English-Hindi national language controversy; the problems of food scarcity and foodgrain imports; the Hazratbal episode of the stolen sacred relic from the shrine in Kashmir; the complicated diplomatic negotiations over Kashmir in the United Nations; the tangled web of tightrope relations with China, the USA, andthe USSR; the controversy and suspicion over the circumstances of Shastri's sudden death; and finally the heroism and acclaim that came to Shastri.
by N.P. Ullekh
About the book: Despite his grand ‘secular’ statements in Parliament that bordered on the Nehruvian, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has often taken brief excursions into the hardline camp. In 1983, he made an incendiary speech during the Assam elections in which the presence of ‘Bangladeshi foreigners’ in the state was a big issue. Even the BJP had disowned Vajpayee’s speech, which possibly inspired the massacre of over 2000 people, mostly Muslims, in Nellie in Assam. Vajpayee, one of the shrewdest politicians of India, is known for negotiating multiple contradictions: from militant nationalism to his secret family life; his stint as a communist; his indulgence in food; influence of Gandhi and Nehru; Narendra Modi and Gujarat issues; foreign policies; and his attempt to project himself as a moderate face, if not liberal, among others. Exploring crucial milestones of Vajpayee’s career and his traits as a seasoned politician, the book looks at his relationship with leaders of his party and the love–hate association with RSS and its feeder organizations. Thoroughly researched, supported by hard facts and accompanied by inside stories and anecdotes, insightful interviews and archival photographs, The Untold Vajpayee would open a window to the life and times of a poet politician.
by Sanjaya Baru
About the book: Written by Manmohan Singh's media adviser and trusted aide, this book describes Singh's often troubled relations with his ministers, his cautious equation with Sonia Gandhi and how he handled the big crises from managing the left to pushing through the nuclear deal. Insightful, acute and packed with political anecdotes, 'The Accidental Prime Minister' is one of the great insider accounts of Indian political life.
by Daman Singh
About the book: 'Clearing my throat, I announce that I have an idea for my next book. My mother smiles encouragingly. My father shows no sign of having heard. He is immersed in an editorial, no doubt another scathing comment on the state of the nation. Bravely, I continue. I say I am thinking of writing a book about them.' Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan is that book. In 2004, Manmohan Singh became prime minister of India. Over the next ten years he led the country through opportunities and challenges, not without some controversy. But this is not that story. This is the story of what went before, and it is told by his daughter Daman Singh. It charts the journey of a young boy growing up in undivided India, battling family hardship to pursue his dream of higher education, determining his intellectual and moral compass and learning to live life on his own terms. It is equally about Gursharan Kaur, the woman with whom he made that life. Vivacious and talented Gursharan, the centre of the family and of the circle of friends they shared. And about their three daughters, Upinder, Daman and Amrit, growing up with a resilient mother and a workaholic father who stepped into the limelight. Based on conversations with her parents and hours spent in libraries and archives, this honest and affectionate memoir provides new insights into the former prime minister and his wife. Moving from Gah, Nowshera and Peshawar; through Amritsar, Patiala and Hoshiarpur; to Chandigarh, Cambridge and Oxford; then New York, Bombay and Geneva; and on to New Delhi, this intimate portrayal of two lives is also the history of a nation unfolding over half a century.
by Vinay Sitapati
About the book: When P.V. Narasimha Rao became the unlikely prime minister of India in 1991, he inherited a nation adrift, violent insurgencies, and economic crisis. Despite being unloved by his people, mistrusted by his party, and ruling under the shadow of 10 Janpath, Rao transformed the economy and ushered India into the global arena. With exclusive access to Rao’s never-before-seen personal papers and diaries, this definitive biography provides new revelations on the Indian economy, nuclear programme, foreign policy and the Babri Masjid. Tracing his early life from a small town in Telangana through his years in power, and finally, his humiliation in retirement, it never loses sight of the inner man, his difficult childhood, his corruption and love affairs, and his lingering loneliness. Meticulously researched and brutally honest, this landmark political biography is a must-read for anyone interested in knowing about the man responsible for transforming India.
by Sarvepalli Gopal
About the book: Nehru's private papers and the author's firsthand knowledge of Nehru inform a laudatory account of the Indian leader's life, education, personality, and political career
by Walter Crocker
About the book: Elegant, perceptive, and startlingly prophetic, Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate is one of the finest accounts of Nehru ever written. Walter Crocker, the Australian high commissioner to India, admired Nehru the man—his grace, style, intelligence and energy—and was deeply critical of many of his political decisions—the invasion of Goa, India’s Kashmir policy, the Five Year Plans. This book, written shortly after Nehru’s death, is full of invaluable first hand observations about the man and his politics. Many of Crocker’s points, too—especially the implications of the Five Year Plans and of the introduction of democracy to India—are particularly relevant today. Out of print for many years, this classic biography has been reissued with an authoritative foreword by Ramachandra Guha.
by Pupul Jayakar
About the book: Indira Gandhi S Life Was Part Of The Unfolding History Of India, Intricately Woven With India S Past And Future. It (Became) Inevitable, Therefore, That Politics (Formed) A Backdrop To Her Public And Often Private Actions. Indira Gandhi S Life Spanned Over Two-Thirds Of A Century. By The Time Of Her Brutal Assassination In 1984, She Had Established Herself As The Most Significant Political Leader India Had Seen Since The Death Of Her Father, Jawaharlal Nehru. In This Book, Written With The Close Cooperation Of Her Subject, Pupul Jayakar Seeks To Uncover The Many Personalities That Lay Hidden Within Mrs Gandhi. Much More Than A Political Biography, The Book Reveals The Complex Personality Of Indira Gandhi-Her Thoughts And Feelings, Her Hates And Prejudices, Her Insights And Her Faults, Her Loves And Emotional Entanglements. Full Of Startling Insights, Indira Gandhi: A Biography Paints A Magnificent Portrait-At Once Empathetic And Unprejudiced-Of One Of The Twentieth Century S Most Remarkable Women.
by Katherine Frank
About the book: The definitive and first non-partisan biography of one of the most formidable political figures of the twentieth century (voted Woman of the Millennium in a BBC poll, 2000)