Of the longest serving politicians in Indian parliamentary democracy, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee should figure in the list of top 10%. The 97 year old, Mr. Rishang Keishing – the former Manipur Chief Minister topping the list as the oldest to have retired at 94. Yet when it comes to the most visible longest serving senior profile of ministers in India, Pranab Mukherjee should top the list, considering that he has been the longest serving Finance Minister under several prime ministers of India.
As the President of India, the gentleman with an enormous first hand experience with Indian politics, a Bengali, born and brought up in the land of the globally celebrated national poet of India, Rabindranath Tagore, writes a memoir, I for one would expect a lot more balance and deeply rooted honest history. Instead, I was disappointed reading first three chapters of his book, “The Turbulent Years“, that seems an overdose of fawning from the likes of starry eyed octogenarian politicians of India, rather than a deeper experiential narration.
The accounts beginning in the 1980s with the unexpected death of the younger scion, Sanjay Gandhi belies expectations from one of the most wise and experienced politicians of our country…and someone who I have grown up watching since a kid…even before the earliest media image of the present Indian President is the one with Mrs. Indira Gandhi, from a newspaper article on 28th December 1983. At no point, I must clarify that my mind was ever clouded with the excess of feminine bickering, that Tavleen Singh fills up her first couple of chapters against the wife of Rajiv Gandhi , almost sounding like an affair that must have fallen apart to Sonia Gandhi in her book, India’s Broken Tryst.
….. to be continued