it is a blog of a retired diplomat who would tend to write, personal views, on contemporary social, cultural and other matters of interest and concern.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
One Life Is Not Enough
have just finished reading Kunwar Natwar Singh’s autobiography “One Life Is Not
Enough”. Though I love reading autobiographies yet I do not intend to spend
money on books. In the recent months, it is third autobiography which I could
not resist and purchased. The other two were that of APJ Kalam and Khuswant
Singh. Before I say something on the book, my first comment is that Natwar
Singh remained elitist throughout in his living and thinking. He loved to be
called Kunwar Sahib and always write his name as K. Natwar Singh. He likes that
his wife Hem (full name not given in the book anywhere) should be called
Maharani.To me, it shows a feudal mind
set. The time has changed in democratic India. Nevertheless, I must say that Natwar
Singh writes well. I enjoy reading him in various newspapers and magazines. One
myth which the book has exposed is that claims to royalty and sophistication
are skin deep only. The ongoing exchanges between Captain Amrinder Singh and
Natwar Singh in the media, with regard the autobiography, and washing of dirty
linen in public is of bad taste on both the sides.
a member of the IFS fraternity, though in junior capacities, I have been
watching Natwar Singh and his functioning.Natwar Singh has been a first class diplomat of India. His observations
on China and its leadership particularly Mao and Chao are candid. Natwar Singh’s
special interest in Africa endeared him to the African leadership particularly
Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. His encounters and not so happy experience with PM
Morarji Desai tells poorly on our political leadership.It is known and the book clearly establishes
that Natwar Singh enjoyed good rapport with PM Indira Gandhi. It seems Sonia
Gandhi recognized his diplomatic skills and abilities but did not trust him. In
the end they fell out and the book clearly shows the bitterness of Natwar
Singh. His case which he calls ‘Volcker Conspiracy’ is not convincing.May be Sonia Gandhi will add to the story
someday. I recommend the book to the practitioners of diplomacy and politics.
are a couple of errors, inadvertent and otherwise. The name of Foreign
Secretary should be R.D. Sathe and not R.B. (page 215). The name of Major
General Shabeg Singh has been misspelled as Shahbeg (page 232). The caption of
the photograph with PM Narender Modi is misleading. Narender Modi was not PM
designate in February 2014. He was a Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP.
मस्जिद तो बना दी सब भर में; इमां की हरारत वालों ने, मन अपना पुराना पापी है; बरसों से नमाज़ी हो न सका !