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Amita Malik

INDIRA GANDHI AND HER POWER GAME
By Janardhan Thakur
Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1979, Rs. 35.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 3 November/December 1979

The quickies are upon us again. The post-election deluge (post-1977 election, that is, when the profitable and chic pub­lishing fashion really started) is now being followed up with a pre-election deluge (pre-1980 election, that is). This is the second set in what will, in true Ladies' Singles fashion, hopefully be a best of three sets match. It might of course go up to best-of-five sets and Men's Doubles, in which case the forthcoming Three Faces of Indira Gandhi will also need revamping. But for the moment, let us concentrate on the second set. And, to use Mr. Janardhan Thakur's favourite phrase, ‘never mind’ if the match does not end so quickly. One of the endearing things about Mr. Janardhan Thakur is that he always lays his cards on the table. The very first sentence in his preface is one of the most honest in the book: ‘After I had finished writing All The Prime Minister's Men in July 1977, I had shoved all my notes and clippings on Mrs. Gandhi into a large envelope, seared it with cellotape and con­signed it to the bottom of my filing cabinet, hoping it would never have to be brought out again’ except to be thrown (sic). How wrong I was!’ (And Mr. Thakur is not the only one to confess this).’Within months, half my reporters' books were full of her, and for every new clippings file on all the Janata men put together, there were at least three on Mrs. Gandhi alone.’ If, in the event, almost every page of the book has an acknowledgement to the clippings file at the bottom and about the papers and correspondents from which he has taken his data, Mr. Thakur is at least an honourable man. He admits to the cut-and-paste portions of much of his book, which is more than one can say of other ‘best-selling’ authors of instant books on politics, who do not even ack­nowledge their sources secure in all those clippings, Mr. Janardhan Thakur then comes to his own conclusions, both speculative and what may be described as frankly dramatic. In this he employs several methods, including, like the Tan­trics and others he describes with such journalistic charm, reading the minds of people. And no one is as adept at reading the mind of Mrs. G. than Mr. Thakur. After getting his hearsay from Mrs. Pupul Jayakar, Sudbhadra ...


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