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The Tellers of Tales


T.C.A. Srinivasa Raghavan

INDIA: THE CRITICAL YEARS
By T.V. Rajeshwar
Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 281, Rs. 600.00

TO THE BRINK AND BACK
By Jairam Ramesh
Rupa, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 216, Rs. 395.00

KASHMIR: THE VAJPAYEE YEARS
By A.S. Dulat
Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 344, Rs. 599.00

NO REGRETS
By D.N. Ghosh
Rupa, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 375, Rs. 695.00

DREAMING BIG: MY JOURNEY TO CONNECT INDIA
By Sam Pitroda
Penguin Books, Delhi, 2015, pp. 331, Rs. 700.00

AN UPSTART IN GOVERNMENT
By Arun Maira
Rupa, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 252, Rs. 500.00

VOLUME XXXIX NUMBER 12 December 2015

A ‘small’ publisher I know never lets slip an opportunity to morosely grumble about how the ‘big’ publishers are putting the small ones out of business. That may well be true, or largely true. But there is a silver lining, too, at least for readers. Suddenly, in contrast to the time when Indians who had worked for the government would sneer at colleagues who wrote their memoirs, they are now bursting forth in full autumnal song. The big publishers have at least succeeded in reversing the perverse tendency towards snobbish bureaucratic reticence. The generous advances that they give, and the free publicity they arrange, must be irresistible after a lifetime of gnome-like anonymity. As a result, there is now a veritable tsunami of autobiographies. In the last five years there have been around 50. In recent months we have had T.V. Rajeshwar who was former head of the IB, Jairam Ramesh who had been a man for all seasons in government since 1982, A.S. Dulat who headed RAW under NDA I, Sam Pitroda who was responsible for the telecom revolution in India, and D.N. Ghosh a career civil servant who had specialized in banking, telling their life stories. Finally, there is Arun Maira who served as a Member of the Planning Commission during UPA II. It is reported that there are many more in the works, including ones by M.L. Fotedar and other political VIPs who now inhabit the dustbins of history. The urge not to be forgotten, never mind that they will remain no more than a couple of footnotes, seems very strong. T.V. Rajeshwar, who has been labelled as a liar and a senile old man by no less a personage than R.K. Dhavan—that too on national TV—writes about the Emergency and the role the IB played in it. He says it didn’t have any inkling about what was coming on the night of June 25, 1975 and the decision ‘was not made in consultation with the IB or the Home Ministry.’ Other versions certainly bear out this claim, whatever R.K. Dhawan may say now. Later at his book launch he said that all decisions which leaders to arrest were made either by Mrs. Gandhi herself or by her son, Sanjay Gandhi. He writes that ‘One year after the imposition of Emergency, the IB conducted a State-wise survey of the state of ...


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