|Author||Inder Kumar Gujral|
An absorbing, authentic and definitive account, by a former prime minister, of crucial events that had a significant impact on the nation’s destiny after independence. I K Gujral has penned his life story in a forthright and candid manner. He entered the political fray as a freedom fighter in the British era, and after the tumultuous events that rocked the Indian subcontinent in the wake of the partition in August 1947, crossed over from Pakistan to India, where he had to begin life from scratch. Despite facing tremendous odds, on the basis of his perseverance, resilience and never-say-die attitude, Gujral’s achievements allowed him to witness and shape India’s contemporary history. Gujral joined Congress Party and was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1964. He was the Information and Broadcasting Minister when emergency was imposed, which entailed arbitrary press censorship. Since he refused to bow down to the de facto powers, he was unceremoniously replaced and later sent by Indira Gandhi as India’s ambassador to the USSR, a post he handled with commendable tact and finesse. After his stint in Moscow, he returned to India and re-entered the ‘political whirlpool’ by joining the Janata Dal. He became minister for external affairs under V P Singh (1989) and Deve Gowda (1996). Gujral reached the pinnacle of his career when he became the prime minister on 1997. During his priministership, despite the exigencies and pressures of running a coalition government, he endeavoured to achieve progress in many spheres. The Gujral Doctrine (a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours) was widely acclaimed in both India and the West. This volume, a valuable addition to the literature on contemporary history, provides a deep insight into the political scene as it unfolded after independence and delineates the roles played by a wide spectrum of politicians, bureaucrats, and many others.