K Natwar Singh, a former Union Cabinet Minister, a career diplomat, a writer, and an alleged Nehru-Gandhi loyalist, has come out with his biography which, expectedly, has turned out controversial. “One life is not enough” explains his journey of life. He narrates events and places with clarity and precision, in the light of his wide travel and his close proximity to Indian leaders.
Like many during that time, the Camelot days as it came to be called, Singh let his job go up in smoke and entered politics in 1984 to help Rajiv Gandhi. He has very fond memories of Rajiv Gandhi, whom he calls the most charming, the least pompous and the most natural person that he has ever met. It’s when he talks of Rajiv’s wife Sonia, that controversy erupts. Singh says that Sonia takes about 6 to 8 hours to prepare for a public speech. That the second Mrs. Gandhi is not a natural speaker is no state secret. That she took 8 hours to prepare for a speech should actually go in her favour as someone who takes her job seriously!
He talks about the help he rendered to Jairam Ramesh and Arjun Singh to mend their relationship with the Congress President. The book raises the mercury level by claiming that the decision to anoint Dr. Manmohan Singh was a direct consequence of Rahul Gandhi’s adamant demand that his mother should not adorn the prime ministerial gaddhi . He talks about how Sonia transformed from a shy person to an ambitious leader, holding authority over the Congress in a manner even Jawaharlal Nehru did not wield. He calls her authoritative, secretive and suspicious. On the one side he says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh never stood by his colleagues and on the other he admits that Dr Singh appointed him as the External Affairs Minister withstanding the pressures from US government. He mentions Dr. Singh as a decent man.
Natwar Singh’s autobiography will be remembered as one that created a brief storm in political circles but forgotten soon.