ONE LIFE IS NOT ENOUGH NATWAR SINGH PDF

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One Life Is Not Enough Natwar Singh Pdf

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His work notwithstanding.

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Father utilized his time at Deeg well. In My mother was not an easy person to get on with. The post was a coveted one. His white flowing beard was receiving disrespectful treatment from a spoilt brat. This is where I was born on 16 May My parents were married in Having mastered the art of survival. The family moved to Deeg to live in a large and ugly house.

Electricity had not yet reached Deeg. The family barber was in awe of the patriarch who would not bend his head while getting his hair cut. Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Baba-saab died in Baba-saab was short. Govind Singh. His idiosyncrasies were fascinating. She had a son who. I was too young to mourn. His sister was married to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Bharatpur.

This was at the end of the seventeenth century. Bharatpur had half a dozen leading families. My ancestors served the founders of the Bharatpur dynasty for generations. My mother was crying. His death was unexpected and caused much grief.

She suffered from depression. He was born in in our ancestral village. He married three times. A town struggling to be a city and the capital of a medium-sized princely state. I did not even know who my cousins were till I was nearly ten years old. Father was thirtyseven years old then. I remember his answer even now: The Bharatpur state had vast properties in all these towns which the retainers kept spotlessly clean.

I wanted salt. During these years I was home-schooled. Even at that innocent age I could feel the hallowed atmosphere of these sacred towns with wonderful names— Gokul. Our family.

The family priest dictated. Such was the stranglehold of tiresome rituals. He was not given to aimless self-analysis. I was denied it. Aristocratic families kept very much to themselves and there was no socializing. For me. The family obeyed. On reaching the age of twenty-one.

From time to time. The outside world was very outside indeed. I must have been around five years old then. Private tutors were hired to teach me Hindi and Urdu. The youngest of four brothers. Sir C. Captain Alexander.

I still remember how spotlessly clean they were. In my baby language I asked Thakur Singh why my father had no hair on his head. We did the rounds of several temples. Our first halt was Govardhan. He was proud of his lineage but was not loud-mouthed about it. Father would plead with him but not argue. Father was a practical man. In Bharatpur. Brijendra Singh. Colonel Ghamandi Singh.

He understood that he had been selected by the British for this job because of the faith they placed on his integrity and sound judgement. I had a lonely childhood because my three older brothers were studying at Mayo College. My uncle. Salt-free meals were cooked for thirteen days. My father performed all the pujas at these places. His mind was uncluttered. Life took a major turn when I was about seven. Nearly fifty years later. The Maharaja rode on an elephant in a silver howdah.

Our car stopped at a side gate. Though our lifestyle was quite luxurious. To relieve my boredom. The outcome was not encouraging and the young teacher gave up.

To some extent. Despite a population of thirty-five thousand. We would return to Bharatpur in time for the Dusshera festival. He would regale me with his war exploits. He was an inspired bully but. Bhole Singh saluted them smartly and inquired about the price of the ribbons. Forty years later. My mother and grandmother observed strict purdah and special arrangements were made by the cinema owner to ensure their privacy.

This formidable great-aunt of mine was perched on a huge platform. In fact. Shifting the Maharaja. I did not enjoy Shimla. I saw Devika Rani in Bangalore.

Kanats had been installed on both sides of the alighting point to block out intruding eyes. Havaldar Bhole Singh. The royal retinue comprised my father.

From then on. From April to early October. Bhole Singh was thrilled. It rained most of the time. I looked upon him with awe.

A servant of ours at Shimla. On the way to Shimla. The Bharatpur estate in Shimla was extensive. I remember being confined to our cottage. I was hugely excited. Our names were called out and we trooped in one by one. One of the sahibs had also fought in the war. Bharat was immediately sent back to Bharatpur.

The divine right of kings was then accepted without reservation. We had reserved a box in the cinema hall. The entire street would be milling with people who had poured in from all parts of the state to pay homage to their Raja.

The novelty of the hills soon wore off. Bharatpur did not have a cinema hall. He had fought in Mesopotamia during World War I. One time. He was severely wounded and had been awarded several medals. The beaters. The Meos held him in high esteem. He was the senior monitor. The Viceroy. Lord Mayo. None of the other four Chiefs Colleges—in Lahore. The shoot would last nearly four hours. I thus joined my brothers at Mayo College. In my time. Each one was introduced to the visiting British nobility.

Father came into close contact with them. My most exotic and interesting classmate was Said bin Taimur. It was perhaps because of this admiration that I received nearly 65 per cent of the Meo votes. All work would come to a standstill during his two-day trip. The college policy for admission changed.

I started a scrapbook in which I drew maps and stuck newspaper cuttings and magazine photos of politicians.

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On the train to Ajmer. The days of my undisciplined childhood at Bharatpur soon came to an end. The butts would be selected with care by the Maharaja himself. I was inconsolable and cried most of the night.

I still have it. The prescribed dress for students was achkan. Mayo College was founded by the Viceroy. Rajkot and Raipur—could match the aristocratic ambience. The college Principal. The Bharatpur state had many Muslims. My love of reading led me to the school library which was wanting for readers—Mayo was keener on sports than on academic excellence.

Not only was it exclusive. World War II started on 3 September The students. At the time. They were converts to Islam. It was in school that I became passionately interested in general knowledge. The great event of the year in Bharatpur was the annual duck shoot in December. My studies. Mayo remained elitist.

I was immensely moved. The Bharatpur nobility turned up in breeches. He brought his car. Due to our proximity to the House of Bharatpur. I was awarded a scholarship. When I contested the Lok Sabha elections of from the area. The Hindustan Times was taboo. My first brush with authority was caused by the Mahatma. Decades later. My father informed me that I would be withdrawn from Mayo and sent to Scindia School.

I discovered the truth about my uprooting. I felt miserable but the family code could not be violated—sons and daughters did not argue with their parents. Though my father was no Gandhian. I mumbled something incomprehensible. He would write to my father about my subversive activities. My world came crashing down on a sultry afternoon during the summer holidays in He pronounced that the picture must be removed. Principal Stow. During one of my vacations. I had cut out a picture of Gandhiji from the Hindustan Times and hung the framed photograph in my room.

His imperial soul was outraged. The following Sunday. More than the punishment. Badan and I travelled to Agra by car. When I alighted. We took a tonga and arrived at Ijlas-e-Khas. With ten rupees each in our pockets.

At Gwalior Railway Station. In mid-July. Dead tired. Badan Singh. By the morning. A slip would be fatal.

We concluded that the parapet behind Shivaji House was a possibility. My dormitory companions were. What a homecoming it was! The welcoming committee included my father.

One Life is Not Enough: Natwar Singh's book is a shameful, misogynist betrayal of friendship

Living in a dormitory was like living in a hospital ward. Keshav Dev. As a result. It was such a small place. The Maharajas of Bharatpur and Gwalior were close friends. I was enjoying Mayo. This was a veritable nightmare! The nights were horrific. Giriraj Singh Bacchu. Where were the sports fields? And where were the pavilions? And those hideous barracks. Bhagwat Singh.

I was in deep depression. My brother attempted to console me but without much success. On edge.

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They hailed from parts of India of which I had absolutely no knowledge. I joined Scindia. On the first Sunday. We met each day and plotted our escape. We had to scale down a thirty-foot wall.

The headmaster. I slept badly. I had never met anyone from Madras or Calcutta or Mysore before that. Both Badan and I were given three lashes each. The train arrived punctually at. I had a tiny room to myself where I stuck large. On 25 June Almost all the masters and senior boys fell instantly in love with her. After I returned. I reached the station where there was bedlam. Mahatma Gandhi was also invited by the Viceroy for the conference.

Padmaja Naidu. Their two sons. I even wrote an article in the fortnightly school review about our daredevil escapade—my first literary effort. He taught me to read books. Much later. The matinee idol of the forties. I immediately discerned a change in the atmosphere in the dormitory. It was scorchingly hot. Harsha and Ajit. Jawaharlal Nehru. Lord Wavell called a conference of all political leaders in Shimla. Wearing a khadi kurta-pyjama and a Gandhi cap.

Leila Chitnis. I was very much at the centre of school activities—studies. By the beginning of Learn to behave yourselves. I proposed his name for the Padma Shri. Pandit Nehru. Five rupees in hand. Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan. This posed a dilemma for my father: I carried a photograph of Gandhiji in the hope of getting it signed by him.

Viceroy Wavell. He was an intellectual Gandhian. The important visitors to the school included C. My escapade had certainly earned me notoriety. My housemaster.

First I became house prefect. Trousers replaced shorts. Finally he relented. She was not only stunningly beautiful. I was. Then followed the chilling command issued by the Maharaja: Did I have no spats?

I certainly did. I told my father that come what may I would go to Bharatpur to see Gandhiji at the station. He was much darker than I had thought him to be.

In a lecture. Scindia School was not only a left-of-centre secular institution. I was then in Class C3. He caught the Maharaja in one of his less explosive moods and showed him the report. I noticed that not a single Muslim was to be seen in Deeg. I asked my father about Halim and Rehmani. Sporadic communal incidents did occur.

Perched on the fort. In desperation. I got no satisfactory answer. What transpired would. Among the students. I was pushed around and got nowhere near his coach. Nationalism was in the air. The next day. When I went home for the Dusshera holidays. Sir Muhammad Zafarulla Khan. I jumped and nearly landed on my back. American planes dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. The euphoria of Independence did not last too long in Gwalior.

I was the number one nationalist. The Gandhi cap. I jumped between two carriages. Aley Hassan. Word also spread that Hindu— Muslim riots had broken out in the city. The minutes were ticking by. Simply put. He could have sat on it but it would never have crossed his mind to do so. Principal Shukla hoisted the Indian tricolour on a specially erected pole. The city and its neighbourhood had been home to several thousand Meo Muslims who had. The nuclear age had come. I sensed a sudden change in the behaviour of some of the Muslim boys in my class: The train moved.

In school. Ask him to keep clear of these Congress-wallahs. There he was. Bapu is fasting. It is his day of silence. On the midnight of 15 August I saw India partitioned. At times. We were. One among a massive crowd.

On 30 January. Another college institution was Sukhia. Father and I were at our haveli listening to the 5 p. The results were declared in May I sat for the Senior Cambridge examinations in December Everything that could go right did go right.

Gandhiji had been assassinated! Father put down his teacup and said.

He decided that no dinner was to be cooked that evening. Generations of Stephanians remember him fondly. On a very wet 15 August Tagore and Gandhiji stayed with Principal Rudra.

It did not take me long to fathom why the college had acquired its reputation—it was focussed on all-round excellence. We remained glued to the radio. Ian Shankland. I must have been insufferable. The mysterious hold Gandhi had over millions did not leave my father untouched.

Gandhi was more saint. I was back home for the winter holidays. Nothing more appropriate. It was always Bose-sahib. The next three years were among the happiest and most rewarding of my early life. I could just manage a glimpse of a small figure in white. I entered the portals of St. This brought them alive for us. Such was his authority and influence that even the Principal David Raja Ram never addressed him by his first name.

The sports master was the chain-smoking S. For the next couple of hours. His pedas. It was a moment of sadness that. To him. He was also not a demonstrative person. During World War I. In those days. If you excelled at games.

I took to St. This ends in my being an unapologetic determinist. Not Niccol Machiavelli or Karl Marx. I believe in friendship. It is one of the greatest joys of life. I have at times let my friends down as they have let me down.

Friendship rests on trust and reliability. It is not a social contract. The heart signs no contracts. Friendship is not a bargain. Friends ask me, How do you spend your time after being so busy and active in your life? I answer with a French phrase, Vieillir cest les autres. Only other people grow old. I enjoy old age, I read, write, relax. I listen to music, watch tennis and cricket on TV. I spend time with my grandchildren who consider their grandparents dedicated old bores.

Sometimes I sit and think. At other times I just sit. As I was finishing this book I had a surprise visit from Sonia Gandhi and her charming daughter, on 7 May It was an extraordinary encounter. Even bizarre. They were apprehensive about my autobiography touching raw nerves.

On Sunday, 6 May, Priyanka called me to ask if she could meet me. I agreed, and invited her to my house. Attractive and with an engaging personality, she shares her mothers sartorial elegance. Unlike her mother and brother, she is a natural communicator; the exactness of her expression is an asset. She is, as far as I know, free from the chattering fidgetiness so common among ladies of south Delhi.

On that hot day, she came in what I may call feminine mufti. We talked about Amethi and Raebareli. About her kids.

They were growing very fast. Initially she was a bit subdued, even hesitant, but she soon came to the point. Her mother had sent her to meet me. She recalled the interview I had given to the Economic Times on 28 April about my autobiography. Would I be writing about the events that took place in May before the swearingin of the UPA government? I said I intended to. No one could edit my book. I would not skirt the truth, nor would I hit below the belt. Certain proprieties cannot be ignored.

Just then Sonia walked in. What a surprise! I said. Her overtly friendly and gushing greeting bewildered me. It was so out of character. It was a giveaway. Swallowing her pride, she came to her closest friend to surrender her quiver. It took her eight-and-a-half years to do so. My book has aroused unexpected interest. I am flattered. Also mildly worried. The expectations are sky high. Understatement, restraint, objectivity have a paralysing effect on an autobiography. Mine is as subjective as it could be.

Duniya ek ajab saraye-faani dekhi, Har baat yahan ki aani-jaani dekhi. Jo aake na jaaye wo budhapa dekha, Jo jaake na aaye wo jawaani dekhi. We are things that make and pass into the sea upon an unknown mission. A town struggling to be a city and the capital of a medium-sized princely state. This is where I was born on 16 May Thereafter, decline set in. Bharatpur had half a dozen leading families, including mine: feudal, conservative, stubborn and a touch wild.

Having mastered the art of survival, this small group had generally flourished. My ancestors served the founders of the Bharatpur dynasty for generations. This was at the end of the seventeenth century.

A year after I was born, my father, Govind Singh, was appointed Nazim and District Magistrate of the beautiful and historic town of Deeg, adjacent to Bharatpur.

Deeg is an outpost of Braj Bhumi and Govardhan is less than fifteen miles from it. The post was a coveted one, and he was one of only three Nazims in the entire state. The family moved to Deeg to live in a large and ugly house, though one not devoid of comfort. Electricity had not yet reached Deeg; neither had motor cars. We owned a grand-looking buggy with fancy upholstery, drawn by a horse which had been specially chosen by my father. My parents were married in , when my mother, Prayag Kaur, was thirteen years old, not unusual for that time.

She could neither read nor write, like other ladies of her time. She was stubborn, self-willed and moody, yet also magnanimous. She suffered from depression. My father looked after my mother for over fifty years, even though he could have married again, as was the custom in those days.

My mother was not an easy person to get on with, but my father never lost his temper or serenity, and remained steadfast by her side. Fathers tenure as Nazim was eventful, and he earned the respect and affection of the townspeople by handling tricky and complex situations with patience, yet firmness.

His work notwithstanding, Father utilized his time at Deeg well. Since he didnt have much by way of academic distinction then though he was an excellent horse rider and an energetic hockey player , he used this period to study law.

My earliest memory is of sitting on the lap of my grandfather. His white flowing beard was receiving disrespectful treatment from a spoilt brat, not yet five.

Baba-saab, as we called him, was, I later learnt, quite a character. He married three times, and fathered thirteen children, of whom nine survived. His sister was married to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Bharatpur.

She had a son who, before he reached the age of ten, was poisoned. Sinister intrigue was a chronic feature in princely India. Accomplished plotters, like dark shadows, were ever present. Baba-saab was short, sturdy, strong. He was born in in our ancestral village, Jaghina, adjacent to Bharatpur. His idiosyncrasies were fascinating. The family barber was in awe of the patriarch who would not bend his head while getting his hair cut.

The poor man used to get down on his knees to trim the hair at the back of his head. Baba-saab died in , aged seventy-five. His death was unexpected and caused much grief. I was too young to mourn, and was mystified to see my father with a shorn head. My mother was crying. Why this sudden gloom? Thakur Singh, the one-eyed servant of long standing, had the not-so-exciting task of looking after Chote Kunwar-saabthats me.

In my baby language I asked Thakur Singh why my father had no hair on his head. I remember his answer even now: Baba-saab Bhagwan ke paas chale gaye Baba-saab has gone to heaven.

This meant nothing to me. Mothers mourning lasted several days. Salt-free meals were cooked for thirteen days. For me, this was an ordeal. I wanted salt.

I was denied it. The family priest dictated. The family obeyed. Such was the stranglehold of tiresome rituals. An event I vividly recall was a religious tour we took soon after Baba-saabs death. I must have been around five years old then.

Our family, along with several servants, travelled in comfort for over a week. Our first halt was Govardhan, a town seeped in Krishna lore. We did the rounds of several temples. I still remember how spotlessly clean they were. Even at that innocent age I could feel the hallowed atmosphere of these sacred towns with wonderful names Gokul, Nandgaon, Barsana, Mathura, Vrindavan. Here, religion, rites and rituals reigned. The Bharatpur state had vast properties in all these towns which the retainers kept spotlessly clean.

My father performed all the pujas at these places, with us brothers watching, entranced. The youngest of four brothers, I had a lonely childhood because my three older brothers were studying at Mayo College, Ajmer. Aristocratic families kept very much to themselves and there was no socializing. The outside world was very outside indeed. I did not even know who my cousins were till I was nearly ten years old.

During these years I was home-schooled. Private tutors were hired to teach me Hindi and Urdu. Life took a major turn when I was about seven. A new chapter opened up in our lives when my father was summoned by the states British Diwan, Sir C. Hancock, ICS, and told that he would have to move to Bharatpur as assistant guardian to the young Maharaja Brijendra Singh, who had returned to India after spending six years in England.

Father was thirtyseven years old then. In Bharatpur, we stayed in a palatial house called Ijlas-e-Khas. Brijendra Singh, known to his family as Indu, had been orphaned at the age of ten, and was a strong-willed, ill-tempered and moodybut generouseighteen-year-old prince. On reaching the age of twenty-one, he would be the absolute ruler of a quarter million people, mostly villagers.

Though my father soon realized his young wards unpredictability, he remained loyal to the House of Bharatpur which had done much for his ancestors.

He understood that he had been selected by the British for this job because of the faith they placed on his integrity and sound judgement. Father was a practical man. He was not given to aimless self-analysis; nor did he pretend to be intellectually inclined. His mind was uncluttered, but not fenced.

He was proud of his lineage but was not loud-mouthed about it. Fathers duties were not onerous; nevertheless, he was required to be in attendance throughout the day. From time to time, his patience and tact would be tried by the uncontrollable young Maharaja who could flare up even when unprovoked. Father would plead with him but not argue, and the responsibility of disciplining the Maharaja was Captain Alexanders, whose shadow fell everywhere the Raj was omnipresent.

From April to early October, the Bharatpur durbar shifted to Shimla, the summer capital of the Raj, nearly miles away. The royal retinue comprised my father, four aide-de-camps, a large administrative staff and an energetic team of rickshaw-pullers and horses. Shifting the Maharaja, along with his staff, horses, pets and hangers-on, was a major undertaking. On the way to Shimla, we stopped in New Delhi for the night. This formidable great-aunt of mine was perched on a huge platform, which was very ornamental and stately.

She was my grandfathers sister and my fathers aunt. Our names were called out and we trooped in one by one, receiving one gold coin each. Nearly fifty years later, my wifes niece, Jaya, married Sardarni Sahibas great-grandson, Gurpal. The Bharatpur estate in Shimla was extensive, with lots of fruit trees growing in spacious gardens, and tennis courtsboth grass and hard. Though our lifestyle was quite luxurious, I did not enjoy Shimla. The novelty of the hills soon wore off. I remember being confined to our cottage.

It rained most of the time. To relieve my boredom, my father engaged an English teacher to teach me English. The outcome was not encouraging and the young teacher gave up, to my great relief. Mother didnt much enjoy Shimla either as she was constantly ill; so much so that doctors and nurses were in and out of our cottage on a regular basis.

A servant of ours at Shimla, Havaldar Bhole Singh, was a memorable character. He had fought in Mesopotamia during World War I. He was severely wounded and had been awarded several medals, which he showed me with pride. He used to wear them on ceremonial occasions. One time, the ribbons of the medals needed replacements.

Bhole Singh saluted them smartly and inquired about the price of the ribbons. One of the sahibs had also fought in the war. Impressed by Bhole Singhs record, he gave him the ribbons for free! Bhole Singh was thrilled. From then on, I looked upon him with awe.

He would regale me with his war exploits, which resembled those of Brigadier Gerard, who is one of the most entertaining characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle.

To some extent, the Maharaja would indulge me, affectionately addressing me as Bacchu, and give me toys. That, however, didnt rid me of my nervousness, as he was extremely short-tempered. In fact, he got annoyed when my eldest brother, Bharat, beat him at tennis. Bharat was immediately sent back to Bharatpur. Whims, not wisdom, were the Maharajas constant companions. He was an inspired bully but, in the presence of the British Diwan, he was subdued and well behaved.

We would return to Bharatpur in time for the Dusshera festival, usually in October, which was quite an occasion. The Maharaja rode on an elephant in a silver howdah, along with the British Diwan, in his full royal regaliazari achkan, sword, a turban adorned with jewelsand the procession passed through the main bazaar.

Father, too, was part of the procession, also dressed up. The entire street would be milling with people who had poured in from all parts of the state to pay homage to their Raja. The divine right of kings was then accepted without reservation. Despite a population of thirty-five thousand, Bharatpur did not have a cinema hall.

We had reserved a box in the cinema hall. My mother and grandmother observed strict purdah and special arrangements were made by the cinema owner to ensure their privacy. Our car stopped at a side gate.

Kanats had been installed on both sides of the alighting point to block out intruding eyes. I was hugely excited. Forty years later, I saw Devika Rani in Bangalore. The great event of the year in Bharatpur was the annual duck shoot in December. The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgowheavy of mind and heavy of body, as Jawaharlal Nehru described himwould arrive with a large retinue. All work would come to a standstill during his two-day trip. The butts would be selected with care by the Maharaja himself, and the Viceroy would be installed in the best possible location.

The beaters, who would make the ducks take off, would stand waist-deep in freezing water. The shoot would last nearly four hours, and the bag was several thousand ducks. The Bharatpur nobility turned up in breeches, tweed jackets and sturdy shoes. Each one was introduced to the visiting British nobility, but received only frigid smiles. The Bharatpur state had many Muslims, mostly Meos. They were converts to Islam, although they participated in Hindu festivals.

Father came into close contact with them, and was instrumental in establishing a rapport between the communities, so much so that the state remained peaceful for the next fifteen years. The Meos held him in high esteem. When I contested the Lok Sabha elections of from the area, most of the elderly Meos I met spoke of Father with nostalgic admiration. I was immensely moved. It was perhaps because of this admiration that I received nearly 65 per cent of the Meo votes.

The days of my undisciplined childhood at Bharatpur soon came to an end. Due to our proximity to the House of Bharatpur, I was awarded a scholarship. I thus joined my brothers at Mayo College, excited but apprehensive. On the train to Ajmer, I was inconsolable and cried most of the night. The students, in the first quarter of the institutions existence, came exclusively from the nineteen princely states of Rajputana Rajasthan.

The prescribed dress for students was achkan, churidar pyjama and turban. World War II started on 3 September The college Principal, V. Stow, was a high Tory who gave us a lecture on the virtues of the British Empire. The college policy for admission changed, albeit grudgingly, to admit boys from outside Rajputana. Basically, Mayo remained elitist, exclusive and a den of snobbery. Not only was it exclusive, it was also grand.

None of the other four Chiefs Collegesin Lahore, Indore, Rajkot and Raipurcould match the aristocratic ambience, style, panache and the quintessential quirkiness of Mayo.

In my time, there were one hundred and five students, while their retainers and servants exceeded three hundred! My most exotic and interesting classmate was Said bin Taimur, the uncle of the present King of Oman.

He brought his car, his polo ponies and a vast number of servants. He was the senior monitor, and was admired and feared. My love of reading led me to the school library which was wanting for readersMayo was keener on sports than on academic excellence.

My studies, too, were progressing satisfactorily. It was in school that I became passionately interested in general knowledge. I started a scrapbook in which I drew maps and stuck newspaper cuttings and magazine photos of politicians, sportsmen and writers, as well as Shankars cartoons.

I still have it. I must be among the very few who have the newspaper cuttings reporting Tagores death in , with tributes from Gandhiji and Nehru, as also the eightcolumn front-page spread about Gandhijis arrest in August At the time, the only newspaper allowed into school was The Statesman, which was favoured by the Raj. The Hindustan Times was taboo. Nevertheless, a few copies were regularly smuggled in. My first brush with authority was caused by the Mahatma.

During one of my vacations, I had cut out a picture of Gandhiji from the Hindustan Times and hung the framed photograph in my room. Principal Stow, on one of his surprise visits, came into my room and saw it on my wall.

His imperial soul was outraged. Where did you get this wicked mans picture? I mumbled something incomprehensible. He pronounced that the picture must be removed. He would write to my father about my subversive activities. Though my father was no Gandhian, he ignored Stows complaint. My world came crashing down on a sultry afternoon during the summer holidays in I felt miserable but the family code could not be violatedsons and daughters did not argue with their parents.

Decades later, I discovered the truth about my uprooting. The Maharajas of Bharatpur and Gwalior were close friends. At one of their tte--ttes, the Maharaja of Gwalior casually asked the Maharaja of Bharatpur to send some boys to Scindia School. As a result, I joined Scindia. Badan Singh, a boy whose father had been killed by a tiger, was also sent there.

I was in deep depression. Badan, two years younger, was less morose. My brother attempted to console me but without much success. I was enjoying Mayo, my friends were there, as were my brothers. Why, why was I being sent away? At Gwalior Railway Station, we were met by the school bus which took us up to the fabulous Gwalior Fort where the school was located.

When I alighted, my heart sank. It was such a small place. Where were the sports fields? And where were the pavilions? The book, however, distorts the truth, or tells half-truths - and that in my opinion is unacceptable.

What makes his writing even more regrettable is that Singh had many years as a Gandhi loyalist. Whether it was liaising for the formation of Bangladesh in , or the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in where he played a crucial role, or the churning in the s when power passed to Sonia Gandhi and subsequently brought him into the spotlight once more, Singh owes his career as a politician solely to the Gandhi family. His self-importance stems not from his origins, but his association with the 'first family'.

Perhaps it is not so surprising that, with the turning of the tide, Singh has shown his true colours as an opportunist. Despite Singh's many years as a Gandhi family loyalist, he calls Sonia Gandhi "ruthless" and "a weak politician", while blaming Rahul for the fact she was not PM Friendship Ironically, Singh writes, and I quote, "I believe in friendship, it is one of the greatest joys of life. I have at times let my friends down as they have let me down. Friendship rests on truth and reliability.Am I on good terms with myself?

Yes its a memoir only. The only worthwhile lecture was by Harold Nicolson, whose book, Diplomacy, is a classic. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar talked much more than Mao. The third and the last part of the autobiography mentions his development as a politician.

He asked how a dope like me got into the IFS. Mao was a thinker, a poet, a scholar, an intellectual, a revolutionary, a Marxist and a ruthless man with an iron will.