It seems to be tell-all time, as Natwar Singh plays musical chairs on television channels following his book of revelations — One Life is Not Enough. Tittle tattle could become tit for tat if Sonia retaliates with her own ‘tell-all and more’ book, as she has threatened, and with Natwar saying now that he could write another one. In fact, we could be in for a publishing boom, quite literally, if other prospective authors join in with their own explosive offerings. Here are some to watch out for:
Sonia Gandhi: Titled ‘Outer Voices’ and published by the Family Network, this long-awaited autobiography is a sensational counter to all that has been written and said about her (the outer voices), and reveals the truth behind her political ambitions and motivations. Namely that the ‘Inner Voice’ is what she calls her son Rahul Gandhi in private. It partly confirms Natwar’s charge, but he is dealt with in another chapter called ‘Unfriends’ — a very long list of people who have let her down, starting with Natwar, Narasimha Rao, and then the 750 million people who didn’t vote for the Congress in 2014.
Natwar Singh: A quickie titled ‘One Book is Not Enough’ and published this time by Hatchet, it is a counter to Sonia Gandhi’s counter and speaks, or double speaks, of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi’s sterling qualities and their fatal mistakes, which includes leaving him out of family outings. It also has a chapter on Narendra Modi called ‘Saviour of India’ and describes in great detail the one meeting they had where Modi asked for his advice on foreign policy and an explanation on the Official Secrets Act.
Manmohan Singh: Called ‘Filing Cabinet’, it is ghost written and published anonymously. It opens with a famous quote from Confucius — “Silence is the true friend that never betrays” — and lists the do’s and don’ts for Indian prime ministers, congratulating Narendra Modi for not having appointed a press adviser and having avoided the curse of coalition partners. The rest is a long, detailed listing of all the files stored in the PMO between 2004 and 2014, with a history of their movement from the ‘in tray’ to the ‘out tray’, recording, for posterity, the fact that there was never a third tray marked ‘10 Janpath’.
Rahul Gandhi: Titled ‘My Experiments with Politics’ and published Randomly, it contains a more detailed explanation of his beehive theory and Jupiter velocity, which have flummoxed historians, political scientists, party colleagues, businessmen and the general public. He also offers an explanation on tearing up an ordinance and embarrassing the former prime minister, saying that he can’t help being a young man in a tearing hurry.
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Lalu Prasad: Titled ‘Singh is Not King’ and published by Roly Poly Books, it is a semi-autobiographical book that explains why he was opposed to Manmohan Singh becoming prime minister and why he is so much better qualified based on his performance as railway minister. Offers plenty of fodder for thought but, for some reason, it is categorised under fiction.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Titled ‘Good Lord!’ and published by Wisdom, it analyses why the Indian team has such dramatic highs and lows while playing abroad. The most fascinating chapter is on captaincy and tactics while standing behind the stumps, an act that left everyone stumped.
Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao: Titled ‘Two States: The Story of a Divorce’, this is a thriller that looks at what happens when a happy, prosperous union is separated and the divorced couple wrangles over buildings, bureaucrats, water supply and even student fees. Fast and furious, but mostly the latter.