Former foreign affairs minister Natwar Singh has raised quite a storm with revelations about the Nehru-Gandhi family in his book 'One Life Is Not Enough', enough to rile Congress President Sonia Gandhi into saying that she will write her own book to counter Singh's claims. Singh had said Sonia was stopped from taking up the post of Prime Minister of India in 2004 by her son Rahul Gandhi.
Singh also said that her husband Rajiv Gandhi did not take a penny in the Bofors scam, but was still crucified. Singh, still a staunch Nehruvian, went on a warpath against Sonia ever since he was asked to resign during UPA-I regime in connection with the 2005 Iraqi food-for-oil scam.
Memoirs, by the virtue of their very nature, have a tendency to ruffle a lot of feathers. Here are five memoirs of former politicians and bureaucrats that stirred up trouble when they were published.
'Manmohan Singh: The Accidental Prime Minister'
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's former Media Advisor Sanjaya Baru's book 'The Accidental Prime Minister' stated that the PM "was like Bheeshma of The Mahabharata, not Dhritarashtra". Baru said Dr Manmohan Singh had accepted that Sonia Gandhi, as the head of the Congress party, had the final say in everything. "It was a reality that the PM came to terms with". Narendra Modi used Baru's book to target the PM asking him to clarify if there was deal in the offing with Pakistan on Siachen in 2005. Baru in his book claims that a PM backed deal was shot down by the then Defence Minister AK Antony and Army Chief JJ Singh.
'Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and other Truths'
In his book 'Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and other Truths' PC Parakh, who retired as Coal secretary in December 2005, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had little authority over central decisions and demanded that his role be probed by the CBI. He claimed that the PM's authority was undermined and he allowed it to happen. Parakh said that two ministers, Shibu Soren and (Dasari Narayana) Rao did not want transparent allocation of coal blocks and the PM did nothing to stop it.
My country, My life
BJP leader L K Advani's book of memoirs was seen as an attempt to build his image as the 'Iron Man' of Indian politics and clear doubts about his ideology. The running theme throughout the book is Advani's desire to be seen as the modern day iron man of Indian politics. From refusing to celebrate the demolition of Babri Masjid to calling President Pervez Musharraf's bluff on Dawood Ibrahim, Advani tries to reinforce his ideological moorings and strengthen his claim as the flag bearer of India's political right wing. Atal Behari Vajpayee had written the foreword for the book.
Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence
The BJP expelled senior leader Jaswant Singh from the party over alleged ideological transgressions related to his remarks on Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. In his book Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence, Singh has lauded Jinnah as a "great man". He has said Jinnah was "demonised" in India, while it was actually India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel whose belief in a centralised polity had led to the Partition.
Reminiscences of the Nehru Age
MO Mathai, the former aide to Jawaharlal Nehru, revealed various aspects of the family's personal lives in his book 'Reminiscences of the Nehru Age' and 'My Days with Nehru'. Mathai became an assistant to Nehru in 1946 and had the chance to see the family from close quarters. (Inputs from agencies)