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The insider is former External Affairs Minister and veteran Congress leader, Natwar Singh, whose autobiography. One Life is Not Enough is . life is not enough an autobiography natwar singh pdf may not make exciting reading, but one life is not enough an autobiography natwar singh. One Life Is Not Enough An Autobiography Natwar Singh lumina issue papers - lumina foundation - it's not just the money 2 • the likelihood of being unemployed.
Natwar Singh has written many books earlier, but his just-released tell-all account of his life and politics has raised a furor in the Congress circles and even provoked a reaction from the reticent Sonia Gandhi. Rajagopalachari, E. Forster, Nirad C. It is an impressive line-up of 10 great men and women of our times.
Some people are great; some have a great deal of interaction with them. Often life stops at that. He has also reproduced excerpts from their letters to him, which add to the charm of the book.
He joined the Indian Foreign Service at a time when it was rather prestigious to do so. It was as an IFS officer posted in New York in that he came in touch with the Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister of Madras, Rajagopalachari, who was leading a delegation to press for a total ban on nuclear tests.
That they struck a warm friendship is evident from the letters they exchanged, and from them emerges some fine vignettes of the life of a shrewd, unbending, Indian patriot. His closeness to the the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has controlled the Congress party and the Indian government for most part since Indian independence is well known ad well documented - including by Natwar Singh himself.
He rose within the government, though never so much inside the party, based on this perceived proximity. This book is a Natwar Singh spent many years in the Indian Foreign Service and later joined the Congress party, assuming many senior ministerial positions in the government.
This book is an intriguing account of the way Delhi functions - from someone who had a great view of the process. The good thing about this book is that Singh does not desist from pushing the envelope. This is an ideal autobiography - he attempts to hide nothing or no one. His likes and dislikes are made public and so are his own qualities and shortcomings.
The book explains how the bureaucracy - government relationships work. Singh covers how the bureaucrats stand to benefit by being close to powerful politicians. And conversely how things can go wrong when these relationships fall by the way. The initial assembling of India's diplomatic missions and positioning of key officials post happened much via these past personal equations - the self sustaining ecosystem where the bureaucrat, the party and the politician was part of the same circle.
Singh gives frank opinions on key personalities who he worked with. On Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he explains how he brought the country together after Independence and how he fell from his high pedestal in the later part of his tenure. On Indira Gandhi with whom Singh worked the closest, the book covers the qualities - power and authority and the flip side of the same qualities - carte blanche and dictatorial ways of operating in a democracy.
At one point, the author describes how he called Indira "the Empress of India", which for a bureaucrat should be ideally unusual.
This part of the book gives the best view - exposing the worst realities - of the Delhi symbiotic ecosystem. On Rajiv Gandhi, the author covers his meteoric rise and then the sudden detachment from political realities leading to the equally swift fall.
Finally on Sonia Gandhi, the author explains the reality of her not taking up India's PM role in , which was not as much about principles, as it was about family pressures, the fear of the politics and the advantage of ruling without being accountable.
Singh also covers the tenure and personalities of several Congress leaders outside of the Nehru-Gandhi family. On PV Narasimha Rao, he is not very kind - which is explained by the fact that Singh was himself part of a rival faction which did not get to rule for the only 5 yrs post when no one from the Nehru-Gandhi family controlled the party. On Manmohan Singh, the author is very clear about the picture of a weak individual not standing by his colleagues and someone who was a beneficiary of a windfall in All in all, Singh gives as many details as one possibly can from such a long and connected career.
The only grouse is how he has not connected the dots between the "Oil for Food" scheme in Iraq which caused his downfall, to the eventual beneficiaries, the first list of which contained the name of Congress party. But he leaves it for the readers to make guesses on how these threads were tied together. Overall, a good read for those interested in Indian politics. Nov 16, Vijay Ivaturi rated it liked it. So, reading the book actually was quite a revelation for me.
The author was born in an almost royal family and joined the Indian Foreign Service during the Indian independence years. His close association with the ruling family of India started with Jawaharlal Nehru and his sisters. Mr Singh gives a clear and unbiased depiction of what Nehru was, where he excelled and his known pitfalls.
I found that really helpful since Mr Singh does not make any attempt to go overboard with his loyalty towards to Congress Party. Another very good aspect of this book is the author's close association with India's Ministry of External Affairs - as a diplomat and also as a Minister. He has a good command of the foreign affairs, India's role in UN, dealings with Pakistan and China at various levels.
The writing style is also simple and very seldom he sounds self promoting. Overall, a good book for us Indians who have access to very less books that give us different perspective of past 40 years events. His association with Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi while they were handling various challenges is described really well.
He vents a lot of anger on Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh as he holds them accountable for the sad state of affairs in the Congress Party today.
Coming to the drawbacks of this book, I can think of two disappointments. China war was a disaster for India. The author claims to be our China expert but talks very little about the real reasons of that war, how it progressed, the losses we encountered and how a truce was called. Mr Natwar Singh had a disappointing end to his image in public life due to Oil-for-food scam.
While he dedicates a chapter to defend himself, he sounds too rhetorical while doing so. Does not talk about facts - suddenly the politician and father in him wakes up and emotions are given importance over logic Oct 14, Rupak Banerjee rated it liked it. The book is a very interesting read. It is his autobiography looking back at three decades of working in the fabled Indian bureaucracy, followed by almost three decades in politics. He joined the Indian Foreign service in , less than 6 years after Indian got its independence from the British Raj.
As a young man, he grew up idolizing Gandhi and then when he started his job, it was with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India. Both of them could do no wrong. He is at the heart of the generation which voted the Congress to power in every election until the elections. He started his diplomatic travels with his posting to China and then onto many important positions.
He was appointed to the permanent Indian mission to the United Nations and met with political leaders who later went on to become the Heads of State of their respective countries. The main highlights of the book come from the insight he brings to the functioning of an ambassador of India to the different countries. He, sometimes inadvertently, brings forth the realization that India often does not look at foreign policy in the long haul.
Natwar Singh has seen the whole spectrum of influence and policy decisions when it comes to Indian Foreign Policy. The book is a must read for anyone interested in the policy makings and inner workings of the Indian Foreign Service. It should not be assumed from this review that the book comes without any flaws.
Those, I save for a later post. Firstly, I am of the opinion that more of such books should be written as they give us a unique insider view of what goes on inside of our political system. The structure of the book leaves a lot to be desired, non-linear at the best of times and haphazard at worst. Natwar Singh is a typical case of someone who seemed to enjoy all the benefits accruing from his pro Firstly, I am of the opinion that more of such books should be written as they give us a unique insider view of what goes on inside of our political system.
Natwar Singh is a typical case of someone who seemed to enjoy all the benefits accruing from his proximity to India's first family, but cries foul when things don't go his way. Most interesting in this context is his relationship with Morarji Desai; he makes a big issue of being treated badly at the hands of the Janta Party government, without for a moment highlighting that he did receive undue privileges on account of his access to the Gandhi-Nehru family.
It was really intriguing for me that he has made absolutely no mention of Atal Behari Vajpayee's tenure as External Affairs Minister whereas he has gone to quite an extent to vilify Morarji Desai. Singh would probably have done well to understand that the exalted position he found himself in ,wherein he was the go-to person for those Congress Leaders who had fallen out of favor with 10 Janpath, was only ephemeral, and now the eventual falling out has left him a bitter taste.
Which is not such a bad thing as it does bring out some interesting factoids about our political leaders out in the public domain. Interesting for me being the case where Sonia Gandhi made a senior African statesman change his hotel room as she had a falling out with the owner of that particular hotel! So yeah, books of the sort must be encouraged as our political scene was and continues to remain very opaque, but books like this do help in demystifying it for us.
Feb 05, Saurabh Goyal rated it liked it. Political Autobiographies do two things: And two, they connect those specifics to long sweeps of national history, the eternity as it were. The book carries an aristocratic aura throughout.
It is about life of a man who was born in privilege, studied in best possible institutions, married into aristocracy, worked into IFS and walked in high power corridors. Suc Political Autobiographies do two things: Such an aura does give the narrative a touch of high culture and dignity.
But at times you feel that the story lacks earthly connection, the mundane, the ordinary as it were. One just cannot relate himself to the author. What makes the book interesting is ring side view of big political events in India- Rajiv gandhi's prime ministership, Volcker Report, Sonia Gandhi's refusal to Prime-ministership and so on.
However, even in this part, the book reeks of personal liking or grudges rather than deeper objective analysis.
Finally, the book does not, or only partly, connect the life events of Natwar Singh with larger national history of India. So it gives you a limited understanding of Indian Politics. All in all, the book does more of ice-skating, and very little of deep-sea diving.
Apr 12, Prabhat rated it really liked it Shelves: One Life is Not Enough by K. Natwar Singh- Autobiography- According to the autobiography, K. Natwar Singh is son of Bharatpur Royal family from Deeg. He qualified for Indian Foreign Service and joined in He remained in service for 31 years. He served as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs from to He was elected Member of Parliament from Bharatpur constituency.
In he was sworn in as State Minister for Coal and Mines. In , he was sworn as State Minister for External Affairs where he remained up to He has described his experiences.
A Memoirs of my years in Washington: Thus, Natwar Singh has been an important Indian person in power. His autobiography could be written in a better manner so as to impress the coming generations about choosing career, difference between newly independent India and developments in 30 years, about his In-laws, the Patiala Royals etc.
It is still a good read book. View 1 comment. Oct 07, Divya rated it it was ok Shelves: I had high hopes from this one. An autobiography by a senior ranking IFS officer present in the tumultuous events leading upto India's freedom and the years beyond that shaped us as a nation from both within, and without - I must confess to a vast sense of disappointment at the end of the book.
There really isn't much that I've learned from reading this that I didn't really know of about India and her policies and her politics - and the only 'insights' that the author offers are when it suits hi I had high hopes from this one. The prose is grandiloquent at times and the lacklustre editing becomes jarringly obvious every now and then. Again, given the author's self acclaimed stellar educational background, the book seems unexpectedly inspid and didactic.
The author professes himself to be a man of humor and dry wit - yet I haven't seen a rare glimpse anywhere in the book except for an incident he narrates of a speech he gave in London at a meeting of British and Indian diplomats. There isn't an opinion ventured that isn't diplomatic - be it regarding the Emergency or the events that have marked rather marred India's progress under recent governments.
It is quite obvious that the author remains in thrall to Indira Gandhi and of late has been quite miffed at her daughter in law - yet any rancor or denouement of the latter is couched in the politest of tones using the sweetest of words.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend it for a read unless you're really stuck for choice and have no access to something better with which to while away time. Aug 16, Jennifer Jacobs rated it it was amazing Shelves: I just got the book as soon as they published it for Kindle: This book,also known as NatwarBomb on twitter is perhaps the most awaited book based on Indian politics!
Singh is,he is a bit narcissistic,tad grandiose esp in the light of how he was caught in a corruption probe,on the other hand,his life as a student seems regal,bright and promising.. Thats the unfortunate part,he sure was brilliant,had a superb career as a diplomat,than Congre I just got the book as soon as they published it for Kindle: Thats the unfortunate part,he sure was brilliant,had a superb career as a diplomat,than Congress was taken over by Nehru-Gandhi frauds and in due course,Mr.
Singh started with sycophancy of the family,that destroyed him.. Nevertheless,book has tons of merits.. It is lucid,I love his style of story telling,it's as if some1 is talking with you with you being in front of the guy,not the usual dull Marxist style of political memoirs,not random at all! UPA has a lot to answer,this book and Mr. Baru's book are just the beginning! In the end,I should say thank you Mr. Singh for laying it all out in the open,people deserve to know and he has done us all a service by courageously publishing this story..
A worthy read. I will update my review and make it more elaborate soon! Sep 22, Kartikeya. He has written extensively about his experiences in the service, both personal and professional, in his other books as well such as Walking with Lions.
Having read the latter, I was obligated to sometimes skip several sections of the autobiography as the content is often repeated This book offers the reader a great insight into the political scene of India from the ss. It does not read in a chronological order- however, it is possible that this may have been done on purpose.
It could have made things much easier for the reader had that been done so. Overall, the book lives up to its expectations, but leaves the reader rather unsatisfied in a few areas. It seems, at places, that Mr Singh's account of the political scene does not capture the views of his or his party's main political opponents BJP.
Maybe the author spent too much time talking about his opponents within the party, but all for good reason. All in all, a good read- you would not have wasted your time. The writing style of Natwar Singh is lucid and laced with emotions, his pain shows clearly towards ending chapters of the book, especially the disdain for UPA leadership. Initial chapters give a succinct account of how India's foreign policy evolved since independence and how India engaged with different nations around the world.
Natwar singh is frank and honest throughout, especially the chapter about Declaration of Emergency, which he ends with "It was not a period about which I feel proud abo The writing style of Natwar Singh is lucid and laced with emotions, his pain shows clearly towards ending chapters of the book, especially the disdain for UPA leadership.
Natwar singh is frank and honest throughout, especially the chapter about Declaration of Emergency, which he ends with "It was not a period about which I feel proud about". For eg: Natwar Singh fails to provide any substantive and credible evidence which may absolve him and his son from Volcker Report.
Merely writing a letter to PM saying that "I believe in court of people rather than court of law" while asking the reports of Justice Patakh commission to be made available is an emotive appeal, rather than substance. This is not to say that charges against Natwar Singh are final and proved. Nevertheless, this book is a good read if you wish to know how India's engagement with other powers has evolved since last 60 years.
Sep 22, Anandraj R rated it really liked it. Got curious about this book because of the NatwarBomb trend in Twitter during its release.
Apart from his controversial views on Sonia's politics and the Volcker report scandal, this book had a lot of other info. Have to say i really envy these IFS guys after reading this book ; Even though he a big Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, loved the way Natwar explains the shortcomings of the Nehru regime. Especially how Moun Got curious about this book because of the NatwarBomb trend in Twitter during its release.
Especially how Mountbattens were precociously influencing Nehru on the Indian foreign policies. Natwar also explains how Nehru made a historical blunders like taking the India's domestic issue of Kashmir to UN and rejecting the soviets offer of permanent seat in Security council.
The most concerning chapter for me is the 'Tradegy of Srilanka'. Wish Rajiv has has consulted the cabinet before taking decision on sending troops to SL which resulted in a bloodbath.
There were many lighter moments in this book which keeps the readers engaging. Events happened during the visit of Saudi king's arrival on Sep , Combodian kings visit in etc, brought me laughter. Overall a very good book to get the insight on Indian foreign polices through congress man Natwar's eyes!! It reveals some stunning facts that Congress was bribed with one million barrels of oil to ensure Saddam Hussein had the necessary political support post the Gulf war.
Swamy was screaming about. The chapters on Natwar's early life, his years as a bureaucrat etc are really boring and best avoided. However, things turned choppy for Mr. Singh soon after the revelations of a report prepared by former U. Fed Chairman Paul Volcker on the controversial oil-for-food programme. It had named both Mr.
Singh and the Congress party. The report listed the names of those worldwide who had allegedly been paid for helping the former president of Iraq Saddam Hussein evade sanctions through the programmes. Singh, who resigned in the fallout of the Volcker oil-for-food report in , was never rehabilitated in the government, and for that matter, within the party after that.