- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Hachette India Local; new edition (15 November 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9350097516
- ISBN-13: 978-9350097519
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Durbar Paperback – 15 Nov 2013
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About the Author
Tavleen Singh is a well-known journalist in the Indian political scene. She began her career at the crucial time of the Emergency, and her book, which is a memoir, sets about to document landmark events of our country’s past. Besides Durbar, she has also authored books like Kashmir: A Tragedy of Errors; Lollipop Street: Why India will Survive Her Politicians, and Political and Incorrect.
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The flip side is that she appears (like Raj Thapar of “All These Years” fame) to betray a dismaying lack of awareness of the existence of life outside her charmed circle: not, it should be noted, that this is necessarily a drawback in a personal memoir, but it does result in a silo type of record.
However, some of her assertions/opinions seem questionable - for example her statement that the congress dynasty began with Rajiv Gandhi - then what about Indira Gandhi?
Never the less, personally I wish that she had continued the memoirs till at least near the date of publication (2012).
This enjoyable book has a simple though amusing writing style. It gives us some personal aspects of the Gandhi family, especially about the late Rajiv Gandhi and also sticky bits about his wife Sonia since the author seemed to have moved with them socially in relatively close proximity. A few seamy activities have been highlighted. Their inherent natures are clearly defined in the narration of this book.
Tavleen Singh describes the scenario around and during the Emergency, Operation Bluestar and also the terrible Sikh massacre that followed Mrs Indira Gandhi's assassination. The author also draws attention to the mismanagement in many matters regarding the country when a politically inexperienced Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister and how his close friends were given top positions during that time. And also how Rajiv and Sonia metamorphosed into different personalities in political life; this was true more in the case of Sonia
Having lived through the times described in the book I found it interesting to read and be able to visualize all that happened through a journalist's eyes. Tavleen is a spunky journalist who managed to move in the midst of it all, rubbing shoulders with the mighty and powerful and compiling a book about it, enabling us readers to get a closer view and experience the happenings from within the 'DURBAR'.
These lines uttered by the ex-prime minister of India 'Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee' during a rally in India were perfect for the politics of that era and somehow with the current political turmoil that India is going through, these lines still stand true.
The author 'Tavleen Singh' heard his speech during a rally and mentioned the lines in her riveting book 'Durbar.' A journalist by profession, Ms. Singh has pointedly explained the era of the Gandhis and the aftermath of the dynasty that ruled India for a very long time after independence. The language of the book is very simple and the author having moved in the elite social circle of Delhi offers a rare insight into the minds of the drawing rooms of the Delhi high society who socialized with Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi.
Starting with the turbulent times of the emergency which plunged India into darkness and then the inability of Mrs. Gandhi to control the insurgency in Punjab leading to 'Operation Bluestar' eventually leading to her assassination, the author gives a very brief discernment into the murky world of Indian politics. The reader gets a glimpse of the life & times of the very young & politically untouched Rajiv & Sonia Gandhi and how they changed not just as a couple but also people after he became the Prime Minister of India.
As a very inexperienced leader, Rajiv Gandhi depended on the guidance of his very well to do friends to run a poor country like India. Friends and well-wishers who had no idea of what the life of an obscure Indian living in a village was without the basic amenities helped him shape his policies that had a terrible effect on the common man. The book makes the reader aware of the sad state of the India politics and how our country has been mismanaged by the very people who are supposed to look after it.
Even though as a reader I have no real understanding of the Indian politics I was still hooked by the spunky style of Ms. Singh. I went through anger, shock and disdain as I went through every chapter and as I finished the book, I couldn't help but wonder what will happen to the country that I call home. A very engaging read, this book is a must have for anyone who has an interest in the past, present and future politics of India.
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