Ad Here  
A walk down memory’s lane It’s all GAS How to run an office Turbulent years: a letdown MIT-a phoenix that rose again and again The forgotten czar Will ‘print’ survive online onslaught? From the battle zones... Ten minute Mahabharata How adroitly GR walked with giants! A taut novel on the audit profession Policy changes that would have worked... Salacious gossip, terrific quotes and surprising typos The political economy of TN Unorganised. Residual. Indeed! One life is not enough... What the CEO really wants from you To the brink and back Super... Impressive Coffee Table Book A great effort 2014: the election that changed India Nuggets on MGR at Brooklyn Hospital Creating an innovative society The Media Moghul Narasimha Rao denied his rightful place in history The uncivil non-civil servant... Technologise banking, disbursement... The dramatic decade – A drab drama… Fall of a titan The original sin of no pricing policy... What caused the financial meltdown Pure and simple theft of national money Randor Guy spins a yarn Chronicling change through six generations.... A doctor WHO dreamS AND DREAMS
Turbulent years: a letdown
I read the Turbulent Years (1980-1996) by President Mukherjee and must confess that I am deeply disappointed. Let me tell you why.

It was perhaps one of the most significant periods in India’s history. The second coming of Mrs. Gandhi, the two tragic assassinations, the disappointment that the knight-in-shining-armour turned out to be, the Babri demolition, the Shah Bano case, and finally, the opening up of the economy. It is a storyline pregnant with enormous possibilities and lined up to be written by a man who was in the thick of things.  But alas! the President has gone ahead and messed it.

Except for the parts where he talks about Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination and the subsequent take over by the reluctant entrant, the story lacks the essentials of a political thriller: speed, spice, salacious gossip and controversy. Characters don't get built up. In that case, how would today’s generation be able to relate to the people in the book?  To top it, a large part of the story involves reeling off of statistics that don’t resonate with the readers.

Interesting nuggets...

But then there are high points with interesting nuggets that enlighten an otherwise dull prose. Pranabda’s reading of, and passing on to Mrs. Gandhi, a book by Alvin Toffler and Mrs. Gandhi’s cryptic remark of her finance minister having the time to read the book while he was busy preparing the budget, is instructive. Her reference to the length of his budget speech as “the shortest finance minister has delivered the longest speech,” brings a smile to the face. So does opposition man Ravindra Varma’s mixing up of budgets of two different years.  

A piqued Congressman’s reference to the Rajiv government as being run by 1.5 men, evidently alluding the current president’s height brings to the surface the simmering discontent of those times.  Mukherjee’s spending the night of the assassination of both Mrs. Gandhi and later of Rajiv Gandhi at the lawns of 10 Janpath touches a chord.  The friendly relationship between his family and that of P V Narasimha Rao and of how his wife offered surety in Rao’s court case brings about their friendship which wasn't ruined by Rao not inviting Mukherjee to be part of his council of ministers.

Had there been more of these, plus greater efforts at character building and fast paced writing by doing away with statistical information, it would have made the book a great read. President Mukherjee should seriously look at enlisting the help of a journalist for the next volume of his biography.  My apologies to President Mukherjee, if I have sounded abrasive.

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236