No evocative of contemporary Indian politics can match that found in the pages of Pranab Mukherjee’s diary, a place where his mind found its most memorable outlet.
The 13th President of India, who served as India’s External Affairs, Defence, Finance and Commerce Minister at different times; a Parliamentarian with the unique distinction of being the leader of both Houses; and a member of the Congress Working Committee for 23 years, Pranab Mukherjee was a scholar par excellence, powerful orator and one of India’s most towering statesmen.
But to his daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee, he was Baba, the workaholic; the history teacher who narrated events in the spirit of adda at dinner time; and the devoutly religious man who never imposed his faith on his daughter. In public and private, Pranab was always larger than life.
In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers, Sharmistha offers a fascinating glimpse into the illustrious life of Pranab Mukherjee. She invites us into her family’s private world that was peopled by the Gandhis—Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul; Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Dr Manmohan Singh and, more recently, Narendra Modi. She uncovers new, hitherto unknown facets of Pranab’s political life—his unfulfilled ambition of becoming India’s prime minister arising out of his inability to emerge as the ‘number one person’ to earn Sonia’s trust, the personality cult around the Nehru–Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi’s lack of charisma and political understanding, Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to Pranab’s nomination as the presidential candidate (which sealed the deal in his favour) and his advice to PM Modi to acknowledge the contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
Through Pranab’s diary entries, personal stories narrated to Sharmistha and her own research—enhanced by her collection of never-before-seen photographs—this is a sweeping, multigenerational narrative from a flickering lamp in West Bengal’s remote village to the glittering chandeliers of India’s capital.
Refreshingly original as it is exquisitely rendered, Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers is a remarkable debut book that celebrates a special father–daughter relationship.
|Pranab, My Father
|Rupa Publications India
|Number Of Pages:
|Country Of Origin:
|11 December 2023