BOOK : THE LOTUS YEARS: POLITICAL LIFE IN INDIA IN TIME OF RAJIV GANDHI
AUTHOR : ASHWINI BHATNAGAR
GENRE : HISTORY
RATING : 4.5/5
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Quite apt statement by George Santayana. For India of today the concern is not only to remember our past but also to remember our true past. History of India is being twisted and faked for the vested interests of some sections in India & the post Independence History is really getting affected because of it.
I love to read History & try to form unbiased opinion based on the facts & reasoning. I think the job of writer and that too of writer in subject of History is very difficult since they have to write history correctly based on the facts or evidence available.
Yesterday I read “The Lotus Years: Political Life in India in the Time of Rajiv Gandhi” Book since it was Rajiv Gandhi’s death Anniversary plus I wanted to know more about his life. I knew about his achievements or failures or machinations during his period. But I wanted to know more about the man himself, his character, his thinking, his family life etc.
Truly speaking I didn’t expect much from the book as I thought it would have all the details of politics of that time that we already know. But to my surprise this book was much more than I expected. From the first chapter, author connects you emotionally with Rajiv Gandhi. Chapter name is “Amethi’s reluctant Prince” where Author has presented Rajiv Gandhi’s true character. It displayed his innocence, compassion and integrity. “The mummy se puchiye” episode explains his inexperience in politics and gives insights about early reluctance of Rajiv Gandhi in joining Politics. In Next chapter Author gives details about Rajiv Gandhi’s budding love with Sonia Gandhi and how they got married & problems they both faced. It is a quite touching story. From reading the book you can easily gauge that love between Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi was eternal and pure.
Deep insights into conversation of Gandhi family on dinner table is also revealed. One important thing that this book provide is very good information and reality about Sonia Gandhi and Menaka Gandhi. The book clearly mentions how Menaka started her political ambitions from the very young age after death of Sanjay Gandhi and thereafter she started speaking against Indira Gandhi and family members.
The chapters on Indira Gandhi assassination and how the family coped with this incident will roll out tears from your eyes. Everybody thinks that Rajiv Gandhi was like a prince who got everything but it was wrong. For One, he never wanted to be in politics, he wanted to be a family man but to help her mother out, who was emotionally and physically weak after Sanjay Gandhi’s death, he joined politics. Rajiv Gandhi faced backstabbing from his own party members and some friends. He was an outsider in the zone where it was difficult to know who was his friend or who was his foe?
In this book you will find ample information based on true events about Sonia Gandhi. This book brings different sides of Sonia Gandhi which is worth reading. Everyone treated her like an outsider but she was more Indian than anybody else who just wanted a normal life for herself with Rajiv Gandhi and children in it. This book not only brought her emotional side but also on how she carried her duty as daughter in law of Gandhi family.
I have read this book in 1 day because I was so ingrained in it from the starting. I felt that author could have added foreign relations during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure also. But overall this book is a must read. Ashwini Bhatnagar has done a really splendid job with this book. If you think that you get easily bored reading History then please grab this copy and read it, I can assure you that this book is like a wonderful novel except all the stories and characters are real.