POLITICAL MEMOIRS have always had a shelf life longer than other biographies, chiefly because of either explosive revelations or the ugly spectacle that comes in tow with public settlement of personal scores. Nevertheless, memoirs, especially those which come once a particular regime has been voted out of power, are less about airing dissent and more about earning quickie points and giving a literary vent to long-held bitterness. It is obvious that milking the much beleaguered, now politically out-of-favour Gandhi family is the easiest way to stay in or return to circulation. Getting the wallowing tongues of Lutyens’ Delhi to wag and to have the national media up in arms is hardly a difficult task, given how the TRP-driven churlish news-channels hungrily scrounge for eyeball-grabbing sensationalism, simply to avoid going after worthwhile stories with an iota of impact. So, dropping a ‘book bomb’ is not just a tried and tested route for a former diplomat and politician to heighten currency in Modi-fied times, it is also a well thought stunt aimed at inflicting more lethal damage to a disintegrating dynasty.
For all of K Natwar Singh’s revelations, they seem to be more confessions of a disgruntled has-been than a political player’s hindsight capable of illuminating the past with the halogen light of the present. Natwar Singh, a columnist for years, attacks Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in his recent book One Life Is Not Enough not for their inherent adherence to a feudal mai-baap culture of political patronage and nurturing an army of sycophantic courtiers, but for a son’s vulnerability that stops his mother from following the footsteps of his assassinated grandmother and father. In other words, Sonia’s great artifice of sacrifice was apparently ‘exposed’ as one more instance of the Gandhi matriarch being blindsided by her affection for the ineffectual son. While Singh has reasons to be acerbic with the Gandhis, (he was after all dropped like a hot potato after the Volcker controversy) this is hardly the way to get even. But it seems throwing jibes at Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi has become the best way to stay afloat in these politically hard-hitting times.