Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indian leaders and books

Few months back, at a book store, a thought came up in my mind. I started looking at how many Indian leaders have either written books or have books written on them by other authors compared to the leaders from the Western World. Since then I used to look at the histroy and biography section of every bookstore I entered. What surprised me was that from pre-freedom days, the only leaders who have books on them seemed to be Gandhi and Nehru family. I have seen just a couple of books on Subhash Chandra Bose and equal number on Sardar Patel, two of the talled leaders India ever produced. There is hardly anything on other leaders including Lokmanya Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bhagat Singh and others. Similarly in post Independence period, one sees books on Indira, Rajiv, Narsimha Rao and those written by L K Advani, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jaswant Singh etc, one can hardly find any books on Jayprakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chandrashekhar, Morarji Desai who have been the stalwarts of the anti-Congress front. Compare this with the tendency in the West where most of the leaders have either their memoirs or their biographies written and we find that amount of information that one gets about any leader outside the celebrated circle (read Nehru, Gandhi, Ambedkar) is extremely less. Only in recent years, one sees attempts by L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, P C Alexander to present a new and a fresh look at the history. One really wishes to know more about the leaders who like Lokmanya Tilak, Bhagat Singh, JP, Vajpayee who all came from extremely ordinary families and reached the high altar of Indian hearts and souls. It's time history remembers the ones who are languushing in deep corners of the forgotten.

Awaiting an Indian leader's Bicyle Diaries.

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