Natwar’s book makes publishing history

New Delhi : New Delhi Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi may not have treated him like “Panditji, Indiraji or Rajiv” but his description of her treatment to him has certainly turned former union external minister Natwar Singh into a celebrity author.

At the formal launch of his autobiography, “One life is not enough”. Singh claimed that even before its release, the publishers had sold 50,000 copies and it may sell another 50,000. Serious non-fiction books do not have such sales in India, and the authors are usually overjoyed with a few thousand copies.

The book launch also was a major success at the elitist India International Centre, the watering hole of the diplomats, civil servants, and members of the intelligentsia. Not a place for the hoi polloi. The venue was overflowing, and the book had some brisk sales. Such was the crowd in the nooks and corners of the venue that leading lights of the India Today group that played a major role in the pre-publication hype of the book through television interviews and release of the excerpts could not find a seat for themselves.

However, in terms of juicy stories the event was a bit of a let down. The capital’s gossip circles have been debating that the chivalrous Singh a –‘rajput of royal lineage’ did not send back the Congress president empty handed when she called on at his residence to delete some objectionable references to her.

“We know what you have revealed, but please tell us what was the gift that you gave her and deleted from the narrative,” asked journalist Saeed Naqvi.

Singh went in to an elaborate answer, as someone from the crowd prompted … imaandari se, and he responded .. usi ki to dikkat ho rahi, but ended up stating that he had deleted nothing from the narrative.

In his brief speech, however he emphasised that the book is more than the one chapter that has hogged the headlines and also expressed a hope that the Congress president keeps up the promise of writing her autobiography.

“She is a very powerful woman, and her name is always in the list of top ten women in the world. When I told her that she should write an autobiography, she had said her daughter Priyanka would be a writing a book on her, and then I said that let me the co-author,” Singh said.

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Free Press Journal