Contents: Foreword by Lord Meghnad Desai. Preface.1. Midnight’s Children: Rajiv Gandhi, Narendra Modi. 2. Economic Reforms: Precursor to Inheritor. 3. Rajiv’s Camelot: Blink of a Dream. 4. Rajiv’s Fall: Furies Unleashed. 5. Traumatic Turn. 6. Ending the Free Fall. 7. Winds of Change Ayodhya Agony. 8. Apologetics of Vandalism. 9. BJP’s Moment of Truth. 10. Romancing Pakistan The Bomb Gambit. 11. Love and War General Bluffs: Agra Blues. 12. Modi’s Inferno Sonia’s Revenge. 13. Manmohan’s Finest Hour. 14. Spectre of Corruption. 15. The Short Long 16. March Missing Crescendo. 17. Epilogue: Dream and Reality. 18. Suggested Readings.
For the first time, the political story of India from the mid-1980s to the second decade of the present century is reconstructed through the first-person narratives of political leaders, revealing their inmost thoughts in their public utterances, offering weak arguments for their unforgivable lapses, speaking in eloquent terms of their achievements and sometimes showing uncharacteristic humility in what they said in their public speeches, in the Lok Sabha, in their blogs.
From Rajiv Gandhi’s confession about how and why he came into politics, Narendra Modi’s graphic description of his inner agony during the Gujarat riots, Vajpayee’s disarming confession about Nehru, Narasimha Rao’s stoic stance in a letter to his childhood friend, Advani’s confessions in the Lok Sabha about why television was pressed into service during the Kargil War, what emerges is a historical drama of Shakespearean range and an intensity which is more than what brilliant historians and acute political analysts can hope to achieve. The book shows that the first draft of history is found in the words of politicians in parliament and in the government. It captures the immediacy of history-in-the-making, and the palest platitudes of politicians that acquire rare poignancy.