One Life Is Not Enough is an autobiography by K. Natwar Singh, former Minister of External Affairs and senior Indian National Congress politician.
Book: One Life Is Not Enough – An Autobiography
One Life is Not Enough: Natwar Sigh, an ace diplomat, the man who guided the foreign policy of the nation, for several decades, after his fallout from the Gandhi family, was expected to reveal much about the dynasty that ruled over several decades, since the dawn of independence. Such was the level and magnitude of my own expectations from his autobiography, that I must have been the first few to buy the book when it was released worldwide with much of aplomb and enthusiasm.
My expectations from the book were almost of the same degree as anyone with a penchant and cravings for discovering some new foreign policy trajectories hitherto unknown to us. Natwar, known for his acerbic tongue, possessed an inveterate habit, along with an irrepressible desire to censure, almost every foreign policy template of the Vajpayee government. Such was Natwar’s obsession with his censorious mindset, that Ataljee personally had to solicit Sonia Gandhi’s personal interference to prevail over the garrulous Natwar.
Unequivocally then, my own expectations accruing from his Autobiography were enormous; I certainly anticipated that the foreign policy Czar would be unraveling some hidden foreign policy terrain to the common men and women. Not only Natwar belied the expectations of readers like us, he, mysteriously though, far from raising the curtain of the mystery, was further deepening it: Natwar broaches the visit of Indira Gandhi to Babar’s tomb in Kabul, where he too had accompanied her; however, Indira Gandhi’s standing silence near Babur’s memorial for almost two minutes, and her observation that she had a tryst with history when Natwar had sought to know the underlying cause behind her enigmatic silence, invariably raises more questions than it answers.
Why would Indira, the dynasty empress and India’s Prime Minister exhibit such a nauseating adoration for an invader who, in his beastly marauding, had unleashed havoc on India’s age-old glory? Would a Prime Minister, presiding over the nation’s destiny, whose sacrosanct legacy was put to shreds by the marauding invader, deserve even an iota of respect from that country’s Prime Minister, far less visiting his tomb and paying a glowing tribute? Was India, as it is being speculated widely, the descendant from Babur’s family, as one of the versions doing rounds, corroborates that Motilal Nehru’s father was a Muslim Kotwal, who was fleeing the British persecution, changed his surname.
Incidentally, reading that episode in One Life Is Not Enough, of Natwar Singh, this very incident pertaining to Indira Gandhi’s stupefied silence at Babur’s tomb, and Natwar Singh’s collusion in the same -Natwar making no effort to bring the curtain down on this episode -caused some sort of mental convulsion in me. My agitation level rose to a crescendo as the volley of questions tormented me for some time: why would Natwar be an accomplice to the perpetration of perfidy by Indira Gandhi? His rousing the curiosity and then subsisting with it without shedding light on it was tantamount to hoodwinking the nation for all time to come.
Such was the level of my disgust on reading this episode that I had decided to seek an audience with Natwar Singh to know about the real facts which he had spectacularly glossed over. Further, Natwar’s singing panegyrics for Nehru slashed through the pages of the book. Regrettably, Natwar simply ignored Nehru’s Himalayan blunder in his approach towards China, and his biggest fiasco in Kashmir-which thus writer despite being a lesser man on foreign policy domain, has candidly portrayed Kashmir conundrum as Nehruvian albatross.
Ironically, despite Natwar’s complete disillusionment with the Nehru-Gandhi family, he continues to be loyal to Gandhis or else, he would never have concealed the secret of Indira standing in front of Babur’s tomb in Kabul and, on being asked the reason for the same, quipped, ‘ I had a tryst with history today. Alas, Natwar would have been forthright in bringing the curtain off that so-called ‘ tryst with history.