The Untold Vajpayee: Politician and Paradox (Penguin Viking)

the-untold-vajpayee-coverPublisher: Penguin Viking
Release date: 25 December 2016
Buy the book on Amazon.

Despite his grand ‘secular’ statements in Parliament that bordered on the Nehruvian, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has often taken brief excursions into the hardline camp. In 1983, he made an incendiary speech during the Assam elections in which the presence of ‘Bangladeshi foreigners’ in the state was a big issue. Even the BJP had disowned Vajpayee’s speech, which possibly inspired the massacre of over 2000 people, mostly Muslims, in Nellie in Assam.

Vajpayee, one of India’s shrewdest politicians, is known for negotiating multiple contradictions: from militant nationalism to his secret family life; his stint as a communist; his food indulgence; influence of Gandhi and Nehru; Narendra Modi and Gujarat issues; foreign policies; and his attempt to project himself as a moderate face, if not liberal, among others. Exploring crucial milestones of Vajpayee’s career and his traits as a seasoned politician, the book looks at his relationship with co-leaders of his party and his love-hate association with RSS and its feeder organizations. Thoroughly researched, supported by hard facts and accompanied by inside stories and anecdotes, insightful interviews, and archival photographs, The Untold Vajpayee opens a window to life and times of a poet politician.

Comments about The Untold Vajpayee:

“This profoundly researched and well-written book succinctly brings the spotlight on one of the most intriguing figures of post-Independence politics, a young man who grew from the RSS nursery into a Prime Minister who, as the author says, “thrived in the Nehruvian milieu”. He was perhaps the best Congressman the party never had. This book explains why and how.” – Mani Shankar Aiyar, former diplomat and Member of Parliament

“This is a very well-written tour of Indian politics from the time of the country’s independence as told through the life of one of India’s most interesting politicians. While always a nationalist, Vajpayee also sought to soften the hard edges of Hindu nationalism. There is a robust debate about how successful his efforts were. However, if the BJP abandons the inclusiveness advocated by Vajpayee, it will cease to be a significant actor in a country that is both poor and very socially diverse.” – Dr. Walter K Andersen, author of The Brotherhood in Saffron:  The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism

Media coverage:

Why the BJP wouldn’t have risen the way it did with Vajpayee – Mint

The many sides of Vajpayee – The Pioneer

The man behind the leader – Manorama

Portrait of a Politician – The Telegraph

Man of Contradictions – Dawn

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