Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Natwar Singh   eminent writer, voracious reader, one of  our influnetial bureaucrat turned politician has authored  many books – spoiled his name in an  alleged scandal, hailed from the family of Princely state Rajas. I just read his book Hear to Heart- a mall of varied information about diplomacy, personalities of Establishment, eminent writers etc.
 Exercpts  from Natwar Singh’s Heart To Heart 
·         interview Tagore gave to the Soviet paper Izvestia in Moscow on September 25,1930. While being polite and appreciative of several achievements of the Stalinist regime, he did not mince words and said, "I must ask you: are you doing your ideal service by arousing in the minds of those under your training, anger, class hatred and revengefulness against those not sharing your ideal, against those whom you consider your enemies?"
·         Nehru  analysed  that Real leadership that counts in an election or in a big organisation is the lower level leadership. Where there is a big boss at the top, this lower level leadership does not develop. Only those who pay court to the big boss can flourish. The result is a weakening of the organisation. So long as there is no effective opposition, it can carry on. But as soon as this opposition appears, it tends to crumple up".
·         "Democratic politics and electioneering encourage, to some extent, what are known as boss-politics. Leadership is necessary, but the leadership should not encourage too much bossing.

·         No other people is so supremely indifferent to history as the Indian. We disregard time. We invoke eternity. We leap, Hanumanlike, from Ashok to the Guptas, from Harsha Vardhan to Akbar, from Akbar to Nehru, paying no heed to disagreeable and degrading events in between.
·         Sardar Patel was undoubtedly among the three top leaders of our freedom movement. He was a down-to-earth, practical man. A total contrast to Jawaharlal Nehru, his junior by 14 years..Jawaharlal Nehru possessed qualities and talents Patel did not and the Sardar was a big enough man to accept this reality
·         Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit represented India at President Kennedy's funeral. I accompanied her.
·         Hemingway's definition of courage, "Grace under pressure."
·         The philosopher, Kierkegaard has written that life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards
·         Gandhi said "Three moderns have left deep impressions on my life and captivated me. Raychand Bhai by his book, Living Contract; Tolstoy by his book, The Kingdom of God is Within You; and Ruskin by his Unto This Last."
·         From London Gandhi wrote to Tolstoy. He drew Tolstoy's attention to the plight of the Indian population who laboured under serious legal
·         Tolstoy says, "Socialism, communism anarchism, Salvation Army, the growing criminalities, unemployment and absurd luxuries of the rich, augmented without limit, and the awful misery of the poor, the terribly increasing number of suicides — all these are the signs of that inner contradiction which must be there and which cannot be resolved; and without doubt, can only be resolved by acceptance of the law of love and by the rejection of all sorts of violence
·         Dr. Radhakrishnan was not unfamiliar with Marx. In Fragments he makes a startling observation:, 'any sensitive man who takes life seriously is somewhat inaccessible to the public'.. He combined clarity of thought with purity of heart. His sensibility was all embracing. He taught philosophy to politicians and politics to philosophers.... History is something organic, a phase of man's terrestrial density as essential for him as memory is for personal identity.' One regret he certainly nursed. For several years he was a serious candidate for the Nobel Prize. Bertrand Russell, his friend and fellow philosopher, beat him to it.1957, Place: Chung Nan Hai, Peking. Time: late evening. Vice-President Radhakrishnan is entering Chairman Mao Tse-tung's residence. The mighty Mao walks up to greet his distinguished guest midway in the courtyard leading to his study.
·         . I was then on Mrs. Gandhi's staff. "Before you hear it from someone else, let me tell you that Rajiv is marrying a lovely Italian girl whom he met at Cambridge(Rajiv Sonia Marriage)
·         P NHaksar considered self-advertising unseemly and vulgar. His direction of policy, his conceptualising of it, his penetrating analysis of events, his deep understanding of the dynamics of national and international events, could not but attract attention.He understood that "Societies did not die from contradictions but from their inability to remove them." He wanted to change and renew society, but by the right means, right ideas, moral purpose, and at the same time avoiding distortions of reality.
·         Ken Saro-Wiwa was a master of the English language. I read his book with a heavy heart and an enraged (against his tormentors) mind. Here we are at the end of the 20th century, preaching human rights, while tolerating insane and cruel human wrongs. The map of Africa tells strange stories — Mandela, Nyerere, Kaunda at one end, Achebe and Babangida at the other.
·         My favourite Marquez novel is Love in the Time of Cholera. Immensely comic and deeply intuitive. I have this past week read his latest, Of Love and Other Demons. It is translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman.My discovery of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a splendid case of serendipity. Some years ago, the Rajiv Gandhis and the Natwar Singhs found themselves in Dehra Dun. I noticed Sonia Gandhi had a book with her.I asked her the name. She handed it to me. It was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. She said it was an extraordinary novel. I soon bought a copy and read it
·         "It is not power that corrupts but fear." Aung San Suu Kyi and fear are strangers.
·         Stalin and Ho met in 1952, a few months before the Soviet leader's death in 1953, "Stalin pointed to two chairs, here is one for nationalists and one for internationalists. On which do you wish to sit?" Ho replied, "Comrade Stalin, I would like to sit on both chairs".  When Ho travelled by train from Moscow to Hanoi via Peking in the company of Mao and Chou En Lai, Mao said, "Getting something from Stalin is like taking meat from the mouth of a tiger!"

·         Suyin married Peter's father Col. Vincent Rathnaswamy nearly twenty years ago. Vincent is a silent, strong, self-effacing, serene, loving, devoted husband. Without him the turbulence, turmoil and passions that have filled Suyin's life would perhaps have landed her on the rocks and not on the safe shores of the Marina in Madras.her autobiography My House Has Two doors.Rathnaswamy, who was for many years a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was educated both at Cambridge and Oxford. Suyin had many conversations with the old man. He died in his 91st year. She has written, "In our first meeting, he asked me about Mao; about China, the Communes, the Chinese Revolution.

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